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Murderer No More: Andrew Mallard and the Epic Fight that Proved his Innocence- by Colleen Egan
He served 12 years in prison before they realised his innocence
This book is investigative journalism at its best. Author Colleen Egan tells the complete story of a man named Andrew Mallard who was wrongfully convicted of murder and spent 12 years in jail, only to be exonerated in spectacular fashion.
Andrew Mallard was a lonely forlorn figure. At 30 he didn’t have much going for him. He was homeless, suffering from mental illness, and addicted to marijuana. He was hanging around, and sleeping rough in an outer suburb of Perth Western Australia, Mosman Park.
A quite leafy suburb only a few minute from the beach and Fremantle some of the wealthiest people in Australia lived the by the river, including Alan Bond and Lang Hancock. It also housed low income earners and public housing. It had a reputation for the fact that it had many eclectic shops and cafés in the area, selling high end art and jewellery.
On 23st May, 1994, Mallard was seen in the area when jeweller, Pamela Lawrence, a vivacious, bubbly, fun loving woman, aged 48 was found bashed unconscious, on the floor of her fashionable costume jewellery shop.
The police arrested Mallard after witnesses saw him in the area. They couldn’t get a confession out of him so they got an undercover cop to befriend him. He bought him dope and a bong and planted crucial evidence from the murder scene on him.
A corrupt Detective named David Caphorn then set about coaching Mallard into telling him a fictitious account of what he thought happened to the murdered jeweller. Once the cops got Mallard to recite this dream scenario to their satisfaction, they convinced him to recite the false confession on video. They then charged him with murder and amazingly, with the aid of some very dodgy forensic evidence, they convicted him of murder and he was jailed for life in 1995.
It didn’t take interested parties long though to realise that the police had set Mallard up, including high profile lawyer and ex-police Union lawyer Quigley. The irrepressible, and enthusiastic John Quigley. Quigley set about pulling the police case apart and eventually proved Mallard’s innocence.
It all worked like this. The police needed a quick arrest to tidy up the matter, as the Premier of West Australia was putting pressure on the police to get anyone they could for the crime. There had been at least ten unsolved murders in the area in the past decade, including a serial killer who took and murdered at least four girls. None of these crimes were ever solved and the public had had enough.
Mallard and his many talented supporters set about getting new evidence, which they did quite successfully, yet the arrogant and bloody minded West Australian judiciary refused to listen. They continued to frustrate every attempt to prove the truth, and sent Mallard back to jail, no matter what evidence they had.
What the police did not realise, is that another man killed Pamela Lawrence that day. It was Simon Rochford A few weeks before that he had killed his girlfriend the same way. He was caught for the first murder and was serving a life sentence. Both murders occurred in the same area within weeks of each other, with the same MO and similar matching evidence being found at both scenes, yet Detective David Caphorn remained ignorant and did not connect the dots. He was later promoted.
What happened then defies belief. A bloody palm print from the Laurence scene had been lifted and recorded and then filed and never checked or investigated. When they did finally find it and it was purposely hidden by police it was found it matched Simon Rochford. Before police could interview him, he killed himself in Albany Prison.
No police were ever charged with any crime. Caphorn resigned but was given a plumb high paying, administrative job with FESA, Fire and Emergency Services Administration.
Mallard was exonerated and released by the courts twelve years after first being jailed and was eventually given an ex-gratia payment of $4 million for his time in jail, he moved overseas to escape unwanted attention.
I always research any book I might read quite extensively before I read it. I do not waste my time on rubbish. This book was riveting and dramatic with plenty of twists and turns,. and highs and lows, but the ending is a happy one.