Men cleared of murder after 14 years in prison

Cathy Gordon
Wednesday 18 June 2003 00:00

Two men who fought for nearly 14 years from inside prison to clear themselves of murder had their convictions quashed by the Court of Appeal yesterday.

Gary Mills, 43, and Anthony Poole, 41, who had been freed on bail last week pending the announcement by three appeal judges, said they planned to seek compensation.

The pair were jailed for life at Bristol Crown Court in January 1990 over the fatal stabbing of Hensley Wiltshire during a fight at a flat in Gloucester in January 1989.

Lord Justice Auld, Mr Justice Keith and Mr Justice Simon allowed the men's appeals on two grounds relating to non-disclosure of material and a document wrongly put before the jury which was "unfairly prejudicial" to the defence of both men. Although there had been "misconduct" by a senior officer in the case, the judges ruled that there was no evidence of "systemic" dishonesty in the investigation "such as to undermine the integrity of the prosecution as a whole".

As Mr Mills and Mr Poole left court to cheers from supporters, they said they would be pushing for a full inquiry into Gloucestershire Police.

Mr Poole said: "From what I can see, the judgment doesn't really go nearly in depth as it should in damning the police. There is some criticism there but it falls short. I'm not overly happy - it's not enough. After 14 years, they say a few words and that's it. I'm happy I'm free but it just seems a bit of a letdown. It's just a game of words at the end of the day.

"Compensation doesn't go anywhere near it ...You can't compensate for what we've lost. I need money to live and recoup what I should have gained in those 14 years. But nothing will ever make me feel that justice has been done."

Gloucestershire Constabulary said: "We have no plans to open a new investigation into Mr Wiltshire's death."

At their trial, Mr Mills said he acted in self-defence after being attacked by Mr Wiltshire. Mr Poole said he took no part in the fight.

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