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Downing decision: "any time"

The fate of a man convicted for a murder he claims he did not commit could finally be determined within the next seven days.

Stephen Downing (44), from Bakewell, is expecting to hear the result of his appeal against his conviction any time from this morning (Monday) onwards.

Campaigners – including editor Don Hale from Matlock Mercury – have been advised that the Criminal Cases Review Commission will soon announce its interim decision.

Stephen Downing has spent 27 years in prison for the murder of Wendy Sewell, found battered with a pickaxe handle, in Bakewell cemetery in September 1973.

Despite his claims of innocence, he was ordered to be detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure with a recommended tariff of seventeen years.

He has now served more than ten years beyond this date due to his continual denial of the offence.

New witness statements, fresh evidence and expert forensic, photographic and police evidence, have added more substance to his claims and cast further doubt against his conviction.

Stephen Downing won a landmark case against the Government in the European Court of Human Rights last April over this key parole issue, and following the introduction of the new Human Rights Bill into British law last Monday, lawyers now believe he is being detained ‘unlawfully’.

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