Since Inside Justice started, we have been asked to help more than 1,400 prisoners claiming innocence. You can read some of our featured cases here, but this is the tip of the iceberg of our substantial body of work. We cannot provide information about cases which are progressing through the courts.
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After a six-week trial at the Old Bailey in December 2017, Patryk Pachecka and Grzegorz Szal were both wrongly convicted of the murder of Grzegorz Pietrycki in Wood Green, North London. They were sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 18 years, while the real killer escaped responsibility.
During the original trial the men blamed another man we’re calling ‘Mr X’ who was freed after the second trial having been formally acquitted when the jury could not reach a verdict.
There were catastrophic failures by the investigating police and forensic scientists who did not analyse the crime scene accurately and misinterpreted evidence. They wrongly believed that the fatal stab wound was inflicted in the front bedroom of the flat and that the victim then left the property, staggered around the corner where he collapsed and died.
After the 2017 trial Inside Justice was contacted by barrister Siobhan Grey KC, Libertas Chambers and solicitor Jason Lartey of Lartey and Co who were acting on behalf of Patryk. They had concerns about the case and were looking for support from the charity’s Advisory Panel and casework team to help appeal the case.
It was at this point that Jo Millington, who is a Bloodstain Pattern Analysis expert and member of the Inside Justice Advisory Panel and trustee, came forward to offer her expertise. She then contacted two forensic pathologists - Professor Jack Crane CBE and Dr Claas Buschmann - who joined forces to reinvestigate the evidence against the men.
Siobhan Grey KC said: "Inside Justice provides an amazing support network of experts who are on hand to deal with every issue which arises in a criminal case - scientific forensic experts as well as CCTV and telephone experts were immediately accessible to help us launch a complex criminal appeal."
Inside Justice also helped Siobhan connect with Bartosz Weremczuk, Poland’s leading Private Investigator, and investigative journalists Jakub Stachowiak and Patryk Szczepaniak at TVN Media to find out more about Mr X and his life in Poland before he came to England.
Meanwhile our forensic expert colleagues were able to ascertain that the victim had received the fatal knife wound to his neck a few streets away from the flat in an alleyway, contrary to what was accepted in the original trial.
Jo Millington’s expert blood pattern analysis also added vital new evidence that was not available to the original jury.
CCTV footage also showed the victim being followed by Mr X on leaving the flat while Patryk and Grzegorz left in the opposite direction.
Critical fresh evidence around Mr X’s previous violent convictions were also uncovered by the investigative journalists in Poland which proved to be pivotal in appealing the case.
This new evidence along with a number of other legal points were all put forward by Patryk’s legal team which proved strong enough to have both Patyrk and Grzegorz’s convictions for murder quashed by the Court of Appeal and a retrial ordered.
The team was then joined by barrister Richard Vardon, 18 St John Street Chambers, who bolstered the legal support provided to the team and Patryk himself.
Jo Millington’s analysis of the evidence, the report she produced and her expert witness testimony at the retrial helped the court make sense of the crime scene and the evidence that had been gathered. She was described by Siobhan Grey KC as ‘magnificent in court.’
The jury returned a not-guilty verdict at the retrial in November 2021 and both men were released having served four years in prison.
The murder of Mr Pietrycki remains unsolved.
Patryk is now living with his family in Poland. Just a few days after his release he told Inside Justice: "Now I am free. This is amazing. I cannot describe what I feel right now. I owe everyone."
On hearing the not-guilty verdict Patryk said: "I was crying, I was happy. I cannot describe it because… 10 days ago I was in the prison and now I am in the house with my family. I am the happiest man in the world because of Inside Justice, Siobhan Grey, Jason Lartey, Richard Vardon, Jo Millington, Drs Buschmann and Crane and Louise Shorter. I am very, very happy. "
Most of the expert legal and forensic work carried out on Patryk’s behalf was provided on a pro-bono basis by our Advisory Panel. Inside Justice can only do this thanks to the donations we receive from people like you reading this article. If you would like to help please donate now.
After identifying various serious failures in the original investigation Inside Justice wrote to the Metropolitan Police Service seeking assurances that lessons would be learned.
In December 2022 they responded confirming the investigation and court findings have been referred for review to the MPS Serious Crime Review Group (SCRG) and Forensic Science Regulator.
Mark Lister, Chief Executive of Inside Justice, commented: "Where our casework experience and expertise identifies the need for improvements in the criminal justice system, our charity seeks to hold to account the bodies responsible for failings to ensure lessons are learned for the future. Consequently, we will continue to press the Metropolitan Police to take action."
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This case is the subject of a podcast episode by the award-winning team at Tortoise Media. Listen to the Slow Newscast episode
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In 2002 our CEO, Louise Shorter, began investigating a murder case from Milton Keynes following a call from the families of Barri White and Keith Hyatt. The men had been convicted of killing Barri’s girlfriend, Rachel Manning. There followed a two year investigation by the BBC documentary programme Rough Justice for a film produced by Louise, arguing the men’s innocence.
In 2008 the convictions were quashed and both men gained their freedom. Their reputations were fully restored when the real killer was identified by scientist and Inside Justice Advisory Panel member Tracy Alexander. Tracy led a team of scientists whose review of the original crime scene exhibits led to the identification of the real killer, Shahidul Ahmed. The original wrongful conviction did great harm to many people; two innocent men imprisoned, leaving the real killer free to create more victims.
Convicted by a 10-2 majority in March 2018 as part of a conspiracy to import and supply Class A drugs, David Reece (pictured) has consistently maintained his innocence.
David was said to have been a member of a gang of eight involved in the importation of massive quantities of Class A drugs, concealed in agricultural equipment which came into the port of Hull from Belgium via Rotterdam. This consignment alone, said to be one of up to 38 similar trips, had a wholesale value of £4.5 million and potential street value of more than £65 million.
In October 2018, Inside Justice took up the case. Leave to Appeal was granted in October 2019 and, in January 2020, our Advisory Panel members Mark Harries KC of Carmelite Chambers and Lorna Hackett of Hackett and Dabbs, argued at the Court of Appeal that the trial Judge had erred in his handling of bad character evidence against Reece by failing to properly direct the jury regarding Reece’s consistent denial of knowledge in a previous drug seizure. The appeal Judges did not consider the trial Judge’s Summing Up to have been deficient, however, and dismissed the appeal. We have made a short film about David’s day in court.
Our belief remains firm that there is something wholly wrong with David's conviction and we must now do everything we possibly can, with all the expertise Inside Justice has, to find that one thing that could get us back to the Court of Appeal, but we need your help. We are pursuing a range of investigations which, for legal reasons, must remain under wraps for now.
Roger was convicted of murdering his lover Paula Poolton after her body was found in the boot of her car in 2010. The prosecution described a high level of interaction between victim and attacker yet no forensic evidence was found to incriminate Roger.
Today, cutting edge forensic techniques could be used to identify the killer in this case but Hampshire Constabulary has lost, destroyed and contaminated key exhibits contrary to statutory guidance. Doing so has denied Roger Kearney the chance to prove his innocence.
CCTV footage, which still exists, could be subjected to new analysis which could form the basis of a new appeal but Hampshire Constabulary has repeatedly refused Inside Justice access to this material.
Colin was a nurse in Leeds when a non-diabetic patient fell into a hypoglycaemic coma. As one of the staff on duty that night, Colin was questioned and eventually convicted on four counts of murder and one of attempted murder, of elderly hospital patients.
Inside Justice first became involved with this case when the highly experienced investigative journalist Bob Woffinden brought Colin to the attention of our Advisory Panel. His case has been with the CCRC since 2011. In collaboration with the BBC, a documentary was made which you can view here BBC Panorama: The Innocent Serial Killer. You can also listen to a Radio Leeds interview with Paul May.
Kevin was convicted of the murder of his girlfriend Dawn Walker in 2006 and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum tariff of 22 years. Although the crime scene was rich in forensic opportunity, nothing implicated Kevin. He maintains his innocence and has taken his case to the Court of Appeal, the High Court, the Supreme Court and the CCRC.
Kevin came to us in 2014 for help in the final lead-up to the Supreme Court. Efforts to persuade the CCRC to finish the forensic investigation of Kevin’s case continue and Inside Justice is working with others to develop a national protocol for post-conviction disclosure of evidence. This, in the interests of justice, is vital.