Man who murdered wife in bath loses appeal
JURY QUERY: Judges reject ‘unsafe’ argument
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.
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.”