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Balloons to highlight 'rough justice' claim.

Byline: DEAN VALLER

A SWATHE of balloons will be sent into the skies above Rugby to highlight the case of a man convicted of the brutal murder of a Coventry solicitor nine years ago.

A total of 490 black and white balloons will be released at noon on Friday outside Rye Hill Prison, near Willoughby, Rugby, where Timothy Caines is serving a life sentence.

The balloons represent each week that Caines has been imprisoned and it takes place shortly before Prisoners' Justice Day on August 10.

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. Friends and supporters of Caines, aged 42, have already lodged a second appeal at the Birmingham offices of the Criminal Cases Review Committee.

Chris Hassell, secretary of the Freedom for Tim Caines campaign, said the prisoner's sister Dawn Caines would release the balloons.

Mrs Hassell said: "Emotions will be very high but it will be quite a sight and it highlights all the tremendous work being done to bring Tim's case to attention."

The balloons have all been sponsored for a pound each, with cash going to campaign funds, and a prize is on offer for the balloon that travels the furthest.

Mrs Hassell added: "For so long Tim has fought his case on his own, day after day, and now he so appreciates all the support."

Caines, a former financial adviser, from Birmingham, was arrested shortly after the murder after police found his baseball cap and watch near the scene. He had been involved in financial dealings with Mr Hickman.

His supporters claim Mr Hickman's partner, Vera Phillips Griffith, saw one man at the scene of the murder, who was white. Caines is black. In 1999 she told police she did not believe that Caines was the murderer and helped spearhead a campaign to free him.

dean.valler@mrn.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

COUPLE: Murder victim Colin Hickman and Vera Phillips Griffith, who was his partner; LIFE IN JAIL: Timothy Caines
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Aug 2, 2003
Words:351
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