Preston stab murder identification was 'problematic'

A man jailed for a stabbing murder was convicted on "faulty" identification evidence, the Court of Appeal heard.

Kevin Samuel Cole, 36, formerly of Wavertree, Liverpool, is appealing against his conviction for murdering John Dookie in a Preston pub car park.

Cole's legal team said the 1997 identification was "problematic" but the Crown argued it was correct.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, and two other judges have reserved judgement until a later date.

Mr Dookie was stabbed in the car park on St Peter's Street on 14 February 1997.

Cole, who appeared via a video link before Lord Judge, Mr Justice Mackay and Mr Justice Griffith Williams, was picked out in an identification parade by a witness.

But his barrister, Henry Blaxland QC, said it was a "classic problematic identification case", as the stabbing took place unexpectedly and quickly in dim lighting at night.

Mr Dookie, then of Princes Reach, Riversway, Preston, died in hospital two days after he was stabbed in a suspected ambush.

'Eyewitness error'

Mr Blaxland said the witness had incorrectly described Cole's height and spoke of clothing which did not match his, but matched the clothes of another man who was present.

"It's absolutely clear that the witness was not describing the appellant, Mr Cole," he said.

"If the jury had followed the judge's direction properly, then they should have acquitted him."

Although Cole had lied by saying he was not even in Preston at the time of the killing, this should not have been used to back this identification evidence, Mr Blaxland said.

"The lies might have provided a foundation for a circumstantial case, they didn't on their own support the specific identification of the identifying witness," he said.

John Price QC, for the prosecution, said the identification parade was "mandatory" and, in Cole's case, "correctly held". He said the appeal should be dismissed.

Cole lost a previous appeal but his case has returned to court, after it was referred by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which investigates alleged miscarriages of justice.

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