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Murder convict makes fresh attempt to clear his name after ‘miscarriage of justice’

Oliver Campbell is hoping his case will be reconsidered at the High Court in London. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Oliver Campbell is hoping his case will be reconsidered at the High Court in London. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

A man living near Ipswich jailed for a murder he is adamant he didn’t commit is to make a fresh bid to clear his name amid growing cries of a miscarriage of justice.

Oliver Campbell was found guilty of the brutal shooting of a shopkeeper in Hackney in 1991, with a reported confession during police interview used as a key part of the case against him.

The 49-year-old spent 11 years in jail, including at Hollesley Bay near Woodbridge. He remains on licence, meaning he cannot travel abroad and is subjected to closer monitoring by police.

MORE: Man convicted of murder: 'I am innocent, this is a miscarriage of justice'

Yet his conviction has been repeatedly challenged by those who believe the prosecution was flawed, with many arguing Mr Campbell's so-called admission of guilt should have been discounted given his severe learning difficulties.

BBC documentary Rough Justice even brought in a ballistics expert to challenge the conviction in 2002, amid claims of a lack of forensic evidence.

But a lengthy formal submission made shortly afterwards calling for a review into the case fell on deaf ears.

MORE: Sandy Martin calls for review into convicted murderer's guilty verdict

Despite the setback, Mr Campbell has continued to strenuously deny his guilt - telling this newspaper in his only ever interview last year that he "went into prison innocent, I came out innocent and I've been innocent all the way through".

Now, Mr Campbell has formally told the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) that a fresh appeal will be submitted in the next few weeks after recent media coverage further heightened interest in his case.

'Miscarriage of justice'

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Mr Campbell's long-serving solicitor Glyn Maddocks, who is working with barrister Michael Birnbaum to put together the appeal, said he believes: "One of the primary reasons Oliver was convicted was because he is black.

"Time has ticked on and the way in which the courts deal with people like Oliver has changed."

For example, intermediaries are now appointed to help people with learning difficulties communicate with the courts - something which was not in place during the original trial, and which Mr Maddocks believes greatly disadvantaged Mr Campbell.

"We're going to be asking the courts to look at the developments in the criminal justice system since his conviction," he added.

Mr Campbell has himself called the conviction a "complete miscarriage of justice".

'Oliver simply was not capable of carrying out such a crime'

Former Ipswich MP Sandy Martin gave a speech in support of Mr Campbell in the House of Commons last year.

During the speech, Mr Martin said: "Oliver simply was not capable of carrying out such a crime.

"There was no forensic evidence linking him to the scene of the crime."

He also pointed to witness statements which described two short men at the crime scene, when Mr Campbell is 6ft 3in in height.

Mr Martin, who also met the justice minister to raise the case last year, said: "If you were to meet him you would work out that he's not capable of being able to do that he's supposed to have done."

Ben Gummer, Mr Martin's predecessor as Ipswich MP, also wrote to then prime minister Theresa May in 2016 urging for action over Mr Campbell's case.

In its most recent comment on the case, a spokesman for the CCRC said: "The commission is ready to consider any re-application to us from Mr Campbell and to do so objectively, independently and professionally."

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