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Jessie Hurlstone case reopened; Allegations from her convicted murderer prompt action.

POLICE in South Devon have reopened the case of murdered stable girl Jessie Hurlstone after prison-cell allega- tions from Stephen Webber, the farm worker convicted of the killing.

Three years ago Miss Hurlstone was found battered to death at the Buckfastleigh stables of Richard Frost in Devon.

Webber was jailed for life in November 1996 after a five-day trial

Now, after the allegations made from Webber's cell, detectives have reopened the files on the murder.

The victim's stepfather Terry, who lives in Romford, Essex, said he was taken back by the latest developments.

"It's three years since Jessie died and we were just getting back to leading a normal life and it all flares up again," he said.

"It's very upsetting for the family, but the police have a job to do. I'm sure that anyone involved in Jessie's murder must be brought to trial."

Webber, aged 39, was sentenced to life after being convicted at Exeter Crown Court and is now considering an appeal in the light of the police inquiries.

Acting detective inspector Dave Taylor confirmed that five officers from the Ivybridge area are dealing with the inquiry.

They are waiting for results of scientific tests being carried out at the Home Office Laboratories in Chepstow.

"We are keeping an open mind, and until we have the full facts I am unable to comment," he said.

Webber was convicted after a trial in which the court was told he had hit Jessie about the head 30 times in a frenzied attack with an iron hook, after breaking into her caravan at the yard.

The murder was described by the judge, Mr Justice Rougier, as "a terrible act of revenge" after the prosecution had argued that Webber had killed her in a jealous rage because she had spurned his advances and started seeing another man.

A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said that they had no knowledge of any appeal.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Sep 4, 1998
Words:322
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