Doubt cast on convictions of 'M25 Gang': Prime evidence was from accomplices, court told

A 'BEDROCK OF DOUBT' existed in the convictions of three men jailed for crimes by the so-called M25 Gang, rendering them unsafe, the Court of Appeal was told yesterday.

Michael Mansfield QC, representing Raphael Rowe and Michael Davis, two of the three serving life sentences for murder, robbery, violence and firearms offences, said the prime evidence against the men came from accomplices.

There was no scientific evidence, such as blood, fibres, soil or fingerprints linking them with the crimes. Despite the fact that the three men were black, all the victims described two white men and one black man.

Rowe, 25, Davis, 26, and Randolph Johnson, 28, were convicted at the Old Bailey in March 1990 of incidents on 15 December 1988 in Surrey, including the murder of a hairdresser, Peter Hurburgh, and two burglaries.

At the outset of yesterday's hearing Lord Justice Watkins, sitting with Mr Justice Leonard and Mr Justice Scott Baker, rejected an application from Mr Mansfield to order the Crown to disclose who had received pounds 25,000 reward money in the case.

Mr Mansfield suggested that some of the money had gone to three white male accomplices and two women associated with the men, who had all given evidence for the Crown at the original trial: 'One or more of the accomplices were certainly involved in the offences. None was charged with anything. Two of them thought they might be charged; another claimed he was told he would not be charged.'

The court also rejected an application by Mr Mansfield for the disclosure of a report of a police inquiry into a 38-minute interview between one of the accomplices, Norman Duncan, and detectives, which was not recorded. The officers insisted it was a 'background chat'.

Mr Mansfield said the only fingerprints discovered belonged to Mr Duncan and another of the accomplices, Mark Jobbins, on a car at the murder scene. Mr Duncan, Mr Jobbins and the three convicted men had all shared a house in south London.

'There is a mystery about this case. It was a mystery conceded by the Crown to the jury . . . to which there is no answer,' he said. 'There is an underlying bedrock of doubt.'

Despite evidence against the accomplices, they had not been charged with any crime. Mr Mansfield said they had handled the stolen property, had access to weapons, one of the descriptions fitted Mr Duncan and they had disposed of the stolen cars.

He said that on Monday the Crown disclosed to the appellants pages from a police officer's notebook recording an interview with one of the victims, which also mentioned two white men and one black man. Its sudden emergence could amount to 'a material irregularity'; it had not been disclosed at the original trial.

The hearing was adjourned until today.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?