Silcott conviction may go to appeal

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Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, is to consider new evidence that could lead to Winston Silcott's outstanding murder conviction being referred to the Court of Appeal.

Silcott is at present in Maidstone prison, serving a life sentence for the murder of Anthony Smith, a boxer, at a party in 1984. Two new witnesses have recently come forward to corroborate Silcott's claim that he killed in self- defence after being attacked by Smith and two others, all of whom were carrying knives.

A team of Metropolitan Police detectives has conducted interviews with the new witnesses and a third party-goer who has expanded on a previous statement to support Silcott's version of events.

The police file will be passed to the Home Office this month and Mr Howard will consider whether there are grounds for the case to be reheard.

Silcott's supporters have been campaigning for four-and-a-half years to have the Smith case tried again. If Silcott was to be cleared, it would be the third time he had been acquitted of a murder charge.

Silcott, 37, was convicted by a jury of the murder of PC Keith Blakelock, during the 1985 Broadwater Farm riot in Tottenham, north London. He was awarded pounds 17,000 in compensation when the conviction was later overturned. In 1980, Silcott was cleared of the murder of Lennie McIntosh, a musician who was stabbed at a party.

The party at which Smith, 23, died took place 12 years ago this weekend in Hackney, east London. Silcott's supporters claim the fight was the result of a gang feud, which he became caught up in while trying to act as an honest broker.