Potton killer fails in challenge to his conviction

Kevin Lane outside London's Court of Appeal during his appeal against a murder conviction.
Kevin Lane outside London's Court of Appeal during his appeal against a murder conviction.

Convicted murderer Kevin Lane who was locked up for 20 years for a killing he still maintains he did not commit today lost his Appeal Court bid to quash his conviction.

Joel Bennathan QC counsel for the 47-year-old from Potton, Bedfordshire, said his appeal was based on police corruption and evidence that someone else did it.

They asked the court to quash the conviction as manifestly unsafe and alleged Lane he was fitted up by a bent policeman.

But Lady Justice Rafferty sitting with Mr Justice William Davis and the Recorder of Birmingham, Judge Melbourne Inman QC said: “We are not persuaded that the safety of the conviction is in doubt and this application is rejected.”

Lane was an amateur boxer in his mid 20s when found guilty at his second trial in 1996 of shooting dead car dealer Robert Magill with a shotgun in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, in 1994.

Mr Bennathan told the judges that a jury could not agree at his first trial in 1994 and he was found guilty by a 10-2 majority at his second trial in 1996.

He said Mr Lane, who now lives in Kent, was released in January “after 20 years of incarceration.”

He was said to have been one of two ‘hit men’ who carried out the contract killing of Mr Magill shot while out walking his dogs when the killers ran out of woods and shot him five times.

At the centre of his appeal is one of the investigating officers Det. Inspector Christopher Spackman.

He was arrested in 2002 and jailed for four years at the Old Bailey in 2003 for plotting to steal £160,000 from Hertfordshire Police.

Spackman was in charge of the disclosure of evidence for the prosecution and defence and of handling the exhibits in the Magill case.

Lady Rafferty said Mr. Bennathan had tried “to build bricks without straw.”

She said the criticism of Spackman’s “corrupt and dishonest behaviour” did not affect the safety of the conviction.