Lee Firkins is innocent
Another Miscarriage of Justice!
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The police investigation

The Officers

Stuart Newberry (see left) was in charge of the investigation. He was promoted after "cracking" the Firkins case.  He now works in the security industry. Other key officers in the case were DI Martin Orpe, DC Tim Ridgeway, DC Martin Buzza, DC Bob Falconer, DC Phillip Palmer, DS J Ellis, DC Paul Higgs, DC Steven Rich, DC Thomas Dawson, DC David Apps, Chalmers, DC Frank Boardman, DC Grant Champion, and DC John Young.
 
Senior officers who dealt with tricky issues concerning some of the most hotly contested evidence were ACC Melville, D/SUPT Webster, and D/SUPT Spencer.
 
Also involved were DC Richards and PC Davies of South Wales police who took Mr X out on his mysterious day trip from HMP Exeter.

 

What did the police find out?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Forensically sophisticated
 
A huge investigation got under way.  It quickly emerged that Mr and Mrs Fisher never ever invited a guest into the house (the question of why not remains unanswered).  If the assailants had left any trace, they should therefore be identified swiftly.  Every spot in the house was tested for prints and DNA, but none were found. 
 
The police did not give up.  They erected a huge blackout tent over the house to conduct infra red examination of every speck of material.  This turned up nothing.  Despite months of careful work by scientists, not a single clue was found as to who had killed the Fishers.  The killers were clearly forensically sophisticated.  Yet the Firkins brothers had left a mile-wide trail of clues at their other crime scenes.
 
"Planned and Personal"
 
At a press conference in December Det Supt Newberry shared his view that the killings were "planned and personal".   He appealed for anyone who could shed light on the Fishers' background to come forward.
 
Later in December, however, a traveller from Kent was arrested for an unconnected crime.  He was remanded to Exeter Prison.  There he became the first suspect for the murders.  Prison staff at Exeter reported that he had allegedly confessed to a fellow prisoner. Had the Firkins brothers not entered the picture, this man would almost certainly have been the one  standing trial at Exeter Crown Court for the Wadebridge murders, on the same evidence as the Firkins brothers, of a "cell confession".  What a stitch up!
 
Lee and Robert Firkins
 
But just before Christmas 2003 the police were alerted to the presence of Lee and Robert Firkins committing serious crimes in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.  On 23rd December they arrested the brothers for robbery and assault.  The brothers were remanded in custody to HMP Long Lartin in Worcestershire. 
 
At this point the brothers became the prime suspects for the Fisher murders.  They were much better candidates than the Kent traveller.  They were shotgun users, with family members in Foxhole, and had been in Cornwall on the night of the Fisher murders.  Lee had robbed a nearby garage in Cornwall on 19th December with a shotgun.
 
The search for evidence
 
There were just two problems.  The first was the lack of evidence.  Nothing whatsoever connected the Firkins brothers to the crime. 
 
The second was their alibi.  At 7.00pm on 5 November, the most likely time for the killing, the Firkins brothers had an unbreakable alibi. 
 
How on earth were the police going to prove they committed the murders? 
 
Exeter Prison
 
It was not until May 2004 that the police secured the breakthrough they needed - yet another a "cell confession" from a serving prisoner in HMP Exeter.   Read The Cell Confession to understand the extraordinary lengths to which the police went to secure this conviction.