Briton leaves Philippines after escape from death row

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The Independent Online
A BRITISH businessman who faced death by lethal injection in the Philippines after being accused of raping his 12-year-old step-daughter arrived back in Britain yesterday after his conviction was quashed.

Albert Wilson, 48, of Dover in Kent, was released from the Munginlupa National Penitentiary on the advice of the Philippines solicitor general, after an appeal to the supreme court.

Mr Wilson, a property developer, arrived at Heathrow Airport yesterday morning with his common-law Filipina wife, Vicky Delistan.

His British solicitor, Andrew McCooey, who met them at the airport, said: "Mr Wilson is extremely relieved to be back and thanks God that being Christmas he has finally been granted his freedom."

The solicitor, who represents Britons on death row abroad, said the first he knew of his client's release was a telephone call from Alan Collins, the British ambassador to the Philippines, asking him if he could meet Mr Wilson and Ms Delistan at Heathrow.

Mr McCooey said: "He was the first Westerner to be sentenced to death in the Philippines and he has now been found unanimously not guilty." He said being on death row was not an idle threat. "He wrote to me a lot saying `They are executing people here all the time'."

Mr Wilson has always pleaded his innocence, saying his step-daughter was pressured to bring the allegation in an extortion attempt by her natural father.

Ms Delistan, who went into hiding when she faced charges of acting as an accomplice, never believed the claim. But Mr Wilson was convicted in 1996 by a single judge and sentenced to death two years later.

Steven Jakobi, of Fair Trials Abroad, which took up Mr Wilson's case two years ago, said: "We are delighted Mr Wilson is home as this was one of the most serious miscarriages of justice in South-east Asia that we were concerned with."

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