A piece in today’s Sunday Times:
A convicted rapist who has refused to accept guilt since 2003 has been freed. DNA evidence could finally prove his innocence.
For 17 years Andrew Malkinson feared he would not see freedom again. He was imprisoned for the rape of a woman left for dead by a stranger in Manchester and was convicted in the absence of any real evidence against him.
Last week we revealed that new DNA evidence — and undisclosed details about the criminal past of witnesses — may yet clear his name.
Malkinson, from Grimsby, was arrested for the rape of a 33-year-old mother in July 2003. He told police DNA tests would clear his name. But the victim picked him out in a video identity parade and told the court she was “more than 100% certain” he was her attacker, even though he did not match her original description of the rapist.
At 8.35am on Friday, Malkinson was released through a security gate into the windy grey car park of HMP North Sea Camp in Lincolnshire. His mother, Tricia, 74, was waiting. “I never thought I’d see the day,” she said. “I thought I’d have passed away by the time it happened.”
After checking they were allowed to hug, Malkinson held her tight, murmuring, “It’s all over now.” But until he clears his name, the ordeal is far from over.
The evidence for which he waited nearly two decades came, cruelly, after his release had been agreed for good behaviour. He remains a convicted sex offender in the eyes of the law and his parole has strict conditions.
If he had committed the crime, accepted his guilt and gone through rehab programmes, he could have been released after 6½ years. Instead, the more he insisted on his innocence, the longer he remained inside.
He was 37 when he was imprisoned and is now 54. “I’ve dreamt about this. I’ve seen many people leave and thought, ‘I’m never going to get out of here.’ I’ve seen guys who’ve done the worst crimes — murder, rape or paedophiles. They’ve done all the courses and been released pretty much when their tariff expires. I’m left behind and I’ve done nothing. That was very hard to take.”
Also at the gate were Malkinson’s lawyer and an investigator from Appeal, the miscarriage of justice charity and law practice that uncovered the evidence.
With Lincolnshire in tier 3, no indoor celebration was possible, but what he wanted was to see the sea again. Walking among the dunes of Gibraltar Point, a nature reserve south of Skegness, he said: “This is the best possible outlook. I’ve got all the different shades of green. The wind is blowing through my hair. I’ve got good people who care about my case and my mother with me. I couldn’t wish for a better release day.”
Speaking later of his experience of high-security prison, he said: “I didn’t see any trees for years: it’s all razor wire and concrete walls. It’s emotionally and psychologically stark, and of course there’s some seriously dangerous people in there. It’s frightening and just horrible to be there.”
One of the things he wanted on getting out was a smartphone. He had been inside for more than three years when the first iPhone was released. The appeal investigator gave him one as a present.
According to his lawyer, Emily Bolton, Malkinson’s freedom will be limited while he remains convicted. “Andy is finally breathing free air. But any minute now we’re going to turn around, take him off this beach and go back to the hostel, where he has to check in every day at a particular time for the foreseeable future. We’re going to separate him from his mother again. He’s going to go into the hostel, and she’s going to go home and spend Christmas without him. He’s obviously on the sex offenders’ register, and his daily life is going to be very closely monitored by the probation service.”
Despite the limitations, Malkinson is excited. He wants to go shopping for food and cook a meal for himself. “It seems terribly mundane to go shopping, but it’s not — it’s a fantastic freedom.”
His legal team now plans to make a third application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission. It will decide if the case should go to the Court of Appeal.
You can subscribe to The Times here.
Our last general election manifesto is here.
If everyone who read this gave us £5.00 – or even better, £5.00 or more, monthly – we could change the world. £5.00 monthly would entitle you to Bronze party membership, details here. Benefits include a dedicated and signed book by Mike Buchanan. Click below to make a difference. Thanks.