From the BBC News website today (Tuesday, 6 July) we reproduce this report on the decision of the Court of Appeal, today, to overturn the 50-year-old convictions of Courtney Harriot, Paul Green and Cleveland Davidson:
Three men jailed for allegedly attempting to rob a corrupt police officer nearly 50 years ago have had their convictions overturned.
Courtney Harriot, Paul Green and Cleveland Davidson were arrested after leaving Stockwell station in 1972.
The trio, part of the so-called “Stockwell Six”, were jailed largely on evidence from British Transport Police officer Derek Ridgewell.
A judge described the time taken to quash the convictions as “unfortunate”.
The men, all aged between 17 and 20 at the time, were accused of trying to rob Ridgewell, who was in plain clothes and had previously served in the South Rhodesian, now Zimbabwean, police force.
Although they each pleaded not guilty, all but one were convicted and sent to jail or borstal, a youth detention centre, despite telling jurors that police officers had lied and subjected them to violence and threats.
The two remaining members of the Stockwell Six who were convicted have not been traced.
At a hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Tuesday, the Court of Appeal cleared Mr Harriot, Mr Green and Mr Davidson, nearly five decades after they were convicted.
Quashing the convictions and allowing the appeal, Sir Julian Flaux, sitting with Mr Justice Linden and Mr Justice Wall, said: “It is most unfortunate that it has taken nearly 50 years to rectify the injustice suffered by these appellants.”
The case of the Stockwell Six would be the third time Ridgewell’s corruption has led to wrongful convictions being overturned by the Court of Appeal.
- Men ‘framed by corrupt detective’ to go to court
- Final conviction quashed in corrupt detective case
- Convictions quashed in corrupt detective case
Ridgewell was involved in a number of high-profile and controversial cases in the early 1970s, culminating in the 1973 acquittals of the “Tottenham Court Road Two” – two young Jesuits studying at Oxford University.
He was then moved into a department investigating mailbag theft, where he joined up with two criminals with whom he split the profits of stolen mailbags.
Ridgewell was eventually caught and jailed for seven years, dying of a heart attack in prison in 1982 at the age of 37.
In December 2019, three members of the “Oval Four” – who were arrested at Oval Underground station in 1972 and accused of stealing handbags by Ridgewell’s “mugging squad” – also had their convictions overturned. [see our report HERE.]