Prisoner in appeal case 'victory'

Paul Cleeland, who has served nearly 20 years in jail for murder, returned to Wormwood Scrubs from the High Court yesterday claiming a victory in his battle to prove his innocence.

Cleeland's attempt to seek a judicial review of the Home Secretary's refusal to refer his case back to the Court of Appeal was adjourned by two judges who ordered that the Home Office be represented in court to answer allegations that evidence in the case has 'disappeared'.

The judges said they were concerned about Cleeland's claims that the transcript of his 1973 trial - which he believes can help clear him - had gone missing.

Cleeland, 49, said: 'This is a major chink of light. It's the first real break-through . . . in eight court hearings.'