Melsonby Post Officer murderer loses latest appeal bid

Robin Garbutt was convicted of murdering his wife Diana in a bedroom at Melsonby village shop and post office.

Melsonby Post Officer murderer Robin Garbutt has lost his latest bid to have his conviction for killing his wife overturned.

The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) has ruled that “there is no real possibility” that the Court of Appeal would overturn Garbutt’s murder conviction.

It means lawyers acting for the killer have now had three bids to have the case looked at by the Court of Appeal turned down.

Garbutt was convicted of the murder of his wife, Diana , after a jury trial at Teesside Crown Court in 2011.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 20 years.

Garbutt has already appealed once against the conviction and lost.

The CCRC said this week that it did not routinely comment on operational detail of its work.

However, it made an exception in the Garbutt case “due to the media interest in this case and the publicity about the Horizon scandal”.

Some of the evidence about the couple’s financial affairs presented at the trial came from the Post Office’s Horizon system, which has since been discredited and led to a number of post masters overturning convictions for theft and fraud.

However, the CCRC “decided that this argument could not assist Mr Garbutt, as figures from the Horizon system were not essential to his conviction for murder”.

It added: “Other issues concerning scientific evidence were also considered, and the CCRC has now made a final decision not to refer his case for an appeal.

“The findings of the CCRC’s detailed review have been shared in the usual way with the applicant through a 50 page Statement of Reasons which explains why the case has not been referred, dealing thoroughly with all the points raised by Mr Garbutt.”

Mrs Garbutt, 40, was found beaten to death in an upstairs bedroom at the property after her husband dialled 999 and said armed robbers had burst in and attacked his wife.

Police and paramedics initially responded to a report of an armed robbery and detectives appealed for help to catch a man wearing a balaclava who was brandishing a gun.

However, they arrested Garbutt on suspicion of murdering his wife three weeks later, and established that he had beaten her with a 30cm iron bar as she slept in the flat above the shop.

The case has recently featured in a BBC documentary entited Excpert Witnness.