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Book will chronicle Hale investigation

The seven-year saga of a journalist’s bid to bring justice for Stephen Downing will be chronicled in a new book to be launched next month.

The story Town Without Pity follows award-winning journalist Don Hale’s success in securing a court appeal for the man jailed for 27 years for a murder he always claimed he did not commit.

Downing had his conviction quashed last month in a ruling that fell short of declaring him an innocent man.

But the judgment was a success for the long and sometimes dangerous campaign by the former Matlock Mercury editor Don Hale.

Town Without Pity will be published by Random House, Century.

It covers Don’s personal seven-year-plus campaign to free Stephen Downing.

It is described by the publishers as bold, brash and controversial and lifts the lid on Don’s battle against the system, revealing the extensive detective work required to produce fresh evidence to quash the murder conviction.

In another development Hat-Trick Productions is working with Don to produce a BBC TV drama for later this year, expected to include a star-studded cast.

Hollywood actress Julia Roberts is touted to play murder victim Wendy Sewell in a movie version of the story, Wendy’s complex love-life proving a draw for the star.

  • New Statesman magazine this week attacked Johnston Press for failing to back its former editor during his investigation, claiming it forced him to work on the story in his own time.

    The article, which is also critical of the way regional newspaper groups buy up weekly papers, discusses how company policies can affect editorial output.

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