IPCC will not probe Gilfoyle claim
The police watchdog has said it will not investigate allegations that a police force sat on evidence which could have potentially helped free a man convicted of murdering his wife.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said the referral it received from Merseyside Police in relation to the seizure and retention of a box containing the personal effects and diaries of Paula Gilfoyle was "not valid".
Eddie Gilfoyle was jailed in 1993 for killing his wife Paula, who was found hanged at eight months pregnant in the garage of their Merseyside home. Mr Gilfoyle, 50, served 18 years in jail and was released in December 2010 on parole, having lost two appeals in 1995 and 2000.
Earlier this month it was reported that police were in possession of two of Mrs Gilfoyle's personal diaries - which provide an insight into her personality - for at least 16 years. Merseyside Police referred the case to the IPCC on Friday, January 13. An IPCC spokesman said: "We have examined this referral and it is evident that, at this time, it does not constitute a valid referral under the Police Reform Act."
The IPCC said a matter can only be referred to them either where there is a formal complaint or where the police force has recorded a conduct matter where there is an indication that a person serving with the police "may have committed a criminal offence or behaved in a manner which would justify disciplinary proceedings". Merseyside Police has now asked Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary for assistance in finding an outside force to conduct a review of the case.
The IPCC spokesman added: "In addition we are aware the Criminal Cases Review Commission is conducting its own review of Mr Gilfoyle's case and should that identify potential criminal or misconduct matters by persons serving with the police the matter can be referred to the IPCC."
A spokeswoman for Merseyside Police said the IPCC had informed the force that at this stage they were "content" for them to proceed with a proposed independent external review into how disclosure, in relation to the Paula Gilfoyle murder investigation, had been managed.
She said Mr Gilfoyle had not made a formal complaint and added: "If any misconduct issues are identified as a consequence of the external review the matter will be referred back to the IPCC."
Mr Gilfoyle said: "After 18 years of protesting my innocence, the last thing I want is any further delay in my case being considered for appeal. I look forward to the CCRC making progress.
"I do, of course, wish to know, as I am sure do the public, where this metal box and Paula Gilfoyle's diaries have been for all these years, who dealt with it, why it was not provided to the CCRC and whether it was provided to the CPS for both my appeals."