A double killer has been accused of trying to hijack efforts to reopen an inquest into the death of one of his victims in a bid to clear his name, the Telegraph can reveal.
Robert Trigg is trying to block attempts to re-open the inquest into Susan Nicholson’s death, according to her parents. Trigg was found guilty in 2017 of killing two girlfriends, Ms Nicholson and Caroline Devlin, after years of domestic abuse, and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Nine years after Ms Nicholson’s death, her parents, Peter and Elizabeth Skelton, 85 and 83, are challenging the refusal of the coroner to hold a full inquest into her death, which could shed light on police failings.
Sussex Police are challenging the judicial review. In a rare move by an inmate, Mr Trigg has also submitted evidence against evidence against the Skelton's call for a full coroner's inquest. It has come as a shock to Ms Nicholson’s elderly parents.
“We were surprised he got involved, because he hasn’t appealed his sentence in any way,” said Mr Skelton. “Robert Trigg is such a nasty person. The things it says are really hurtful, but the letter he has sent is laughable and it’s all lies.”
The Skeltons claim Trigg’s submission to the court attempts to paint Ms Nicholson as an alcoholic and in some way blame her for her own death.
“They have made up stories to hurt our feelings and make it seem it was her fault, that Susan was responsible for her death,” said Mr Skelton.
The Skelton's legal team said it is "very plain" Mr Trigg wants to undermine the safety of his conviction.
“We’re obviously discussing his history of violence and his propensity to hurt women,” said Alice Hardy, human rights lawyer at Hodge Jones and Allen Solicitors. “It’s very plain he’s trying to use the whole thing as an opportunity to overturn his conviction, which obviously it’s not appropriate.”
She added that the judge has been “sympathetic” in admitting Mr Trigg’s documents to the proceedings, because it appeared he was representing himself.
The Skeltons hope the judicial review could bring them one step closer to justice for their daughter’s murder, which they believe should include an admission of failures by Sussex Police.
“The police had a long record of Trigg’s history of violence and Sue was never told about it, neither were we,” said Mr Skelton. “We believe the police didn’t do anything to protect Sue.”
If they lose the judicial review, the Skeltons could face a bill of thousands of pounds for Sussex Police and Mr Trigg's legal fees. They have currently raised £4,460 through a Crowd Justice campaign to help support their legal case.
It is not clear if the hearing will go ahead amid the coronavirus crisis, and reports that a member of the police legal team is infected. For the Skeltons, a delay would be devastating.
“It is urgent, we have waited years for this,” said Mr Skelton. “When we wake up in the middle of the night it’s difficult to get back to sleep, because you’re thinking about Robert Trigg and the police. It has affected our lives and we’ll probably never get over it.”
Mr Trigg could be represented in court by his sister-in-law, Joanne Lee, and brother, Michael Trigg.
“His family have supported him throughout, which has been particularly distressing to the Skeltons,” said Ms Hardy. “They’re staying strong, but they’re extremely nervous. They are determined to fight, sometimes at risk to their own health. ”
The Skeltons said they remain confident that they will be granted a full inquest into their daughter’s death.