Killer Simon Hall and the Hall family members, Shaun, Lynne and Phil Hall utilised a plethora of diversionary tactics to help Simon avoid responsibility for his murder of Joan Albert.
The Hall families deceptive tactics started with their initial contact with Suffolk police, their police interviews and witness statements and continued through Simon Hall’s February 2003 trial.
Their lies, deceptive and diversionary tactics also permeated their fraudulent public relations campaign which followed.
Simon Hall’s adoptive mother Lynne Hall gave numerous conflicting accounts to Suffolk police and used various types of lies, distractions and manipulative tactics in an attempt to deflect away attention and cover up for her adoptive son.
This included in relation to when killer Simon Hall arrived at her and her husband Phil’s house on the morning of Sunday the 16th December 2001, having literally just committed murder.
In Lynne Hall’s first police witness statement, two days after her friends murder, she shared a new memory.
Lynne Hall offered up two possible new suspects, in what appeared to be an obvious attempt to draw attention away from her youngest adoptive killer son.
Lynne Hall told police;
I have since remembered an incident that I found disturbing at the time.
On the Monday or Tuesday of the previous week the 10th and 11th December I was rushing to get home.
I was walking past the village bar which is part of the village hall. I had been to see my friend Barbara ****** who lives in Longperry.
I was walking back home and took a short cut across the village green and past the village hall and bar. It was very dark. I think the time would be around 5.30pm.
I wasn’t expecting to see anybody. Suddenly I noticed a youth jump off the roof and he landed right beside me, almost immediately a second youth jumped down almost landing on the first.
The first one who jumped was 19 into his early 20’s. I got the impression he had short dark hair and was wearing dark clothing. I got the impression that he had a pleasant face, he seemed to look at me before moving off.
Again I got the impression they seemed guilty but I thought they had possibly been smoking up there. Both were white men.
The second one was thinner and of the same age, he was wearing a casual white jacket and either a white hood or a hat. The second man looked at me but not full in the face. The second man actually looked back at me.
None of them said anything. I don’t think I did. I just exclaimed out loud. I don’t think that I would recognise them again.
I did think about ringing the barman Trevor ***** who is a builder in the village, in fact I didn’t do that. That roof is quite high with a flat roof. I believe from that roof Joan’s house could be seen
Excerpts from Lynne Hall police witness statement dated 18th December 2001
It is not known if Lynne Hall also got the impression her youngest adoptive son Simon Hall seemed guilty when she first saw him at 6.28am, when he turned up at 8 Snowcroft on that Sunday morning in the black larey and loud shirt with the red splashes over it.
Lynne Hall would not see this shirt again after it was disposed of on the Monday morning.
In her second police witness statement Lynne Hqll appeared to want to expand on what she had told police on the 18th December 2001. Lynne stated;
Further to my original statement I would like to add the following information.
As I was such good friends with Mrs Albert and would often be in her house I saw her bedroom on several occasions.
Joan had a bedside table that was built in the headboard in a complete unit. Usually next to her bed she would have a reading book, reading glasses, usually a drink either water or tea, a mobile phone, although I think that may have changed towards the end.
I think her tablets were also there, she was on both heart and water tablets, the tablets made her get up quite often at night.
Joan also kept Rusty’s tablets by her bedside table but only when the dog was playing up and had not taken them.
Joan did suffer from indigestion and when she was suffering would get her Gaviscon out. It was her indigestion that would often mean she would have a light snack at around 5pm and maybe a dry biscuit later in the evening
Going back to the week before Mrs Albert’s death, I think that on the Tuesday night, the 11th of December, I went round to my friend Barbara ******’s house, she lives at Long Perry in Capel.
I know (sic) Barbara years as we used to work together at Boots and I now take her dog to agility, I think I walked Molly, her dog, before it got dark maybe around 3.15 to 3.30 pm. I spoke to Barbara at her house for some time but I remember I wanted to be home by 5 pm as I was collecting for the RSPCA that evening.
I walked home via the pathways, I have marked a map of Capel area with my route between Long Perry and my home address, I produce the plan as exhibit RLH/1.
As I walked down the side of the bar which is at the back of the village hall two youths jumped down off the roof almost onto me.
There is a footway down there and it was almost at the point where the path joins the alley that runs between Vine Walk and Boydlands. I have marked my plan with a cross at this point.
I cannot remember the exact time this was, but I was only a few minutes from home, so I think it would be about 5pm. When I got home Philip was at home because I used the car to collect so I think it was definitely that Tuesday.
The youths jumped from the flat roof above the door to the Vine Lounge, that is about 7-8 feet off the ground and has asphalt on the top, above that there is a much bigger roof which again is flat but has a wall round it so people can, and do, go up there.
These two youths were aged from 19 – early 20’s, they were certainly not the group that had been bothering Joan. The first one jumped off and landed almost beside me startling me, I exclaimed out loud ’You made me jump’ the youth did not say anything, but looked at me and moved away towards the front of the village hall, the second one jumped down a few seconds later. I got the impression because the roofs were staged the second one had been coming down from the higher level when the first was jumping down.
Now I seem to recall two thuds from him. The second man did not say anything either but they both walked round the corner together. I cannot add anything further regarding their descriptions from my first statement.
From that corner of the roof of the village hall you would have a clear view into Joan Albert’s rear garden, which diagonally would only be 15-20 yards away.
Excerpts from Lynne Halls police witness statement dated 14th February 2002
On the 7th of February 2002 the Evening Star newspaper ran a story headed Truck Driver Clue in Murder Hunt. It read;
A pick-up truck driver might have vital information that could help track down the killer of murdered Suffolk pensioner Joan Albert.
Detectives hunting the killer of the 79-year-old from Capel St Mary are anxious to speak to the driver of a white, flat back truck seen parked in the village’s shopping precinct, near to the church hall, at around 4.50am on Sunday, December 16, last year.
Widow Mrs Albert was found dead in the hallway of her Boydlands home at around 10am the same day. Her body was peppered with stab wounds.
Detective Superintendent Roy Lambert, who is heading the murder hunt, said: “Several people have said that a white truck, similar to a Ford P100, was parked in the car park near the church hall in the very early hours of Sunday morning.
“I would like to emphasise that we have no reason to believe that the driver of this vehicle was involved in the attack on Mrs Albert. However, we urgently need to speak to them as they may have seen something that could prove to be important to our inquiry.
“The truck is of a fairly common type and could belong to a local farmer, builder or other trades person. I would like to appeal directly to whoever was in that truck to contact the inquiry team so that we can check if they saw anything and then eliminate them from our investigation.”
It is almost eight weeks since Mrs Albert was killed and since the launch of the murder inquiry, police have received more than 450 calls from members of the public offering information which have generated more than 1,400 lines of inquiry. Officers have taken over 360 statements.
Det Supt Lambert said:
“This inquiry has received a great deal of support from the community, media and the general public and this is reflected in the volume of information that has been generated to date.
“However, we still need to hear from anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious in the area of the Boydlands between 9pm on Saturday, December 15, and 9am the following day.
The pick-up truck driver, or anyone else with information, should contact the murder incident room on 01473 613777 .
The Evening Star and Capel businesses are offering a £5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer.
Excerpts by Lisa Baxter for the Evening Star from an article headed Truck driver clue in murder hunt dated the 7th of February 2002
Lynne Hall jumped on the police appeal and in response went on to tell police;
I have recently seen a press release where the police were appealing for a white vehicle.
In the early part of the week prior to Joan Albert’s death I saw what I thought was a small white grubby workmans type van in the Co-op car park facing the childrens swings level with the Chinese Takeaway.
The vehicle had a small cab with a flat back, which had low sides, I think it was about dinnertime because there was a two men in the cab and I remember thinking they would be having dinner.
I got the impression that they were in their 30 or 40’s, both men were white and looked like workmen. The van was not signwritten, I did not look in the back.
I saw the same vehicle again later on in the week, either the Thursday or Friday, this time there was nobody in the cab. I think it was again during the day and it was parked in the village hall car park facing towards the swings and the Co-op car park, in fact almost opposite where I had seen it before. I got the impression it was empty, there was nothing over the sides and I did not see any building material
I am willing to assist police in this matter and will attend court if required
Excerpt from Lynne Hall’s police witness statement dated 14th February 2002
However an excerpt from page 36 of the judges summing up from Simon Hall’s February 2003 trial read;
A white pickup was reported by one villager as seen at 4.50 in the morning of Sunday the 16th, Superintendent Lambert told you there was then an effort to trace it, although there was no suggestion at all that it had been involved and whether or not it had ever been there at all, whether the lady was accurate or mistaken as to date.
The effort the police made with the help of the media was not only so as to try and find it, but also so as to keep up the publicity momentum, hoping to encourage the emergence of other potentially useful information
Excerpt from page 36 of the judges summing up
Although Lynne Hall may or may not have seen the grubby workmans type van, as she described it the police would no doubt have been interested in what she told them.
It is not known how many informants contacted the police following their appeal about the white pickup truck but it’s possible Lynne Hall’s story may have also sparked police suspicions regarding her behaviour.
On the same day her adoptive son Simon Hall was asked to make a formal police witness statement as a TIE suspect, Lynne Hall was also asked to make a third statement, in full it read;
Further to my previous statements in relation to the night of Saturday 15th December 2001 in which I described being ill and spending most of the day and night in bed.
Quite early on the morning of Sunday 16th December 2001 I got up to make a cup of tea.
I was in the kitchen the time was approximately 6.00am to 6.30am when Simon my son came home
We had a brief conversation in which Simon mentioned about being in Ipswich that night and he then went to bed
Lynne Hall’s police witness statement dated 7th March 2002
On the day of her adoptive sons arrest however, Lynne Hall stated;
I was up making a tea when he got in, he seemed happy and said he had had a good time, I remember he said he was tired and asked if he had time to get an hours sleep.
I can’t remember if he did.
We certainly had a cup of tea and a chat, it was not unusual to see him come in then.
I don’t remember what he was wearing when he came in.
In any event he got changed before going out for the day.
I don’t remember what he was wearing but we did take several family photographs of the day.
If he was wearing a jacket it would have been a cream designer shiney type jacket with a warm lining.
I was up in the kitchen when Simon got in but I do not recall the time.
The phone is in the lounge and if it does ring I usually wake up.
We did talk and he wanted to know how I had been, I got the impression a girl was involved and as his mum I did not want to dig too deep
Simon appeared to enjoy our family day and was his usual entertaining self.
When we left to go to Lincolnshire Simon’s black Audi was parked on the left of the drive towards the kitchen window.
When we got home that Sunday I was feeling ill again, I did not do any washing until the Monday or Tuesday.
Phil and I have a laundry basket in the shower room and I think that morning he put his clothes in there, often though he would leave them in his room and I would pick them up and wash them.
Going to Lincolnshire we rook Phil’s company Ford Mondeo and we actually left about 8.30am. I would say that over Christmas Simon was in a fairly good frame of mind even though he had had the problem with Zoe
I am willing to assist police in this matter and will attend court if required
Excerpts from Lynne Hall’s 25th July 2002 police witness statement
It is not known what Lynne and Phil Hall thought about their adoptive son Simon’s missing clothing, including his black leather jacket, new trousers, larey shirt and black office shoes or if there was ever a conversation had between them all as to where his clothing, shoes and jacket had disappeared to.
The clothing, shoes and jacket Simon had been wearing on the Saturday night and during the Sunday morning when he had murdered Joan Albert, ended up in an industrial waste disposal bin situated near to State Chemicals, where he worked at the time with his girlfriend Stephanie Bon in Colchester, Essex.
Simon Hall claimed he initially put these items in the bottom of the wardrobe of bedroom 3 at 8 Snowcroft and then at some point he put them in a bag.
Then early on the Monday morning, he left his parents house and had driven to his place of employment in Colchester to see his line manager to ask for a couple of days off, using the excuse his mother Lynne was upset following her friends murder.
Simon Hall’s line manager stated;
About 9.00am on Monday 17th December 2001 I was in my office at State Chemicals when I received a telephone call on my direct line from Simon asking if I could meet him downstairs. I remember the date because my father had a heart attack and had a triple bypass on the 17th December
I went downstairs and outside into the courtyard where we used to stand to have a smoke. I can’t recall the exact words Simon used but it was something like ‘could he possibly have a couple of days off as his neighbour had been found dead and his mum was upset’. I asked him if he was alright and he said ‘Yes, it was a bit of a shock’. I decided to let him have the time off as he seemed to be close to his mum although I had come to work myself with all the problems and my dad being unwell
Simon did seem a little upset he seemed more concerned about his mum
I believe he was wearing a pale silver and blue roll neck jumper that morning, he certainly wasn’t dressed as it he was coming into work. I cannot recall what else he had on
Excerpts from police witness statement of Simon Hall’s Line Manager at State Chemicals, Colchester dated 13th September 2002
Following her adoptive son Simon’s arrest in July 2002, Lynne Hall made a 10 page police witness statement.
Some further excerpts from Lynne’s statement read;
I would say Simon had a happy time at primary school and initially when he attended East Bergholt School. I have subsequently found that there was a bad element in Capel and at the school which centred around Simon and Shaun’s year. I think in the early stages it was a gang of local boys
The Russell family moved into the close well over 10 years ago, I am not sure of the number but from our kitchen window you can look at the side of their house. They had a family of three boys the eldest of which was around four years younger than Simon, at the moment I can’t recall their names but Mrs Russell is a nurse at Ipswich and Mr Russell, is in insurance. Initially I found W**** Russell to be quite pleasant but very soon we fell out or began to avoid them. Really this was because the eldest son caused trouble from the start, he kept urinating next to our house, caused trouble at playgroup, kicked the ball onto our garden and even cut bushes down by the side of the house. He was bullying younger kids, he got banned from Scout trips because he set fire to a tent. Eventually I came home one day at lunchtime and caught the boy throwing grass cuttings onto our lawn and when I confronted him he swore at me and called me names. I was so annoyed that I confronted *****, eventually she seemed to accept that it was down to her son, although she seemed quite nice we never ever got on after that and the relationship deteriorated very badly. All the boys seemed to follow the same pattern as the oldest Russell. After that there were all manner of minor problems and W**** Russell was always over complaining and usually it was about Simon. It got to the point where we would not even open the door to them. As the situation developed over the years it was clear that the family did not like Simon, the Russell’s meanwhile continued causing problems at school and the police were even called regarding the Russell children making false calls
Simon did okay at school and passed five or six GCSE’s, he began the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. He continued onto the Sixth Form and I think that’s where Simon’s drug problems began. The Sixth Form was actually at Chantry, when he began the Sixth Form he started to get really down on himself, he got moody, had moodswings became argumentative it seemed that it was directed against himself, he lost confidence and went into a downward spiral
It was about six months into the school year when Abbey who had been his girlfriend died of meningitis, at the time of her death they were just very good friends. Her death hit him very hard and I think he got depressed and his school work suffered even more. We went to see the headteacher and although he felt that Simon had the potential to get his A levels the problems had become too much, eventually it was decided that Simon should leave. Simon spent some time at home and Phil and I talked to him at length about his career
I can’t remember exactly when but both boys spent some time at the Little Chef on a part time basis. Over this period of time I was beginning to find items that I thought were related to drugs, I thought it was Shaun as he had been going to Raves and I spoke to him about it. I have subsequently thought about it and feel that Simon may have been taking illegal drugs at that time
At the time while Simon was on bail the Russells accused Simon of kicking their car in Snowcroft. I was at home with Shaun and we went over to speak to them, in fact Phil, Shaun and his girlfriend went over and I remained at home. Simon was not staying at home but I think Shaun had told him what had taken place. Subsequently Simon was arrested and convicted of assault on the Russell boy and sentenced to seventeen months in prison. I think Simon was released since November/October 1997, to my knowledge he has not been in trouble since
Excerpts from Lynne Hall’s police witness statement dated 25th July 2002
However the Russell boy who Simon Hall assaulted told police;
I attended Capel St Mary Primary School, which is where I first met Simon Hall. He was a couple of years above me at school
During my time at Primary school I did suffer a few problems with Simon Hall bullying me
On a couple of occasions I recall Simon pushing me into bushes on the way home or saying nasty things to me. One such time was when Simon became quite physical with me and the caretaker at the time had to intervene, I believe I was around eleven years old at the time
Things seemed to settle down and I did not suffer any further problems at school, until I reach (sic) East Bergholt High School. At the time I suffered bullying from another boy, by the name of Matthew ******. He was a year above me at school, and I admit now I was quite a cheeky youngster, but don’t know the exact reason he picked on me. I also remember that Simon Hall, who was a good friend to Matthew ******, was usually in the background. He didn’t seem to take an active part but would be present
Following this, my parents invited both Simon Hall’s and Matthew ******’s parents over to discuss the problems between us children. Fortunately after this meeting the bullying seemed to die down and I didn’t really suffer any further problems
It was on my 17th birthday, that my girlfriend, *** and I decided to go into Ipswich town centre to the cinema. Having just come out of McDonalds in the centre of town, we crossed over the road where I saw three people walking towards us. I recognised one male as Simon Hall, but it was dark and I couldn’t see the other two people. They blocked my path so I couldn’t walk through, and I started to get concerned. Simon spoke to me, and mentioned an incident, which had occurred between his brother and my dad. Although I recalled some detail about this incident, I denied all knowledge to Simon, as I did not want any trouble. I believe due to his language and aggressive behaviour, that he was either drunk or under the influence of drugs. I remember Simon approaching me, and receiving a blow to the head, my next memory was waking up in an ambulance with my girlfriend *** besides me. Police were involved and I believe Simon was sentenced to a term of imprisonment.
The next contact I had with Simon was shortly after he was released from prison. I was sitting in my car outside my parent’s house with my girlfriend *** chatting. Simon came over to the car, and initially I was quite apprehensive as (sic) unsure what he was going to say or do. When I found out he just wanted to apologise, I was quite shocked. Although I’m still not sure if it was his own choice, or whether his parents had encouraged him
Simon apologised for his behaviour and we actually had quite a good chat. It was quite nice, as it seemed to clear the air, and from then on whenever we saw each other we would stop for a short chat. It also improved relationships with his parents, as they would smile at me if they saw me
I also made amends with Matthew ****** having met him at the Jet garage in Capel St Mary. A group of friends all met up and Matthew ****** and Simon Hall were amongst them. We got on well and they even made a joke about not picking on me now due to my build
Excerpts from one of the Russell children dated 28th November 2002
Lynne Hall’s line manager made a statement to the police on the 28th November 2002, she told police;
I am employed by Boots opticians at 5 Tavern Street, Ipswich, Suffolk
I am currently the assistant manager on that department and have held this position in Ipswich for the past two years. I am responsible for twenty members of staff including a lady by the name of Mrs Lynn Hall who is a customer Service Advisor on our department
I am aware that Mrs’s Hall’s son, Simon Hall has been arrested in connection with the murder of an elderly lady in Capel St Mary, Suffolk
On Saturday 8th December 2001 I attended the Boots Christmas function at the County Hotel in Ipswich
I travelled with another colleague namely ***** ***** who was on maternity leave at the time. We collected Lynn Hall from her home in Capel St Mary
I loaned to Lynn one of my jackets which I shall describe as follows: “Black Ladies Evening Jacket labelled ”J-Taylor (100% polyester, 100% Acetate lining). This jacket is size 12 and has embroidery and black beading around the collar and lapels. Lynn wore this jacket the same evening
I have thought very hard about when Lynn returned this jacket to me and I have to say that I cannot remember when it was. I cannot remember where we were when Lynn returned my jacket to me. I can say that Lynn has never been to my house and I have only been inside Lynn’s house on two occasions. The first time being on the evening of Saturday 8th December 2001 when we collected her for the social function and the second being since July 2002 when I visited her in a welfare capacity as her Line Manager. Since loaning the jacket to Lynn Hall I have not worn it and neither have I had it dry cleaned. To my knowledge Lynn did not have the jacket dry cleaned prior to giving it back to me
At 12.30pm today (Thursday 28th November 2002) I handed to Dc 951 H***** of the Suffolk Constabulary the aforementioned jacket
I saw Dc H***** package the jacket within a brown paper sack which I placed directly into the sack. Dc H***** did not touch the jacket prior to sealing it in the bag
Excerpts from police witness statement of Lynne Hall’s line manager dated 28th November 2002
An excerpt from the prosecutions closing speech, during Simon Hall’s murder trial regarding Lynne Hall’s concocted evidence read;
Well members of the jury I’ve dealt with the shoes except in this regard.
Do you remember that very small piece of evidence given by Mrs Hall in what I described and as I underline as being an essentially concocted part of this case?
To mislead you away from the truth.
Given she’d been ill up and down during the night all the previous day, she now remembers she said to him as he past through can I clean your tan boots. 6.30am on a Sunday morning.
Do you believe it?
Excerpt from page 31 of prosecutions closing speech given by Graham Parkin
Link to Part 8 here