Killer of Hampstead author Allen Chappelow loses battle to overturn conviction

Murdered reclusive millionaire author Allan Chappelow Picture: Metropolitan Police

Murdered reclusive millionaire author Allan Chappelow Picture: Metropolitan Police - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

Chinese dissident Wang Yam who is serving a life sentence for the murder of reclusive author Mr Chappellow in his home in Downshire Hill, Hampstead has lost his long battle to overturn his conviction.

Yam was found guilty at the Old Bailey in 2009 of beating 86-year-old Allan Chappelow to death.

The 55-year-old challenged his conviction at the Court of Appeal, in London, with his lawyers arguing there was “fresh evidence” capable of casting doubt on its safety.

But his appeal was rejected by the court with Lord Chief Justice Thomas saying the evidence from three new witnesses for the defence did not undermine the jury’s verdict.

Mr Chappelow, was repeatedly hit over the head at his crumbling Georgian terraced house in May 2006. His body was found weeks later under a metre-high pile of papers after police were alerted by suspicious bank transactions on his account.

He had suffered massive head injuries and his wounds indicated he was possibly tortured.

Use of his stolen credit cards was traced to Yam, a financial adviser who lived in nearby Denning Road, Hampstead, and had fled to Switzerland.

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Yam, who left China after the 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising, always denied the murder and blamed gangsters.

At his first trial in 2008, Yam was found guilty of theft and fraud and jailed for four-and-a-half years, but the jury was unable to reach a decision on the murder charge.

He was convicted of murder the following year and jailed for a minimum of 20 years.

His defence case was heard behind closed doors at the insistence of prosecutors, after the government claimed secrecy was necessary in the interests of national security. It is believed to be the first murder trial in which a secrecy order was imposed for such a reason.

Yam’s appeal was dismissed by Lord Thomas who said: “The evidence at trial sufficiently convinced the jury that Yam was solely and exclusively responsible for the activities involving the deceased’s handset/SIM card and their use in the identity fraud and that the connection between those activities and the death of Allan Chappelow established Yam as the only possible perpetrator of the murder.”

Yam, now in his 50s, has also launched a case before the European Court of Human Rights, challenging the secret nature of his trial.