Family of Liverpool car home manager fail to clear his name

THE family of a former Liverpool care home manager who died branded a paedophile has failed in an extremely rare posthumous bid to clear his name.

Kenneth Tom Mackreth, who died in 2006 aged 92, was convicted of 23 counts of indecent assault and 10 of rape against 10 girls between 1973 and 1977 at Liverpool crown court in July 2000. He was jailed for five years.

Mackreth, formerly of Clifton Drive, Lytham St Annes, always denied his guilt and, in July last year, the Appeal Court granted his daughter, Susan Bateman, permission to pursue a posthumous challenge to the jury’s verdicts.

The family’s barrister, Mark Barlow, brought the case before Lord Justice Rix, Mr Justice Griffith Williams and Judge Nicholas Cooke QC yesterday.

He argued that the jury which convicted Mackreth had been “misled as to the possible motivation of the complainants” in making the allegations of sex abuse, as jurors had not been told about claims for compensation they were pursuing.

“The defence were not able to cross-examine on this possible motivation for making false accusations against a man many years after the event,” the barrister said.

He also argued that, because of the long time lapse and the absence of vital documentary evidence of day to day events at the time, Mackreth could not possibly have had a fair trial.

“The missing documents fundamentally undermined the fairness of the trial,” said Mr Barlow.

However, Andrew Menary QC, for the Crown, pointed out that anyone is entitled to make a compensation claim, especially a legitimate victim of a crime.

He also insisted that the missing documents were “not determinative of any of the issues at trial”.

Lord Justice Rix dismissed the appeal at the end of the day-long hearing, saying the Appeal Court would give his reasons for doing so at a later date.