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News Round-Up Week Ending 17.6.16

(Posted on 20/06/16)


Minister to “look into” reopening Carl Bridgewater case after TV documentary.

The Home Office is to examine new evidence about the killing of teenage newspaper boy Carl Bridgewater after Channel 4’s Interview with a Murderer cast doubt on the alibi of Bert Spencer, a convicted killer and key suspect in the case. 

Carl was shot dead in 1978 at Yew Tree Farm, Prestwood, Staffordshire after apparently walking in on a burglary. 

The film revealed that a former hospital secretary, who provided ambulance driver Spencer with what he called a ‘cast-iron’ alibi, has admitted she cannot prove where he was for the entire day of the murder. 

“Nobody who grew up in Dudley will forget the shocking murder of 13-year-old paper boy Carl Bridgewater,” Dudley North MP Ian Austin told the House of Commons. “So I’d like to ask whether the Minister and the Home Secretary will ask the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to review this new evidence to see whether this case can finally be solved and whoever is responsible be brought to justice.” 

“No one will forget that terrible case and my thoughts are still with the parents, no matter how long it is since then,” responded Policing Minister Mike Penning. “It’s not the role of the Independent Police Complaints Commission to instruct the police how to investigate, but we will look at it and look at the ongoing evidence and perhaps we could meet and discuss it further.” 

Spencer's ex-wife Janet also spoke in the programme about how he disposed of a legally-owned shotgun and how she had come home to find him washing a green jumper which she never saw again. 

Four men, who became known as the Bridgewater Four, were jailed for Carl's murder in 1979 but their convictions were quashed in 1997 amid concerns about police evidence. James Robinson and cousins Michael and Vincent Hickey spent 18 years in prison, while the fourth man, Patrick Molloy died in prison in 1981, aged 53. 

Months after the four were jailed in 1979, Spencer shot dead his friend Hubert Wilkes at nearby Holloway House Farm but in the programme he continued to protest his innocence of the earlier shooting: "I did not kill Carl Bridgewater and I am here to prove to you that I did not."