The daughter of a woman murdered by double-convicted killer Rickie Tregaskis at Le Geyt Flats in 1990 has said the life sentence given to him by the Royal Court yesterday has closed a long-open wound.
Cheryl Lowe’s mother Barbara Griffin (pictured top, right) was 59 years old when a 21-year-old Tregaskis broke into her ground-floor flat, after telling a friend that he needed money and asked if he wanted to join him on a burglary.
Mrs Griffin’s 84-year-old aunt Emma Anton (pictured top, left) was visiting from Paris and staying with her niece. Both were sleeping when Tregaskis broke in through a bathroom window.
Possibly fearing that a stirring Miss Anton would raise the alarm, Tregaskis first attacked her, stabbing the pensioner repeatedly in a frenzied attack.
Mrs Griffin heard her aunt’s screams and appeared at the door, holding a pool cue. Tregaskis stabbed her with a single – and fatal – blow to the heart.
Miss Anton amazingly survived the attack and went onto live to 102.
On Thursday, 32 years after the killing, Tregaskis was finally sentenced for his crimes, receiving a life sentence to serve a minimum of 20 years before being eligible for parole.
He had been acquitted by a jury in 1991 after a key witness – the friend with whom he had confided in before the murder – left the island on the eve of the trial.
After that, Tregaskis could not be tried again under the ‘double-jeopardy’ rules of the day. But that altered in 2018 with a law-change, and the landscape shifted further when past criminal associates began to testify against him.
Pictured: Le Geyt estate, where the attack occurred in 1990. (Jersey Heritage)
The police reopened the investigation, which culminated in his original acquittal being quashed last year, a retrial in May,
Mrs Lowe, one of Mrs Griffin’s three children and her only daughter, said that she agreed with the Royal Court’s decision on Thursday.
“I think it is a fair sentence,” she said. “A lot of hard work has gone into this and we are really grateful to have had this opportunity. People have worked tirelessly to get us this result.
“20 years … we’ll take that. Would I have liked more? Yes, but I am realistic, and I think it is a fair result.”
Mrs Lowe, who attended the sentencing, said that she always knew who killed her mother.
“I had no doubt that Rickie Tregaskis did this and we couldn’t understand how he got off in the first place. But that is our justice system: you have 12 people, they make their decision and you have to abide by it.
“We did just that and kept our own counsel, and luckily the law changed and we had the opportunity to get justice.”
She added: “This definitely closes a wound because the thought of that person getting on with his life really angered me. There has been a lot of anger but now, hopefully, I don’t need to think about it anymore.
“My mother was an ordinary woman. She had three kids; she worked hard at Le Riches almost all her working life. She lived in Le Geyt Flats for 30-odd years. She took the dog for a walk. She didn’t have anything worth stealing; it was just so cruel and unfair.”
Mrs Lowe had high-praise for the latest police investigation, which finally let to the successful prosecution of Mrs Griffin’s killer.
“The investigation this time round has been absolutely brilliant and they never treated us as a case number. This investigation has been going on for about eight years.
“We’re obviously pleased that Rickie Tregaskis is behind bars but we’re also pleased that investigating officers have got the result they wanted.
"They deserve it.”
Express sat down with Senior Investigator Lee Turner to discuss the cold case review, change in the law and new evidence that made Rickie Tregaskis's eventual conviction possible...
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