Outlane woman vows to fight sister's murder conviction
Dec 31 2008 by Katie Campling, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
OVER the moon – but fearful of the future.
That is how prisoner Julie Kenyon feels after hearing she has won the right to appeal against her conviction for murdering her grandmother.
New psychological and psychiatric evidence means her case has now been referred to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC).
The campaign for an appeal has been led by Miss Kenyon’s sister, Shirley Green, who lives at Outlane.
Both Miss Kenyon, 51, and Mrs Green, 44, claim she is innocent and was wrongly convicted of killing 89-year-old Irene Waters at the flat they shared at Albion Court in Halifax on December 5, 1996.
In a moving letter to her sister, Miss Kenyon said she was trying not to get too excited about the appeal.
“At first I was over the moon. But when it began to sink in, that’s when the pain and heartache began.
“I’m back to 2003, July 14, the day I got sentenced for something I didn’t do. I’m alone, scared and hurting and I feel as if my heart and mind can’t take any more. I’m terrified at the thought of having to go through this hell again for it all to come to nothing.”
Miss Kenyon said “a very big piece of me died with nanna” and said she could never have killed the only person who had always been there for her.
“I miss her so much. She was my life, the only one who ever loved me for me. I’ve said it so many times: ‘I did not kill my mom (nanna).”
She warned her sister not to get her hopes up. “I don’t want to see you hurt any more than you already are. I want to come home Sis and I hope and pray for the right outcome in the Appeal Courts, as my life is in their hands.”
Mum-of-four Mrs Green told the Examiner she had visited her sister in Styal prison, near Manchester, on December 20 but found her reluctant to talk about the appeal.
“She is holding her own and has done better than I could have done. She is trying not to get her hopes up and she’s telling me not to. She is expecting to be in there a long time.
“She is so scared. But it’s a big milestone for us. She is in prison but I have been in a prison on the outside over this. I contacted the CCRC and both they and I have done a lot of work over the last four years.
“It’s taken pure determination. I have had to work and bring up my family too. There are times when I have nearly broken up or given up but I know it didn’t happen the way they said and I will fight all the way for her.
“I want to clear her name.”
The Court of Appeal hearing is likely to take place some time next year.
Mrs Green said: “All we can do is wait now. If it doesn’t go our way, I will find another way to appeal. She has been in there long enough.”
Miss Kenyon was jailed for life on July 14 2003, with a minimum of 12 years before she is eligible for parole.
The case against Miss Kenyon depended on a tape recording made by her sister, Carol, in which she was said to have confessed to smothering her grandmother with a pillow in a mercy killing.
A post mortem found that Mrs Waters died of natural causes as she suffered from emphysema, hardened arteries and chronic bronchitis.
But some of her relatives were suspicious and accused Kenyon of being responsible for her death.
Her brother David passed the tape made by Carol to police in October 2001 and Miss Kenyon was arrested.
She said she held her grandmother’s hand while the elderly woman smothered herself with a pillow.
The trial was told by a medical expert that this theory was not credible. The jury agreed and found Kenyon guilty.
Mrs Green no longer speaks to David, Carol or her mother, who all believed Miss Kenyon to be guilty.
She said: “I do miss my family in certain ways but I feel happier in myself because I am not involved in the hassle. I know Julie, if she gets out, will forgive them. But I don’t know if I can. They have taken six years of her life away and part of mine and the kids.”