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Home   Medway   News   Article

Killer Malcolm Webster drops appeal against sentence to murder of Claire Morris on eve of The Widower TV drama on ITV

17 March 2014
by Lynn Cox

A man found guilty of his wife’s murder in a car crash 20 years ago has dropped his appeal against his sentence.

Malcolm Webster was jailed for killing his first wife Claire Morris, who grew up in Upchurch, and attempting to murder his second wife years later in New Zealand.

The news that Webster has dropped his appeal comes just days before a three-part television series on ITV about his crimes, called The Widower, is aired.

Claire Morris was was murdered in 1994

Claire Morris was was murdered in 1994

The television drama starts tonight and Claire’s brother Peter Morris, who lives in Kingswood Drive, Gillingham, has previously said he was pleased the extraordinary story had been made into a drama.

Webster, 54, originally from Surrey, murdered Claire in Aberdeenshire in 1994 and was also convicted of staging a similar attempt to murder his second wife in New Zealand.

The Court of Criminal Appeal in Scotland heard on Friday he was dropping his appeal, although he still denied he was guilty of the crimes.

Convicted killer Malcolm Webster

Convicted killer Malcolm Webster

He had previously lost an appeal against his conviction.

Webster was found guilty in July 2011 of murdering Claire, who was 32 at the time, and jailed for 30 years.

The couple had been married for just eight months and the crash was investigated and treated as an accident.

Webster survived the crash and went on to marry Felicity Drumm in 1997.

In 1999, the couple were involved in a car crash in New Zealand, with Webster again at the wheel.

After a police investigation was launched, Webster was charged and later convicted.

Webster had drugged his wife before crashing the car and setting fire to it

Webster had drugged his wife before crashing the car and setting fire to it

Peter Morris, whose sister Claire was murdered

Peter Morris, whose sister Claire was murdered

Claire’s brother Peter has previously said he was not surprised ITV had made the three-part drama, in which Claire is played by BAFTA award-winning actor Sheridan Smith, who also starred in Mrs Biggs on BBC1.

Mr Morris, who met Sheridan on the set of The Widower, said she plays his sister perfectly.

He added: “She has got Claire down to a T, even down to her little hand movements. She has obviously done her research.”

Mr Morris met producers and provided them with Claire and Webster’s wedding video, which has been recreated.

Sheridan Smith plays Claire Webster in The Widower. Picture Steffan Hill, ITV

Sheridan Smith plays Claire Webster in The Widower. Picture: Steffan Hill, ITV

Claire Morris (far right) with brother Peter Morris and his wife Christine and their daughter Claire in 1986

Claire Morris (far right) with brother Peter Morris and his wife Christine and their daughter Claire in 1986

He said: “I was there when they filmed the wedding scene, which was surreal.

"They had copied it to the letter, even down to the outfits being the same. It was like being in a time warp.”

“I’m not surprised it has been made into a drama. It’s an extraordinary story and Webster is an extraordinarily evil man" - Peter Morris

The ITV drama, written by award-winning Jeff Pope (Mrs Biggs, Appropriate Adult), will show Claire and Webster on their wedding day in 1993 and how, just eight months later, he plotted her death.

Mr Morris said: “I’m not surprised it has been made into a drama. It’s an extraordinary story and Webster is an extraordinarily evil man.

“In a way, I’m glad people will get to see Claire’s personality and what a lovely person she was. She was an angel.”

The Widower starts at 9pm tonight on ITV

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