A RUBERY man jointly found guilty in 1998 of the horrific murder of two Redditch school boys may have been wrongly convicted, according to the Innocence Network UK (INUK).
THe INUK, which is a pro bono organisation established at the University of Bristol Law School in 2004, has published a dossier of 45 cases of alleged victims of wrongful conviction, including that of Roger Morgan from Rubery.
Mr Morgan and co-accused Stanley Hale, from Quinton, Birmingham, were found guilty and given life sentences on June 26, 1998, for the murders of Graham Trickett, aged 14, and his brother Kraig, who was 10, who lived with their parents in Ombersley Close, in Woodrow, Redditch.
The two boys died in a fire at their home in June 1997. Their parents managed to escape from the blaze which destroyed the property.
During a 14-day trial at Worcester Crown Court, the jury heard that Morgan and Hale had petrol bombed the brother’s home, with Morgan driving them to and from the house, as a revenge attack over a bike which had been stolen and which Hale had later bought for £5. Kraig had apparently “grassed up” Hale by telling a family friend where the bike was being stored.
But the INUK, which is urgently calling for reforms to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, says there are serious doubts over the conviction.
The INUK dossier states: “The evidence against Mr Morgan was tenuous, and the eyewitness only claimed to have seen ‘two figures in the darkness’.
“In addition, the prosecution claimed that Mr Morgan confessed to an ex-cell mate, who was later alleged to have admitted he lied because he had heard the victims were children.
“Mr Morgan maintains that he was with his partner and daughter at the time of the incident and his neighbours can testify to this. There is also a possibility that the fire was started due to an electrical fault.”
With the 45 cases investigated by the INUK, the Criminal Cases Review Commission is unable to refer them to the Court of Appeal because any evidence suggesting innocence in the cases is not fresh or the jury decided to convict despite hearing conflicting evidence.
Dr Michael Naughton, founder and director of INUK, said: “The crimes that these people are convicted of are appalling, but in every single case there are questions, conflicts and problems in the evidence that led to their convictions.”
For more details, see innocencenetwork.org.uk.