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Balloon protest for convicted man; Supporters say he is not a killer.

Byline: DEAN VALLER

SUPPORTERS of a man convicted of murdering a Coventry solicitor highlighted his case with the release of hundreds of balloons.

The 490 balloons released outside Rye Hill Prison, near Willoughby, Rugby, where Timothy Caines is serving a life sentence, represented the number of weeks Caines has been behind bars.

His brother and sister, Philip and Dawn Caines, were there to help let each one off.

Caines was jailed for the murder of Colin Hickman, aged 55, who died after being stabbed 15 times when he opened the door to his home in Shaftesbury Road, Earlsdon, in March, 1994.

Caines, a former financial adviser from Birmingham, was arrested shortly after the murder - police had found his baseball cap and watch near the scene.

Speaking by mobile phone shortly before the balloons were released, Caines said the support he had received had given him "a new lease of life".

Asked whether he believed an appeal against his conviction would be successful, he said: "100 per cent - these people who are supporting me keep me strong and positive.

"I don't know who killed Colin; if I knew who had and was covering for them then I would deserve to be in prison.

"But I do not know who did it - I am innocent - I am honest with myself and I could have admitted to being party to this, but I was not, and I will prove my innocence."

Friends and supporters of Caines have already lodged a second appeal at the Birmingham offices of the Criminal Review Committee.

Watching the balloons take off, his brother Philip, 39, who lives in Birmingham, said he had never doubted his brother's innocence.

He said: "I have had nine years to get used to this, but it's still painful, for us and to his many friends and supporters,

"Hopefully what we're doing now will put pressure on the authorities to release Tim or at least grant him a retrial."

Hazel Keirle, from the Miscarriages of Justice Organisation, founded by Paddy Hill, one of the Birmingham Six, said more information has now been sent to the fraud squad.

She also appealed for any witnesses, even those who have already given statements to the police, to contact the organisation on 0121 789 8443.

Mr Hill, and Birmingham MP Lynne Jones, were also among supporters who couldn't be at Friday's balloon launch but sent along messages of support.

CAPTION(S):

CONVICTED: Timothy Caines (top) and (above) murder victim Colin Hickman; UP AND AWAY: Philip Caines prepares the balloons before they are released over Rye Hill prison, Onley. Picture: JOE BAILEY
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Aug 11, 2003
Words:433
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