The UK has seen a great many miscarriages of justice over the years. Most of the more tragic ones involve the conviction of an innocent person for murder, such as Stefan Kiszko
. There is though another type of miscarriage of justice, that for which someone was convicted of a crime that never happened.
Among the most heinous of these are false allegations of rape, which can destroy a man's future, usually a young one
Occasionally though, people end up serving substantial prison sentences for crimes that never happened. That could have been the case with the death of Gareth Williams
, but according to the latest pronouncements
from the Metropolitan Police, the case of the spy in the bag appears to have been a bizarre accident in which no one else was involved. The evidence for this includes an incident in which his former landlady said
she had once found him tied to his bedstead. It is quite possible that this humble MI6 employee imagined himself to be suitable to replace James Bond
. Alas, we will never know, but at least some poor innocent sap hasn't been railroaded into confessing to his murder or put in the frame because his DNA was found at the crime scene.
Others have not been so lucky. The 1990s saw a series of cases in which mothers were convicted of murdering their babies. Subsequently the forensic evidence was shown to be flawed. The most high profile of these cases was that of Sally Clark
who died in 2007 aged just 42. She was convicted of murdering both her baby sons. Both Donna Anthony and Angela Cannings were likewise convicted, but by the time Trupti Patel stood trial for murdering three of her infants, the facts about sudden infant death syndrome
were more fully understood, and she was cleared
Probably the most tragic case of a parent wrongly convicted of murdering a child happened a long time ago. In 1721, Edinburgh man William Shaw
was hanged for the murder of his daughter. Nine months later, her suicide note was found!