Wrongly Convicted Database Record

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Michael McMahon


Years Imprisoned:

11

Charge:

Murder

Sentence:

20 years

Year Convicted:

1970

Year Cleared:

2003

Location of Trial:

United Kingdom

Result:

Judicially Exonerated Posthumously

Summary of Case:

Co-defendant of Patrick Murphy and David Cooper in the 1969 Luton, UK post office robbery in which a clerk was murdered. The getaway vehicle was identified as belonging to Alfred Matthews, who had a previous conviction for robbing a post office. In exchange for having all charges against him dropped, Matthews picked Cooper, McMahon and Murphy out of an identification parade. The three men were convicted on the basis of Matthews identification. Murphy's conviction was quashed in 1972 on the basis of alibi evidence that he could not have been at the scene of the robbery. McMahon and Cooper were released in 1980. Cooper died in 1995 at 51, and McMahon in 1999 at 55, while still trying to get their convictions quashed, claiming that Matthews had randomly picked them from the people in the line-up as a way to have his charges dropped. On appeal the lawyer for the two men was Gareth Peirce, who also aided the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four. The police officer in charge of the case was Chief Superintendent Ken Drury, who was later jailed for corruption. Court of Appeals posthumously quashed both men's conviction on July 31, 2003.

Conviction Caused By:

Perjury by the prosecution's chief suspect who had charges dropped in exchange for identifying the three innocent co-defendants.

Innocence Proved By:

'Court of Appeals quashed murder conviction on July 31, 2003 after referral by the Criminal Cases Review Commission

Defendant Aided By:

Compensation Awarded:

Was Perpetrator Found?

Age When Imprisoned:

26

Age When Released:

36

Information Source 1:

"It Never Feels A Triumph: Interview with Gareth Peirce," Bob Woffinden, The Guardian, June 24, 2003"

Information Location 1:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/story/0,3605,983665,00.html

Information Source 2:

Men cleared of 1970 murder, BBC News, July 31, 2003

Information Location 2:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/beds/bucks/herts/3112667.stm

Information Source 3:

Dead men finally cleared of murder: Appeal court quashes convictions for 1969 Luton post office killing, Bob Woffinden (staff), The Guardian (London UK), August 1, 2003

Information Location 3:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1010122,00.html

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Innocents Database Created and Maintained by Hans Sherrer innocents@forejustice.org