DNA evidence casts doubt on gay murder conviction
A man from Davenport who was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of a gay pensioner could be freed in the light of new evidence.
Robert Kennedy was found guilty of murdering Arthur Eathorne, a 74-year-old gay pensioner, at his Plymouth flat on September 21, 1990.
Kennedy has spent the last 16 years at Garth prison in Preston, but has always maintained his innocence.
In 2001 Kennedy appealed to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) and it was discovered that the evidence linking Kennedy to Eathorne’s flat was ambiguous.
According to The Independent, new DNA evidence found on a pair of cigarette butts have led police to link at least another two suspects to the crime scene.
A decision from the CCRC on Kennedy’s appeal is expected in the near future.
Kennedy is reportedly becoming depressed and demoralised at his continued incarceration.
In a letter to his solicitor, Maslen Merchant, he said: “I do not know how much more I can handle or take.
“I have done 16 years now for a crime I did not commit. I’m finding it harder and harder as each and every day goes by,” reports The Independent.
His lawyer also suggests that homophobic attitudes surrounding the original investigation hindered Kennedy’s chances.
Indeed, the police have suggested that witnesses at the time may have been too embarrassed to come forward given Eathorne’s lifestyle.