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Tuesday, 16 July, 2002, 14:24 GMT 15:24 UK
Torso pair cleared after 25 years
Robert Maynard
Robert Maynard: "I never admitted anything"
Two men jailed for life for murdering a pair of gangsters have been cleared by the Court of Appeal - 25 years after what became known as the "torso trial".

Reginald Dudley, 77, and Robert Maynard, 63, could receive massive awards as compensation for time in prison.

Their ordeal began after William Moseley's torso was found in the Thames river near his London home.

The body of his associate Michael Cornwall, also of London, was found in a shallow grave in Hertfordshire a year later.

Reginald Dudley
Reginald Dudley was called "challenging and arrogant"

And Moseley's frozen head was found in a public toilet weeks after their trial, which lasted a record 135 days.

The case against the two north London men rested on the "cell confessions" to a prisoner.

Micky Wild told the Old Bailey he had heard them boast of the killings while they had been on remand in Brixton prison.

But Michael Mansfield QC, for the two men, told the Court of Appeal Mr Wild had since admitted lying in an attempt to avoid a long sentence for armed robbery.

And Patrick O'Connor QC, deputising for Mr Mansfield who was appearing in another court, described Mr Wild as "Machiavellian", "deeply devious", "dangerous" and "dishonest".

Mr Mansfield also said the police had added crucial words to transcripts of interviews in which the defendants had been said to have admitted the murders.


Just because the person in the dock is a known villain and thoroughly unpleasant, it does not mean his convictions are therefore safe

Lord Justice Mantell

It would have been "physically impossible" to have transcribed the number of words featured in the interviews in the time police say they took, he explained.

Victor Temple QC, for the Crown, said Mr Dudley had came across as "prone to angry outbursts, challenging and arrogant" at the trial, and these same traits could be found in his answers to questions put in the interviews.

But Lord Justice Mantell replied: "Just because the person in the dock is a known villain and thoroughly unpleasant, it does not mean his convictions are therefore safe."

And on Tuesday, he, Mr Justice Holman and Mr Justice Gibbs quashed Mr Dudley and Mr Maynard's convictions as "unsafe".

Mr Dudley's daughter, Kathleen Bailey, and Edward Clarke were also cleared of conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm.


I hope they will receive enormous compensation

Jonathan Goldberg QC

Mr Clarke, who died in 1995, had been jailed for four years.

Ms Bailey had received a suspended sentence.

The case had been referred to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

After the ruling, Jonathan Goldberg QC, who represented Mr Dudley in the 1977 trial, called it "the greatest miscarriage of justice I have ever been associated with in my career as a defence barrister".

"These men were not released earlier because they refused to confess to murders it is now proved they have not committed.


I have missed everything - my whole life

Robert Maynard

"I hope they will receive enormous compensation."

Mr Maynard said as he left court: "I never admitted anything because I am innocent.

"I was 37 when I was put inside and my youngest boy, Joseph, was three.

"He will be 30 in August.

"I have missed everything - my whole life."

Mr Maynard said of the Appeal Court's decision: "I am delighted for myself, my family and the people who have waved banners for me".

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