Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an NZME. News Service reporter

Wife killer appeals his conviction

Malcom Webster was found guilty of murdering Briton Claire Morris in a staged car crash in 1994, and attempting to murder his second wife, Aucklander Felicity Drumm in New Zealand in 1999. Photo / supplied
Malcom Webster was found guilty of murdering Briton Claire Morris in a staged car crash in 1994, and attempting to murder his second wife, Aucklander Felicity Drumm in New Zealand in 1999. Photo / supplied

Wife killer Malcolm Webster has launched an appeal against his conviction.

Webster, 54, was jailed for a minimum of 30 years for murdering his first wife Claire Morris in a faked car accident in 1994.

He was also convicted of trying to kill his second wife, Aucklander Felicity Drumm, in a similarly staged car crash in New Zealand five years later.

Webster, a former nurse from Surrey in England, stood to become a millionaire thanks to the life insurance payouts from his first wife's death.

It was only when Drumm survived her crash and Webster disappeared with her life savings that prosecutors re-examined the earlier death.

Last year, Webster, who has always maintained his innocence, was granted leave to appeal his murder conviction and sentence, which he says was too harsh.

A Court of Criminal Appeal hearing began in Edinburgh yesterday.

BBC Scotland reports defence lawyers argued there had been insufficient evidence at trial to prove that 32-year-old Ms Morris' death had not been a tragic accident.

The prosecution will present answers to the defence claims tomorrow, with a decision by judges Lord Eassie, Lady Clark of Calton and Lord Wheatley to follow.

A 2011 trial heard how Webster drugged his first wife Ms Morris just eight months after their marriage and drove his car off the road with the unconscious woman inside.

He then torched the vehicle and covered his tracks before collecting the life insurance payout and moving to New Zealand.

The jury then heard Webster married Ms Drumm before attempting a similar deadly scam in 1999 near Auckland by drugging her and planning to kill her in another staged smash.

On his return to Scotland, he tried to con another woman into a bigamous marriage, and even getting her to change her will to leave him everything, including her house and a luxury yacht.

- APNZ

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