Shopkeeper loses wife murder appeal
A shopkeeper found guilty of bludgeoning his postmistress wife to death has lost a Court of Appeal challenge against his murder conviction.
Robin Garbutt, 46, was jailed for life in April last year and ordered to serve a minimum of 20 years behind bars before he can apply for parole.
A jury at Teesside Crown Court heard that he battered his 40-year-old wife Diana to death in their bedroom before opening their post office and shop in the picture-postcard North Yorkshire village of Melsonby as normal.
His case was that a raider with a gun told him "don't do anything stupid, we've got your wife" before robbing him as he worked, and that moments later he discovered his wife's body in bed in their living quarters.
Three judges in London said that his conviction was safe.
At a recent hearing, Lord Justice Hughes, Mr Justice Hedley and Mr Justice Maddison heard argument on Garbutt's behalf that his conviction should now be regarded as unsafe in the light of newly-disclosed material - Post Office accounting records going back to 2004 - which it was said supported the credibility of his evidence.
Announcing the court's decision to reject the challenge, Lord Justice Hughes said Garbutt's case was founded on the emergence of evidence which was not before the jury because its existence was unknown.
He said the court was "quite satisfied that the possibility of there having been the robbery which the defendant described must have been rejected quite independently of the financial evidence".
The judge concluded: "We are quite satisfied that this conviction is not unsafe and that the late disclosure of the additional Post Office records does not render it so.
"The appeal must accordingly be dismissed."
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