Dirty tricks claim over paper boy murder case

A DIRTY tricks campaign is being waged against three men trying to clear their names of the Carl Bridgewater murder, their solicitor said yesterday as he called for an inquiry into the apparent leak of a police report about the case.

The BBC said it had obtained details of a report by Merseyside police which concluded that the convictions of Vincent and Michael Hickey, and James Robinson, were safe. The men were sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of 13-year-old Carl at a Staffordshire farmhouse in 1978.

According to the BBC, the police report confirmed the validity of a disputed confession by a fourth man, Pat Molloy, who has since died. It is also said to have uncovered further evidence which supports the prosecution case.

The latest police inquiry - there have been four others - was ordered after the men presented a dossier of new evidence to the Home Office last year. This included testimony from experts who said Molloy's confession, which he later retracted, had been fabricated.

Yesterday, the men's solicitor, Jim Nichol, reacted angrily. 'In the past few days, we have seen allegations, smears and innuendos against the Maguire Seven, the Birmingham Six, and now we have the Carl Bridgewater case,' he said. 'It's significant that the particular points which have been leaked are those which are favourable to the police when I know there are substantial matters in our favour which the police have been able to confirm.

'Kenneth Clarke (the Home Secretary) should order an immediate investigation into who has leaked this report.'

Mr Nichol said he had been assured that Mr Clarke had not yet decided whether to refer the case back to the Court of Appeal. A decision is expected shortly.

His anger was echoed by Ann Whelan, Michael Hickey's mother, who was 'very upset' for the three men. But she added: 'In a way it's no more than we expected when you have the police investigating themselves. It makes an even stronger case for having an independent body to investigate miscarriages of justice.

'I still remain convinced that logical thinking people will put this case back to the Court of Appeal eventually and that the men will walk free.'

Both Merseyside Police and Staffordshire Police, which has a copy of the report, denied being the source of the leak. 'We wouldn't do that sort of thing,' a spokesperson for the Merseyside force said. 'Anything said about the contents of this report is speculation.'

The men lost an appeal against their convictions in 1989 after an eight-week hearing, but have been confident that their case would be referred back after submitting new evidence. A psychologist said there was less than a one in a million chance that Molloy's confession occurred under the circumstances claimed by the police. Without the confession, the case fell apart, lawyers said.

At the 1979 trial, the jury was instructed to ignore Molloy's confession but its contents were made known to them and must have had a powerful impact, the men's supporters claim.

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
Arts and Entertainment
Leonardo DiCaprio talks during the press conference for the film
films

Film follows park rangers in the Congo

Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
News
i100
Sport
Adel Taraabt in action for QPR against West Ham earlier this month
footballQPR boss says midfielder is 'not fit to play football'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

History Teacher

£60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Seconda...

** Female PE Teacher Urgently Required In Liverpool **

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Secon...

** Cover Supervisors Urgently Required In Knowsley **

£60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Seconda...

Java developer - (Intershop Enfinity)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Java Developer...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album