Connect with us


‘My brother spent 17 years wrongly imprisoned for rape – but I didn’t believe him’-Emily Bashforth-Entertainment – Metro

She feared for her life as her brother did time for a crime he didn’t commit.

‘My brother spent 17 years wrongly imprisoned for rape – but I didn’t believe him’-Emily Bashforth-Entertainment – Metro

Andrew Malkinson’s sister disowned him after he was found guilty of rape (Picture: PA)

The wrongful imprisonment of Andrew Malkinson remains one of the biggest legal injustices the country has seen.

In 2003, Andrew was convicted and jailed for the rape of a 33-year-old woman in Salford, Greater Manchester

He spent 17 years behind bars, but it wasn’t until he reached 57 that Andrew was declared innocent and, in July last year, he was released, with the Court of Appeal hearing allegations of major failures.

However, while Andrew maintained his innocence, his sister struggled to wrap her head around the matter.

Sarah, who had not seen her brother in 10 years by this point, didn’t want to accept he was capable of such a brutal crime, but when that guilty verdict was handed down, she felt she had no choice but to accept he was culpable.

Consequently, she disowned Andrew, maintaining distance while their mother, Tricia, campaigned to free him and have the conviction overturned.

Andrew always maintained his innocence, but his pleas for help fell on deaf ears (Picture: PA)

The family relive events of the last 20 years in a new BBC Two documentary, The Wrong Man: 17 Years Behind Bars, with Sarah recalling to cameras how she washed her hands of Andrew – before becoming wracked by guilt after he was declared innocent.

‘My brother had been convicted and you kind of believe that he must be this person that they are saying he is,’ she begins.

‘As much as I don’t really want to say this, but I am going to say it, like, I didn’t want anything to do with them, which affected me. Because it’s like, “I don’t want anything to do with him.” I did that.

‘My mindset was, I don’t want anything to do with him because how can he do that to a woman?’

Sarah added that she was ‘really, really scared’ for her life following Andrew’s sentencing.

‘I’ve got a child, I’ve got a roof to put over my kid’s head. And I didn’t want people to know that that was my brother.

‘Andrew found out he had a different dad at 16. He actually changed his name when he found his real dad.

Now in his late fifties, he tells his story in a new BBC documentary (Picture: BBC)

His friend and ex-partner, Karin Schuitemaker, helped to free him (Picture: Appeal)

‘And I was so pleased that he had, because what would happen to me and my mum being on the estate?

‘Would we be spat out in the street? Would we get windows put in for it? We wouldn’t want to go out. You become a bit of a recluse.’

Following the verdict, Sarah questioned everything. While she knew Andrew to be ‘kind and caring’ as a child, they later ‘drifted apart’ as he started travelling, meaning she felt she no longer knew him.

In stark contrast, Tricia did everything she could to free him, saying in the documentary: ‘I know that Andrew didn’t do that. It didn’t enter my head that he would be found guilty.’

She also says that she ‘didn’t speak to people’ about what happened, fearing the reaction, ‘Well, you will believe him because you’re his mother.’

‘It’s smarter to save your breath and put it to better use. I spent half my life in the library because I didn’t have a computer then,’ she shares.

‘The information that I gathered, and I had it printed out and sent to Andrew, when you take it on your own, and you’re not a legal person, it’s very hard.’

Andrew’s mother, Tricia, stood by him (Picture: PA)

Andrew spent 17 years in jail

Tricia tried as best she could to get on with her life, but ultimately it was Andrew’s old friend, Karin Schuitemaker, from the Netherlands who found charity and law practice Appeal, who helped to get Andrew out.

They specialised in overturning wrongful convictions, taking on Andrew’s case and getting him exonerated.

Karin never doubted her ex-boyfriend’s innocence.

Meanwhile, Sarah is still wrestling with her regrets over not standing by her brother from the off.

While she attended the court to witness the overturning, and she felt joy for her brother, Sarah now has ‘really bad guilt’ because she knows ‘for definite’ that Andrew didn’t do it.

‘It’s really bad to think that my brother was meant to have done what he’s done. And I believed that [he was guilty], as much as I didn’t want to believe that it was. Like, he must have done it.

‘I feel really bad about that.’

He said the apology he received upon his release was ‘too little, too late’ (Picture: PA)

It took two decades for Andrew’s voice to be heard and for him to be granted release.

Initially, his conviction was based on no DNA evidence and two unreliable witnesses. Still, Andrew held onto hope that the legal system would side in his favour and prove the accusations wrong.

Ultimately, an independent inquiry into his case was launched, and Andrew applied for compensation for his wrongful conviction – but it can take years for this to come through.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: ‘The Lord Chancellor has been clear Andrew Malkinson suffered an atrocious miscarriage of justice and he deserves thorough and honest answers as to how and why it took so long to uncover.

‘The Criminal Cases Review Commission, Crown Prosecution Service, and Greater Manchester Police have all pledged their full cooperation to the independent inquiry into the handling of his conviction and subsequent appeals.’

Earlier this year, Andrew – who said that prison was ‘such a dangerous place’ and felt ‘like a pressure cooker’ – said the ‘unreserved apology’ he had received received was ‘too little, too late’.

Stating that he had been caused ‘a world of pain’, Andrew said he had been ‘completely failed’ by the CCRC and its chairwoman, Helen Pitcher, calling for her to be stripped of her OBE.

Andrew pictured as a young man (Picture: Appeal)

Andrew is now 57 (Picture: Appeal)

In a statement, he added: ‘The CCRC’s delay in apologising to me added significantly to the mental turmoil I am experiencing as I continue to fight for accountability for what was done to me.’

For the past 12 months, Andrew has been trying to rebuild his life – which has been far from easy.

In October last year, he lived in a tent on a campsite in Seville, Spain after travelling through Europe in a friend’s van.

He said living in a tent allowed him to enjoy ‘the anonymity and nature’, adding that he ‘cannot bear’ to be in Britain.

Financially, he was ‘broke’.

Got a story?

If you’ve got a celebrity story, video or pictures get in touch with the entertainment team by emailing us, calling 020 3615 2145 or by visiting our Submit Stuff page – we’d love to hear from you.

MORE : Bridgerton star declares she’s ‘in love with a woman’ to celebrate start of Pride Month

MORE : Every Britain’s Got Talent winner from Viggo Venn to Paul Potts – and where they are now

Entertainment – MetroRead More