Jury ‘were railroaded into convicting man of murder’

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Jamie Lee Warn was jailed for life with a minimum term of 14 years in March for killing Zsuzsanna Besenyei and dumping her body at Le Pulec bay in St Ouen.

It was the second time he had been sentenced, after previously winning an appeal against his conviction in 2019.

The 57-year-old murdered Ms Besenyei (37) in May 2018 and hid her body in the boot of her car before disposing of her corpse the west coast bay.

He then left her vehicle on the beach in St Aubin’s Bay to make it appear she had taken her own life.

Analysis of Warn’s phone uncovered Google searches including ‘how to turn off location services on an iPhone’ and tide times.

Appealing against the conviction during a hearing in the temporary Royal Court at the Royal Jersey Showground, Advocate James Bell, representing Warn, set out a six-point argument as to why the conviction was ‘unsafe’.

He said that the prosecution’s case was entirely circumstantial, that they were not able to say how and where Miss Besenyei died and that they did not know the cause and date of her death.

He added that there was no medical evidence to show how she had been killed, there was no crime scene and there was no evidence of a motive for murder.

Advocate Bell added that the jury should have therefore been offered an alternative charge of manslaughter and that by not doing so they had been ‘railroaded’ into either finding the defendant guilty of murder or letting him go.

He said: ‘If they were sure about his actions but unsure about his intent, then they were left with no choice but to convict him or let him off. They were put under pressure and left in a vacuum by not being left any alternative.’

Crown Advocate Simon Thomas, representing the prosecution, disagreed with Advocate Bell and said that there was no evidence available to allow a jury to consider whether Warn was instead guilty of manslaughter, adding that asking them to do so would amount to ‘speculation’.

Addressing the three judges, Advocate Thomas also suggested that if the court found the jury had been ‘railroaded’ into finding Warn guilty of murder they would therefore be implying that the jury had failed to uphold its oath by failing to fully consider whether he was truly culpable.

A judgment is expected to be published before the end of next week. Jonathan Crow, Lord David Anderson and David Perry were sitting.

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