A man found guilty of stealing mailbags more than 40 years ago has had his conviction quashed in what the lord chief justice described as an exceptional case. The court of appeal heard that the arresting officer in the original trial had died in prison not long afterwards while also serving a sentence for mailbag theft.
The Guardian has been following the story of Stephen Simmons, who was convicted in 1976 of stealing mailbags. Following a suggestion, Simmons Googled his arresting officer, DS Derek Ridgewell. Simmons discovered that Ridgewell had been convicted of mailbag theft himself four years after Simmons, and was notorious at the time for making up mugging claims against young black men in London so that he could claim credit for arresting them.
For the full story, click on the links below.
- Man convicted of theft in 1976 cleared after Googling his arresting officer
- How a ‘bent’ policeman could be key to clearing a man’s name, 40 years on