UK

Andrew Malkinson accuses police of ‘cover up’ after being cleared of rape

Andrew Malkinson outside the Royal Courts of Justice after clearing his name (Jordan Pettitt/PA)
Andrew Malkinson outside the Royal Courts of Justice after clearing his name (Jordan Pettitt/PA) Andrew Malkinson outside the Royal Courts of Justice after clearing his name (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

Andrew Malkinson, who served 17 years behind bars for a rape he did not commit, accused police of “scrambling to cover up” how he was wrongly convicted for 20 years.

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

He served 10 more because he maintained his innocence.

But his conviction was quashed by senior judges at the Court of Appeal on Wednesday after DNA evidence linking another man to the crime came to light.

Andrew Malkinson, who served 17 years in prison for a rape he did not commit, reads a statement outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London after being cleared by the Court of Appeal
Andrew Malkinson, who served 17 years in prison for a rape he did not commit, reads a statement outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London after being cleared by the Court of Appeal Andrew Malkinson, who served 17 years in prison for a rape he did not commit, reads a statement outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London after being cleared by the Court of Appeal (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

Addressing journalists gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Mr Malkinson said: “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 (GMP) have been scrambling to cover up how they wrongfully convicted me for 20 years.”

Addressing the victim of the crime he did not commit, he said: “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.”

Mr Malkinson’s mother Tricia Hose, in her mid-70s, said: “Now Andy’s name has been cleared, suddenly in the public eye, I am no longer a deluded mother.

“My son is no longer a monster.

“But what has been done to him cannot be undone. The damage will be with him for the rest of his life and the woman who got attacked has been denied justice, just as my son was.

Andrew Malkinson hearing
Andrew Malkinson hearing Andrew Malkinson spent an extra 10 years in prison after refusing to falsely confess (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

“As any parent would, what I want for Andy is a full account of how this happened and for the people responsible for my son’s wrongful conviction to be brought to justice alongside the man responsible for this brutal attack.”

Overturning Mr Malkinson’s convictions, for two counts of rape and one of choking or strangling with intent to commit rape, Lord Justice Holroyde said he 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 only on identification evidence.

But a DNA sample, held by the forensic archive, was tested and found last October to link to another man, who has since been arrested. A decision on whether he will be charged is awaited.

Edward Henry KC, representing Mr Malkinson, told the court GMP destroyed the victim’s clothing and a representative from legal charity Appeal, which has worked on the case, said that without the sample held by the archive, Mr Malkinson would have been denied the chance to prove his innocence.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) admitted 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” Mr B will be charged with the attack.

The CPS and GMP said in May they would not contest the appeal.

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

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

The court will decide later whether Mr Malkinson’s convictions were also unsafe because of what Mr Henry described as “deplorable disclosure failures, which mostly lay at the door of the Greater Manchester Police”.

They include police photographs of the victim’s left hand, which supported her evidence that she broke a nail scratching the face of her attacker, and the fact the two eyewitnesses who identified Mr Malkinson had convictions for dishonesty offences and one was a heroin addict.

None of this was available to Mr Malkinson’s defence team at his trial and Mr Henry said the failure to disclose the photographs “deprived” Mr Malkinson of his “strongest defence point – his lack of any facial injury”.

The barrister also said jurors were “misled” about the eyewitnesses due to the lack of information about their history.

GMP issued an apology to Mr Malkinson after the court’s announcement.

Assistant Chief Constable Sarah Jackson said: “We are truly sorry to Mr Malkinson that he is the victim of such a grave miscarriage of justice in being convicted of a crime he did not commit and serving a 17-year custodial sentence.

“Whilst we hope this outcome gives him a long overdue sense of justice, we acknowledge that it does not return the years he has lost. I have offered to meet with him to personally deliver this apology.

“We are also profoundly sorry to the victim of this crime, who not only suffered a horrific trauma 20 years ago but also relived the experience during a criminal trial and now may endure additional harm caused by learning that the true offender has not yet been brought to justice.”

Emily Bolton, director of the legal charity Appeal, said outside court: “We of course welcome today’s ruling overturning Andy’s wrongful conviction but the question which should trouble everyone is why it took nearly 20 years to get here.

Andrew Malkinson hearing
Andrew Malkinson hearing Mr Malkinson’s mother Tricia outside the Royal Courts of Justice (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

“The truth is this case is an indictment of both the Court of Appeal and the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC).

“These so-called ‘safety nets’ in our justice system missed three earlier opportunities to put this obvious miscarriage of justice right.”

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

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

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 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 said in January 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.