Courtney Harriot, Paul Green and Cleveland Davidson three black men who were jailed for allegedly attempting to rob a corrupt police officer nearly 50 years ago yesterday had their convictions overturned by the Court of Appeal. They are part of a group who became known as the Stockwell Six, and were put on trial in the early 1970s after being “stitched up” by bent Detective Sergeant Derek Ridgewell.
The three men were just aged between 17 and 20 and were convicted with two others despite telling jurors that officers had lied and that they had been subjected them to violence and threats. Ridgewell had framed a number of young black men in similar circumstances.
Courtney Harriot, Paul Green and Cleveland Davidsonwere arrested on the London Underground while travelling from Stockwell station, south London, in February 1972.
Now in their late 60s, and three friends – who were known as the “Stockwell Six” – were put on trial at the Old Bailey, largely on the word of Ridgewell.
They were were accused of trying to rob Ridgewell, and all except one was convicted and did time in prison or borstal.
The hearing on Tuesday at t the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Tuesday, the Court of Appeal cleared Mr Harriot, Mr Green and Mr Davidson’s names, which is almost 50 years after they were convicted.
Sir Julian Flaux, said: “It is most unfortunate that it has taken nearly 50 years to rectify the injustice suffered by these appellants.”
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. We understand that nothing can ever make up for the period of time that they spent in custody or the longer-term effect it may have had on them.
“We have examined all available records which suggest that (Derek) Ridgewell was the principal officer in other investigations and have not identified any additional matters that we feel should be referred for external review.”