What was Andrew Mallard accused of doing and how did he prove his innocence?

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What was Andrew Mallard accused of doing and how did he prove his innocence?

Updated

April 20, 2019 13:49:12

The circumstances of Andrew Mallard’s wrongful murder conviction have been thrust back into the spotlight with the death of the Western Australian in the United States.

Mr Mallard, who died at 56 in a hit-and-run crash in Los Angeles this week, served 12 years in jail for the 1994 murder of Perth woman Pamela Lawrence.

His lengthy fight to have his name cleared was the subject of the two-part Australian Story episode The Wronged Man, highlighting the lengths a politician and a journalist went to to prove his innocence.

How did he become accused of murder?

Ms Lawrence was bludgeoned to the head in broad daylight on the afternoon of Monday May 23, 1994, at her jewellery shop Flora Metallica. She died hours later in hospital.

The death sparked a manhunt, with Mr Mallard among the initial 136 suspects.

Mr Mallard had been living on the streets after suffering a nervous breakdown. He came to the attention of police when he was placed in Graylands Psychiatric Hospital after attempting a burglary where he impersonated a police officer.

He was arrested for murder after several interviews with police, where he speculated how Ms Lawrence may have been killed and drew a picture of a wrench which police said he used to kill her.

Mr Mallard said he was fed information by police to repeat back to them but police treated it as a confession and he was sentenced to 20 years jail.

Who assisted Mr Mallard in clearing his name?

Mr Mallard’s appeals against his conviction failed in both the Supreme Court and High Court.

But his family approached journalist Colleen Egan, who investigated the case alongside then-WA shadow attorney-general John Quigley.

Mr Quigley’s previous career representing police officers for the West Australian Police Union provided insight into police procedural failings in the case.

Through political pressure, he was able to gain access to the prosecution files on the case and found crucial evidence that was not disclosed at trial.

How did they prove he was innocent?

Along with an alibi, the team presented a pattern of manipulation of evidence against Mr Mallard.

Among the prosecution files was a conclusion by a pathologist that a wrench could not have caused Ms Lawrence’s injuries, after a test had been conducted on a pig’s head. The test had been kept from court.

After the team were able to access police files, they discovered original witness statements did not correspond with second and third statements which were presented to court.

In November 2005 the High Court quashed Mr Mallard’s conviction and declared a miscarriage of justice occurred.

In February the next year, the case against Mr Mallard was dropped by prosecutors, who maintained he was the prime suspect.

Did they find who murdered Ms Lawrence?

Police later admitted Mr Mallard wasn’t responsible for the crime after a cold case review of Ms Lawrence’s murder found shavings of blue paint recovered from her head matched paint from the knapsack of murderer Simon Rochford.

Rochford had been serving life in prison for killing his girlfriend seven weeks after Ms Lawrence’s murder.

Her injuries were similar to those suffered by Ms Lawrence and had been inflicted by a makeshift weapon Rochford kept in his knapsack.

Days after he was questioned by police over Ms Lawrence’s murder, Rochford killed himself in jail.

What did Mr Mallard do after he was freed?

Having received $3.25 million in compensation from the Western Australian government, Mr Mallard graduated from university with a degree in fine art and travelled to London to start a masters.

He told Australian Story that living in Perth had become “untenable”, as members of the public still treated him as if he was a murderer.

Mr Mallard was still based in the UK and frequently travelled to the US, where his fiancee lived, prior to his death.

A Corruption and Crime Commission inquiry was held into the alleged misconduct by police officers in the case but the officers resigned from WA police after a police inquiry began, avoiding the disciplinary process.

Topics:

murder-and-manslaughter,

crime,

law-crime-and-justice,

perth-6000,

wa,

united-states,

australia

First posted

April 20, 2019 12:31:48

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