Martin Foran 1985 robbery conviction quashed

Martin Foran Martin Foran said he wanted to prove to his children he was innocent

Related Stories

A man who had his conviction for robbery quashed after a 28-year fight for justice has described it as a "nightmare of a journey".

Martin Foran, 69, was jailed for eight years in 1985 after a Birmingham publican was attacked in his home.

He had denied making a confession while being questioned by officers and the conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal on Tuesday.

Mr Foran said the fight had been difficult for his whole family.

He said: "I'm grateful to the three judges for opening their eyes at last, but how can I be grateful after all these years? I'm almost 70 and in poor health.

'Notorious'

"The only thing that kept me going is my family. We kept fighting and fighting. I wanted to prove to my children that I was innocent."

Mr Foran, originally from Shard End in Birmingham but now living in Manchester, had twice unsuccessfully appealed against the original decision at Birmingham Crown Court.

Start Quote

How many more innocent people are there out there? A lot of people have already died and others are near the edge”

End Quote Martin Foran

On his third attempt, the case was sent to the Court of Appeal after new information came to light regarding the credibility of the main police witness, the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) said.

Lord Justice Leveson, who led the appeal panel, said the reliability of evidence from a police officer meant the conviction "cannot be regarded as safe".

At the hearing in London, he said Mr Foran had been interviewed by a member of the "notorious" West Midlands Serious Crime Squad.

The unit was disbanded in 1989.

During the hearing, Lord Justice Leveson said "malpractice" in connection with the serious crime squad included "physical abuse of prisoners, fabrication of admissions, planting of evidence and mishandling of informants".

'Hunger strike'

"The Criminal Cases Review Commission has concluded that there is a real possibility that the convictions will not be upheld in the light of information not previously considered regarding the credibility of the principal police witness, Detective Inspector Paul Matthews, a member of the now notorious West Midlands Police Serious Crime Squad, who interviewed the appellant.

"Detective Inspector Matthews has been identified in a number of cases of such malpractice and, in particular, has been associated with the fabrication of confessions," Lord Justice Leveson added.

Mr Foran said he had been battling the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad since 1977, when he was sentenced to 10 years for a separate robbery which he also denies.

He said he was also asking the CCRC to refer that case to the Court of Appeal.

"I protested on the prison roof, went on hunger strike, screaming that I was innocent. I was released in 1984 and within months I'm back in prison again.

"How many more innocent people are there out there? A lot of people have already died and others are near the edge. I just refused to give up."

Mr Foran said he was writing a book about his story, which is expected to be published later in the year.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Birmingham & Black Country

Weather

Birmingham

8 °C 3 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    11:00: News on the hour Steve Hermon Journalist, BBC WM

    The violent pasts of around 1,300 people - including 45 in the West Midlands have been revealed to their partners.

    Hear more on this story and others in the news bulletin at 11:00.

     
  2.  
    10:42: Murder trial Bob Hockenhull Reporter, Midlands Today

    I'm at Wolverhampton Crown Court following the murder trial of two pensioners - Cynthia Beamond, from Halesowen, and Philip Silverstone, of London.

    The accused, Leo Barnes was found dead in his cell on Sunday.

    Proceedings are just about to get under way. The prosecution team has just asked for the jury to be brought in.

     
  3.  
    10:32: Have your say Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    What do you think of BBC Local Live? We'd like your feedback about this service.

     
  4.  
    10:21: 'Accused was being monitored' Caroline Gall BBC News

    I've just spoken to the Ministry of Justice who have confirmed Leo Barnes was being monitored in his cell at HMP Hewell in Redditch for self-harm.

    Leo Barnes

    The 33-year-old, who denied murder, was found hanged in his cell on Sunday.

     
  5.  
    10:03: Flight returns to airport Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    I've just spoken to Birmingham Airport which confirms a flight leaving the airport this morning heading to New York-Newark at about 09:00 has returned back to the airport.

    The United Airlines flight UA 026 returned to Birmingham at about 09:45. The reason for the return is currently unknown.

    I've put a call into the airline's press office for more details and will bring you information when we have it.

     
  6.  
    10:00: News on the hour Steve Hermon Journalist, BBC WM

    In the news at 10:00 on BBC WM: An investigation is underway after a Birmingham man accused of murdering two pensioners has been found dead in his prison cell.

     
  7.  
    09:45: Birmingham's first 'Instameet' via Facebook

    Birmingham Updates posts: Birmingham Instagram exhibition launches following official Instameet success.

    Around 50 intagramers from across the city and beyond gathered at the Library of Birmingham on Saturday (24/01) for Birmingham's first official Instameet. Read more on Storify.

     
  8.  
    09:28: Woman jailed after dogs starved Express and Star

    A pet owner from Halesowen has been jailed for five months after she failed to care for her two starving two dogs - with one dying as a result of her neglect.

    Jodi Russell, from Hillwood Road, was sentenced at Dudley Magistrates Court after magistrate Neville Jinks described the animal cruelty case as 'one of the worst the court had seen'.

     
  9.  
    09:11: Villa 2-1 Bournemouth BBC Sport

    Aston Villa have joined West Bromwich Albion in the last 16 of the FA Cup after a 2-1 home victory yesterday afternoon over Championship leaders Bournemouth.

    Aston Villa's Carles Gil

    Carles Gil's stunning goal helped Aston Villa avoid another FA Cup fourth-round giant-killing.

     
  10.  
    08:56: News on the hour Steve Hermon Journalist, BBC WM

    A double murder suspect from Birmingham has been found dead in his prison cell.

    In the news at 09:00 we'll get reaction from Juliet Lyon from the Prison Reform Trust.

     
  11.  
    08:43: Rail problems

    London Midland tweets: Owing to signalling problems between Northfield & Longbridge services are currently having to run at reduced speed.

     
  12.  
    08:32: Delays on the roads BBC Travel
    • One lane is closed on the M42 northbound between junctions 5 and 6 due to a broken down vehicle.
    • The A4123 Birmingham Road is closed in Wolverhampton due to an accident.

    Read about the latest disruptions on BBC Travel.

     
  13.  
    08:17: Murder accused found dead

    A man currently on trial for the murder of two pensioners has been found dead in his prison cell.

    Cynthia Beamond

    Leo Barnes was accused of murdering Cynthia Beamond (pictured), from Halesowen, and Philip Silverstone, of London, on consecutive days in June last year.

    West Midlands Police say the 33-year-old, who denied murder, was found hanged in his cell at HMP Hewell in Redditch yesterday.

     
  14.  
    08:06: Today's forecast Sara Blizzard Weather Presenter, BBC East Midlands Today

    Rain across the region at first will clear quickly this morning. It will then be dry with sunny spells, the best of which will be in the south and east.

    Sara Blizzard

    Cool in a northwesterly breeze with a high of 9C (48F).

     
  15.  
    08:00: Good morning Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    I'm in the BBC Birmingham newsroom bringing you the very latest news, sport, travel and weather for Birmingham and the Black Country.

    If you'd like to get in touch with the BBC Local Live team today - email or tweet @BBCWM.

     

Features

Elsewhere on the BBC

Programmes

  • Water droplets bouncing off a laser-etched water repellent metal surfaceClick Watch

    The laser-etched metal surfaces that repel water, plus other technology news

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.