Man who spent 17 years in jail for rape he did not commit cleared by appeal court

Andrew Malkinson, who served 17 years behind bars for a rape he did not commit, has been cleared by the Court of Appeal.

The 57-year-old (pictured) was found guilty of raping a woman in Greater Manchester in 2003 and the following year he was jailed for life with a minimum term of seven years.

But his conviction was quashed by senior judges on Wednesday, after DNA evidence came to light which linked another potential suspect to the crime.

Overturning his convictions, for two counts of rape and one of choking or strangling with intent to commit rape, Lord Justice Holroyde said Mr Malkinson could “leave the court free and no longer be subject to the conditions of licence”.

At the time of Mr Malkinson’s trial, there was no DNA evidence linking him to the crime and the prosecution case against him was based solely on identification evidence.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) conceded that Mr Malkinson’s conviction was unsafe because the new DNA evidence points to another man, who the court ordered can only be identified as Mr B, and said there “must now be a real possibility” that man will be charged over the attack.

The CPS and Greater Manchester Police (GMP) confirmed in May they would not contest the appeal.

Lord Justice Holroyde said other points argued by Mr Malkinson’s legal team, about “crucial” material that was not disclosed at the time of his trial, “raised a number of substantial and important points” and the court would take time to consider them and give a decision on them later in writing.

He added: “However, we must keep Mr Malkinson waiting no longer to know the outcome of his appeal.”

At the preliminary hearing in May, Edward Henry KC, representing Mr Malkinson, told the court the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which investigates possible miscarriages of justice and referred Mr Malkinson’s case to the Court of Appeal, had been aware since 2009 that there was “crime-specific” DNA which was not a match for either Mr Malkinson or the victim.

However, he said at that time the CCRC “did not consider it tipped the balance towards a referral” to the Court of Appeal.

In October last year, the sample was found to be a partial match for another man, who the court ordered can only be identified as Mr B.

Mr Malkinson previously applied twice for his case to be reviewed by the CCRC but was turned down, eventually being released from prison in December 2020.

After his release, advancements in scientific techniques allowed his legal team, supported by legal charity Appeal, to provide new DNA analysis that cast doubt on his conviction to the CCRC.

The body then commissioned its own testing which found that DNA from the victim’s clothing matched another man on the national police database.

GMP confirmed in January that a man had been arrested and released under investigation in light of the new information, but no decision has been made as to whether he will be charged.

Andrew Malkinson’s full statement after being cleared by appeal court

This is the full statement read out by Andrew Malkinson after he was cleared by the Court of Appeal following 17 years behind bars for a rape he did not commit.

“I came to the police station in 2003 and told the officers I was innocent. They didn’t believe me.

“I came to the crown court in Manchester in 2004 and told the jury I was innocent. They didn’t believe me.

“I came to this appeal court in 2006 and told them I was innocent. They didn’t believe me.

“I applied to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which is supposed to investigate miscarriages of justice, and told them I was innocent.

“They didn’t investigate and they didn’t believe me. Not once but twice.

“Today we told this court I was innocent and, finally, they listened. But I have been innocent all along, for each of those 20 years that came before today.

“Nothing any police officer, court or commission said about me since 2003 changed that reality.

“You are here to gather news. That declaration from that bench in there behind me is not news to me.

“When a jury finds you guilty when you are innocent, reality does not change.

“You know you did not do the crime. But all the people around you start living in a false fantasy universe and treat you as if you are guilty.

“The police, prison officers, probation, prisoners, journalists, judges – as a minority of one, you are forced to live their false fantasy.

“On August 2 2003 I was kidnapped by the state. It has taken nearly 20 years to persuade my kidnappers to let me go.

“Seventeen years, four months and 16 days of that time were spent in prison.

“At every parole hearing I sat before a panel who shook their heads at me, considering me to be dangerous – and all that time the real perpetrator, the real dangerous person, was free.

“More recently I was allowed to leave prison but with my name on the sex offenders’ register and under tight supervision by police and probation. I was not free.

“And now I have finally been exonerated, I am left outside this court without an apology, without an explanation, jobless, homeless, expected to simply slip back into the world with no acknowledgment of the gaping black hole that they opened up in my life; a black hole that looms so large behind me, even here today, that I fear it will swallow me up.

“That black hole is hard for a person who has never slept a night behind bars to conceive of.

“People convicted of rape are the lowest of the low. I did not commit the crime but I was treated as if I did.

“I spent 17 years on my guard against every threat, 17 years counting down the minutes to lock-up so I could be behind my door and safe from other prisoners – but not safe from my own mind.

“Imagining I would die there. Perhaps murdered in the kitchens by a fellow prisoner. Or left to die of hypoglycaemia in my cell in the night. Or being driven insane by the system and dying at my own hand.

“But somehow I lived. Told every day that I was a liar, I sought the uncomplicated truths of science and mathematics through Open University.

“Told every day that I was a violent monster, I sought tiny respites through Buddhism and meditation.

“Told that I was ‘in denial’ about my ‘offending behaviour’, I read everything I could about a justice system that was in denial about its mistakes.

“Since I was arrested in 2003, the police, the prison system and probation service have been calling me a liar because I denied that I committed the crime.

“They claimed I was ‘in denial’ and made me serve an extra 10 more years in prison because I would not make a false confession.

“I am not a liar. I am not in denial but I will tell you who is: Greater Manchester Police are liars and they are in denial.

“Even after this judgment today, I predict we will see them denying responsibility for what happened. We will see them stretching credulity with their excuse-making.

“Greater Manchester Police have been scrambling to cover up how they wrongfully convicted me for 20 years.

“Rather than investigate the multiple leads they were given by the public, they made a horribly traumatised woman look at a line with me in it even though I didn’t match the description she had given of her attacker.

“They exploited a hopeless heroin addict and his girlfriend, both with dishonesty convictions, having them tell the jury they identified me.

“They unlawfully withheld crucial evidence which would have helped my defence.

“Once I began appealing, the police unlawfully destroyed the victim’s clothing that I was demanding be retested along with other evidence, not just once but three times.

“And all this time, the person who really did this horrific crime has been at large – and this means it is not just me who has been denied justice, it is the victim.

“As this is my only chance to say something to her, please allow me to address her directly.

“Sitting in my prison cell, I used to wrack my brains as to how you could say you were so sure it was me when I knew it was not.

“I read all I could and learned about how fraught with risk the process of line-up identification is when someone has been subject to trauma. I wondered if the police ‘helped’ you to pick me.

“Since my release, I have had the privilege of being introduced to an American woman called Jennifer Thompson, a rape survivor who was caught up in a wrongful conviction, and she has helped me at least begin to try to understand what you went through that night and what it has been like for you since.

“I am so sorry that you were attacked and brutalised that night by that man. I am not the person who attacked you but what happened to me is not your fault.

“I am so sorry if my fight for the truth, as I knew it to be, has caused you extra trauma. I am so sorry that the system let you down. It let us both down.

“There are no winners in a wrongful conviction case with the exception of the real perpetrator. Everyone gets failed, from the original victim to the wrongfully convicted person.

“I sincerely hope that you are receiving the support you need and the apology from the police that you deserve.”

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