ONE of the men jailed for life for the Risca taxi murders could next month discover whether his case will be referred to the Court of Appeal.

The news comes on the eve of the ninth anniversary of John Roden's arrest for the double murder.

Roden, 38, was jailed for the brutal slaying of Risca taxi boss Gerry Stevens, 42, and his lover, mother-of-four Christine Rees, 37, in May 1994.

Since his arrest on August 8, 1994, he has maintained he is innocent, and has fought from prison to have his conviction overturned.

Yesterday, Dennis Eady, from civil rights group South Wales Liberty, said Roden was about to find out if the government body set up to look into miscarriages of justice, the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) was going to refer his case to the Court of Appeal.

Mr Eady said: "We understand that the CCRC are close to a decision on whether to refer the case of John Roden to the Court of Appeal." He said it was believed the CCRC commissioners would review the case file next month.

Mr Eady claimed: "There are so many concerns about this case that a referral to the Court of Appeal is long overdue."

Mr Stevens and Mrs Rees died after being slashed with a machete-type weapon and shot through the head from close range.

Roden and Mr Stevens' business partner in the taxi firm, Michael Attwooll, were found guilty of the murders at Newport crown court in June 1995 after a six-week trial.

The prosecution alleged Attwooll became angry about the affair between the two victims, and he thought Mr Stevens was pilfering money from the business.

They claimed Roden, who was in a relationship with Attwooll's daughter, was recruited to help him murder them.

Roden and Attwooll's cases before the CCRC have been separated. Mr Eady said: "Michael Attwooll's solicitors are still preparing further submissions to the CCRC."