Coventry & Warwickshire

Two men jailed for Coventry gangland murder cleared

Clinton Bailey Image copyright West Midland Police
Image caption Clinton Bailey was gunned down in the car park of the Three Horseshoes pub in 2005

Two men jailed for a gangland murder have been cleared on appeal after spending more than a decade in jail.

Gary Higgins, 47, and James Dunn, 34, were convicted in 2006 of shooting Clinton Bailey in the car park of a Coventry pub in April 2005.

The Court of Appeal said there had been a "serious" and "regrettable" failure to disclose information which could have helped their defence at trial.

Three other men were also jailed in connection with the killing.

Lord Justice Davis, who chaired the appeal panel, said fresh evidence had cast doubt on the credibility of a "crucial" prosecution witness.

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The two men were found guilty on the basis of joint enterprise after Mr Bailey was lured to the Three Horseshoes in the Foleshill area of Coventry before being led outside and gunned down.

'Manipulative' witness

While neither of the men was accused of firing a shot, Mr Higgins was said to have enticed the victim to the pub, Mr Dunn was alleged to have helped organise the trap.

Mr Bailey, who was believed to have been attempting to mediate a drugs-related dispute between a friend and a gang, died 12 days after being shot.

Senior judges at the Court of Appeal said the convictions should be quashed "since we cannot be satisfied that either conviction was safe".

Lord Justice Davis said the safety of the convictions was undermined by the prosecution's star witness who claimed to have overheard the murder plans.

But evidence casting doubt on her reliability and "tendency to manipulation" was kept from defence lawyers before the trial, he added.

The Crown Prosecution Service said it would not be applying for a retrial.

"The murder convictions of the other three men are not affected by the ruling and they remain in prison," it added.

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