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COVID-19 claims Liverpool man who fought to clear men wrongly convicted of the Cameo Cinema Murders

(Posted on 29/04/20)


The Liverpool Echo has reported the death from coronavirues of 88-year-old Lou Santangelli, who dedicated 14 years of his life to clearing the names of two men convicted of the 1949 crimes.

Labourers George Kelly and Charles Connolly denied any involvement in the murders but were charged, initially tried together then separately in 1950. Kelly was hanged after being found guilty of murder, despite there being no forensic evidence, no eyewitnesses and no murder weapon.

Connolly was persuaded by his lawyer to plead guilty to robbery and escaped the death penalty. Years later he met retired businessman Santangelli and the two became friends. 

Among the evidence unearthed by Santangelli was an undisclosed statement given to detectives by a prosecution witness, claiming another man had confessed to the crime.

Sadly, by the time the case reached the Criminal Cases Review Commission, Connolly had died but, in a 2003 landmark of British justice, the Court of Appeal quashed the convictions and cleared both Kelly and Connolly of any connection to the murders:

"Having considered that there was in these cases a breakdown in the due administration of justice and a failure to ensure a fair trial," Lord Justice Rix, Mr Justice Douglas Brown and Mr Justice Davis ruled. "We consider that the consequence was a miscarriage of justice, which must be deeply regretted."