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Child killer looks to Court of Appeal

A CONVICTED child killer might take his fight for freedom to the European Court of Human Rights

A CONVICTED child killer might take his fight for freedom to the European Court of Human Rights.

Last month the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) rejected Howard Hughes' attempt at the Court of Appeal to appeal against his conviction for murdering seven-year-old Sophie Hook.

But on Friday, his solicitor insisted his team has not given up.

Campbell Malone said: 'We are certainly not at the end of the line.

'We have invited the commission to consider the matter further. At the moment they say 'not at this moment in time'.

'We are exploring our options. If that does not work I'm looking at alternative courses of action like the possibility of appealing to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. We have certainly not ruled it out.'

Sophie, of Great Budworth, was abducted and killed by Hughes in 1995.

She had been asleep in a tent at her uncle's home in Llandudno when Hughes snatched her. Her body was found on a beach by the Little Orme.

Hughes, then 35, was convicted at Chester Crown Court of rape and murder and was given three life sentences. He was jailed with a recommendation from the judge that he should never be released.

In 1998 his appeal against the conviction was rejected but the CCRC was called on to reconsider the case, which was subjected to a full review.

But the CCRC decided there were no grounds to suggest the convictions were unsafe.

Hughes was said to be 'very disappointed' when the CCRC turned down his bid to seek an appeal.

Mr Malone said: 'If the European Court of Human Rights decided Mr Hughes had not had a fair trial, it would be a case of going back with that finding to the commission.

'The only court that can overturn a conviction is the Court of Appeal and they have already dismissed this appeal once. The only way back to the Court of Appeal is the Criminal Cases Review Commission.'

He added: 'I want to make it clear that we have not decided to go to the European Court of Human Rights. We are considering our position.'


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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