Sixteen years after a man was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his pregnant wife by hanging, The Times has uncovered evidence that throws his conviction into doubt.
Long-lost notes of police interviews have emerged that suggest that Eddie Gilfoyle was at work when his 32-year-old wife, Paula, died.
The notes catalogue a series of blunders, including the destruction of evidence before scene-of-crime officers arrived. They also show that those first on the scene were convinced that they were dealing with a tragic suicide.
The notes were not shown to the jury and not mentioned during Gilfoyle’s trial in 1993. Merseyside Police repeatedly denied that they existed.
Paula Gilfoyle was eight-and-a-half months pregnant when she was found hanged in the garage next to the couple’s home in June 1992. A note was found in her handwriting that said that she had decided to “put an end to everything." Her husband was later charged with her murder. Since his conviction, he has lost two appeals.
The Times has obtained notes of interviews with the officers called to the house on the day that she died. They state that the doctor who declared Gilfoyle dead told police that she had died six hours earlier — when her husband was at his workplace.
The 20 pages of notes appear to have been taken during an internal inquiry into police blunders at the scene. Until their disclosure Friday, there had been no suggestion that the doctor had addressed the question of time of death at the scene. There is no mention of it in his statements to the murder investigation.
Instead, the doctor told the trial jury that Gilfoyle had been dead for between three and eight hours before being found. This could have given Gilfoyle time to kill her after work.
During the trial the judge, Justice McCullough, expressed amazement that no time of death had been given to the defense, saying that it was “a rather obvious question."