Grimsby dad's murderer tried to blame death on childhood friend
A MURDERER serving a life sentence for gunning-down a Grimsby dad has unsuccessfully tried to have his conviction overturned by attempting to shift the blame onto a dead childhood friend.
Fergus Murray, who had a young daughter and step-son, was found lying in a pool of blood on Grimsby's Oxford Street, at 2.34am, on Thursday, December 29, 2005.
The 30-year-old died later that day in Grimsby's Diana, Princess Of Wales Hospital after suffering severe haemorrhaging as a result of being shot in the legs by Guy Tasker, 35, of Convamore Road.
Tasker was arrested that evening after a two-hour armed siege by police on Convamore Road, Grimsby.
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At his trial at Hull Crown Court, in October 2006, it emerged he regularly took cocaine, temazepam and diazepam. He became involved in heroin dealing and notched up a drug debt of at least £1,000.
He became increasing paranoid – especially about the fidelity of his partner Louise Richardson – and decided that to prove he was a "man to be feared", not a figure of fun, by shooting a completely innocent passerby.
A man identifying himself as Tasker later confessed to the murder in drunken phone calls to police and forensic evidence linked his car to the killing. Despite his claims another man was responsible, but that he was too scared of that person to name him as the shooter, Tasker was convicted and jailed for life, with a minimum of 28 years to serve before applying for release.
But at the Court of Appeal in London yesterday, through his lawyers, Tasker tried to finger his dead childhood friend, Gary Watson, as the killer.
Mr Watson died after hanging himself almost a year to the day after Mr Murray was shot and killed, the court was told.
Tasker's barrister, Orlando Pownall QC, said fresh evidence about Mr Watson's demeanour in the year before his death should result in a full appeal and a quashed conviction.
Mr Pownall said new evidence backed up Tasker's story that it was Mr Watson, said to have been a friend from childhood, who was the killer.
But Mr Justice Griffith Williams, sitting with two senior colleagues, rejected the appeal bid and condemned Tasker to stay in prison well into his fifties.
The appeal judge, sitting with Lord Justice Treacy and Mr Justice Mackay, questioned why it had taken Tasker so long to name Mr Watson as the murderer.
"If the appellant was frightened of Gary Watson, then his suicide removed that fear and there is no explanation as to why it was only five years after the conviction that an attempt was made to deploy these matters," he said.
"The fresh evidence is clearly unconvincing and we are satisfied it is not capable of belief.
"If a defendant chooses at trial to not rely on evidence which would exculpate himself, then that person will face significant difficulties in seeking subsequently to deploy that evidence."