Trial & Error TV - Evidence-Based Justice Lab online -
Early evening in Spring 1985: A 10-year-old boy had been assaulted and strangled. His murderer was about to throw him inert but still alive into the river Leen. But the killer, Philip Atherton, ruined a second life, that of an innocent man, Mark Cleary. Trial & Error: The Murder of Wayne Keeting, Channel 4 1993
The following day Philip Atherton was taken in for questioning. Almost immediately Atherton broke down and admitted to the killing. ibid.
This time he put the responsibility for the worst aspects of Wayne’s killing on someone he’d never even mentioned to the police before – Mark Cleary. ibid.
Mark Cleary was convicted of the murder of a 10 year old boy. Cleary was implicated by statements made to police by co-defendant Philip Atherton. When Atherton’s account was put to Cleary, this allegedly led to a confession. This confession was not written down by police until 12 days after it was allegedly made, no contemporaneous notes were taken, and his requests to consult a solicitor while being questioned were ignored. On appeal, the judges said they felt ‘very real anxiety’ about the way Cleary was interrogated, the reliability of information that had been put to him, and errors made by the trial judge in his summing up. Judges quashed the conviction which they described as ‘unsafe and unsatisfactory.’ Evidence-Based Justice Lab article