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Killer wife Crymble and lover fail to have verdicts quashed

The wife of a murdered man and her lover have failed to have their convictions for his killing overturned.

Court of Appeal judges dismissed challenges brought by Jacqueline Crymble and Roger Ferguson, the man she was said to have “ensnared” in her plot.

The pair were seeking to have convictions for murdering dad-of-two Paul Crymble quashed. The victim (35) was suffocated to death in June 2004.

Jacqueline Crymble (37), jailed for a minimum 20 years, claimed masked men broke into the family home near Richill, Armagh looking for drugs and money before attacking and kidnapping her husband.

Ferguson (33) from Tandragee, jailed for a minimum 18 years, insisted he was at home in bed on the night of the murder.

Their appeals centred heavily on arguments surrounding the trial judge's directions to the jury, including instructions about how to treat the evidence of Colin Robinson, a co-accused cleared of murder but found guilty of assisting an offender.

Crown lawyers resisted the challenges by arguing that a “devastating” body of evidence helped convict the pair.

Crymble tried to vilify her husband, described at trial as a dedicated, loving man. The Crown also defended legal directions given over lies told by the lovers.

Delivering judgment on the appeal, Lord Justice Girvan, sitting with Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan and Lord Justice Higgins, dismissed claims that the jury was invited to accept Robinson's evidence as correct and reject Jacqueline Crymble's as false.

“We are satisfied that the trial judge correctly laid the evidence before the jury, drew attention to the matters that should be considered, stressed the significance of Colin Robinson's evidence, if true, to the case against the co-accused and he properly drew attention to lies and inconsistencies in his evidence,” he said.

Lord Justice Girvan said it was made sufficiently clear that it was the relevant lies of the individual defendant which could be evidence pointing towards the guilt of that person.

He was equally dismissive of claims there was a threat to the safety of the conviction posed by the trial judge.

Said Lord Justice Girvan: “Even if this ambiguous comment were construed by the jury as indicating an adverse view taken by the trial judge to the number of lies which in fact had been told by the defendants he made it abundantly clear that it was for the jury and not the judge to decide all questions of fact.”

With both of the appeals dismissed, a Crown lawyer urged the court not to reduce the minimum tariff on either sentence. Sir Declan ruled that neither sentence should be interfered with.

Background

Paul Crymble (35) was suffocated with a plastic bag in the early hours of June 20, 2004, and his body was discovered in his car which had been abandoned down a secluded lane close to his Co Armagh home.

His wife Jacqueline and her former lover Roger Ferguson were convicted of the murder. She had falsely claimed masked men broke into the family home looking for drugs and money before attacking and kidnapping her husband.

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