Trial and Error

Trial and Error revealed some startling facts. They clearly indicated the need for a complete review of the circumstances in which Siôn Jenkins was convicted of murder. The material in the film raised serious issues. It underlined a number of anomalies.

Prowlers

Trial and Error emphasised the fact that prowlers had been causing concern in the area and at the Jenkins home for some time before the murder. The subject had featured in reporting at the time of the murder early in 1997.

Specifically, the programme referred to an incident when an intruder tried to force open the patio doors. Film of Lois Jenkins in the days immediately after the murder was also shown. She was commenting emphatically on the family’s anxiety about security.

These important details underline the possibility of an alternative suspect. This evidence backs up Siôn Jenkins’ denial that he committed the crime.

Why, by the time of the trial a year and a half later, was it disregarded?

Forensic Issues

The attack on Billie-Jo was described as ‘frenzied’, the most brutal ever witnessed by an experienced police surgeon. It was stressed that the perpetrator would be heavily bloodstained. In the event, drops of blood, smaller than a pin-head and invisible to the naked eye, were detected on Siôn Jenkins’ clothing and were said to be the ‘incontrovertible’ evidence proving beyond reasonable doubt that he was guilty of murder.

After the verdict, Adrian Wain, the prosecution’s forensic expert, proclaimed on television that his was ‘central evidence in the case’, without which there would have been no conviction. In the absence of any motive for the crime, the verdict hinged on his findings.

Trial and Error showed the prosecution video of Wain’s experiment. It seems bizarre and unconvincing. However, this was,apparently, what convinced the jury of Sion Jenkins’ guilt. Wain used a pig’s skull to simulate a human head, in order to illustrate how the drops of blood had spattered on to Siôn Jenkins’ clothing.

His comparison had a number of fundamental flaws. For example:

  • a pig’s skull is thick, totally different in structure to the fragile human skull
  • the respiratory structures of pigs and humans are not the same
  • there was no circulation of blood in the pig’s head used by Wain

The defence assertion that the mist of blood came from Billie-Jo breathing was rejected. The prosecution insisted that only forceful breathing could have produced such an effect. Siôn Jenkins had never said he had been aware that Billie-Jo was breathing. In any case, her terrible injuries made such a thing seem impossible.

The prosecution’s scientific evidence has now been discredited by the results of the experiments carried out for Trial and Error by Professor David Dennison, an expert in the heart and lungs,and an eminent scientist. His rigorous testing, clearly captured on film, is a glaring contrast to Wain’s crude exercise as demonstrated in the prosecution video. Professor Dennison’s experiments were minutely documented with the aid of slow motion photography which can bear the closest scrutiny. His findings were consistent and clearly verified.

His conclusions were reinforced by the testimony of James Palmer, a neurosurgeon, who explained that even when it has suffered massive injury, there is a tiny part of the human brain which can continue to sustain breathing, however faint and irregular. Billie Jo’s injuries were consistent with this having happened.

Professor Dennison’s fastidious research offered conclusive proof that a tiny, inaudible breath can cause two or three drops of blood to produce two thousand droplets. The high speed cameras revealed a consistent pattern, matching the drops found on Jenkins’ clothing. In fact, the victim would not even have needed to be alive for this to happen. By raising Billie-Jo’s shoulder as he did, Siôn Jenkins could have caused a minute amount of air to be realeased from her airways, producing the crucial mist of blood.

The evidence had to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Siôn Jenkins had killed Billie-Jo.

In the light of Professor Dennison’s work, can there still be a serious claim that the pig’s skull proved anything?

Witness Statements

A number of witnesses gave the police crucial information which the court never heard about.

  1. Annie said that she had spoken to Billie-Jo as she, her sister and her father had left the house. She subsequently gave more detail about her conversation with Billie-Jo. This proves that Billie-Jo had been alive at that time.
  2. Lottie noticed that the side gate, which had been closed when they left for Do it All, was open when they returned to find Bille-Jo. This suggests that someone had entered while they were away in the car.
  3. A man and his son noticed a strange-looking man lurking in the park opposite the Jenkins house. He was concerned enough by the man’s demeanour to go in another direction. His statement to the police was not investigated.
  4. A neighbour reported having heard a man in a state of distress, making strange noises and running along the passage behind the houses shortly after the time Billie-Jo was murdered. Her statement was never followed up by the police.

Why would these vital facts have been ignored?

An Authentic Voice

The film used the original recording of the 999 calls made by Siôn Jenkins shortly after Billie-Jo was discovered lying on the patio. The desperation and anguish in his voice evokes the intense horror of those moments. This is the reality of what took place,live evidence of that moment. Its painful authenticity demolishes the prosecution’s fiction of Siôn Jenkins as a cold, calculating killer.

Could even the most devious individual simulate that emotion?

Collectively, the answers to these questions point to the fact that from an early stage it was decided that Siôn Jenkins was guilty of the murder. Selectively used pieces of evidence would support the theory. In effect, the legal process was pre-empted as this ‘short cut’ was taken.

The criterion of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ was not met in court in June 1998; the ‘whole truth’ was not told.