Jack Royal murder inquiry will not be reopened

A murder investigation into the death of teacher Jack Royal will not be reopened, police said yesterday, despite the man convicted of his killing being freed from jail.

A murder investigation into the death of teacher Jack Royal will not be reopened, police said yesterday, despite the man convicted of his killing being freed from jail.

In 1993 aircraft engineer Andrew Adams, of Chapel Park, Newcastle, was convicted of the murder of Mr Royal, who was gunned down outside his home in Sunniside, Gateshead, on March 19, 1990, and sentenced to life in jail.

But on January 12 the Court of Appeal in London ruled Mr Adams' original trial had been unsafe and he was again a free man, now aged 37, having argued his innocence from the day of his arrest in 1992.

On his release he spoke of his sadness that his mother Joan had died while he was in jail, and also said that the family of Mr Royal had still not seen justice done. Northumbria Police said they accepted the decision of Lord Justice Gage, Mr Justice Silber and Mr Justice Treacy, who ruled that various "criticisms and failures" relating to the handling of his defence had the cumulative effect of being "sufficient to render the verdict unsafe".

Yesterday Assistant Chief Constable Greg Vant issued a statement saying the force had no plans to reopen the case. Mr Vant said: "The Court of Appeal decided to allow the appeal because Andrew Adams' defence team failed to carry out essential preparatory work in exploring unused material.

"The judges also made it clear they were not saying Andrew Adams would inevitably have been acquitted had there been no such failures on the part of the defence. The Appeal Court judgment does not criticise the actions of any Northumbria Police officers involved in the investigation into the murder of Jack Royal.

"There are therefore no issues of misconduct for us to address.

"We have no plans to reopen the investigation into the murder of Jack Royal. We have reached a stage at which there is no further evidence on which we can pursue inquiries. However, as with any investigation which has failed to secure a conviction, the case will be reconsidered if any significant new evidence comes to light. We have kept Mr Royal's widow fully informed of this and will continue to keep her updated with any developments."

Last night Mr Adams' solicitor, Ben Rose, of Hickman & Rose Solicitors in London, said he was aware of the police statement but did not want to comment.

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