A fresh battle to free two men convicted of the notorious Rettendon Range Rover murders is being launched in Europe today.

Chris Bowen, a solicitor who has spent the past 11 years fighting to overturn the convictions of Michael Steele and Jack Whomes, claims he has uncovered new evidence which proves the pair's innocence.

Mr Bowen, Steele's solicitor based at Harwich firm Linn and Associates, was due today to lodge a petition on behalf of his client at the European Court of Human Rights claiming both Steele and Whomes were denied a fair trial.

The pair were jailed for life after being found guilty of murdering three Basildon drug dealers - Tony Tucker, Pat Tate and Craig Rolfe - who were found blasted to death in a Range Rover in Workhouse Lane, Rettendon in December 1995.

Mr Bowen said the new evidence, which he is hoping will force another appeal, cast doubt on the credibility of supergrass Darren Nicholls.

Mr Bowen said while the petition is processed by the European Court he and Mr Steele would try to persuade the Criminal Cases Review Commission to refer the case once more to the Court of Appeal.

Whomes, 45, of Suffolk, and Steele, 63, of Great Bentley, were jailed for life in 1998 for the murders after a trial at the Old Bailey.

Along with Peter Cory, of Clacton, the pair were also found guilty of conspiracy to import cannabis.

An appeal to overturn Whomes' and Steele's convictions at the Royal Courts of Justice last February was rejected.