MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE?
|Championing the case for freedom
1997, Derek Christian was found guilty and jailed for life for an
horrific murder. Inside Out examines the evidence presented by those
campaigning for his freedom.
On a February
afternoon in 1995, 66-year-old Margaret Wilson was brutally murdered in
a totally random attack whilst walking in a country lane in Burton Fleming.
She had her throat cut with a knife.
Evidence, from eye witnesses, confirms that a man ran down the lane after
her, killed her and then drove off.
Wilson, a victim of a motiveless murder
Wilson had no enemies, only friends. To this day, no-one knows why she
Some two years later Derek Christian, a local man, was found guilty of
the murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.
But on re-visiting the evidence, there may have been two injustices.
killing of Margaret Wilson is one - a shocking crime in itself, but another
is the growing campaign supporting Derek Christian's claim of innocence.
Is an innocent man in prison and a killer still on the loose?
witness in the trial was Wendy Price.
She was riding her horse about 10 miles away from Burton Fleming when
a man in a car followed her down a track.
passed her and then pulled in, waiting for her.
Price did not see Christian in the dock
that she was in no doubt he meant her harm, "His eyes just glared
right through me and my defence mechanisms told me to get the hell out
gave her evidence in court, but was never asked whether she could identify
the man in the dock - Derek Christian.
"They never asked me in the court whether I could identify Derek
Christian, they never said 'Is this the gentleman that followed you'?
- I was never asked that, she insisted.
that the gentleman I saw in the court that day was not the gentleman I
saw out riding," she says.
mean there are two possible explanations...
the man who followed Wendy Price was not the killer - but a different
man out to do harm in the same vicinity on the same day
- Or he
was the killer, and it was not Derek Christian
also helped draw up two photo-fit pictures.
Both illustrations depicted a clean shaven man. But Derek Christian had
Would it have been possible for him to have grown one in three days?
Christian, 'The police were under pressure'
Kevin is pivotal to the campaign for Derek's innocence and freedom.
He organises it from Germany, where he works as a translator.
that the fact that Derek had a beard similar to his own, the heinous crime
could not have been carried out by him.
"The murderer was known to have been clean shaven and Derek had a
pronounced goatee beard, like mine, a mere three days after the murder,
and this has been documented by the police," he maintains.
"The police were under pressure when they first arrested Derek, they
had no major leads for a year, nothing had happened, they were undoubtedly
under pressure to make an arrest."
weapon, a knife, was left at the scene of the crime with no finger-prints
on it. But it did have a stain left by the repeated cutting of vegetables.
of this particular type of knife are in circulation, being used by vegetable
farmers and food processing factories throughout the country.
murder weapon was a very common style of knife
no doubt that this type of knife was the murder weapon.
Derek Christian worked at the McCains frozen chip factory in Scarborough
and had access to one of these knives, but is that firm evidence or just
Christian was arrested, his work clothes were seized to establish whether
fibres from them had been transferred to those of the victim's.
In court the jury were told that the fibres found on Margaret Wilson's
clothes were "microscopically indistinguishable" from 78 fibres
found on Derek Christian's clothes.
That sounds conclusive - but is it?
a fibres expert, explained what is meant by that term, "Microscopically
indistinguishable does not mean the 'same as'."
She continued, "In terms of their colour, their appearance and how
they look down the microscope, it doesn't mean that they definately came
from the same garment."
Police statement changes nothing
with his brother in a maximum security prison, Kevin Christian's campaign
for his brother's freedom goes on.
is inside, but the campaign goes on
Derek refusing to admit his guilt, there is no eligibility for parole.
police force, Humberside Police, have added little comfort to any positive
sign for Derek's freedom.
"The enquiry into the murder of Margaret Wilson was a long and complex
investigation in England and abroad. Forensic evidence was also an extensive
part of the investigation.
case was reviewed by the Crown Prosecution Service and a senior barrister
before Derek Christian was charged with the murder of Mrs Wilson. He appeared
before a jury who after hearing the evidence found him guilty of murder."