FEATURES

The Jury Room: Case 4 - Jack Whomes
By Dave Macleod, Friday 26th May 2017

On a frosty night in December of 1995, the bodies of three men were found in a Range Rover parked on a country lane in Essex.

Their names were Patrick Tate, Tony Tucker and Craig Rolfe, and they had each been shot in the head at close range with a shotgun. But these murders were not so surprising considering all three victims had a long history of involvement with violence and crime.

They had all been part of a drug-smuggling gang, along with Jack Whomes and Michael Steele. The gang had met in prison a few years previously and kept in touch when released.

The low quality of cannabis received in a particular run, led to a dispute between Steele and Tucker. Steele arranged with the seller to return the low quality drugs in return for repayment. He travelled to Amsterdam to retrieve the money but did not receive a third of the drugs from Tate as he should have done.

Steele then arranged to meet the victims at the eventual murder scene to discuss a plan to smuggle cocaine into the country. It was found that Jack Whomes and Michael Steele met the victims at the location and as they sat in their car shot each member with a shotgun.

The testimony of police informant Darren Nicholls and mobile phone records were pivotal to the prosecution’s case at trial in 1998.  Nicholls testified that Whomes had shot the victims at the command of Steele and mobile phone calls made by Whomes just after the time of the murders were tracked to the crime scene. After a marathon five month trial, Whomes was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. But his family proclaim his innocence and so does Whomes who would be eligible for parole, if he would only admit to the crime.

After a failed appeal in 1999 Whomes’ case returned to the appeal court in 2006. The appeal was lost once again. However, new evidence could cast doubt on Whomes’s conviction. The reliability of the key witness has been called into question, given his significant financial motive and there has been a new interpretation of the mobile phone evidence which could prove Whomes was in the pub and not at the murder scene. Although Whomes is a known criminal, perhaps he has been wrongly charged for the murder of his three fellow gang members.

Click here for more information about The Jury Room on CBS Reality, including the podcast, gallery and cast video biographies.


Related show tags: THE JURY ROOM
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