Guard can appeal on rape conviction

Robert Murray
Robert Murray

A former Wigan security guard who was jailed for the alleged rape of a woman behind a city bingo hall has won the right to challenge his convictions.

Robert John Kenneth Murray, 35, was jailed for six years at Preston Crown Court in June 2014 after a jury found him guilty of the sex attack at the end of a four-day trial.

Murray, of Walpole Avenue, Worsley Mesnes, was also convicted on two counts of sexually assaulting the same woman.

She told the jury how Murray attacked her behind the bingo hall in Tithebarn Street, Preston, and out of sight of CCTV cameras when she went for a cigarette break from work.

The trial had heard that he had initially appeared to be showing an interest in another woman before turning his attention to her 24-year-old shopworker friend who said she had rejected his advances.

But Murray, who previously worked in Preston’s St John’s Shopping Centre, is now challenging the jury’s guilty verdicts.

And top judge, Lord Justice Treacy, this week directed a full hearing of his case at London’s Appeal Court.

Murray’s legal team claim his defence was prejudiced after the judge misdirected the jury on a crucial issue in the case.

The judge, sitting with Mr Justice Dove and Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC, said: “We are satisfied that this single point is arguable and that leave to appeal should be granted.”

No date has yet been fixed for the full hearing of the appeal.