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 George McPhee

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PostSubject: George McPhee   Thu Sep 04, 2008 6:09 pm

George McPhee
Date Referred to Court:
24 January 2003
Offence:
Murder
Date of Conviction:
4 December 1985
Appeal Outcome:
Successful
Date of Appeal Outcome:
6 December 2005

Judgment:
http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/opinions/2005HCJAC137.html
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PostSubject: Cleared man seeks public inquiry   Thu Sep 04, 2008 6:09 pm

Cleared man seeks public inquiry
A man who spent 18 years in jail for a murder which he did not commit has called for a public inquiry into the case.

George McPhee, from Lincolnshire, was jailed for life in 1985 for the killing of Elizabeth "Totsie" Sutherland at her home in Culbokie on the Black Isle.

His case for justice was supported by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC).

Appeal judges said he was the victim of a "grave miscarriage of justice".

Mrs Sutherland was known as "Totsie" because she was only 4ft 9in tall.

The 30-year-old mother-of-two had been repeatedly stabbed in the chest and had her throat cut.

I feel great now but a bit disappointed that we don't know what happened, how it came about that I was in prison for 18 years
George McPhee

Her body was discovered by her 10-year-old daughter when she returned from school.

Mr McPhee, 50, had been brought up a few miles from the scene but was living in Lincolnshire at the time of the murder.

He was convicted following evidence from Detective Superintendent Andrew Lister, which has since been discredited.

The police officer, who died five years ago, told the original trial that a footprint in Mrs Sutherland's garden matched Mr McPhee's size nine shoes and that it had been confirmed by forensic scientists.

However, a laboratory report on a plaster cast of the footprint was found to state that the interpretation of size was "impossible".

The document was withheld from the trial.

'Serious questions'

The appeal judges also dismissed the evidence of Colin Hawkins, who was with Mr McPhee on the day of the murder, and prisoner Trevor Proudfoot who claimed there had been a prison confession.

Accompanied by his wife Pauline and sons George, 24, and Andrew, 23, Mr McPhee demanded a public inquiry after hearing the appeal court judges' ruling in Edinburgh.

He said: "I feel great now but a bit disappointed that we don't know what happened, how it came about that I was in prison for 18 years.

"I want a public inquiry to find out exactly what happened.

"I hope they get the person that committed the murder because he is still out there or she is still out there."

His solicitor, Robbie Burnett, added: "George is entitled to know exactly what happened, how he was wrongly convicted of this crime.

"There are very many serious questions which remain unanswered here."

A spokesman for Northern Constabulary said they did not intend to reopen the murder case and added that they were not looking for anyone else in connection with the killing.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/scotland/4503098.stm

Published: 2005/12/06 14:25:15 GMT

© BBC MMVIII
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PostSubject: Man cleared after 18 years' jail   Thu Sep 04, 2008 6:12 pm

From The TimesMan cleared after 18 years' jail
December 7, 2005
Man cleared after 18 years' jail
By Shirley English
A MAN who was wrongly convicted of murdering a young mother after a detective lied at his trial has demanded a public inquiry into why he spent 18 years in jail.

George McPhee, now 50, was jailed for life in 1985, and ordered to spend at least 25 years behind bars for the murder of Elizabeth “Totsie” Sutherland, 36, at her home in Culbokie, Easter Ross.

The mother-of-two disturbed intruders ransacking her home in September 1984. She was stabbed several times in the chest and her throat was cut. Her body was found by her ten-year-old daughter when she arrived home from school.

Mr McPhee, of Immingham, Lincolnshire, was convicted of the murder but always protested his innocence. Yesterday his conviction was quashed at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh. Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Gill, sitting with Lord Nimmo Smith and Lord Osborne, said that he had suffered a “grave miscarriage of justice”, and had not had a fair trial. The judges said that evidence given by Detective Superintendent Andrew Lister, the senior investigating officer, had been crucial to Mr McPhee’s conviction, and that evidence had been “untrue”.

Speaking outside the court, Mr McPhee said that it would be hard to forgive those who had put him behind bars. He said: “I feel great now but a bit disappointed that we don’t know what happened or how it came about that I was in prison for 18 years. I would like a public inquiry to find out exactly what happened. I hope they get the person that committed the murder because he’s still out there, or she’s still out there somewhere.”

Mr McPhee’s case was referred back to the appeal court after an investigation by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission. Its findings cast serious doubts on the evidence of witnesses, including the police, and Mr McPhee was freed on bail in July 2003 pending a ruling.

He had been brought up in Culbokie but had moved to South Humberside by the time of the murder, and only returned during 1984 and 1985 for several housebreaking raids. At Mr McPhee’s trial at the High Court in Inverness, Colin Hawkins, his housebreaking partner, testified that Mr McPhee alone had broken into Mrs Sutherland’s house. Another witness, Trevor Proudfoot, who shared a cell with Mr McPhee, claimed that he had confessed to the killing.

Yesterday the judges concluded that both were “unsavoury individuals” with serious problems of credibility, and that it was Mr Lister’s evidence that had proved crucial to Mr McPhee’s conviction. Mr Lister, who has since died, had claimed that forensic experts believed footprints found in Mrs Sutherland’s garden and in her house were made by the same person, and matched a shoe worn by Mr McPhee when he was arrested. However, laboratory documents not seen during the trial proved that this was not the case. The judges said: “The Advocate Depute submitted to us that the overall impression was that Detective Superintendent Lister was not acting in bad faith. We find that difficult to accept.”

Yesterday Northern Constabulary said that it did not intend to reopen the case, and was not looking for anyone else in connection with the murder.
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