Man who mur­dered wife in bath loses ap­peal

JURY QUERY: Judges re­ject ‘un­safe’ ar­gu­ment

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - COUNTRYFILE -

A FI­NAN­CIAL con­sul­tant jailed for life af­ter he mur­dered his wife in the bath has failed in an Ap­peal Court bid to clear his name.

Dar­ren Chit­ten­den, 42, of Langney Drive, Wash­ford Farm, was con­victed of the of­fence at Maid­stone Crown Court in June last year.

The sen­tenc­ing judge or­dered that he must serve a min­i­mum of 12 years be­fore he can be con­sid­ered for re­lease on pa­role.

Lord Jus­tice May, sit­ting with Mr Jus­tice Forbes and Judge Find­lay Baker QC at the Ap­peal Court in Lon­don, last week re­fused to quash his con­vic­tion, dis­miss­ing ar­gu­ment it was un­safe.

The judge said Chit­ten­den had held his 42-year-old wife, Zarna, down in the bath un­til she suf­fo­cated in June 2005.

Chit­ten­den then made a 999 call to say his wife had died, af­ter they had “a mas­sive fight” be­cause of fi­nan­cial prob­lems. Lawyers on his be­half ar­gued the con­vic­tion was un­safe, point­ing to the fact the judge had dis­charged a mem­ber of the jury, thereby de­priv­ing Chit­ten­den of a fair trial by a jury of 12.

The dis­charge oc­curred af­ter a mem­ber of the jury spoke to a bailiff, telling her that he had con­ducted his own sci­en­tific ex­per­i­ments that proved the pros­e­cu­tion case was flawed.

Dis­miss­ing

He said he was go­ing to tell the rest of the jury, but be­fore he could do so, the bailiff in­formed the judge and the jury mem­ber was dis­charged.

Dis­miss­ing this ground of ap­peal, Lord Jus­tice May said the trial judge had been en­tirely cor­rect in tak­ing the ac­tion he did.

He con­cluded: “In this case we are sat­is­fied that the judge con­sid­ered the mat­ter suf­fi­ciently.”

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