Victor Nealon falsly imprisoned for 17 years urges police to reopen case

A REDDITCH man given a life sentence for an attempted rape he has always denied has spoken out for the first time.

Former postman Victor Nealon, 53, was told last Friday that after spending almost two decades in prison for a crime he did not commit, he was a free man.

He was given the news by three appeal judges after a 20 minute hearing in London where lawyers raises doubts about forensic evidence.

The decision came after the Criminal Cases Review Commission referred the case to the Court of Appeal.

Mr Nealon, who spent 17 years in Wakefield Prison, was convicted in January 1997 for an attack on a young woman leaving Racquets nightclub in 1996.

He denied attempted rape but was convicted after a trial at Hereford Crown Court and given a life term.

An appeal in 1998 failed.

Lawyers said recent forensic tests had revealed DNA traces from another man on clothing - raising fears of a miscarriage of justice.

The Advertiser reported in 2010 how crucial forensic evidence was left untested and independent tests carried found matching traces of saliva and other DNA samples on the victim's blouse and bra from an unknown male.

Speaking earlier today on BBC Hereford and Worcester Mr Nealon said that when he was told he was free he didn't believe it and that he was overjoyed. He admitted it would be difficult to adjust though and will be taking take each day as it comes.

He stressed that he is now keen to show his support to the victim and make sure that she gets justice, urging West Mercia Police to reopen the case.

Mr Nealon’s lawyer Mark Newby, of Jordans Solicitors, said that there should now be searching questions over why the case ended up here when the exhibits could have been examined 17 years ago.

The incident involved the victim walking home with a friend when she was grabbed from behind and forced to the floor.

Both women and a series of witnesses remembered seeing the attacker at the club, who was distinguished by an egg-sized lump on his forehead.

Mr Nealon, who did not have a lump on his forehead, was invited by police to join an identification parade where only two of the seven witnesses picked him out.

Detective Superintendent Adrian McGee, from West Mercia Police, said: “We have been in touch with the victim to ensure that she is kept up to date and in the light of Friday's developments at the Court of Appeal we will be reviewing the case.

“We are currently waiting for papers from the Crown Prosecution Service and Criminal Cases Review Commission so that we can make a full assessment of all the information and evidence available.”

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