Nineteen years of legal wrangling

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The Independent Online
A timetable of events in the Carl Bridgewater case:

19 September 1978: Carl Bridgewater, 13, shot in head with a sawn-off shotgun in 1978 when he went to Yew Tree Farm on his paper round, and apparently disturbed burglars.

30 November 1978: Similar robbery at nearby Chapel Farm, Romsley. Police arrest Patrick Molloy days later.

10 December: Patrick Molloy makes a statement, admitting he had been at Yew Tree Farm when Carl was shot and names Michael and Vincent Hickey and James Robinson as other members of the gang.

9 November 1979: Hickeys and Robinson found guilty of Carl's murder after a month-long trial at Stafford Crown Court. Molloy is convicted of manslaughter. All four found guilty of aggravated burglary.

12 June 1981: Molloy dies in prison.

November 1981: First Appeal Court hearing. Dismissed by Lord Lane, the Lord Chief Justice, saying claims murder had been committed by Hubert Spencer, an ambulance controller who lived nearby was a "red herring".

February 1983: Hickeys stage roof-top prison protest in a bid to get their case reopened.

April 1983: Home Secretary orders new probe into Bridgewater case after allegations that another prisoner, serving life for murder, had confessed. Criticisms of Staffordshire Police for the way they conducted investigation rejected.

January 1984: Michael Hickey sets a record for a prison rooftop protest after spending his 48th day on top of Gartree Prison, Leicestershire.

October 1987: Home Secretary Douglas Hurd refers case back to the Court of Appeal.

17 March 1989: Court of Appeal rejects the appeal and upholds original charges after longest appeal hearing on record.

July 1989: refused leave to appeal to the House of Lords.

4 February 1993: Home Secretary Kenneth Clarke refuses to refer matter back to Court of Appeal for second review.

November 1994: the High Court ordered Home Secretary Michael Howard to release documents on which Kenneth Clarke, then Home Secretary, based his decision in February 1993 to refuse to send the case back to the appeal court.

1995: Campaign grows for another referral to Court of Appeal with television documentaries and debates in Commons, focusing on fact that police did not disclose another set of fingerprints had been found on Carl's bicycle.

7 December 1995: Mr Howard said he was "not minded" to refer the case back to Court of Appeal.

May 1996: lawyers representing the Hickeys and Robinson urge making further representations for a referral based on fingerprint aspect of the case.

July 26 1996: Mr Howard announces he is to refer matter back to Court of Appeal.

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