Michael Shirley

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

Michael Shirley was convicted of the murder of Linda Cook, who had been raped and killed by someone stamping on her head and neck. He was convicted on the basis of four pieces of evidence – (i) his blood group matched that on swaps taken from the victim’s body, (ii) injuries on him could have been inflicted by her during the attack, (iii) her abdomen bore the impression of a right shoe that matched one he accepted he may have been wearing, and (iv) he admitted to having been in the area. Fresh evidence obtained by DNA samples rendered the conviction unsafe since there was DNA in the original swabs not belonging to Michael or Linda. New evidence also made the prosecution arguments relating to timing unlikely. This led the court to conclude that the conviction was “plainly unsafe.”

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  • Offence: Murder Sexual offences
  • Jurisdiction: England & Wales
  • County: Hampshire 
  • Ethnicity: White
  • Gender: M
  • Years in prison: 16
  • Offence convicted of: Rape and murder
  • Year of crime: 1986
  • Year of initial conviction: 1988
  • Year conviction was overturned: 2003
  • Affirmative evidence of innocence: Y
  • Age when imprisoned: 18
  • CCRC Referral: Y
  • Tried with others: N
  • Link to full case: https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Crim/2003/1976.html
  • Type of fresh evidence at appeal: DNA evidence
  • Compensation: Unknown
  • Crown argued case at CofA: Yes
  • Retrial: No
  • Previous appeals: Refused leave to appeal in 1989