Wife killer Campbell loses appeal

Wife killer Des Campbell has lost his bid to overturn his conviction almost four years to the day that he was sentenced for murder.

Campbell was jailed for at least 24 years in September 2010 after he was found guilty of murdering his wife Janet Campbell, 49, by pushing her off a 50-metre cliff in the Royal National Park, south of Sydney, in March 2005.

The former policeman, soldier and paramedic claimed his wife accidentally fell during their camping trip after leaving their tent to go to the toilet.

But the crown said Campbell preyed on the somewhat naive middle-aged country woman and six months after they were secretly married, killed her to get her money.

Earlier this year Campbell appealed the conviction on four grounds, including that the "prejudicial" evidence of controversial retired physics professor Rod Cross should not have been allowed.

Associate Professor Cross was also used by the crown during the trial of Gordon Wood, who was convicted of spear-throwing his girlfriend Caroline Byrne off The Gap in Sydney in 1995.

This conviction was later overturned on appeal in 2012 with the court finding that Assoc Prof Cross's crucial evidence was unsophisticated and lacking impartiality.

On Monday, the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal found there had also been a miscarriage of justice in relation to Assoc Prof Cross's evidence at Campbell's trial.

But Chief Justice Tom Bathurst dismissed the other three grounds of the appeal, saying Campbell's conduct during the fatal camping trip and his behaviour before and after his wife's death meant he was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Campbell deliberately pushed her off the cliff.

Campbell, he said, had "little or no affection" for his wife, had described her in derogatory terms to others, had taken steps to conceal their marriage and did not attend her funeral.

Therefore he said no "substantial injustice" was caused by the erroneous admission of Assoc Prof Cross's evidence and that Campbell's appeal should be dismissed.

During his trial, the jury heard Campbell was a debt-riddled Casanova who, by the time his wealthy wife died, had gained $255,000 from the marriage and expected a further $127,000 to follow after her death.

A week after becoming a widower, Campbell took a lover on a luxury holiday in Townsville and two weeks later proposed to her.

Campbell's earliest release date is in May 2034.