Jonathan Embleton freed after murder conviction
A man who served more than 15 years for murder has been freed after having his conviction quashed.
Jonathan Embleton, now 42, denied being involved in the murder of Mohammed Sharif, 67, who was assaulted and killed in his garden in 1999.
Mr Embleton, from Middlesbrough, was convicted of the murder in November 2000 and jailed for life.
He was cleared by London's Court of Appeal because of new evidence. Two men remain convicted of the murder.
The court heard Mr Embleton was accused of being part of a group that attacked Mr Sharif when he caught them trying to steal from him.
However, Lady Justice Macur said a police report undermining the reliability of a crucial prosecution witness's evidence had not been disclosed during the trial. She said the conviction therefore had to be quashed.
The case against Mr Embleton was "weak" but bolstered by evidence from a woman who said he had been to her house on the night of the murder and had blood on his knuckles, the hearing heard.
However, doubt was cast about which day Lindsey Clark claimed Mr Embleton had visited when a police report emerged years later.
The hearing heard how Mr Embleton punched another man days after the killing and went to hospital for a knuckle injury. The court heard Mrs Clark may have got the day she saw him wrong.
Giving judgment, Lady Justice Macur said: "We conclude that Mrs Clark's evidence was pivotal to the prosecution case in shoring up the otherwise weak case against Mr Embleton.
"The new disclosure throws her evidence into doubt on a crucial point. We are not satisfied that the conviction is safe."
Mr Embleton's co-defendants Mark Graham and Stephen Ham remain convicted of the murder.