Dateline: 5th September 2013
Police Apologise to Barri White and Keith Hyatt
Belief in the essential moral soundness of the police and criminal justice system is one thing that generally unites us a nation. Despite tabloid handwringing about 'soft' sentencing and a simmering undertone of belief that the restoration of the death penalty would be A Good Thing, we normally go about our business fairly secure in the knowledge that we won't be imprisoned for a crime we haven't committed.
But over recent years, that perception has, perhaps, suffered a gradual erosion. In what is merely the latest one of a series of miscarriages of justice, two men convicted of the murder of a young woman in Milton Keynes in 2000 have had their convictions quashed and have finally received an apology from the police.
The body of Rachel Manning was found with sever injuries, having suffered a sustained sexual assault. Her then boyfriend Barri White was charged with her murder - having been the last person to have seen her alive - while his friend was charged with helping White hide the body.
Following the guilty plea, White spent 6 years in prison until his conviction was quashed. In 2013 another man, Shahidul Ahmed, was finally convicted of the murder on the basis of new DNA evidence arising from his conviction of another sexual assault in 2010.
In an interview with the BBC, White told a reporter:
"Don't ever think that what happened to me won't happen to you, because it can. I'm still angry, that people can do that - they can put you in prison because that's what they want.Your whole world just implodes...Nothing makes sense any more. Everything you believe in... justice."
While it is a stretch to suggest that Britain is a police state, it is certainly true that, on circumstantial evidence alone, you can find yourself in a world for which you are ill-equipped, and possibly with no chance of escaping the stigma.
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