Detective Chief Inspector Dave Cole said of the murder of Joan Albert;
A degree of violence has been used and there are signs of a forced entry. It is a horrific attack and one which is out of nature for a place like Capel
Friends called round to visit her on Sunday morning and couldn’t raise her so they went to a neighbour who had keys and discovered her body. I would remind all residents to exercise all the usual safety measures like locking doors and windows and if they see anything suspicious to call the police
I am keeping an open mind as to specifically what happenedDCI Dave Cole
After around eleven and a half years of protesting his innocence, Simon Hall’s concoctions and lies, and the concoctions and lies of those closest to him at the time of his murder, were finally exposed towards the end of 2012 and into 2013.
Although it would be several more months before Simon Hall finally said out loud, to his then wife (And tertiary victim) and others, ‘I killed Joan Albert’.
Suffolk police would have undoubtedly sussed out that Simon Hall and the Hall family members were lying early on into their investigation, as some of their evidence will demonstrate throughout this blog series.
Simon Hall disclosed in horrifying detail how he had apparently planned his murder and also claimed he was going to Joan Albert’s house to ’rape’ her and/or ‘have sex with her body’;
He stated that he was in a bad place at the time and that he didn’t realise that he had been capable of such violence and that his offence was brutal. He indicated that his offence took place over a 15 minute periodExcerpt from page 14 of Simon Hall’s December 2013 Sentence planning and review report
When exactly Simon Hall made the decision is not known but what is known is there was a great deal of friction going on in the possible days and hours leading up to his murder between Simon Hall, Simon’s girlfriend at the time, his adoptive parents Phil and Lynne Hall, his brother Shaun Hall and Shaun’s girlfriend Leigh.
Simon Hall was in a relationship and living ‘regularly’ with a woman named Stephanie Bon from Colchester, Essex at the time he committed his murder. He only seemingly slept at his adoptive parents house for a couple of hours in the early morning hours of Sunday the 16th December 2001, after it appears there had been an argument with Stephanie Bon, and seemingly Lynne Hall.
It is not known when exactly over that weekend Simon Hall told Stephanie Bon she was not able to attend the Hall family Christmas meal in Lincolnshire on the Sunday. Nor is it known when Lynne Hall told her adoptive son his girlfriend could not attend the meal, but Stephanie Bon told Suffolk police;
On Saturday the 15th of December 2001 I remember being at home in Colchester with my brother and old flat mate, Lionel *****, who lived at the house for a year. We remained in all night and I clearly remember this time, as I was meant to be going to a family meal the following day. On the Sunday Simon was off for a meal with relatives and asked me to go along as well. I instantly agreed, looking forward to meeting the rest of the family but, unfortunately Simon did not get around to asking his mum until it was too late. By the time Simon asked Lynne, there was not enough room at the table and I was unable to go along
This had annoyed me and I remember questioning whether the relationship was worth continuing with. I believe Simon said he was going out with some friends on the Saturday night, although I am not sureExcerpts from Stephanie Bon’s police witness statement dated 4th September 2002
However there would have been ‘enough room at the table’, at least two spare seats, as Shaun Hall and his girlfriend Leigh had pulled out at the last minute after an argument over their 10 month old son not being well enough to travel, having just come out of hospital.
Lynne and Shaun Hall were apparently upset with Leigh because the family up in Lincolnshire had yet to meet her and Shaun’s son.
It is not known where Simon Hall slept on the night of Friday the 14th December 2001 but he had been staying over at his girlfriends Stephanie Bon’s house, and in fact had taken her with him to look at, and pay for, a new car on Wednesday the 12th of December 2001, as he evidenced with his ’proof of evidence’ statement;
On Saturday 15th December 2001 I believe I got up around 8.30am – 9.00am
This was because Matt W****** was due to come round and pick me up in his Ford Granada, registration I believe E****** to drive me to Haverhill to collect a black Audi motor vehicle which I had been to view with Stephanie the previous Wednesday the 12th December at a garage known as Haverhill Kar Khange. Having seen the car on that day I agreed to purchase it and collect it the following Saturday the 15th. I could not have collected it on the Wednesday as Stephanie does not drive and whoever took me over to pick up the car needed to be able to drive themselves backExcerpts from pages 1 & 2 of Simon Hall’s proof of evidence statement
Matt (Matthew) W, who stated he had ‘been best mates for years’ with Simon Hall, confirmed he had picked Simon up on the morning of Saturday the 15th December 2001, but Matt did not mention where he picked Simon up from ie; Simon’s parents house in Capel St Mary or his girlfriend Stephanie Bon’s house in Colchester.
Lynne Hall told police two days after Joan Albert’s murder, referring to the ‘Friday evening’ of the 14th December 2001;
The last time I actually saw Joan was on Friday evening, the fourteenth of December. I waved to her at about 8.10am as I went to work to catch the bus. I always used to check that she was up and Rusty was in the window. I came home after work. I got the 5.40, number 93 bus, from the Buttermarket in Ipswich. That usually gets me into the village at between 6.15 and 6.20pm. I was already carrying shopping. My own and some that I had done for her. I also had Phil’s Christmas present. It was a device that turned a bath into a spa bath. I got off the bus and went into the Co-op and got a few items. I then went straight to Joan’s. I was feeling ill just starting to come down with a bug. I popped in intending to be quick, it was not usual for me to go in if I did not take Rusty out because he would get so excited. We talked about the Christmas lights that she had bought me from the Co-op because some of them were not working. Joan asked me to give Rusty her (sic) pill and also put cream on Rusty’s backside as he had a skin problem. I told her that I was feeling really ill and that I was likely to stay at home the following day. We spoke in the hallway and Joan suggested I kept Phil’s Christmas present which was Boots purchase, although I don’t remember the make or model. Joan took it straight upstairs and I assumed she was putting it in her room. She had already put her shopping away. I think as far as I can remember I bought her a pack of 3 gas canisters for her curling tong, I think they were ’Braun’. I also got a small tin of food for Rusty which I fed to him there and then. It was ’Caesar’ I think. I stayed there longer than I was meant to because I was ill. I would say I stayed there 20 minutes or so. Phil was at home with a colleague and he left just after 6.50pm and I had not even taken my coat off. That was the last time I actually saw Joan. I remember that she looked very smart in a jumper with a cardigan over the top and a skirt although I don’t remember exactly what. Before I left I said if the worse came to the worse I would see her on the Monday when I would collect Phil’s present. We also spoke about the washing machine which had been fitted that day. Joan seemed very pleased with the actual machine which I believe was an Indesit. She was not pleased with the carpet though because it was not that clean and bright in her opinion. Joan actually phoned me not long after I got home, it takes me maybe 5 minutes to get back. All she actually wanted to know was if I Simon (sic), our son, had checked the lights. She rang on our home phone number. That phone call was the last contact that I had with Joan as I was in bed all day Saturday. On the Sunday the 16th we were away for the day and I did not find out that Joan was dead until our return, around 8.30pmExcerpt’s from Lynne Hall’s police witness statement dated Tuesday the 18th December 2001
Although Lynne Hall mentioned Simon to police in her statement, it is not clear if Simon was actually at 8 Snowcroft (His adoptive parents address) that evening or whether or not he slept there that night.
Lynne Hall also told police on the day Simon was arrested in connection with her friends murder;
On Saturday the 15th of December 2001 I was ill in bed all day. I seem to think that Simon was around during the day and he put his head in to make sure I was okay. I may have popped down to make a drink. I don’t even remember the phone ringing. The Sunday we were off to Stoke Rochford in Lincolnshire which is a stately home, it was a family get together. Simon told me at some stage that Saturday that he was going out and would probably not be back that night. I told him to be back because we were leaving early. I wanted him home at five or six am as I wanted to make sure he was okay and dressed properly. I can only assume he took his black Audi because that is the only way he could have been back at that timeExcerpt’s from Lynne Hall’s 25th July 2002 police witness statement
But according to all the witnesses who confirmed seeing Simon Hall on that Saturday and spending time with him, and according to Simon himself via his proof of evidence statement, he only went to Lynne and Phil Hall’s house for a short time between approximately 6-7pm on Saturday the 15th December 2001.
After collecting his recently paid for Audi motor vehicle, Simon Hall stated;
The Ford Granada Matt was driving at the time I believe belongs to Ian *****
Our drive to Haverhill would have taken about 2 hours. Once the purchase had been completed we would have then driven back. On reflection I can even recall Matt ****** having a go at driving the Audi on the journey back
Having acquired the Audi, I then completed the sale of my Golf GTI to Glenn **** on that same day outside a pub in Stutton. I can’t remember the name of the pub but it is Glenn’s local pub. He had already given me a cash payment for the Golf GTI which I in turn had used to purchase the Audi
From that point, I would have carried on into Ipswich to do some Christmas shopping and to buy a mobile phoneExcerpts from Simon Hall’s ’Proof of evidence’ statement
The mobile phone was paid for at 16:39, as was evidenced by his sales receipt;
Simon Hall also stated;
The next specific recollection I have is based upon my withdrawal of £50.00 cash from a cash point machine at Tesco’s at Copdock at 5.59pm, the time recorded on the bank statement records. I would have been heading back to my home at 8 Snowcroft at this time
Again, I cannot precisely recall but I am sure I would have been home for tea and this is usually pizza and chips
Mum was ill in bed and dad would have been doing the cookingExcerpts from page 3 of Simon Hall’s proof of evidence statement
It appeared Simon, Phil and Lynne Hall, wanted to give the police the impression 8, Snowcroft, Capel St Mary was his home around the time of the murder, but in reality he barely appeared to stay there at all and gave the impression he did not like being there.
With regards timings, it would have taken Simon Hall approximately 8 minutes to drive from Tesco’s to his parents address at 8 Snowcroft, Capel St Mary, give or take a minute or two depending on traffic, as can be seen by the below image;
Simon Hall’s next cash withdrawal of £40.00 was made at 7.27pm, which would have meant Simon could only have spent just over an hour maximum at Lynne and Phil Hall’s home address at 8, Snowcroft, between approximately 6.07pm and 7.19pm, therefore Lynne Hall’s statement of,
I seem to think that Simon was around during the day and he put his head in to make sure I was okay
was an exaggeration. The only time Lynne could have seen Simon was between the time previously mentioned because Simon was not in Capel St Mary at any other time that day.
Plus when Simon gave his first statement on the 7th March 2002 he stated he had left 8, Snowcroft at 6.30pm (See Part 4) and when he was asked by the police what time he had left following his arrest, he gave the time of ’half six, seven’, as can be seen on page 18 of his 1st record of interview.
On the day of his youngest adoptive son’s arrest, Phil Hall told police;
On the 15th December 2001 my wife was upstairs unwell in bed, I don’t know when Simon left the house or even if I saw him at all that day. I do not know what he was wearing that day at all. I recall that Lynne had asked Simon to make sure he was back in time to leave for Stoke Rochford in Lincolnshire where we had a family do, I think we left about 8.30 am on the Sunday. I went to bed quite late and apart from the phone call off of Mrs Albert at about 9.15cpm I don’t recall any other phone calls being received and I don’t recall making any. I don’t recall what time Simon got home as I was still in bed, he was ready to leave when we left for Lincolnshire. I don’t recall what he was wearing that day but photographs were taken that day. As far as I remember Simon was fairly quiet that morning but I think that was tiredness and he slept in the car. I am willing to assist police in this matterExcerpt from Phil Hall’s police witness statement dated 25th July 2002
Phil Hall appeared to play dumb to police about events of Saturday the 15th December 2001, and made no mention of doing any cooking, nor of the ’pizza and chips’ Simon said he would ‘usually’ have had if his adoptive father was cooking, and given the fact Lynne was said to be in bed all day Phil would have had to cook for himself, but he chose to make no mention of cooking or of having to prepare his own food.
Which is odd in itself given what Simon Hall told police in his 1st interview on the 26th July 2002. The day after Phil Hall had given his 2nd witness statement, Simon was asked about what time he got ready to go out on the night of Saturday the 15th December 2001, as can be seen by excerpts from pages 14 and 15 of his 1st record of interview for that day;
- Dc 1023 Okay. Still keeping with the afternoon, what time did you get ready to go out for
- SJH For the night?
- Dc 1023 For the evening
- SJH I’d start to get ready about six
- Dc 1023 Okay
- SJH We’d have our customary pizza and chips I think, don’t know
- Dc 1023 Okay. Is that your Saturday afternoon?
- SJH Saturday after… Saturday was always pizza and chips
And excerpts from page 15;
- Dc 1023 Just a couple of things Simon. I remember in the first interview you said that when you got ready to go out we asked you, I think, you know, are you or when were you going out, and you said as soon as possible
- SJH Hmm
- Dc 1023 What did you mean by that?
- SJH Being at home is all well and good
- Dc 1023 Right
- SJH Erm but. It’s a very unusual atmosphere
- Dc 1023 Right
- SJH In my Mum and Dad’s home. My Dad’s got his strict routine of his pizza and chips and then he’ll go for a drink with his next door neighbour
Phil Hall chose to make no mention of his strict routine or of his Saturday nights of pizza and chips nor did he tell police how he would then, as a matter of strict routine, go for a drink with his next door neighbour.
Phil Hall appeared on TV alongside his wife Lynne Hall, in the 2007 BBC’s Rough Justice special. During the TV show Phil made the false claim the black ‘mole skin’ type trousers Simon Hall had purchased from Tesco’s, following the withdrawal of £50 cash at 5.59pm, had never been in his and his wife Lynne’s house but in reality the ’mole skin’ type trousers were taken into 8, Snowcroft twice. The first time was after Simon Hall had purchased the trousers and changed into them, ready to go out for the evening, and the second time would have been when he went back in the same clothes at 6.28am on Sunday the 16th December 2001.
Simon Hall finally confirmed in 2013 he had purchased the black ‘mole skin’ type trousers after his first cash withdrawal on Saturday the 15th December 2001 and changed into them at his parents house. He also said it was ‘a fluke’ he had apparently not been picked up on CCTV entering or leaving the Tesco’s store.
It is not known if Simon had originally purchased the ‘mole skin’ type trousers to wear for the Christmas family meal in Lincolnshire, but he also disclosed he had been wearing a top with ‘red in it’, along with a pair of office shoes and a black leather jacket.
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