Thursday, April 25, 2024

Media Matters Mark Alexander – High Court Victory For Sir Terry Waite Supported Prisoner

As humanitarian hero Terry Waite is knighted, a prisoner he has campaigned in support of, Mark Alexander, finally gets good news with a landmark judgment at the High Court

This morning, in King Charles III’s clearly well thought out Birthday Honours list, a genuinely wonderful gentleman, Terry Waite received what he’s described as one of his life’s “peak” achievements when this former envoy for the Church of England was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) for his services to charity.

 

The now elevated Sir Terry modestly commented that he was “really amazed that I’ve got it; I’m getting on, but I’m still working at 84.” He added: “I’m still very active” and yesterday came good news also for a campaign the former hostage has long been involved with, that of the case of the clearly dubious conviction of Mark Alexander.

 

Sir Terry has repeatedly suggested the September 2010 conviction of Alexander of the murder of his conman father in Buckinghamshire on a date unknown between September 2009 and February 2010 to be based on “circumstantial evidence” and that this is a case being in need of being “reviewed without further delay.”

 

Yesterday in London, the High Court decided a legal challenge against the government over a jail interview by telephone by journalist Robin Eveleigh with Alexander was “misdirected and irrational.” Mr Justice Andrew Baker said a decision by the governor of HMP Coldingley in Surrey, where Alexander is currently held, should be “quashed” and added that “the claimant’s request [will need to be considered] afresh.”

 

Responding, through the ‘Justice for Mark Alexander’ campaign website, Mark Alexander announced:

 

“Today’s ruling is an important milestone in the fight for an open, transparent and accountable justice system in which prisoners’ voices are heard; wrongful convictions can be properly scrutinised; and our free press is able to work without resistance or obfuscation from government. More needs to be done to address other systemic failings at the heart of our penal and justice system, but today at least marks a step in the right direction and will hopefully enable more recognition to be given to miscarriages of justice here in the UK.”

 

Going further, Eveleigh explained:

 

“The role of the media in highlighting and exposing miscarriages of justice cannot be overstated. The BBC’s pioneering investigative documentary Rough Justice led to 18 convictions being overturned.”

 

“Mr Alexander’s story is never going to reach the audience it needs and deserves via print media, nor would a print media commission or commissions go anywhere near supporting the volume of work required to investigate his case thoroughly. It is telling that in response to the quashing of Adnan Syed’s conviction – following the global attention his case received through the American podcast Serial – veteran BBC journalist Justin Webb told Radio 4’s Today programme that podcasts were now ‘the place to go’ for innocent people wrongly convicted.”

 

Mark Alexander’s grandmother added:

 

“As a family we need this documentary to happen. We all feel it can bring about fair justice, to prove Mark’s innocence and clear his name. I will always support Mark, because I know in my heart that he is innocent.”

 

Production of the podcast series about Mark Alexander’s case by Robin Eveleigh now ought to be given the go-ahead and this, a conviction based very much on a very much botched investigation, must now be reexamined. Such should be done urgently, but given how slowly the wheels of justice move in once Great Britain, sadly, don’t hold your breath.

 

Editor’s note – Unlike as is the case in many publications, this article was NOT sponsored or supported by a third-party. Follow Matthew Steeples on Twitter at @M_Steeples.

 

A message from our editorial team – Thank you for reading this article. We’re more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus and the cost-of-living crisis impacts our advertisers. If you haven’t already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by supporting our work via Patreon.

 

Pictured top – Mark Alexander at his graduation ceremony with Sir Terry Waite KCMG CBE.

 

To follow the ‘Justice for Mark Alexander’ group on Facebook, click here, and to follow the campaign seeking a review of the case on Twitter go to @PatientCaptive. Prominent supporters include the former Conservative MP for Westminster The Rt. Hon. Mark Field, the Reverend Canon Grant Fellows, the Right Reverend Bishop Tim Stevens and the hostage-turned-humanitarian Sir Terry Waite KCMG CBE. Supplied images: © http://freeMarkAlexander.org (CC BY-ND 4.0).

 

This morning on Twitter, Matthew Steeples asked: “Is it time for the case of Mark Alexander @PatientCaptive to be reinvestigated?” He linked to this article and added: “Context of murder conviction based on circumstantial evidence only according to Sir Terry Waite in today’s ‘The Steeple Times.’” By 12 noon on Saturday 17th June 2023, the very clear majority of respondents favoured the answer: “Yes; Mark Alexander is innocent.”
Mark Alexander
Found guilty without any forensic evidence and with the help of ‘Midsomer Murders-esque’ “suspicious neighbours primarily, supporters of Mark Alexander rightly highlight that the prosecution withheld critical information from trial that included that four potential suspects – who police never bothered to speak to – were never even mentioned to the jury. Going further and summing up what led to the conviction of Alexander, Progressing Prisoners Maintaining Innocence (PPMI), observed: “Another example of typical factors in a wrongful conviction: no forensic evidence, impossible time frame for the crime to be committed, witness put off by the police, important witnesses not interviewed, lurid allegations in the press published before they could be countered, all racked up by such sad personal circumstances.”

Issues with the 2010 murder conviction and jailing for life with a minimum of 16 years of Mark Alexander:

  • Not one iota of forensic evidence links the convicted now 35-year-old to the murder and much of the police case against him was based on the word of “suspicious neighbours” with attitudes akin to characters from the TV drama series Midsomer Murders.
  • On the homepage of the campaign supporting him, it is stated: “Mark has always maintained his innocence… Mark was found guilty on the basis of doubt created about his version of events rather than any evidence of his involvement in a murder. No such evidence exists. There is no known cause, or date, of death – and there were no traces of DNA, blood, or even fingerprints linking Mark to the crime.”
  • The convicted man’s father, Samuel, had a string of at least eleven aliases and was a known confidence trickster.
  • The deceased man was cautioned for shoplifting in 1995 and had been involved in mortgage frauds involving a number of properties. He was described by his son tellingly when he remarked: “Dad always seemed to be running or hiding from something.”
  • Samuel Alexander lied also to his son about what had happened to his mother and cruelly told him she had died of cancer. The pair were only reunited after Mark Alexander’s arrest and it then became known that Samuel Alexander had also cheated her as part of a property scam also.
  • It was also revealed at sentencing that the deceased pensioner spent “long hours on the computer surfing teenage chat rooms and sex websites, sometimes posing as a man in his late teens or early 20.” Could it be that he upset someone in the process and could they be his true killer?
  • Mark Alexander has produced evidence showing that there were four potential suspects working at his father’s home around the time of his death. Police never spoke to these suspects and the jury were never made aware of them.
  • The convicted man has never admitted his guilt of this shocking crime in spite of the fact that in doing so he could have seen his sentence reduced.
  • Using human rights laws, Mark Alexander was, in March 2020, able to finally obtain files documenting his father’s multiple identities from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs. He became supposedly the first person in Britain to achieve such access and now also, according to the Daily Mail’s Alice Cachia and Robin Eveleigh: “[The Justice for Mark Alexander’ campaign] are also developing new mobile phone cell site evidence which they hope will provide proof of Alexander’s movements around the time of his father’s death.” They hint that this will show he could not possibly have been present at the time of the murder and burial.
  • Mark Alexander told The Mirror’s crime editor Tom Pettifor in May 2020: “I’ve always always maintained my innocence, you just assume the system will work, but we didn’t have enough time or evidence to prove it, particularly against the story the prosecution were spinning… Nothing will ever justify what they did to [my father], but I just need some answers.”

Humanitarian hero Sir Terry Waite KCMG CBE’s 22nd November 2022 message in full:

Over the course of my life I have been in contact with many prisoners who claim they have been unjustly convicted.

 

I fully appreciate that not all who approach me are truthful, but it is said that between six and seven percent of those convicted are innocent and ought not to be in jail.

 

I fully understand what a difficult task it is for an innocent prisoner to appeal. It is a long and costly process. It is also difficult for those who have to determine the fate of a man or woman claiming wrongful conviction.

 

I have known Mark Alexander for almost ten years. I have studied his case and spoken personally with him many times. The evidence against him was circumstantial, as was pointed out by the judge in his case.

 

I find it difficult to believe that a complete forensic examination was conducted before the jury found him guilty by majority verdict. In recent years, new evidence has emerged which throws even further doubt on the safety of his conviction.

 

Alas, the wheels of justice grind exceedingly slowly and Mark, still a young man, remains incarcerated – denied access to an open prison because, in the eyes of the authorities, he refuses to accept his guilt.

 

In the past 12 years, he has achieved academic distinction, but his continued imprisonment in a secure establishment means he may not be able to study for a doctorate.

 

Mark’s case certainly raises reasonable doubt in my mind and, ought to be reviewed without further delay.

 

Mark-Alexander-Samuel-Alexander
Mark Alexander and his late father Samuel Alexander.
2-Prospect-Close-Drayton-Parslow
The scene of the burial (but not necessarily the killing) of Samuel Alexander – 2 Prospect Close, Drayton Parslow, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK17 0JB.
2-Prospect-Close-Drayton-Parslow-aerial-view
An aerial shot of the property.
Documentary-evidence-Samuel-Alexander-fraud
Documentary evidence of Samuel Alexander using aliases that show him to have been a man capable of perpetrating fraud and deception.
Terry-Waite-Mark-Alexander-HM-Prison-Coldingley
On Friday 28th September 2018, Mark Alexander played at a charity concert for The Howard League of Penal Reform at HM Prison Coldingley in Bisley, Surrey. Terry Waite CBE read from ‘Out of the Silence,’ his book about his 1,763 days in captivity from 1987 to 1991 in Lebanon.
Matthew Steeples
Matthew Steeples
A graduate of the London School of Economics, Matthew Steeples is a writer and marketing consultant. He conceived The Steeple Times as a media arena to fill the void between the Mail Online, The Huffington Post and such organs as the New York Social Diary in 2012.

1 COMMENT

  1. The whole issue of withheld evidence by any party involved has been a consistent flaw in the system. Was there a jury or just a judge? So many people have been wrongly convicted.

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