Freed Victor Nealon in plea to reopen attempted rape case

Victor Nealon, from Redditch, was sentenced to life for an attempted rape in 1997.

A man who spent 17 years in prison before his attempted rape conviction was quashed is calling on police to reopen the case.

Victor Nealon, 53, was living in Redditch, Worcestershire, when he was convicted of attacking a woman in 1997.

The Appeal Court heard new DNA evidence revealed the presence of another man's genetic material and Mr Nealon was released from prison on Friday.

West Mercia Police said it would be reviewing the case.

Mr Nealon, who had always denied attempted rape, was arrested after a woman was sexually assaulted on her way home from a nightclub in Redditch.

'Deserve some explanation'

The postman was convicted after a trial at Hereford Crown Court and given a life term.

Mr Nealon's lawyer, Mark Newby, confirmed his client does have previous convictions for sexual offences.

But he said Mr Nealon had served his sentences for these, committed in the 1970s and 1980s in Ireland.

The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) referred the case to the Court of Appeal, which heard that DNA material found on the the 22-year-old woman's blouse tarnished the jury's guilty verdict.

Peter Willcock QC said his client had volunteered to give a DNA sample at the time of the attack in 1996 and no trace was found on the woman's clothing.

But tests in recent years revealed the presence of the other man's DNA.

Mr Nealon said: "I would call for the police to reopen this case and give the victim some justice in this case.

"I'm not pinpointing any sort of or attributing any sort of blame to her.

"I don't want the victim to be carrying a burden here.

"I deserve some explanation from the police as to why this happened and also the victim does."

West Mercia Police said it was waiting for papers from the CCRC and Court of Appeal before conducting a review and at this time would not be making any further statement.

Sarah Whitehouse, for the Crown, argued that the new evidence was "neutral" and should not affect the safety of the conviction.

An appeal in 1998 was unsuccessful.

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