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Lovers’ conviction ‘was decided by confused jurors’

Jurors who convicted a Co Armagh man of killing his lover's husband were confused and prejudiced on the lies he told, the Court of Appeal has heard.

Lawyers claimed the trial judge failed to give adequate instructions about how to deal with denials by Roger Ferguson that he was having sex with Jacqueline Crymble and was in love with her.

Ferguson (33) and 37-year-old Crymble are both seeking to overturn their convictions for the murder of her husband Paul.

Mr Crymble, a father-of-two, was suffocated with a plastic bag in June 2004.

Ferguson, from Tandragee, Co Armagh, claimed he was at home in bed on the night the 35-year-old victim was killed.

Jacqueline Crymble alleged four masked men broke into the family home on Ballybrae Road near Richhill looking for drugs and money before attacking and kidnapping her husband.

But forensics and other circumstantial evidence, including telephone calls and a visit the ex-lovers made to a car showroom to inquire about buying a top-of-the-range Jeep — allegedly with the proceeds of an insurance claim to be paid out on Mr Crymble's death — combined to convince a jury of their guilt.

Continuing Ferguson's application for leave to appeal the conviction, Frank O'Donoghue QC claimed remarks made by the trial judge had a “devastating” impact.

Mr O'Donoghue referred to the trial judge remarking, in his instructions to the jury, that it was “difficult to know where to start with all the lies” told.

The barrister contended: “That is not, and forms no part of, a proper direction. That is comment made by the judge about lies, that was a wholly inappropriate thing to say.”

Lawyers for Crymble will set out their grounds for appeal when the hearing resumes on Monday.

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