LAWYERS acting for a subpostmaster jailed for the murder of his wife have revealed new evidence they say makes the conviction unsafe.

Robin Garbutt’s legal team yesterday produced documents at the Court of Appeal which they say cast doubt on the prosecution case that the appellant was a thief.

Financial records for the post office in Melsonby, near Richmond, were never shown to the jury, which last year convicted Garbutt of the murder of his wife, Diana.

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Although the information was requested before the trial at Teesside Crown Court, they were only obtained after the 10-2 majority guilty verdict had been returned. At the trial, prosecutors pointed to post office records for the 15 months before the murder that showed the couple had not returned any cash notes to headquarters, despite apparently keeping unusually large amounts of money in the safe.

They suggested that no cash had been returned because the Garbutts had used it to fund their lavish lifetsyle.

However, the new records showed that no notes had been returned since the couple bought the post office in 2004.

They also revealed that the branch often had large amounts of money in the safe prior to 2008, when an audit found it contained the correct funds.

Jamie Hill QC, representing Garbutt as he did at the trial, claimed the new evidence “cast a shadow” over the prosecution case and would have “changed the dynamic of the trial”.

He said: “It is our submission that this was a strand which allowed the jury to go straight to a conviction.

“If Mr Garbutt was the thief, the money was there there was no robber and so he must have killed his wife.”

He said it was the defence submission that the post office was run chaotically rather than dishonestly, and added: “If he’s not a thief, he’s a different man in the eyes of the jury.”

In response, David Hatton QC, prosecuting, said there was “strong and cogent” evidence against the appellant.

He added: “This was an overwhelming case, we submit, in that there was a vast body of evidence against the proposition that there was an intruder.

“If there had been no intruder, then it must follow that the defendant had been responsible for the death of Mrs Garbutt.”

Mrs Garbutt, 40, was found dead in the living quarters of the shop on March 23, 2010.

Police and paramedics initially responded to reports of an armed robbery.

In the days after the alleged raid, detectives appealed for help to catch a man wearing a balaclava and armed with a gun.

However, her husband was arrested on suspicion of murder three weeks later.

Lord Justice Hughes, sitting with Mr Justice Hedley and Mr Justice Maddison, reserved their judgement and will present it in writing at a later date.