"After the victory in the ECHR Grand Chamber yesterday it seems that the political row over our important relationship with the European Convention on Human Rights has precluded the fact that I am innocent.
Nevertheless we must not forget the importance of the convention, the case yesterday was just one very narrow part of Human Rights. The convention covers important liberties including the right to privacy, the freedom of religious expression and marriage, and protects all us from torture; discrimination and abuse of our rights as well as entitling us all to a fair trial.
I urge people not to be misled by the Government into thinking that a break with the European Convention on Human rights would be a good thing because it would not. Chris Grayling, the Justice Minister, said yesterday he wishes to ‘curtail’ the European jurisdiction over the UK but what this means is curtailing important challenges to the abuse of Human Rights.
Thank you for so many messages of support and I have been asked about what happens next. We have to wait six months to see what the Government will do about the tariff review in whole life sentences. It might be that they insist only a politician can make decisions about reviews, on the other hand they might simply follow the process through a parole board as is standard on other ‘lifers.’
Many people have emailed us asking how many parole hearings I have had, and the answer is none, people on whole life tariffs don’t get parole. I would have been due for parole after 25 years which was the recommended sentence by the trial judge in 1986 – but in 1988 my sentence was upgraded by the politician Douglass Hurd both retrospectively and in secret. I didn’t know that I would not be eligible for parole until 1994, when the Home Secretary, Michael Howard, was instructed to inform all prisoners how long their sentence was after a Judicial Review forced disclosure.
We are fast approaching another anniversary of the 7th of August when I shall be thinking of my lost family more than ever, and what might have been, and how each of their lives would have unfolded. Pondering life that is lost makes me spend my days and nights productively trying to put things right by proving my innocence, not just for me, but for my Mum and Dad, Sheila, Nicholas and Daniel. When I think I don’t have any fight left in me it is my love for them and their memory that makes me keep going.
My extended relations who benefitted financially from my conviction, claimed to have been close to my family but wrote hundreds of pages of false witness testimony, selfishly concerned with their own interests, deliberately misrepresenting my family and their memory and this must be put right.
Lastly, I want to say thank you to Barry Woods of Cousins Tyrer and to all of the legal team who brought our case to the Grand Chamber and won (only by the kind gesture of working pro-bono as I am not entitled to legal aid under the current system) and also to my many friends and supporters in particular Eric Allison who campaigns tirelessly for Human Rights."