The Appeals

Michael Luvaglio and Dennis Stafford have appealed their
convictions several times, in different legal forms.

30th July 1968
Their first application to the Court of Appeal, which included new witness testimony was rejected.

3rd March 1972
After representations had been made and a petition delivered
directly to the Home Secretary (Reginald Maudling), he referred the case to the court of appeal.
While preparing for this hearing Sir David Napley, acting for
Luvaglio, uncovered 164 separate pieces of evidence that Durham
Police had not made available to the defence at the original trial.
This included police pocket books and statements, many of which would have supported the defence had they been available at trial.
Much of this appeal focused on the medical evidence and whether there was rigour mortis present when the body was found.
Notable also though was that while giving evidence, Superintendent Kell told the court that no useable fingerprints had been found in the Mark X.
The police photographer was also questioned at length this time, having only submitted a line of written evidence at the original trial.
He stated, under oath, that he had used flash photography causing the front headlamps of the Mark X to appear illuminated in his
It was also revealed that the red paint type found on the bumper of the Mark X contained the exact compound used on British Leyland vehicles, therefore it could not be said with certainty that the red paint was from the E-type.

This application was rejected by the Court of Appeal in January 1973.
Luvaglio and Stafford went back to the House of Lords to appeal this decision, but that was also unsuccessful.
The House of Lords document detailing their ruling is available to read here

9th September 2004
An application to have the case referred to the Court of Appeal was lodged with the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
Following a re-organisation of the judicial system this is now the only route a convicted person can use to gain an appeal and can only be accessed if ‘fresh evidence’ (not put before a court already) can be provided.
Many points were raised including the request to re-test blood found in the Mark X that did not match the blood types of the
accused or the victim. In it’s response to this point the CCRC stated that the blood sample had not been retained by the police.
Unfortunately this seems to be the case with much of the evidence, in particular the forensics.
As early as September 1968 Superintendent Kell had begun
removing evidence and exhibits from the file, as a note from him in the file states he had received authorisation from the Home Office.

Attention was again paid to the time of death (which crucially had to be within a ten minute window to implicate Luvaglio and Stafford) and attention was drawn to a previously undisclosed statement from PC Cluer, who was the first officer on the scene and described ‘blood dripping’ from a wound.
It was argued that blood could not have dripped, had the murder
occurred at 11.50pm the previous night.
There was also expert evidence provided that put the collision between the two Jaguars in doubt.
The application raised doubts over the integrity of the original police investigation and asked the Commission to examine potential
alternative suspects or question people who it was felt were withholding information about the real killer (s).
Finally, the issue of fingerprints was raised.
Where Kell stated under oath at the 1972 appeal that no useable fingerprints were found, there were contradicting police pocket books that stated good quality fingerprints were found, their
location in the Mark X and that they didn’t belong to the accused or the victim.
The Commission interviewed Superintendent Kell, who had since retired and he maintained that none were found.
This appears to be where the CCRC left the matter as (with much of the other evidence) the fingerprints or photographs taken of them could not be located.

On 29th June 2007 this application was refused.

23rd September 2013
After a long examination of all the available evidence an application was put into the CCRC by Neil Jackson and Professor Ian Wright, acting on behalf of Michael Luvaglio.
At around the same time Dennis Stafford also put forward a
separate application, containing fresh evidence relating to the collision.
In Michael’s extremely detailed and complicated application fresh evidence was put forward from industry recognised experts in
photography, vehicle collision reconstruction, cognitive interview
techniques and motor mechanics.
Initially the CCRC did not employ any experts to look at the
application and decided they had sufficient knowledge themselves on each subject to dismiss each point.
A key witness, who had been interviewed by an expert skilled in the cognitive questioning of witnesses in historic crimes was also
dismissed without interview by the CCRC.
After appealing the decision experts were eventually consulted by the CCRC. They were shown the expert reports put forward by
Luvaglio in the application before being asked to provide their own reports.

After many re-submissions, which included a new motive and an
alternative suspect this application was eventually refused on 22nd June 2016.
A documentary entitled ‘Footsteps In The Snow‘ is currently in
production, which will detail this application as well examining many other aspects of the case.

21st February 2017
In his most recent effort to clear his name, Michael Luvaglio
challenged the CCRC in open court for a Judicial Review into the methodology employed by the CCRC in his latest application.
On 21st February at the Royal Courts Of Justice Michael’s barrister, Stephen Knight and his legal team from Kingsley Napley argued his case.
If successful in his Judicial Review the CCRC would have to
re-examine his application again, with a brand new team.
Unfortunately the application was denied and the only way he can have his case re-examined now is if more ‘fresh evidence’ comes to light and is presented in a new application to the CCRC.
With many of the main players in old age or already passed away,
obtaining more fresh evidence, half a century on is likely to be
extremely difficult.

If you have information, no matter how insignificant you feel it is, please help Michael by getting in touch here.
There is a reward of £50,000 for information that directly leads to Michael’s conviction being overturned at a new appeal.