LAWYERS representing a man found guilty of stabbing a woman to death and attempting to murder her elderly aunt have begun a bid to have his conviction overturned.
They are also asking for his prison sentence to be reduced.
After an eight-day trial in May this year, Rickie Tregaskis (53) was convicted of the murder of 59-year-old Barbara Griffin and attempting to murder her aunt Emma Anton (85). Both crimes took place in Mrs Griffin’s St Saviour flat in the early hours of 2 August 1990.
At a trial the following year, Tregaskis was acquitted. But following a change in the ‘double jeopardy’ law, he was able to be tried again when more evidence came to light.
Tregaskis did not appear at the Court of Appeal yesterday, but Advocate Rebecca Morley-Kirk, representing him, argued that he should be granted permission to appeal against the verdict.
She pointed out that he had been found guilty of both charges by a majority verdict of ten to two rather than a unanimous one.
Advocate Morley-Kirk said: ‘This was the first trial in Jersey where a retrial has been ordered following an acquittal.’
She also said that some of the witnesses admitted they could not be entirely certain that a man running from the scene on the night of the attacks had been Tregaskis. She added: ‘There is no forensic evidence linking the appellant to the scene.’
Tregaskis claimed that one of the prosecution witnesses was instead guilty of the murder and attempted murder, and Advocate Morley-Kirk said: ‘This should have been explored more.’
She also argued that the minimum jail sentence of 20 years was unduly harsh and argued for a reduction.
She said Tregaskis had been just 21 years old when the attacks took place and was now confined to a wheelchair with multiple sclerosis.
‘A sentence of 20 years would mean that he would not be eligible for release until he is 72,’ she said.
‘In the context of his health that is significant. He is in poor health.’
She also said: ‘There is no evidence to show that this was something that was premeditated.’
Advocate Morley-Kirk suggested a sentence of 15 to 16 years.
Solicitor General Matthew Jowitt argued that the 20-year sentence was justified, saying: ‘He had the intention that both of these women should die in their home at his hands.’
And he disputed the suggestion that Tregaskis had intended only to burgle their flat, saying: ‘The degree of violence towards Miss Anton suggests that this was not a burglary gone wrong.
‘A burglar does not arm himself with a lethal weapon.’
The permission-to-appeal hearing was presided over by the president of the Appeal Court panel, Clare Montgomery, former Bailiff Sir William Bailhache, and Bailiff of Guernsey, Richard McMahon. They are set to announce their decision at a later date.