Northern Ireland

Mark Kincaid: Convicted murderer's lawyer appeals for witnesses

David Hamilton
Image caption David Hamilton, 40, was murdered in his own home almost 11 years ago

Supporters of a man serving life for murder have said he is at the centre of the worst miscarriage of justice in Northern Ireland since the Troubles.

Mark Kincaid was convicted of murdering David Hamilton in east Belfast in 2004, but has always protested his innocence.

Kincaid's solicitor has now made a fresh appeal for witnesses to the murder to come forward.

Mr Hamilton's former wife Angela Moore has said she does not believe Kincaid is innocent.

However, since the day he was sentenced, Mark Kincaid has said he was not guilty of the crime. "I am an innocent man - I did nothing to be here," he said.

"I played no part in David's murder. Why should I lie in here for someone else's crime?"

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Media captionMark Kincaid was told he must serve at least 16 years of a life sentence for murder

Kincaid made the comments in a documentary examining his case that will be broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster this weekend.

The murder left a bitter legacy in the Ballybeen estate, where the families of the victims and the killers live cheek by jowl.

Two other men from Ballybeen - William Anderson and Gareth Anderson - were also convicted of the murder.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption David Hamilton was found dead in his flat in the Ballybeen estate in November 2004

Forty-year-old Mr Hamilton was brutally murdered in his own home at Gleneagles Gardens.

His former wife said she does not believe Kincaid is innocent.

Speaking on the documentary, Ms Moore said: "I would like him to tell the truth and admit his guilt.

"Why he's carrying on lying like that, it just shows you how callous he is.

"All the evidence was there. There's no doubt in my mind he did it. The people in Ballybeen know he did it. He took part in it. Everybody up here knows he's guilty."

But lawyers who have studied the case insist the conviction is unsafe.

Image caption Mark Kincaid says he is an innocent man

Solicitor Michael Sinclair said: "It absolutely is a miscarriage of justice - beyond reasonable doubt, you have to be firmly sure that someone has committed a crime.

"For me I am firmly sure that Mark Kincaid did not commit this crime."

Kincaid's current solicitor, Paul Dougan, has made an appeal for any witnesses to the murder 11 years ago to come forward to help Kincaid have his case reviewed.

"Both the history of this country and these islands is that people have gone to every court in the land, convictions have been upheld and appeals dismissed and then something happens and those cases are turned on their heads, and convictions are all of a sudden quashed," he said.

"If there are people within the community who know what happened here, then they have a moral imperative to come forward even at this late stage."

Image caption Former First Minister Peter Robinson wrote to Mark Kincaid in prison

The key piece of evidence against Kincaid is his thumbprint found on a piece of glass in the ransacked flat where Mr Hamilton was killed.

The jury believed it was left there at the time of the killing. Kincaid has always maintained it must have been left behind in the flat while he was there at a party weeks before.

A campaign for the case to be re-examined has enlisted some powerful supporters, including the former First Minister Peter Robinson.

He wrote to Kincaid earlier this year saying he believes he is innocent.

The former Irish government minister Éamon Ó Cuiv has also raised concerns about the case.

The documentary, Beyond Reasonable Doubt, will be broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster on Sunday 27 September at 12:30 BST.

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