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Downing case breakthrough

Jailed Stephen Downing could be released from prison on Friday – after 27 years behind bars for a murder he claims he did not commit.

His bail application hearing, pending an appeal, will be heard at the High Court at 9.15am.

If the hearing goes as expected, Downing could be home the same day.

Matlock Mercury editor Don Hale, who has campaigned for Downing’s release, will be in London for the hearing, which will be held in open court.

He is hopeful of a positive outcome and said: “The Home Secretary has said he will not stand in the way of it.

“This has come about because of the pressure we’ve put on the authorities with this.”

Downing, 44, was jailed for the 1973 murder of typist Wendy Sewell, who was attacked with a pickaxe handle in the Derbyshire town of Bakewell.

It was feared the hearing might not take place until after Christmas after being referred by the Criminal Cases Review Commission a month ago.

  • Don Hale has been highlighted as a contender for the Observer’s Man of the Year Award.

    Click here fo find out more.

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