Confession to murder

A shock confession to the murder of pregnant Preston mother Christine Askey has been made in a mystery letter, it emerged today.

In the letter sent to the Lancashire Evening Post, the confessor claims he was the man who strangled Christine in her home on the Callon estate.

The anonymous note sent to us from India claims Waseem Mirza, who was convicted of the murder, is innocent.

But detectives today said they believe the confession is a hoax and are convinced Mirza did kill her and is rightly serving a life term in prison.

They believe the letter may have been written by those who are campaigning to get Mirza freed.

The letter says: "I am writing to you because I have no faith or trust in anyone. I want to confess that Waseem did not kill Christine Askey, I did.

"I never thought he would be convicted for this as I did it.

"I am not going to tell you who I am, where I am, but I did not mean for this to happen."

Christine's body was found face down in the bath by her mother on November 29, 1999.

The former Moor Park High pupil had been strangled in a bath full of water at her home in Nevett Street, Callon, Preston. Her son Cameron was found running around upstairs.

The terrified screams of three-year-old Cameron were heard by neighbours just hours before his pregnant mother's body was found.

A top psychologist was later called in to try and coax vital information from the murder scene toddler. In his letter, the confessor claims he was in the country illegally and needed a visa to stay.

He was seeing Christine and wanted her to be pregnant so he would have rights to stay – but he claims she told him she was expecting another man's child.

He said: "We argued and were fighting, I don't know how but I strangled her with my scarf.

"I sat there in shock, could not believe what had happened in anger, could not think.

"I was sorry and regretted it there and then.

"I just sat there for hours thinking what have I done? It was getting lighter, I was panicking even more, so I took her upstairs, put her in the bath to make it look like an accident.

He continued: "My head is all over. I don't feel the same person, I can't live like this.

"I am sorry to the person who's been convicted for a crime he did not commit.

"His life will be hell and his family's too.

"I ask you to please get in touch with both these families and tell them I am sorry."

Detectives arrested Mirza, of Brockholes View, Callon, after it emerged that he lied in a statement, saying he had not seen Christine for six months.

Tests proved he had had sex with her the night before her death.

Supt Paul Buschini said today: "I am aware of the contents of the letter.

"There is nothing whatsoever contained in it which leads me to believe that the conviction of Waseem Mirza is in any way unsafe.

"There is nothing contained in it that was not mentioned at the trial.

"Mirza was rightly convicted of the offence and he is rightly serving life for murder."

During the trial at Preston Crown Court, the prosecution said Mirza resorted to murder because he was angry at Christine for claiming he was the father of her unborn twins and son Cameron, three.

His family later claimed that he lied about seeing her because he did not want his girlfriend or family to find out about his relationship.

Mirza was working as a security guard for an agency called Sabre Watch at the time of he killing. He had learned of strangulation techniques as part of his training.

Senior detectives at the time revealed the 30-year-old remained ice-cool under interview while churning out lie after lie.

But they said Mirza's story failed to add up as he gave several conflicting witness statements throughout the 14-month investigation.

It also emerged that an injunction had been served on Mirza a year before Christine was killed because he had threatened and harassed her when she said he was Cameron's dad.