Man who served 17 years in jail for rape he did not commit dismisses apology from UK review body

A British man who spent 17 years in prison for a rape he did not commit dismissed an “unreserved apology” on Thursday from a review body that twice turned down his attempts to have his conviction referred to the Court of Appeal.

Andrew Malkinson, 58, had his conviction quashed last July by the appeal court after DNA evidence linked another suspect to the crime. He had applied to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, or CCRC, which investigates potential miscarriages of justice, on two occasions – the first time in 2009 – but was rebuffed both times.

Following an independent review of its involvement, the commission’s chairwoman Helen Pitcher said it was “clear” that the body had failed Malkinson. The review has not yet been published.

“For this, I am deeply sorry. I have written to Mr Malkinson to offer him my sincere regret and an unreserved apology on behalf of the commission,” she said. “Nobody can ever begin to imagine the devastating impact that Mr Malkinson’s wrongful conviction has had on his life, and I can only apologise for the additional harm caused to him by our handling of his case.”

Malkinson said he felt “vindicated” by the apology, but that “it is too little too late”.

“The CCRC’s delay in apologising to me added significantly to the mental turmoil I am experiencing as I continue to fight for accountability for what was done to me,” he said in a statement issued on his behalf by legal charity Appeal. “The CCRC’s failings caused me a world of pain. Even the police apologised straight away.”

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A watchdog is also looking into Greater Manchester Police, which was deemed to have withheld evidence. Doubts also emerged over some of the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses at Malkinson’s trial in 2004. The British government is also carrying out an inquiry into the miscarriage of justice.

Malkinson also reiterated his call for Pitcher to be fired, urging the UK’s justice secretary, Alex Chalk, to bring in “new leadership” at the body.

“The CCRC should be led by people with empathy, humility and a track record of fighting injustice,” Malkinson said.

Malkinson had been found guilty of the brutal 2003 attack on a 33-year-old woman in Salford, northwest of Manchester, who had picked him out from a police line-up. At the time of his conviction, there was no DNA evidence linking Malkinson to the crime.

He was sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum term of seven years, but he always maintained his innocence, which contributed to him spending an additional 10 years behind bars.

Malkinson was eventually released from prison in 2020, but his name remained registered on Britain’s sex offenders’ list until his conviction was quashed.

Police have arrested another man for the 2003 rape. He is currently on bail.



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