Ex-guide to be freed from jail

PUBLISHED: 12:17 16 February 2006 | UPDATED: 11:33 04 May 2010

ANDREW Billimore

ANDREW Billimore

A FORMER Ely Cathedral guide is to be let out of jail after top judges ruled that his conviction for drug dealing was unsafe. Andrew Billimore has won his freedom after serving more than six years of a 20-year prison sentence. Judges at London s Criminal

A FORMER Ely Cathedral guide is to be let out of jail after top judges ruled that his conviction for drug dealing was unsafe.

Andrew Billimore has won his freedom after serving more than six years of a 20-year prison sentence.

Judges at London's Criminal Appeal Court heard that they could not rely upon the evidence of the prosecution's main trial witness, prisoner Paul Paget.

Paget claimed that Billimore made a string of confessions to him including a boast that he received 50 kilograms of cocaine every three days.

But Paget, who gave his evidence at Billimore's trial in 2000, had since admitted perjuring himself.

He also confessed to doing the same thing at a murder trial at Teeside Crown Court in the late 1980s when the accused was acquitted.

At Norwich Crown Court in September 2000, Billimore, 39, of Lawn Lane, Little Downham, denied conspiring to supply cocaine.

He was jailed for 18 years after being convicted of that offence plus a further two years for perverting the course of justice, an offence he admitted.

Billimore also received concurrent terms of nine years, after admitting conspiracies to supply cannabis, supplying the drug and possessing it with intent to supply.

Appeal court judges, Lord Justice Pill, Mrs Justice Swift and Judge Radford, quashed the cocaine conviction on Tuesday concluding it was unsafe due to the now discredited evidence of Paget.

They also decided the nine years for the cannabis offences was "manifestly excessive" and cut it to seven years.

The term would run consecutively to the two years for the perverting the course of justice - meaning his total prison sentence was now nine years.

David Bate representing Billimore told the court he had already spent six years seven months in custody.

The court's decision means he is expected to be released immediately.

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