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            2. Stockwell Six: Three men have 1972 convictions quashed by Court of Appeal

              Published
              Image source, PA Media
              Image caption,
              Paul Green (left) and Cleveland Davidson said they felt vindicated after their convictions were quashed

              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 (BTP) officer Derek Ridgewell.

              "It's vindication... It was a total stitch-up" Mr Davidson said.

              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.

              They were travelling on the London Underground from Stockwell station in south London, when Ridgewell claimed they attempted to rob him, before he fought back and arrested them with a team of undercover officers.

              'Corrupt, wicked and evil'

              Although each of the six pleaded not guilty, five 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 sixth member, Everet Mullins, was acquitted.

              The two remaining members of the Stockwell Six who were convicted, Texo Joseph Johnson and Ronald De'Souza, have not yet been traced.

              Speaking outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Mr Davidson revealed it had "ruined" his life.

              He said: "It's vindication that we were innocent at the time. We were only young then, we did nothing."

              Mr Davidson said Ridgewell was a "corrupt and wicked and evil police officer", adding: "We don't know how many other people Ridgewell stitched up... it's just endless."

              The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which referred the convictions to the Court of Appeal, said it was "desperate to find other men who were part of this group of friends so many years ago".

              Image source, PA Media
              Image caption,
              Paul Green (left) and Cleveland Davidson had their convictions overturned at the Court of Appeal

              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 Stockwell Six case is the third time Ridgewell's corruption has led to wrongful convictions being overturned by the Court of Appeal.

              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. The final member was cleared in March 2020 prompting calls for a "wholesale review" of all cases linked to Ridgewell.

              BTP Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock said: "It is wholly regrettable that the criminal actions of a discredited former officer of this force over four decades ago led to these unsound prosecutions.

              "I apologise unreservedly for the distress, anxiety and impact this will have undoubtedly caused those who were wrongly convicted."

              Mr Hanstock added that, having "examined all available records" of investigations where Ridgewell was the principal officer, the force "have not identified any additional matters that we feel should be referred for external review".

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