THE family of murdered Castleford market trader Molly Wright has hired a former CID chief to help prove the man convicted of her murder is innocent.
David Hill was jailed for life in 2008 for the murder of his 73-year-old mother-in-law, who was bludgeoned to death in her Airedale home.
Mrs Wright’s daughters, Jill Northwood and Maxine Hill – David Hill’s wife – believe Hill is innocent and their millionaire mother was the victim of a ‘bogus official’ style attack.
Hill claims he tried to resuscitate Mrs Wright, which is why he was covered in her blood.
The family is now offering a £12,000 reward for any information leading to the release of Hill – who is serving a minimum 14-year sentence – and has enlisted the help of former West Yorkshire Police detective chief superintendent Andy Brown.
Mrs Hill, 52, of Lakeside Meadows, Pontefract, said: “It’s been absolutely devastating what we’ve experienced – losing my mum in such a terrible way, having my husband arrested.
“Our ultimate aim is to find who really did this to my mum and prove my husband’s innocence. We feel Andy is 100 per cent behind us and been exceptionally supportive.
“It’s a fresh approach and we’re hoping it’s something we can gain people’s support on. People might not have come forward at the time because they thought ‘that’s it, the trial’s done and finished.’
“But they might know something small, some little piece of information that could be useful. We’re asking, please, think again.”
Mrs Wright ran a greetings card stall in Castleford market hall with Hill, who prosecutors said was siphoning money from the family business to cover debts of £20,000.
On the day of her murder on September 27, 2006, Hill claimed he found Mrs Wright in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor at her home in Redhill Gardens and tried to resuscitate her.
But a Leeds Crown Court jury unanimously convicted him of the murder after a four-week trial and in 2009 judges at London’s Court of Appeal dismissed an application for them to hear ‘vital’ new scientific evidence which Hill claimed would prove he did not kill Mrs Wright.
Mr Brown, now a private investigator, said he believed the murder had “all the hallmarks” of a bogus official attack and a lot of the evidence against Hill was circumstantial.
He said: “Some of the concerns the family have are ones I began to share in relation to the possibility of it being a bogus official offence. Two men had been to Molly’s property in the weeks prior to the murder purporting to be from the water board.
“There’s also the fact the electricity meter door was open on the day of the murder which her daughters insist was unheard of.
“There are lot of little things that make me think there’s a possibility it could have been someone other than David Hill.
“Looking at the evidence there isn’t anything that nails David Hill 100 per cent.
“There were a lot of rumours at the time in Airedale about others being responsible which came to nothing. This might spark a reaction in someone who didn’t come forward at the time.”
Mr Brown added the grandma could also have been targeted by thieves who knew she was wealthy or thought she may have kept cash from her stall at the house.
Mrs Wright’s daughter, Jill Northwood, 55, said: “David was and is a kind and generous and honest man. He’s not the kind of man who would do something like that and we continue to believe in him and will fight to the end.
“I believe my mum’s killer is out there. We all do. We’re hoping someone out there who knows something will ring Andy or email him and tell the truth about something they know – about how she died.
“It’s been a double tragedy for the family. We have lost our mum in horrible circumstances and David’s sons Jonathan and Nicholas have lost their dad.
“Please, please, contact Andy with information that can help give us our lives back.”
Hill’s family have campaigned for his release since his conviction, including launching an internet petition which has around 200 signatures.
Mrs Hill added: “We’ll never give up hope. We hope someone will find it in their conscience to come forward and tell the truth. We want true justice – to find the true perpetrator and have David home with his family.”
A West Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “This case went to trial at Leeds Crown Court four years ago which resulted in a guilty verdict.
“It has subsequently been through the Court of Appeal and been considered by the Criminal Cases Review Commission where the decision has been upheld.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Mr Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on 07877 361841.