Mark Weston found guilty of murdering Vikki Thompson 15 years ago

13/12/2010

Mark Weston (35) from Ascott-Under-Wychwood was today (13 December) found guilty of the murder of Vikki Thompson in 1995, 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.

He was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment, to serve a minimum of 13 years before being considered for parole.

'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 Thompson's 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 defendant's boots, which matched Vikki Thompson's 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 prosecution's 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.'

Det. Supt. Barry Halliday, head of Thames Valley Major Crime Review Team, said: '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 only the third murder conviction in the UK under the new double jeopardy laws. 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.'