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Things the UK is Good At #1: Banging Up Innocent People

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

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Background on a selection of the hundreds of wrongful convictions in the UK over the years

Firstly, if you are someone who was or is wrongly convicted (or a family member thereof) and your case is not mentioned in this blog post, I apologise. It would have been impossible to write about all the hundreds of wrongful convictions (and I may not know about all cases of suspected wrongful conviction). If you would like your case to be included in this post please email me on

This blog post is more for reference than it is an article (I will be writing a proper article soon about miscarriages and what the future path for Lucy might be based on other cases). However, if you read through the cases you should get a sense of how big a problem wrongful conviction is and has been in this country. You might also get a sense that although we are good at banging people up who are innocent, we do (eventually) exonerate many or perhaps even most of them. This latter process however it seems could do with improving (many/most is not good enough) and speeding up, and obviously there are poor practices that lead to people being wrongfully accused or convicted in the first place.

One fabulous resource I came across is The Miscarriages of Justice Registry at the University of Exeter. The registry is "an interdisciplinary research group specialising in behavioural and data science research, and applying this research to the legal system and in legal arguments." It contains details of over 300 people who have been acquitted following successful appeals and can be found here:

In addition to the database, it has many other great resources. The four "issues wikis" below are particularly interesting.

Issue Wiki: False confession

Issue Wiki: Witness evidence

Issue Wiki: Disclosure

Issue Wiki: Forensic evidence

Actual wrongful convictions/accusations (notable)

Sally Clark

"Clark was convicted in November 1999. The convictions were upheld on appeal in October 2000, but overturned in a second appeal in January 2003, after it emerged that Alan Williams, the prosecution forensic pathologist who examined both babies, had failed to disclose microbiological reports that suggested the second of her sons had died of natural causes." (from

Donna Anthony

"Following the overturning of Angela Cannings's conviction, twenty-eight cases, including that of Donna Anthony, were referred to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), and Anthony was freed in April 2005." (from

Victor Nealon

"The wrongful imprisonment of Victor Nealon occurred in 1996 when the British postman Victor Nealon was mistakenly convicted of attempted rape. He was released in 2013 after spending 17 years in jail, 10 years more than his recommended tariff, because he continued to protest his innocence." (from

Siôn Jenkins

"Billie-Jo Margaret Jenkins (29 March 1983 – 15 February 1997) was an English girl who was murdered in Hastings, East Sussex in February 1997. The case gained widespread media attention and remains unsolved. Her foster father, Siôn Jenkins, was originally convicted for the crime, but after two retrials in which the jury was unable to reach a verdict he was formally acquitted. He has been denied compensation on the grounds that there is no evidence to prove his innocence." (from

Angela Cannings

"Angela Cannings was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in the UK in 2002 for the murder of her seven-week-old son, Jason, who died in 1991, and of her 18-week-old son Matthew, who died in 1999. Her first child, Gemma, died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in 1989 at the age of 13 weeks, although she was never charged in connection with Gemma's death. Her conviction was based on claims that she had smothered the children, but was overturned as unsafe by the Court of Appeal on 10 December 2003. Cannings was convicted after the involvement in her case of Professor Sir Roy Meadow, a paediatrician who was later struck off, then reinstated, by the General Medical Council." (from

John Corcoran

"A few days after Gorrie's murder, unemployed 21-year-old John Anthony Mark Corcoran of Warren Park, Havant, was questioned about the murder....Corcoran, of Plumley Walk in Havant, was tried and found guilty of Gorrie's murder in December 1999....In January 2003, Corcoran had his conviction for the murder overturned on appeal. The grounds were that the judge had misdirected the jury in his summing up." (from

An unknown or unpublished number of sub-postmasters

"The British Post Office scandal is a miscarriage of justice involving the wrongful civil and criminal prosecutions of an unknown or unpublished number of sub-postmasters (SPMs) for theft, false accounting and/or fraud. The cases constitute the most widespread miscarriage of justice in British legal history, spanning a period of over twenty years; aspects of the scandal remain unresolved." (from

Barry George

"Barry Michael George (born 15 April 1960) is an Englishman who was found guilty of the murder of English television presenter Jill Dando and whose conviction was overturned on appeal." (from

Sam Hallam

"Sam Hallam (born 1987), from Hoxton, London, is one of the youngest victims of a UK miscarriage of justice after an appeal court quashed his murder conviction in 2012." (from

Ched Evans

"R v Evans and McDonald was the prosecution of two footballers, Ched Evans and Clayton McDonald, who were accused of the rape of a woman. On 20 April 2012, Evans was convicted and sentenced to five years imprisonment. McDonald was acquitted. Several people were later fined after naming the woman on Twitter and other social media websites." (from

Andrew Malkinson

"Andrew Malkinson (born 23 January 1966) is a British man who was wrongfully convicted and jailed in 2003 for the rape of a 33-year-old woman in Salford, Greater Manchester...Malkinson made another application to the CCRC in 2021, and, in 2022, a man was arrested in connection with the original crime. The CCRC referred the case for appeal, and the conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal in July 2023, using evidence from the 2007 re-testing of samples, which identified a man who had subsequently been placed in the National DNA Database." (from

Barri White and Keith Hyatt

"Barri White and Keith Hyatt were jailed in 2002 [for the murder of Rachel Manning] and had their convictions quashed in 2007." (from

John Kamara

"John Kamara was convicted of the brutal 1981 murder of betting shop manager John Suffield, who was tied to a chair and stabbed 19 times in a botched robbery on Lodge Lane, Toxteth. However in 2001, he was freed by the Court of Appeal after the conviction was declared unsafe." (from

Patryk Pachecka and Grzegorz Szal

"Patryk Pachecka and Grzegorz Szal, have been unanimously acquitted of Murder and Manslaughter after a trial at the Central Criminal Court...Both men were convicted of Murder in December 2017 and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 18 years, while the killer escaped responsibility. Their convictions were overturned in January 2021." (from )

Trupti Patel (wrongly accused/acquitted)

"Trupti Patel is a qualified pharmacist from Maidenhead in Berkshire, England, who was acquitted in 2003 of murdering three of her children, Amar (5 September 1997 – 10 December 1997), Jamie (21 June 1999 – 6 July 1999), and Mia (14 May 2001 – 5 June 2001)." (from

Other notable

Suzanne Holdsworth

Winston Silcott

Judith Ward

Derek Bentley

Stephen Downing

Stefan Kiszko

The Bridgewater Four

The Birmingham Six

The Stockwell Six

The Guildford Four and Maguire Seven

Suspected wrongful convictions in UK (those who remain incarcerated)

Colin Norris

"Colin was a nurse in Leeds when a non-diabetic patient fell into a hypoglycaemic coma. As one of the staff on duty that night, Colin was questioned and eventually convicted on four counts of murder and one of attempted murder, of elderly hospital patients. Inside Justice first became involved with this case when the highly experienced investigative journalist Bob Woffinden brought Colin to the attention of our Advisory Panel. His case has been with the CCRC since 2011. In collaboration with the BBC, a documentary was made which you can view here BBC Panorama: The Innocent Serial Killer. You can also listen to a Radio Leeds interview with Paul May." (from

Roger Kearney

"Roger was convicted of murdering his lover Paula Poolton after her body was found in the boot of her car in 2010. The prosecution described a high level of interaction between victim and attacker yet no forensic evidence was found to incriminate Roger. In 2016 the Advisory Panel of Inside Justice, investigating Roger’s case, was filmed by the BBC,. The resulting two-part documentary Conviction: Murder at the Station can be viewed here and here. Today, cutting edge forensic techniques could be used to identify the killer in this case but Hampshire Constabulary has lost, destroyed and contaminated key exhibits contrary to statutory guidance. Doing so has denied Roger Kearney the chance to prove his innocence.

CCTV footage, which still exists, could be subjected to new analysis which could form the basis of a new appeal but Hampshire Constabulary has repeatedly refused Inside Justice access to this material." (from

Kevin Nunn

"Kevin was convicted of the murder of his girlfriend Dawn Walker in 2006 and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum tariff of 22 years. Although the crime scene was rich in forensic opportunity, nothing implicated Kevin. He maintains his innocence and has taken his case to the Court of Appeal, the High Court, the Supreme Court and the CCRC. Kevin came to us in 2014 for help in the final lead-up to the Supreme Court. Efforts to persuade the CCRC to finish the forensic investigation of Kevin’s case continue and Inside Justice is working with others to develop a national protocol for post-conviction disclosure of evidence. This, in the interests of justice, is vital." (from

David Reece

"Convicted by a 10-2 majority in March 2018 as part of a conspiracy to import and supply Class A drugs, David Reece has consistently maintained his innocence....We have made a short film about David’s day in court. Our belief remains firm that there is something wholly wrong with David's conviction and we must now do everything we possibly can, with all the expertise Inside Justice has, to find that one thing that could get us back to the Court of Appeal, but we need your help." (from

Michael Stone

"Michael Stone (born Michael John Goodban in 1960) is a British man who was convicted of the 1996 murders of Lin and Megan Russell and the attempted murder of Josie Russell, and who is a suspected serial killer. He was sentenced to three life sentences with a tariff of 25 years for the Russell killings. Stone maintains his innocence and continues to contest his conviction. His legal team argues that the serial killer Levi Bellfield could possibly be the true perpetrator of the attack." (from

Ben Geen

"Fresh evidence has emerged that it is claimed undermines the conviction of a nurse jailed for life 17 years ago for murdering two of his patients and poisoning 15 others. Benjamin Geen, then 25, was given a minimum 30-year sentence in 2006 largely on the basis that he had been on shift at the time of an “unusual” number of cases of respiratory arrest in the emergency ward of Horton general hospital in Banbury, Oxfordshire." (from

Omar Benguit

"On Friday 12 July 2002, at around 2:50 am, 26-year-old Jong-Ok Shin was murdered on Malmesbury Park Road, Richmond Park, Bournemouth...Omar Benguit was arrested on 22 August, almost six weeks after the murder, after being named as the killer by a police informant. Beverly Brown, a heroin addict and prostitute, claimed that she was with Benguit and two other male heroin addicts on the night of the murder...It was also argued by the defence that an Italian man, Danilo Restivo, convicted of two other murders who was living in the area at the time, was a more likely suspect for the crime. It was suggested that the murder of Shin resembled similarities between Restivo's other murders." (from

Matthew Hamlen

"Justice in Jeopardy: The Matthew Hamlen Case - A six part series examining the Double Jeopardy conviction of Matthew Hamlen for the murder of Mrs Georgina Edmonds. A murder investigation that got it badly wrong not once, but twice. Seriously flawed forensics, deliberate non disclosure to the defence, other suspects ignored ... a litany of failures that culminated in the conviction of an innocent man." (from

Luke Mitchell

The murder of Jodi Jones is a Scottish murder case from June 2003 in which a 14-year-old schoolgirl was murdered in woodland in Dalkeith, Scotland. Her semi-nude body was discovered behind a wall by her 14-year-old boyfriend Luke Mitchell’s dog Mia, hours after her death...Mitchell rapidly became a prime suspect in Jones' murder. He was arrested on 14 April 2004, convicted of her murder on 11 January 2005 at age 16, and sentenced to serve a minimum of 20 years' imprisonment. Mitchell continues to protest his innocence, and several attempts to overturn his conviction have failed...In May 2007, a BBC ScotlandFrontline Scotland documentary examined a theory that the murder might have been committed by a student who was alleged to have handed in an essay about killing a girl in the woods a few weeks before the murder. A friend of this suspect saw him soon after the murder and claimed that he had scratches on his face. The documentary also challenged the theory that Mitchell was an obsessive Marilyn Manson fan and had a keen interest in the Black Dahlia murder, stating that there is no evidence that Mitchell knew of the Dahlia case until after the murder. (from

Philip Peace

Philip Peace was found guilty in February 2021 of murdering his five-month old baby daughter, Summer. "The collapse of a five-month-old girl was not caused as a result of pneumonia according to an expert, a trial heard. Dr Dewi Evans, a consultant paediatrician, told jurors that Summer Peace had developed the condition after her collapse. Dr Evans told Birmingham Crown Court there was no evidence of Summer having pre-existing pneumonia prior to her collapse. He said he would expect a baby to show “clinical features” – a number of symptoms – which he hadn’t found, jurors were told....The professional said the collapse would not have been caused by pneumonia and concluded, in his opinion, that it was caused by head trauma, a judge heard. Mr Michael Turner QC, defending Summer’s father Philip Peace in the trial, questioned Dr Evans to see if it was possible the condition could be pre-existing. Mr Turner cited sounds heard by paramedics, described as noisy and bubbling, when they listened to Summer’s chest as possibly being evidence of the condition. Dr Evans, in response to the cross-examination, said it could be explained through transmitted noises – noises from the throat – due to the baby’s size. He added it could also be – in conjunction with the first explanation – could be food or liquid being aspirated into her lungs which causes aspiration pneumonia." (from,condition%20could%20be%20pre%2Dexisting)

Lucy Letby

"Colleagues of killer nurse Lucy Letby continue to insist that she is innocent - even after the baby murderer was jailed for life earlier this week. Nurses who worked alongside Letby, 33, at the Countess of Chester hospital and remain there now are reportedly struggling to accept that she murdered seven babies and tried to kill another six. (from

gillgage This is a very interesting read and gives us increasing cause for hope. Thanks to Peter for collating all this relevant information.

The views expressed in this communication are those of Peter Elston at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. They do not constitute investment advice and whilst all reasonable efforts have been used to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this communication, the reliability, completeness or accuracy of the content cannot be guaranteed. This communication provides information for professional use only and should not be relied upon by retail investors as the sole basis for investment.

© Chimp Investor Ltd

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