Ex-TV producer to appeal against conviction for hiring hitman – BBC News

Image copyright Central News
Image caption David Harris wanted to inherit Hazel Allinson’s West Sussex home, the court heard

A retired TV producer is to appeal against his conviction for trying to hire a hitman to kill his partner.

David Harris, 68, who had become “besotted” with another woman, was found guilty of offering to pay an undercover policeman 150,000 to murder Hazel Allinson.

His Old Bailey trial heard he wanted to inherit her West Sussex home and elope with sex worker Ugne Cekaviciute, 28.

The Court of Appeal confirmed papers had been lodged for an appeal.

‘Kill my wife’

Harris, the former producer of the police drama series The Bill, had claimed he was researching a spy novel and denied solicitation to murder at his trial.

But the retired producer was caught when the police officer posing as a would-be hitman taped a conversation in which Harris said he was “100% sure” he wanted his partner dead.

The jury was told Harris had mounting debts and was desperate to inherit his partner’s 800,000 home in Amberley and set up home with Ms Cekaviciute.

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Media captionCCTV and audio released of ‘hitman hire’ by police

The Old Bailey was told Harris had approached London mechanic Christopher May in March 2016 and said: “I’m offering you 250,000 to kill my wife.”

In November 2016 he met an undercover policeman posing as a hitman called Chris in the car park of Sainsbury’s in Balham, south London.

They were introduced by a 6ft 3in “man mountain” called Zed, to whom Harris had previously given Ms Allinson’s details and a photograph.

Unknown to Harris, Zed, whose real name is Duke Dean, had already reported him to City of London Police, the court was told.

Image copyright City of London Police
Image caption Harris approached three different men to ask them to kill his partner

Jailing Harris for 17 years in July, Judge Anne Molyneux QC said: “For your pipe dream, for your obsessive infatuation with a young woman, Ms Allinson, who had protected and nurtured you, was to die a painful and terrifying death in an isolated spot.

“Her death was to fund your life. You had used her until she had outlasted her usefulness to you.”

Image copyright Central News
Image caption Harris said he thought Ugne Cekaviciute was “too young and too nice” to be working in a brothel

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