A man who has served nearly two decades in prison for a murder he insists he didn't commit appeared in the Court of Appeal today.

The preliminary hearing heard how Kevin Lane’s conviction came after an investigation involving a "spectacularly corrupt" detective.

Mr Lane, of Potton, Bedfordshire, has nearly finished serving the life sentence he was given for the murder of car dealer Robert Magill, who was killed as he walked his dog in Chorleywood in 1994.

Lawyers representing the 46-year-old told three senior judges they had uncovered documents which suggest the Hertfordshire policeman was not only a fraudster, but also a thief and a drugs producer.

Mr Lane has fought long and hard to clear his name, and could now see his case finally heard by judges at the Court of Appeal before the end of this year.

In a preliminary hearing today, his barrister, Joel Bennathan QC, who has been working on the case for about ten years, told the court of documents which have come to light concerning an investigating officer, DI Chris Spackman.

The papers suggest that DI Spackman was not only guilty of plotting to steal £160,000 from Hertfordshire Police, for which he was convicted in 2003, but other serious corruption, the QC told appeal judges.

Mr Bennathan said: "We have much more than this here. He can be shown to have stolen some watches that were exhibits in a case and to have started a cannabis farm.

"This is a case, unarguably, with at least a corrupt officer who, unarguably, played a part in the trial.

"This is a man who has spent 16 years, or thereabouts, in prison with an officer in his case later found out to be a fraudster and drug producer."

Mr Bennathan, who said that Lane's case could finally go before the full Appeal Court in July or in the autumn, added that questions needed to be asked of Hertfordshire Police about the documents.

But, he continued, Lane would rather that the force has nothing at all to do with his appeal case and has suggested that another force investigate the matter.

Referring to the former DI Spackman as "spectacularly corrupt", Lady Justice Rafferty said Lane's legal team's questions about the case should go to the Chief Constable of Hertfordshire himself.

No date was set for the next Appeal Court hearing.