Having studied criminal law and in particular miscarriages of justice, I was interested in the work of ‘Inside Justice’ which is similar to the ‘Innocence Project’ in the USA, and the ‘Innocence Network’. They work on cold cases and through the use of enhanced forensics now available, they aim to get miscarriages of justice overturned. The mere fact that these organizations exist shows that the justice system is far from flawless. It’s a case of what can be proven that matters and if an alibi doesn’t check out, or if circumstantial evidence is damning, this is where miscarriages of justice may occur, along with mistaken identities when it comes to witnesses.
The case in brief
I recall the Glyn Razzell case from when I was younger, but not much detail as the media seemed to make out it was a slam dunk. In brief he was arrested and subsequently convicted of the murder of his estranged wife, Linda Razzell even though her body has never been found. At the time they were going through a divorce and Linda had a court order to freeze his assets. A minor motive perhaps, but both had moved on and were in new relationships. She had done this allegedly because he had received a redundancy payment he had not declared, or had stopped paying maintenance. I suspect the former because why freeze assets when you want money to support your children? Allegedly she had heard he was going to go on holiday with his new partner with the money, and perhaps this was a way to try and control him.
Linda was last seen walking down a shortcut alley around 9 a.m. on 19 March 2002, in Swindon where her phone was found the next day, therefore it is assumed she was abducted there although forensics found no other traces of her. Problems arise for Glyn as he had no alibi between 8.24 to around 2 p.m. where he went for a walk in the park as he had recently been made redundant. In addition his phone wasn’t switched on as he said the phone was faulty and sometimes switched itself off. These were the days before smartphones and so it’s possible. People did see him in the park but weren’t interviewed until months later, and the police stations he passed had either erased their tapes or had faulty equipment.
Louise Shorter heads the team on Inside Justice that looks into possible miscarriages of justice, and speaks to Glyn several times as they reopen the case and look at the forensics as well as interviewing the former lawyer on the case, and visiting the alleged crime scene. They decide to relook at the evidence and follow up any new information that may help Glyn Razzell get his conviction overturned.
The main difference in this case is that Linda Razzell’s body has never been found to date. Under the Habeas Corpus Act 1679 which literally means,‘show me the body’, convicting someone of murder when there is no body there is a higher standard to proof required, and it must be beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s possible that she could have disappeared and made a new start elsewhere, but those theories were debunked as people said she wouldn’t leave her children and also her bank accounts had not been touched.
However, women have been known in the past to abandon their children for a new lover. People can store cash aside for a quick getaway, and you can live off the grid under a new identity without too much hassle. As long as you don’t want to vote, run for local government, work in the public sector or anywhere that requires checks, you can disappear if you really want to. The programme did not show that Linda had been withdrawing money the day before from three banks, or that she had left her staff ID badge at home in a drawer when she had left the house for work. Most pople wear it before they leave the house to make sure they haven’t forgotten it.
The main evidence that seems to convince the jury that Glyn was guilty is the blood splatter that matched Linda’s DNA in the boot of the car and footwell mat which Glyn had borrowed. Friends had borrowed his vehicle for a duty free run, and hence why he had his friend’s car. The police didn’t find the blood splatters until the third time they searched even though the blood on the footwell mat was visible to the naked eye. Had they been tipped off to search it again after evidence was planted or told what to look for? Glyn has claimed it was planted. However, the Inside Justice team after several reviews concluded it was not planted and it was merely missed by the initial forensics.
While watching the programme, Shorter asks him if he is willing to do a lie detector test, and at first he is willing. When it comes closer to the day though he seems hesitant and asks if he can have advance notice so he can mentally prepare, and then backs out completely. One may ask why he reacted like this, and what was he afraid of? Shorter addresses this and asks why he needs to prepare, and from this I can see seeds of doubt arising. She also questions him on the two domestic violence cases that were filed, where he was subsequently acquitted. From here, I sense Shorter is doubting whether Glyn is guilty or not, and she rests the case saying the questions she had been pondering had now been answered.
I imagine some viewers may have watched this and thought all this has done is reaffirm his guilt, yet to me it threw up more questions that should have been asked, and maybe they were answered, but we were not privy to them.
More questions that need to be asked and answered
Here are my thoughts on the investigation and why after watching the prorgamme I actually think Glyn Razzell is innocent but can’t prove it. He is a man who has lost everything, and one wonders why he is trying to get the conviction overturned when he is due to be released soon. He has lodged several appeals, but they can only be heard with new evidence. I have taken some unanswered questions from the ‘Justice for Glyn Razzell’ website that were not addressed during the programme.
- Were there witnesses that saw Glyn in the park? Apparently they were but police didn’t interview people until three months later and by that time witnesses testimony can’t be reliable. Is this a failure on the part of the police, or were their actions deliberate? Can this be considered misconduct as someone is innocent until proven guilty?
- Glyn apparently walked past a police station which would have recorded him, but the police failed to secure the footage in time and the tape had been recorded over already. Surely the police department in the area need to be disciplined for failing very basic services as in security of the police station?
- A neighbour saw Glyn’s car on the drive at 9.30 and again at 11 when she went out shopping and returned. According to where Linda was last seen, it’s a 20 minute drive each way, and so it would have been very tight for him to find Linda abduct her in broad daylight and then drive back during what would have been the end of the rush hour.
- Linda’s phone looked as if it had been planted in the alley. If it fell out of a pocket or bag, then how does it fall under a piece of wood? It was also a busy narrow shortcut and people would have seen the phone which was blue.The phone would have been there all day and someone would have walked past it, and surely the boyfriend (Greg Worrall) who went looking for her by the alley (he went to her car parked by the alley) that night would have thought to have walked there to look for the phone too. The phone was found in the alley the next morning, but had it been there all that time or had it been planted that night?
- Glyn’s phone was not switched on and he said it switched it off itself at times.This is possible as it has happened to me, due to a faulty or loose battery. These were in the days before smartphones and apps. Often you don’t even know until you go to use it that’s is off and I have personally experienced it when waiting for a call only to find it had turned itself off.
- On the car there were 7 samples of DNA that were unaccounted for. Glyn only had the car for a day and a half at most, but if someone was planting a body or evidence, they wouldn’t know it wasn’t his car. In addition he went out with his girlfriend that night and her shoes and handbag were on the footwell mat and there was no trace of blood on either. The blood on the mat was visible to the naked eye, so how did the police miss it? At what times was the car parked out in the open where someone could have gained access?
- My basic premise is, if Glyn did kill her then he would have cleaned up the blood afterwards and disposed of the footwell mat as that splatter was clearly visible. He wouldn’t have left it there and would have checked beforehand. It’s possible it was either planted or whoever left it there was careless.
- The owner of the car had it cleaned after the police had checked it the second time, yet when they asked for another look more than a week later, they then found the blood splatters and stain on the footwell mat. Surely the owner would have seen the blood stain if he was cleaning the car? Surely an expert forensic team would have spotted a blood stain that is visible to the naked eye? Again, is this police malpractice?
- Did someone take the vehicle without his knowledge and frame him? These are the days before all cars had central or remote locking and it was left on the drive when he went for a walk. It’s plausible that someone could have taken it or broken in and returned it before he returned or while he was asleep on the night of 19th March.
- In regards to the lie detector test, they aren’t always reliable and given Glyn has been let down by the justice system it’s understandable he was apprehensive about how the results would be perceived.They could either say he is guilty or he is a good liar. The test would be only useful to see if Glyns answers were consistent. His reaction at first glance may seem to make him appear guilty, but in fact it is a normal response of mistrust having been convicted of something he didn’t do. He apologized for wasting time, but even if the results had been favorable, that isn’t concrete evidence that could be used to overturn his conviction. You need to try and put yourself in the shoes of someone who has been incarcerated for 14 years and who has felt betrayed by a system that has accused and punished them for something they did not do, and image how you would react or feel if your integrity is being challenged again, knowing people maybe thinking the worst.
- What could have been Glyn’s motive? He had been made redundant and that’s why he walking in the park during the day. Money? In the will Linda’s money was going to the children. He would not have benefited and would still be paying for the house for his children to live in.
- In regards to domestic violence, it was her word against his. Sometimes a party reports these acts in order to seek revenge and over exaggerate them ( I have seen this myself, and where a party makes the allegations and then withdraws them in order to control the spouse). Perhaps this happened which is why Glyn was acquitted? Having a history of violence would have made the police consider Linda a victim.
- The programme did not look at a motive for Linda wanting to disappear, yet the police did find she left one mobile phone at home the one she always took for the children to contact her, and had been looking at travel websites online. Even if none of the above were found, it’s not unheard of when a middle aged woman wants to escape leaving all her old responsibilities behind. Apparently Linda also had mental health issues, and escape is often considered a solution for those who suffer from depression. Was she on medication at the time?
- Where is the mens rea? Where is evidence or the intent (direct or oblique,the latter meaning they did not intend the outcome but were aware of the possibility) or knowledge of the crime? In murder cases they need to prove there was intent and also it had been planned.
The conviction hinges on two elements:
- No alibi during the alleged time when Linda went missing. People did see him in the park but were questioned too late by the police to make statements that could be deemed accurate.
- The blood stains in the car trunk and mat in the footwell.
In the first case, the police failed to interview potential witnesses, and the second one wonders how the blood wasn’t found after two searches and a clean by the owner?
Glyn had no motive to kill her, he really didn’t. He had a redundancy settlement and could look for a new job, and had a new partner.
- If Linda had been abducted in broad daylight then why didn’t anyone hear or see anything?
- Why was she late that day for work and left for work without her ID badge?
- Why did she withdraw cash from three banks the day before, and where was the money? What story did Greg Worrall the boyfriend give for the reason as he was with her?
- These actions support the theory that she may have disappeared to start a new life.
- Claims that she would not have left her children because she was devoted to them have little validity. Mothers abandon their children all the time, and ones with mental health problems aren’t always stable. She may have loved them, but she may have loved the chance to escape more.
- Did Glyn have visitation rights or joint custody of the children? Did Linda want to deprive him of the right to see his children forever?
- One of the last people to see Linda was her boyfriend Greg Worrall as she dropped him off at his house before going to work, but as he had an alibi he wasn’t considered a suspect and had no motive. However, it appears he knocked on the door of a neighbour pretending to look for Glyn a couple of weeks before, and his alibis did not match where his phone had been active. Why was this not considered suspicious? If he went looking for Linda and found her car near the alley as he knew that’s where her car is normally parked, why didn’t he look in the alley and he would then have found her phone if it had been there all that time?
Ask yourself these questions if you were innocent
Whilst finding Linda alive is the obvious way to prove Glyn didn’t murder her, I am perplexed as to why there isn’t more of a search for her. There is a reward for those who may have seen Linda Razzell, however, if she has disappeared she will have left the country as soon as she could. Apparently the police didn’t check the borders for two weeks, and so she could have driven over to France within hours, and border controls on ferries and the trains were less stringent than airlines back then. After 15 years she will also look very different, and to be frank she looked fairly plain and wouldn’t stand out either. With no body or remains, there will always be the possibility she maybe alive. Blood alone doesn’t indicate death.
- If you were guilty or about to commit a crime, you would establish a concrete alibi such as being in a shop or cafe, and buying something with a receipt or checking out a library book. Glyn did not push the police (I gather) for witness statements in the park as he knew he was innocent and didn’t feel the need.
- If you had put a dead body in your own car then you would have cleaned it afterwards and checked for any evidence.
- Greg Worrall was one of the last people to see her, so why was he not considered a suspect as he was the one who reported her missing allegedly?. Did he help her disappear? Did he have any motive to kill her or was it an accident if he did? As there is no body, it can’t be ruled out. Why didn’t he walk down the alley that evening or look for her earlier on especially as he knew where her car would be parked. Why did he wait until after 10 p.m. when they already knew she was missing when she didn’t collect the children from school?
- The eldest child thought her mother’s actions were unusual that day and she was 14 years old at the time, old enough to make a distinction. Allegedly she said ‘goodbye’ instead of ‘see you at five’ which was the norm.
- The children all have no contact with their father, but why? Why do they believe he murdered her, or is it better than believing your mother abandoned you? What convinced them that he did it? The youngest ones probably weren’t in a position to understand it, but what reasons did the older children have, and after all this time why is Greg Worrall still a part of their lives?
How can the conviction be overturned or considered unsafe?
There are still many unanswered questions and a jury must convict on evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, yet to me there is reasonable doubt in terms of motive (he gains no money), opportunity ( if you plan an abduction or murder you don’t do it during rush hour in broad daylight, plus he was supposed to be in France on a duty free run that day but had to stay to file papers to his lawyer due to Linda freezing his assets three days earlier), and lack of direct evidence (no body, only blood traces found after a third search that matched Linda’s DNA).
Glyn’s conviction can be only overturned or considered unsafe in a limited number of ways:
- Linda hands herself into the police. This is unlikely as questions will arise as to how her blood got in the car, plus she will have to face the stigma of abandoning her children. She will also possibly face charges of wasting police time, and other possible charges.
- Someone spots Linda and tells the police. As time has passed, Linda’s appearance would have changed considerably and it’s uncertain if anyone is looking for her or if she is classed as a missing person. If not, she won’t be on any databases, and I have since found her there has been a death certificate filed.
- If her children appealed for her to come forward then it may make a difference, but given that it’s been 15 years it’s unlikely and they have already registered a death certificate.
- Someone confesses to the murder. Again, unlikely as they will face charges and will have to give details of where the body is.
- If evidence had been planted, for any of those parties to confess and say why they did it. It is unlikely anyone would do so knowing they would face charges unless they were discovered and had to confess.
In a nutshell, either Linda needs to be found, or a confession must arise for the murder or the planting of the evidence. It’s unfortunate that the jury were swayed beyond a reasonable doubt in terms of the traces of blood in the car, yet no hair, skin, or clothes fibres were found. To me there is still reasonable doubt, but in a court it’s a matter of whether a prosecutor can convince a jury or not. To me, all they proven is that there are traces of blood in a car that Glyn had access to for a day and a half.
I only read about Linda’s actions and movements before she went missing after I had begun to write this, and I had already come to the conclusion that Glyn was innocent, although like many I imagine I was swayed for a split second by Louise Shorter’s remarks and reaction at his refusal of the lie detector test.
Don’t let that sway you. Put yourself in Glyn’s shoes; if you had been in prison wrongly convicted on circumstantial evidence where the police failed to follow up on your alibis, how would you feel? Apprehensive, wary, and doubtful no doubt. If he passed the test and the results said he was telling the truth some would say he was a good liar and dismiss the tests as inaccurate, and if the results said he was lying (failed) then people would say he did abduct and murder her. Either way it wasn’t going to change things. To get an appeal considered there needs to be concrete new evidence.
In terms of the experts that state they feel Linda’s body was in the boot in the car and the blood splatters are consistent with that, but they do not state if there are any hair, skin, or clothing fibres. At the very least if blood was from a body there would be one of the three at least as well. Is it possible if she wanted to frame Glyn that she wore blood splattered clothing and climbed into the trunk and that’s how the blood got there, or to stretch a theory she (or someone covered her) was covered in droplets of blood and wrapped herself in plastic and then smeared that plastic around the trunk of the car?
I would also ask why the police didn’t do a luminol search initially or the second time, and why they suddenly decided to do a third search? Was it a tip off and why weren’t the hooverings examined as there was a week between the second and third search?
Other questions one may ask are if the blood was planted, when did this occur? When was the car in question parked on a driveway or road where someone could have had access to it? Were there spare keys, and was there remote locking? Even so, a seasoned thief would know how to break into a car. Maybe when Glyn went for a walk in the park and the car was on the drive, or later that night (19th March) when he had gone to sleep? The car wasn’t examined until the 20th March, the next day and if it was on a driveway overnight and anyone could have gained access to the car.
My view after watching the programme was that Glyn is innocent and that Linda is possibly alive and has contacted her children through her cousin. One must also ask why are Linda’s family not protesting for Glyn to reveal where the body is so they can lay her body to rest? When there is no body it can officially mean she is missing. She is more likely to be living in a remote part of Wales, and the flights searches found on the computer were a thought, or maybe a red herring, and was too risky for her as a plan to disappear to work. Were her cousin Julie Westmore and then boyfriend Greg Worrall party to aiding her plan?
There are still many unanswered questions, and browsing through some of the comments on forums and other sites, I can see some do think the issue over the lie detector test is proof of guilt, yet as I said, you need to put yourself in the shoes of someone who has lost everything for the last 14 years including the freedom to think. While I have never been incarcerated, I have lived in restrictive communities and it can diminish the ability to think and act independently and rationally.
I also noticed that a death certificate was issued in 2005. Usually a person has to be missing for at least seven years before a death certificate can be issued and this was only three years after she had been missing. I assume that is when the eldest child (Charlotte) turned 18 and was able register the presumed death, but what makes them so certain that she is dead when there is no body? Surely a child would hope that their mother had disappeared and tried to frame the father and then return?
It looks like Greg Worrall knows more than the public have been led to believe, and there was without a doubt some poor and inadequate police activity around the case. Has there been an investigation and have those been reprimanded? Maybe the police should consider re-examining Greg Worrall as a suspect as he was one of the last people to see her, and he also knew where her car would be parked? Then there are the questions as to why they were drawing out cash in the banks the day before, and why he didn’t look down the alley near where the car was parked knowing that’s where she walked? Maybe Linda wanted to end the relationship and he didn’t want that? There are far more questions to be asked and answered in this case, and the children who are now all adults must know more than they realize.
Whilst I am not sure this will help Glyn’s case, it may make people aware of the possibility Linda Razzell may still be alive under a different name. Also, that miscarriages of justice do occur and while the jury system is one I feel is essential, some can get biased and misjudge things when they get emotional (for example the Salem Witch Trials).
Here, I think the jury made a mistake for the evidence was not concrete, and there are more discrepancies with Greg Worrall’s accounts than Glyn Razzell’s during the period. While the police did search for Linda initially, did they really try and find a potential murderer or were they just going through the motions? Why and how can a professional forensics team have missed the blood stain on a car mat, not once but twice that is clearly visible? Was it there during the initial searches? If it was, then those on the team should have been fired, and if it appeared after the initial searches then how can one be sure the car and evidence had not been tampered with?
If anyone has seen or thinks they have seen Linda Razzell since 20 March 2002, then they should contact Glyn’s legal team because it may help resolve what I consider a miscarriage of justice and a wrongful conviction.
*Images taken from the BBC Inside Justice programme available on iplayer entitled ‘Conviction’.
I am not connected with anyone involved in this case, and my interest is in a fair justice system, and when it fails to help rectify and rebalance the scales of justice by explaining why a miscarriage of justice may have taken place,