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East Lancashire man's appeal against murder conviction thrown out
A MURDERER jailed for life for orchestrating the killing of teenager Louise Evans has seen his appeal thrown out by top judges.
Anthony Wood, 22, was sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of planning and encouraging the 19-year-old’s brutal murder, which was carried out by Matthew Maw, 20, in July 2009.
Wood, from Rawtenstall, was convicted on the basis of joint enterprise, with the prosecution accepting he did not inflict any physical injuries.
Last year he lodged an appeal against his conviction and sentence, claiming the trial judge gave the jury flawed directions on how to approach certain evidence.
And his family and friends launched the Free Anthony Wood Now (FAWN) campaign to support his bid.
But it was not enough to convince the High Court to grant the appeal.
Rejecting Wood’s claims, Lord Justice Pitchford, sitting in London’s Appeal Court, said he was ‘not satisfied that the judge’s approach can reasonably be faulted’.
Louise, who had lived in Haslingden, died after being repeatedly stabbed with a knife and beaten with a large piece of wood in a secluded wooded area behind Towneley Hall, Burnley.
The former Haslingden High School and Accrington and Rossendale College student was living at the Elizabeth Street Project hostel, Burnley, at the time she was murdered.
Before a two-week trial at Preston Crown Court in December 2009, Maw pleaded guilty to murder.
The jury later heard Wood had recruited Maw to kill Louise, who had been ‘annoying him’.
Wood was put behind bars for at least 23 years and Maw was handed a minimum term of 18 years and 35 weeks.
Lord Justice Pitchford refused to reduce Wood’s term in light of his key role in instigating the offence.
However, he cut Maw’s term to 16 years and eight months to reflect his guilty plea, youth, and immaturity.
Today Gillian Phillips, who spearheaded the FAWN campaign, vowed to continue to fight on Wood’s behalf.
She said: “We will never stop until the truth eventually comes out.”
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