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Mark Weston guilty of murder of Vikki Thompson

13/12/2010

Mark Weston was found guilty of the murder of Vikki Thompson in 1995 today at Reading Crown Court. This follows a second trial, which was granted on the basis of scientific evidence, uncovered 13 years after he was acquitted of the same offence.

"Having waited 15 long years, Jonathan Thompson and his children have today seen justice for the murder of his wife and their mother", said Denis Burke, senior lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service Thames and Chiltern.

Vikki Thompson was attacked on 12 August 1995 while walking her dog near her home in Ascott-under-Wychwood, Oxfordshire. She was struck repeatedly about the head with heavy objects, which caused skull fractures and a severe brain injury; she died six days later from her injuries.

Mr Burke said: "Vikki Thompson was savagely attacked on a warm August afternoon in a peaceful Cotswolds village while she was walking her dog, Daisy. When Daisy returned alone to their house, Vikki Thompsons husband, Jonathan, knew straight away that something was wrong. No one can imagine his state of mind as he took his children on a desperate search for her in their car."

Thames Valley Major Crime Review Team presented the CPS with new evidence in March 2009. As a result of a change in the law in 2005, which allows someone to be retried for a serious offence despite a previous acquittal, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, gave his consent for an application to be made to the Court of Appeal for the acquittal to be quashed and a retrial to be held.

The new and compelling evidence was small bloodstains found on the defendants boots, which matched Vikki Thompsons DNA. Weston had always denied knowing her or being at the scene on that day. He could not explain to the jury in this trial how the blood had got on to his boots.

Forensic scientists told the court that the blood was wet when it came into contact with Weston's boots; this was the prosecutions case that accidental contamination could be excluded.

Mr Burke said: "The court was told that during the course of the afternoon, while she was walking her dog down a country lane, Vikki Thompson saw Weston watching her as he performed a sex act. It was our case that he was concerned that she might tell someone about what she just had seen and so he chased her and violently attacked her. He struck her, causing her to bleed heavily, then dragged her to the nearby rail track to make it look as if she had been hit by a train. Evidence and statements from the neighbours supported the prosecutions version of events.

"The attack was so violent that Vikki Thompson was never able to say who carried it out, and she died six days later in hospital. This is a tragic case that has shaken this normally peaceful, pretty village."

Mr Burke paid tribute to the work of the prosecution team involved in bringing this case back before a jury. He said: This prosecution would not have been possible without the thorough re-investigation of the case by the Thames Valley Major Crime Review Team and the experts involved.

"The jury was satisfied that Weston was the murderer of Vikki Thompson.

We would like to thank all the witnesses who came forward, in particular Mr Thompson who had to relive this terrible tragedy.

"We hope that this conviction will bring some comfort after all these years to Mr Thompson and his children, Vikkis family, and all their friends."

Detective Superintendent Barry Halliday, head of Thames Valley Police's Major Crime Review Team, said: Mark Weston was originally tried in 1996 and the jury returned a verdict of not guilty. Thanks to an intensive investigation by my team, working closely with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), LGC Forensics, and the Forensic Science Service (FSS), new forensic evidence was uncovered which proved Westons guilt and he has now been convicted of Vikkis murder.

"Weston pleaded not guilty and has still shown no remorse for his crime. Although the Thompson family now have the knowledge that the person who killed Vikki is behind bars and being punished for his crime, they have still lost a much loved wife, daughter and mother, and Weston has not given any reason or explanation of why he killed Vikki.

"This is the third murder conviction in the UK under the double jeopardy law. Offenders should be aware that my team, and others like it across the country, will continue to relentlessly investigate unsolved homicides and serious sexual assaults to bring those responsible to justice."

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. The DPP has set out what the public can expect from the CPS in the Core Quality Standards document published in March 2010.
  3. The trial started on 29 November at Reading Crown Court. Mark Weston was charged with one count of murder and was sentenced today to life imprisonment with a minimum of 13 years.
  4. The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). These are organised into 12 Groups, plus CPS London, each overseen by Group Chair, a senior CCP. In addition there are four specialised national divisions: Central Fraud Group, Counter-Terrorism, Organised Crime and Special Crime. A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales.
  5. The CPS employs around 8,316 people and prosecuted 982,731 cases with a conviction rate of 86.8% in the magistrates' courts and 80.7% in the Crown Court in 2009-20010. Further information can be found on the CPS website
  6. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media