The killer of much loved police officer Frank Mason has launched an appeal against his conviction.
James Francis Hurley, who spent 13 years on the run after being sentenced to life for murder, armed robbery and firearms offences, is now attempting to have his murder conviction overturned.
Hurley, now 53, was recaptured by police in Holland in 2007 when they raided a suspected drugs den.
He was the getaway car driver during an armed robbery of a security van outside Barclays bank in Bank Court, Hemel Hempstead on April 14, 1988.
Off-duty PC Mason tried to intervene and was shot in the back as he attempted to arrest one of the suspects.
Hurley along with Perrie Wharrie and Charlie McGhee, were all found guilty of killing 27-year-old PC Mason and were jailed for life in 1989.
But on February 16, 1994, while Hurley was being transferred to Wandsworth prison by bus, he and another prisoner threatened an officer with a knife and Hurley managed to escape.
After being arrested in Holland eight years ago he was extradited to the UK in 2011 to serve his life sentence, news that was welcomed at the time by PC Mason’s widow.
Now it has emerged that Hurley has launched a Court of Appeal case against his conviction.
The case went before a judge last Thursday (July 30) and a full two day hearing is expected to take place at a later time, although no court date has yet been set.
Hurley’s accomplices, killer McGhee has since died in prison and murdering Wharrie is due to be extradited to the UK after he serves a 30 year sentence in Ireland for drug offences. He was one of three men convicted of possession with intent to supply after trying to smuggle 1.5 tonnes of cocaine into the Republic of Ireland. His jailing came just over three years after he was released on licence in the UK after serving 18 years for the murder of PC Mason.
He will not be extradited until at least 2030.
Every year the Hemel Hempstead community comes together to remember PC Mason and Hertfordshire Constabulary presents an award in his honour to a exceptional police officer. The latest recipient of the accolade was Sergeant Jeff Fusedale, who has worked for he force for 22 years and often takes the lead in training junior officers.