Appeal court clears man of boy's murder

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The Independent Online
A MAN who served more than eight years of a life sentence for the murder of a 10-year-old boy was yesterday cleared and freed by the Court of Appeal.

Mark Cleary's parents wept in court as three appeal judges held their son's conviction was 'unsafe and unsatisfactory'.

The judges said they felt 'very real anxiety' about the way Mr Cleary was interrogated by police and the reliability of information they had put to him, and about errors made by the trial judge in his summing-up to the jury.

Mr Cleary, now 28, of Bestwood, Nottingham, was implicated in the brutal murder of Wayne Keeton in 1985 by statements made to police by his co-defendant, Philip Atherton. It was Atherton's account that was put to Mr Cleary during interviews and led to an alleged confession. But this, said the appeal judges, should probably never have been allowed in evidence.

Mr Cleary said he had never really given up hope. 'Justice has been done, but it should have been done eight years ago,' he said.

Mr Cleary was 19 when he and Atherton, 21, were jailed in February 1986. Wayne Keeton was found drowned but there was evidence of potentially fatal kick injuries which Atherton claimed had been inflicted by Mr Cleary.

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