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?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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: Customer Service and Business Support Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: By developing intimate relationships with inte...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service and Business Support Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Highly successful private company - Oundle bas...

Recruitment Genius: PA to Consultant Surgeon

£25000 - £25500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

Recruitment Genius: Service Manager - Franchised Dealership

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific