Leopold Willis

Years in prison:
Year of crime:
Year conviction was overturned:

Leopold Willis was convicted of killing a man during a robbery of a jewelers shop. The incident was reocrded on the shop’s security system. It produced good images of Leopold’s co-defendants but images of the third man were of much poorer quality. At an initial ID parade not containing the appellant, the shop keeper picked out the two co-defendants and an innocent volunteer. At a second ID parade where the appellant was present, the shopkeeper picked the appellant out immediately. This identification provided the basis for the prosecution of Willis. On appeal it was argued that the police had shown Willis’s photograph to the eyewitness before the parade and that this argument would have been made at trial if subsequently discovered corruption and misconduct of several officers involved in the case had been known at the time. Evidence was also raised that brought into question the reliability of the identification – for example that the shopkeeper said he had been carrying a bag, but the CCTV showed that the offender thought to be Willis was not. On the basis of the evidence of police misconduct, and weaknesses in the identifications, the appeal was allowed.

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  • Offence: Murder Robbery / burglary
  • Jurisdiction: England & Wales
  • County: Greater London 
  • Ethnicity: Black
  • Gender: M
  • Years in prison: 11
  • Offence convicted of: Murder, robbery, having a firearm with intent to commit robbery (x 2)
  • Year of crime: 1995
  • Year of initial conviction: 1995
  • Year conviction was overturned: 2006
  • Age when imprisoned: Unknown
  • CCRC Referral: Y
  • Tried with others: Y
  • Link to full case: https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Crim/2006/809.html
  • Type of fresh evidence at appeal: Evidence casting doubt on the integrity of police, Evidence relating to the reliability of witness testimony
  • Compensation: Unknown
  • Crown argued case at CofA: Yes
  • Retrial: No
  • Previous appeals: Unsuccessful application for leave to appeal in 1996