A SOLICITOR alleged to have interfered with a recent high profile Mid Cheshire murder trial is being formally investigated by police.
Winsford-based Will Hurley, who represented convicted killer Joshua Spruce – his fiancee’s younger brother – in the Jock Straiton murder trial, could be charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice if it is concluded there is a case to answer.
During the five-week trial at Chester Crown Court, Michelle Wilkinson, a next-door neighbour and close friend of the Spruce family, gave evidence under oath that her mother, who works with Mr Hurley at solicitors Moss Haselhurst, told her to keep evidence which would incriminate Spruce to herself - allegedly at Mr Hurley's request.
The 27-year-old witness had earlier told the trial she overheard Spruce tell someone on the phone – later revealed to be acquitted co-defendant Paul Blower – he had battered Mr Straiton, who died of his injuries two weeks later.
Det Insp Helen Spooner led the investigation into the 59-year-old father-of-two’s murder.
She said: “During the course of the trial, sworn evidence was given by a witness which raised concerns regarding advice provided by a local solicitor to a witness.
“Cheshire Police are now formally investigating the matter.”
A spokesman for the Solicitors Regulation Authority added: “We are aware of the allegations.
“It’s a criminal matter at this stage, not a disciplinary one. It would only become a disciplinary one if he is convicted.”
Mr Hurley, 27, started as a trainee with Moss Haselhurst in September 2004 and graduated from Keele University with a Bachelor of Laws degree in 2006. He declined to comment when contacted by The Chronicle this week.
The former St Nicholas High School pupil became a fully qualified solicitor in March 2007.
His fiance Miss Spruce, who he lives with in Winsford, studied at Hartford High School and Sir John Deane’s College before studying law at Keele.
She qualified as a solicitor last month and also works at Moss Haselhurst, along with her mother, Sharron Spruce.
Joshua Spruce and Nigel Goolding, both 20, were found guilty of murder last month, and sentenced to a minimum of 15 years behind bars. Their co-accused Paul Blower, also 20, was cleared of all charges and freed.