Monday, 3 November 2014

Miscarriage of Justice - Andrew Evans

In a switch from condemning killers, this is a case in which a young soldier suffering from mental issues, was convicted of the savage murder of a schoolgirl, and spent the next twenty five years in jail.  He confessed to the crime after supposedly seeing the victims face IN A DREAM!  There was not a shred of evidence against him, only his confession, and even some of the details did not match the facts of the crime scene.  Details of a local crime are reported by the media and it is easy to come by some facts.

    Andrew Evans was a soldier awaiting a medical discharge from the Forces, after suffering from an asthma attack.  He was semi-literate, very nervous and was socially inept.  He was serving at Whittington Barracks near Tamworth, Staffordshire.  It was on June 7th 1972, that 14 year old Grammar School pupil Judith Roberts, was cycling along Comberford Lane, from her home in Wiggington, when she was attacked and beaten to death.  A massive Police investigation involving two hundred officers, took over 15,000 sets of fingerprints, more than 11,000 statements and knocked on over 11,000 doors.  Soldiers were asked to account for their movements on the day in question, at the Whittington Barracks.  Evans gave three alibi witnesses but Police could not trace one, and the other two were not at the barracks at the time.  Evans had been discharged from service the day before the murder.  He was visited by Police at his grandmother`s.  Later on, he insisted on going to the Police station, saying that he kept seeing a girl`s face in a dream and wanted to see a picture of the victim.  Despite the obviously distressed condition he was in, he was questioned but said he did not know if he had done it.  The Police were dismissive at first, but gradually came to believe he was the culprit, despite the complete absence of Judith`s blood on any of his clothes, the fingerprints on her bike did not match his, and no witnesses at all.  All there was as evidence was his confession, which he retracted.  A drug called Bietal was used to elicit the truth from him, but this drug was later discredited for inducing false memories, the basis of some of his defence.  His defence suggested that he witnessed the murder but did not help, and so took on some responsibility.  

    He was convicted at Birmingham Crown Court in June 1973 and sentenced to life.  He was then very thoughtfully informed that he had no grounds for appeal, so he sat back to spend many years in jail.  It was in 1994, that through a couple of people, his case was taken up by two men working in Television, and an appeal was launched.  In 1997, the Court of Appeal quashed his conviction and cited a number of failings.  These included no medical help being offered despite the obvious state of hysteria he was in.  He was never asked if he wanted to see a Solicitor - a Doctor or Solicitor would have never allowed him to be questioned or give a statement as he was unfit to.  He was never repeatedly cautioned about what he was saying, a psychiatrist at the trial said that Evans was suffering from amnesia, and it was obvious that Evans was under great stress and anxiety.  There was no evidence at all to link him to the crime.  A print on Judith`s bike was not his.  The Appeal Judges said that under the rules now, his statement would have been inadmissible.

    Police later said that the inquiry would not be reopened as all leads had been exhausted.  They also said that their men followed correct procedure and there was no misconduct on any officers part.  In 2000, Andrew Evans received £750,000 in compensation.  One point struck me; Judith was dragged from her bike.  Just like April Fabb and Genette Tate.  Judith was beaten to death.  Did she fight back just a little too much, resulting in violence?  We know which person has been considered a suspect for these disappearances.  Robert Black.  Like April and Genette, Judith was attacked in a country lane.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  Maybe not.