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British man who served 17 years in prison for rape has conviction quashed thanks to new DNA evidence

Andrew Malkinson raises a fist outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Britain, Wednesday, July 26, 2023. A British man who served nearly 17 years for rape has had his conviction quashed by the country’s Court of Appeal after recently-obtained DNA evidence linked another potential suspect to the crime. Andrew Malkinson, 57, was found guilty of the brutal 2003 attack on a woman in Greater Manchester and jailed for life the following year, with a minimum term of seven years. (Jordan Pettitt/PA via AP)

LONDON (AP) — A British man who served 17 years for rape had his conviction quashed Wednesday by the country’s Court of Appeal after recently obtained DNA evidence linked another suspect to the crime.

Andrew Malkinson, 57, was found guilty of the brutal 2003 attack on a 33-year-old woman in Greater Manchester who had picked him out from a police line-up. At the time of his trial, there was no DNA evidence linking Malkinson to the crime.

He was sentenced to life in prison the following year, with a minimum term of seven years, but he always maintained his innocence and served an additional 10 years. He was eventually released from prison in 2020, but his name was on Britain’s sex offenders register.

In an impassioned statement outside the Royal Courts of Justice in central London after the verdict, Malkinson recounted how many times he had not been believed by police or the legal system since he was first linked to the crime in 2003.

“Today we told this court I was innocent and, finally, they listened,” he said. “But I have been innocent all along, for each of those 20 years that came before today.”

Advancements in genetic technology allowed Malkinson’s legal team and the legal charity Appeal to find another man’s DNA on fragments of the victim’s clothing. Malkinson had his case referred to the Court of Appeal in January, following two unsuccessful previous attempts to appeal his verdict.

Malkinson said that while he was behind bars from 2003 to 2020, he was constantly in fear of attack by other inmates during parts of the day when he wasn’t locked up in his own cell.

“I spent 17 years on my guard against every threat, 17 years counting down the minutes to lock-up so I could be behind my door and safe from other prisoners — but not safe from my own mind,” he said.

Sympathizing with the victim of the rape, Malkinson said he spent his time in prison pondering how she ended up identifying him in a line-up.

“I read all I could and learned about how fraught with risk the process of line-up identification is when someone has been subject to trauma,” he said. “I wondered if the police helped you to pick me.”

Greater Manchester Police, whom Malkinson labelled as “liars” and “in denial,” issued an apology, admitting that he had been a victim of a “grave” miscarriage of justice.

“Whilst we hope this outcome gives him a long overdue sense of justice, we acknowledge that it does not return the years he has lost,” Assistant Chief Constable Sarah Jackson said. “I have offered to meet with him to personally deliver this apology.”

The police force is facing numerous questions over its handling of the case, including how some of the victim’s clothing were destroyed even though a preservation order was in place and why key evidence was not disclosed at the time of the initial trial.

Malkinson’s 70-year-old mother also cited her pain and suffering over the past two decades as a result of her son’s wrongful conviction, and called for those responsible to be brought to justice.

“For nearly 20 years people have assumed that I was just a loyal but deluded mother in denial about what my son was capable of doing,” Trisha Hose said in a statement outside the court that was read out by Sue Beere from the legal charity Appeal.

Police have arrested an unnamed man for the 2003 rape. He is currently on bail.