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Downing was offered chance to work as Post photographer

Stephen Downing, the man whose conviction for murder was quashed after 27 years in prison, turned down a chance to work at the Nottingham Evening Post.

Downing had an interview last year, soon after the appeal court victory which meant he was an innocent man.

He had publicly voiced his eagerness to find work in photography on his release from prison and a job at the Post would have answered his prayers.

He was interviewed by then assistant editor Duncan Hamilton – but this week said he turned down a job offer because he feared he might not be up to the required standard.

Downing himself made the revelation in an interview with the Sheffield Star yesterday, as part of an article explaining how he had blown £250,000 – an advance on his compensation for the wrongful conviction.

He told the Star that he regretted his decision to turn down the job.

He said: “At 47 there are not that many opportunities in that area and in a way I do regret not taking it.

“If I could get a job in newspapers or TV that would make me really really happy.”

Marc Astley, deputy editor at the Post said: “Duncan Hamilton interviewed Downing after he approached us for some work.

“We offered him work experience because he did not have enough experience for a job here.

“He had believed our paper was a similar size to the Matlock Mercury and after coming in he believed it was too big a job for him and declined the offer.”

Derbyshire man Downing was convicted of the murder of Wendy Sewell in Bakewell in 1973 when he was 17 and served far beyond his tariff simply because he refused to admit his guilt, finally being released in 2002 when his conviction was quashed. The story is currently being televised by the BBC in its dramatisation In Denial of Murder.

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