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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 June, 2003, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
Man walks free after 12 years
Trevor Wickens
Trevor Wickens had always maintained his innocence
A man who has served 12 years of a life sentence for murder has been freed after his conviction was overturned as unsafe.

Trevor Wickens, 56, from Herne Bay in Kent, was jailed at Maidstone Crown Court in 1991 for the 1986 murder of 89-year-old Mabel Crandell.

But the guilty verdict was quashed last Wednesday after questions over the time of the woman's death emerged.

He was not immediately released, but today walked free from the Court of Appeal, saying he wanted to go home and get on with his life.

Evidence not heard

Including the time he spent in custody before his trial, Mr Wickens had been locked up for 13 and a half years.

The appeal hearing had already been told someone else had confessed to the killing, but that confession had not been mentioned in the 1991 trial.

The judges also heard evidence from a crown pathologist which showed it was "extremely unlikely" Mr Wickens could have committed the crime was also not heard at the trial.

As an innocent man, I have lost 13 and a half years spent in prison for something that I did not do
Trevor Wickens

Mrs Crandell was found dead after a fire in her bungalow in Station Road, Herne Bay, on Monday 1 September 1986.

Her body was found in the hallway, with multiple facial and neck injuries, which were said to have been inflicted by "stamping with a shod foot".

Mr Wickens was arrested in December 1989, after a Herne Bay couple told police he had confessed to the murder the day before the body was found, and threatened to harm them and their children if they told anyone.

'Little hope'

His QC told the appeal judges Mrs Crandell was last seen alive on Saturday afternoon, meaning if Mr Wickens confessed on Sunday she would have to have been killed on the Saturday night.

The pathologist's evidence showed this was unlikely to have been the time of death.

Mr Wickens had an application for an appeal turned down in 1991.

He said after the court's ruling: "I did not kill Mrs Crandell. Ever since I was arrested on 4 December, 1989, I have denied my involvement in her terrible murder.

"We have had many hurdles to overcome and for long periods there seemed little hope that this day would ever come.

"As an innocent man, I have lost 13 and a half years spent in prison for something that I did not do.

"I now want to go home and get on with my life.

"I ask that everyone respects my privacy and gives me the chance to do just that."


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