The man who served 25 years for someone else

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A man freed on appeal after serving 25 years of a life sentence for murder said yesterday: "There is so much of my life I have lost." Andrew Evans was speaking on his first weekend of freedom after the Court of Appeal ruled that his conviction was unsafe.

He falsely admitted murdering a schoolgirl, Judith Roberts, when he was 17. Mr Evans "confessed" after suffering a mental breakdown, being dismissed from the Army and dreaming he had seen the face of the 14-year-old victim.

He said yesterday: "What keeps going through my mind is the fact that there is a murderer still out there. But now they can go after him and I hope they will, because it is not right. We have suffered as a family but the family of Judith Roberts have suffered too all these years. I feel ashamed in a sense, because I have got my life back but they have not had justice yet." Speaking on Central Television's Tuesday Special - The Nightmare, Mr Evans added: "I know a lot of people my age will talk about their kids leaving school, their mortgages and their jobs. They are talking about things which have been occupying them for the best part of their lives and all I have got to talk about is 25 years floating around in a dustbin. There is so much ... I have lost."

But he insists he will not become bitter: "I can't, because there was no conspiracy, no falsifying of documents. I don't think for one moment somebody sat down and said `we are going to convict this man'. But I was 17, immature, inadequate, virtually illiterate and that's why what happened to me is so horrific. They took advantage of my lack of maturity." Mr Evans, who says he does not even know how to board a bus or write a cheque, is trying to rebuild his life.

That means spending time with his parents, Bill and Joan, and his sister Sandra who used to take caravan holidays near his prison to visit him. Mrs Evans said: "Seeing him again, it is like the birth of a new child."