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Clive Freeman

Clive Freeman is 80 years of age, he is dying of cancer having served almost 40 years in prison for a murder that he never committed. Clive has the support of no less than 9 imminent pathologists and other experts now challenge the true scientific facts of the course of the death of the deceased Alexander Hardie. It is now stated by these experts that it is absolutely not possible for the deceased to have died the way that Dr Richard Shepered described at the trial of Mr Freeman. As a matter of fact, the undisclosed original conclusion of the cause of death of Mr Hardie totally coincided with the conclusion of the opinion of the pathologist for the defense Professor Mant (40 years in practice but at trial this document was not disclosed to the defense, had it been so the two oppositions where in agreement.

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In 1989, Clive Freeman was convicted of the 1988 murder of Alexander Hardie. Hardie, a 49 year old alcoholic, was found dead and partially burned in Clive's flat in Rotherhithe.  Clive left London the following day for America.   

Circumstantial evidence made the police suspicious and led them to believe that Clive had killed Hardie in an attempt to pass the body off as his own (despite very obvious physical difference between the two men). Police formulated a theory, wrongly, that Clive had attempted to cash in a life insurance policy in the months before the incident, and his travel to the United States gave an appearance of a man looking to disappear. 

Although one eyewitness placed him at the scene of the murder, two others - a nightclub bouncer and a hotel receptionist - both placed him in West London, miles away from his flat, on the night of the supposed murder.     

But was Hardie’s death murder?

Clive has consistently challenged the fundamental basis of his conviction. He and his supporters have garnered a wealth of scientific evidence that suggests there was no murder at all and that the death of Alexander Hardie was probably attributable to heart failure brought on by alcohol.

Further they argue that the prosecution theory of cause of death presented at the original trial is based on science that is now completely discredited. 

At the 1989 trial, the pathologist Dr Richard Shepherd claimed that Hardie’s death was caused by “Burking", a 160 year-old method of asphyxiation which involves lying across on a victim and blocking their nose and mouth. (Burking was used by the infamous duo Burke and Hare in their series of murders in 1828 to provide cadavers for anatomical dissection in Edinburgh.)  Arguably, the fact that Dr Shepherd needed to concoct such an unusual cause of death in order to present a theory of murder speaks for itself. Shepherd suggested that Clive’s military background as a veteran of the Rhodesian special forces gave credence to the idea that he was skilled in methods of killing designed to evade detection. 

Clive was convicted on this basis and has been in prison ever since.  

The retraction of the eyewitness statement

In 1997, the eyewitness who had placed Clive near the scene of the crime retracted his evidence.  That evidence had been used at trial to suggest that, despite the fact that Clive had checked into a West London hotel on the night in question, he might have been able to leave the hotel, cross London, commit murder, and return undetected in time for breakfast. The eyewitness, in his retraction, said he had since seen the man in question and that he was now certain that Clive was not the man he saw.  The CCRC have dismissed this critical evidence without clear reasoning.

Hidden Evidence

Although Dr Shepherd has become a world-renowned expert pathologist, at the time of the trial he had only two years experience as a forensic pathologist.  He referred to himself as a “tyro” or “novice” and admitted that he had seen less than five homicidal asphyxias.   His initial conclusion after the first autopsy - which wasn’t disclosed before or at trial - was that the cause of death was probably alcohol and acute pancreatitis. Dr Shepherd changed his mind in a second autopsy but never disclosed this change and was therefore never challenged during evidence as to why this happened. Clive’s team of supporters eventually found Shepherd’s original autopsy report in 2015, and this formed the basis for a Criminal Cases Review Commission submission in 2017. Yet the CCRC decided that this new evidence was not enough to allow Clive to take his case to the Court of Appeal. 

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