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
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly finalists Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge
tvLive: Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge face-off in the final
Sport
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture