The Criminal Case Unit of the C3 Division of the Home Office.
Some of the substance in the following can be found in other areas of the Steel website. However, the Steel case is unusual in that it provides the only comprehensive critique of a C3 investigation ever to be published - and so it is left in its entirety. The shoddy nature of the C3 re-investigation is very clear - it is this kind of slap-dash work that caused the government to take away the Home Office's responsibility to deal with miscarriage of justice cases and from instead the Criminal Case Review Commission.
After the "Rough Justice" programme on the case, Peter Hill drafted a petition for the JUSTICE reform organisation to submit to the Home Office. The petition was finalised by the famous fighter against miscarriage of justice - Tom Sargant. This happened in 1986. C3 has since become notorious for the kind of treatment it handed out to Steel on this occasion. In the late nineties it was relieved of the work of investigating alleged miscarriages of justice when the Criminal Case Review Commission was created.
What C3 did to Steel is typical of what they did to other cases. For one thing, they worked very slowly There were 13 civil servants, all lawyers, in C3 - who handled 650 files a year. That was not 650 cases ( though the CCRC currently has about 2,000 cases on its files) - but 650 files - and a file might mean simply that a letter from an MP was replied to.
When a petition was taken seriously, C3 would order a re-investigation. The first problem with a re-investigation was, inevitably, the police. The Home Office, who are in charge of all police matters, was in charge of all investigations of miscarriages of justice - and invariably chose the police to re-investigate a case ( often from the original investigating officers!).
The Home Office re-investigation of Steel's case took place in 1986 - 87. It was conducted by the South Yorkshire Police. JUSTICE found this objectionable in that it was felt that the officers concerned had too much interest in defending the actions of their Yorkshire colleagues.
C3ís only reply to this was to assure JUSTICE that the investigation of the petitionís points had been a thorough one.
In fact, whilst the South Yorkshire police were investigating the Steel case, the West Yorkshire police was investigating another "Rough Justice" case - that of Alf Fox. It was obvious that "deals" might be struck between the two forces - both of which were under a single command structure.
But there were further signs of interference in the investigation. Paul Wilkinson, Steel's friend - and no relation to Carol - told Peter Hill that the police who conducted the inquiry in 1986-87 on behalf of the Home Office did so in the office of one of the leading detectives on the original investigation, a D.S. Falconer.
Paul Wilkinson suggested that D. S. Falconer was not only very close to the 1986-87 investigation team, but he also set out to intimidate witnesses such as Paul himself by being present before and after interviews.
In general, there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the 1986-87 police re-investigation could not have had the high standards of objectivity we should expect from such an investigation.
THE C3 REPLY
The initial reply by C3 to the JUSTICE petition, dated 28th April 1987, did not cover all the points in the petition. Some points were simply ignored. The general approach by C3 appears to have been to read and investigate the evidence in a cursory, arguably even a careless, manner - and then claim that the evidence was insufficient.
The reply covered the following points of evidence:a) The key-ring evidence.b) the disputed route and timingsc) the confession.
JUSTICE replied to this initial response with a further submission. In the Home Office letter of 29th September 1987 a more detailed reply was sent.
This answered further points:
a) pressure put upon Pamela Ward and Eddie Hannon by the police.
b) the surveyorís evidence regarding the view from the back door of Steelís home.
THE KEY RING EVIDENCE
THE KEY RING EVIDENCE.
The first reply from C3 claimed that the key ring in the "Rough Justice" programme "was not, as implied, the one produced in court but one based on a description of the key ring given by Mrs Christine Alred."
The second reply explained this error by claiming that the "Rough Justice team" advised the police that the key ring produced in the programme was a composite one".
The inaccuracies in these statements indicate the poor quality of the investigation made in response to the JUSTICE petition.
The initial C3 reply assumed that only one key ring had appeared in the programme. This indicated that neither the police involved, nor the C3 officials had watched the programme with due care. Two different fish key rings were clearly featured - indeed witnesses were shown several different key rings.
Another indicator that C3 were completely confused by the evidence came during the answer to evidence about Paul Wilkinson and the key ring. C3 wrote:
"Paul Wilkinson, Carolís brother, who gave evidence at the trial but who was not seen by the "Rough Justice" team, remains adamant that the key ring produced in court was the one owned by his sister and that it was on her bag prior to the attack. And he is equally adamant that the one produced on the programme was not the one used in court."
This statement avoids the difficulty that Paul Wilkinson first told the police that Carol had the key ring on a brown bag - which he produced for the police. He later changed his story when he was told that the bag Carol had carried with her was blue. The phrase "prior to the attack" is also misleading - Paul Wilkinson said " a month before", Counsel had amended this to " a week before".
The TV programme never claimed to have the key ring "used in court". To which key ring in the TV programme Paul Wilkinson refers is not known. One shown was never presented as having been in court. A second was presented as identical to the one that appeared in court.
This second key ring was discovered after extensive research to find a key ring which matched the detailed description recorded by the Defence forensic scientist Dr. Julius Grant. Paul Wilkinson never saw this second key ring except on a TV screen. He has never handled it.
THE KEY RING EVIDENCE
The second C3 reply was further misleading in another aspect of the key ring evidence. It said that the "Rough Justice team" advised the police that the key ring produced in the programme was a composite one".
In fact, the "Rough Justice Team" members were never interviewed by the police during their investigation as was claimed. Nor would they, if asked, have mentioned the word "composite" with regard to the key ring in question - for they had searched the stocks of key rings around the world to find the particular key ring mentioned. None of the fish key rings shown in the programme could in any way be described as "composite". They were all shown in exactly the same form as they had been bought.
THE KEY RING EVIDENCE
The second reply also included the words:
" it is understood that Brian Best was interviewed by the "Rough Justice" team at a hotel where he identified a gold coloured fish key ring with green eyes as one similar to Carolís."
This is a false representation of what happened. and is clearly based on inadequate investigation.
Brian Bestís complete exposure to key rings at the hotel on the date in question was recorded on videotape. He did not identify a gold fish like the one that appeared at the trial. He chose a fish from a large number of them, but it was not like the one he had identified in 1979. He then chose another fish - with red eyes, saying it was one of them. Neither was like the one he had identified in 1979. He was then shown the fish with the gold scales and green eyes - stamped "Hong Kong". This fish was exactly as per the detailed description made by Dr. Julius Grant for the Defence of the key ring that appeared in the trial.
Brian Best said he had never seen the words " Hong Kong" on the key ring before. He also asserted that he had never seen the fish on a blue denim handbag - only on a brown one.
It was only later, when asked what kind of fish he had been looking for, that Brian Best said he had been looking for one with the same green stone in the eye and with the particular scale effect. By then, he had already then been shown the fish like the one that appeared in court. It had green eyes.
Clearly the police were mis-informed by a witness about what he had told the BBC. However, neither they, nor the Home Office, checked Brian Bestís claims. They were happy to accept the inadequate nature of the evidence as it stood.
THE KEY RING EVIDENCE
A further point about Brian Best suggests that the inquiry was conducted in a wholly incomplete manner. After the BBC "Rough Justice" programme was transmitted, the entire transcripts of the interviews were sent to the Home Office. These interviews included the transcripts of Brian Bestís interview - which showed the episode of him identifying a fish with green eyes only after he had been shown the fish identified by Dr. Grantís description..
THE KEY RING EVIDENCE
The second reply concluded with the words " all the points made regarding the key-ring evidence have been carefully considered". This clearly cannot be true, because a careful consideration would not have made the errors that were made.
THE KEY RING EVIDENCE
As to the original witness evidence regarding the key ring, the C3 reply did not address the central point of the JUSTICE petition - the reliability of the identification evidence brought before the court.
In an attempt to eliminate any further misapprehensions, this element of the evidence was explained in precise detail in a memo by Peter Hill attached to the second JUSTICE petition.
"The second key ring - which is perhaps the one referred to in the Home Office letter - was not at all like the one which appeared in court. It was one found by the "Rough Justice" researchers who were trying to find a key-ring which matched the original description of the victim's keyring given by Christine Alred. It was discovered in Portugal and supplied by a firm called Malgalhaes. Two other Portuguese companies were involved in exporting these fish - Topazio of Porto and Rosas De Portugal in Gondomar.
A Mr. Breddal of Nina Breddall in Byfleet identified the fish as of a type he imported from Portugal to this country from the above company Topazio. He mentioned another company called Ekstrom of Crowborough which also imported such fish.
In her original evidence to the police in Colchester Christine Alred said that the victim had:
" A ring for keys, attached to it a fine chain, about half an inch long and attached to the other end was a fish. the chain was attached to the mouth of the fish which was one and a half inches long. There was a small gold key on the ring. The fish was multi-coloured, it was red, yellow green in colour. It was made of small washers and was slightly pliable. the chain and ring I think was silver."
When she was shown the fish which appeared in court she said:
"definitely not the one... wrong colour, scales of the fish too flexible... hooks on the bottom of the scales - there were no hooks on the fish that had come from Carol."
This evidence by Christine Alred was the only description ever given of Carol Wilkinson's key ring - all the other witnesses merely looked at the key ring being shown to them by the police and identified it as being hers - or ' identical to hers'."
In brief, this pointed out that the only reliable evidence, collected with proper investigative technique, was that of Christine Alred. With her, the police ( in Colchester) had asked her to describe the key ring she remembered Carol having possessed. Then she was asked to draw it as best she could. This was proper technique, producing reliable evidence.
On the other hand, the technique used on the witnesses who positively identified the "courtroom" key ring as Carolís was poor. The key ring was simply placed before them - and they were asked if they could identify it as hers. They were offered no alternative by which their recollection might be tested. This technique was clearly inadequate.
THE KEY RING EVIDENCE
Further points were made in Peter Hillís memo with regard to the calibre of the witnesses. Peter Hill pointed out that Paul Wilkinson had not been as close to Carol Wilkinson as was implied in the C3 reply.
In fact Carol Wilkinson had left home some three years before her murder. Paul Wilkinson, who "saw Carol regularly until her death" according to C3, had not lived in the same house as Carol during those three years.
"Paul Wilkinson had said in his original statement that the fish keyring which the police showed him was "either the key ring or identical to a key ring owned by Carol", that she had had the key ring attached to her handbag, and that he had handed that handbag ( exhibit 16) to the police. He said he had had it in mind to attach hooks to the rings along its bottom to use it as a pike lure.
The Home Office does not comment on the background to this evidence which casts doubt upon the strength of it.
During the trial, Paul Wilkinson was asked on which of two of his sister's handbags he had seen the keyring. He chose a blue denim handbag. This was exhibit 20 and had been found at the scene of the crime. But originally, in his statement to the police he had pointed out a brown handbag and had handed that handbag, exhibit 16, over to the police as the handbag on which his sister had kept her keyring.
This is hardly being adamant that this key-ring was " on her bag prior to the attack" as the Home Office letter states.
Regarding the remark that " he is equally sure that the one (key-ring) produced on the programme was not the one used in court", it is not at all clear to which fish key-ring this refers, since two were shown on the programme, neither of which was implied to be the actual one which appeared in court, though one, as above, was the nearest that the programme could get to being the one that appeared in court. If however, he meant the key ring with the words " made in Hong Kong" stamped upon it, then this is not likely to have been the same type as that used by the victim, for it is too flimsy to be adequately used as a "pike lure" as he stated in his original statement to the police".
THE KEY RING EVIDENCE
On another aspect of the identification of the fish key ring, Hill pointed out that Brian Best was "a copperís nark", and therefore liable to give tainted evidence - an allegation apparently not investigated at all. If the police had interviewed "the Rough Justice team" as was claimed, Hill could have proved this.
C3 also failed to answer another point of Hillís reply to the first letter - that Brian Best admitted he hardly knew Carol:
"It may also be of significance that Brian Best had apparently been a suspect during the initial investigation of 1977, in that he had been asked to supply an alibi. In this statement he said:
" I never discussed with Carol her private life and I don't know
much about her"
In his later statement of 1978, when Steel was under investigation, Brian Best stated :
"I used to go out for a drink with Kevin and Carol, not on a regular
basis, but reasonably often"
THE KEY RING EVIDENCE
The C3 reply did not adequately address any of these points. Other points were similarly not mentioned by C3.
Furthermore, no mention was made of the fact that Carolís sister - with whom she had been living only months before she was killed - did not identify the key-ring, nor did her husband who had shared the same house with Carol.
Statements taken from Mr and Mrs Wilkinson did not contain any reference to the key ring. This is strange considering the central role it played in the evidence. Even when Steelís solicitor asked for all relevant statements not being presented by the prosecution, no statements from Mr and Mrs Wilkinson mentioning the key ring were disclosed. Can we accept that the police did not ask Mr and Mrs Wilkinson whether or not they could identify the key ring? This hardly seems likely - their son, Paul Wilkinson was interviewed by the police whilst he was still living at the family home. He was only 17 years old at the time.
At the core of the argument however, lies the simple point: Carol Wilkinson shared her home with three adults in her last 18 months of life. These three were Kevin Best, Wendy Worsley/Farr ( her sister) and James Worsley ( Wendyís husband).
Kevin must have seen Carolís handbags and purse every day. Wendy Worsley saw her every day until she went to live with Kevin Best in Ranelagh Road - but even then Wendy used to see Carol every Saturday when she went shopping - an occasion when Wendy would have seen Carolís handbag and purse.
Not one of these three with whom she lived identified the key ring. The only identification came from three young men of possibly doubtful reliability because of their individual personal positions - all of whom had seen Carol only occasionally - certainly not every day.
C3 failed to follow up any of these points.
THE C3 REPLY -II :
TIMING - THE HULLAH SISTERS.( To see what the petition said, click here)
With the Hullah evidence, the Home Office once again failed to address the central point of the evidence presented. The first reply had pointed out that "the statements made by the Hullah sisters were made available to the defence, but not used."
This assumes that the evidence given by Susan Hullah on 14th October 1977 was the same as the evidence in the petition of 1986. It was not. In the "Rough Justice" programme both the Hullah sisters - Julie and Susan - made statements.
They were questioned about the accuracy of their timing of the incident - an aspect not in their original statement.
They also mentioned Carolís difficulty with her wedge-heeled beige shoes. They had mentioned these before in 1977, but another part of the evidence of the shoes had not been associated with their comment; it confirmed the day of their sighting. C3 did not address this key issue - the day on which the Hullah girls saw Carol Wilkinson. The other witnesses to Carol on Ravenscliffe Avenue - Murphy and Widdop - may have been confused about timing. The Hullah girls definitely saw Carol Wilkinson on the morning of her murder.
The only person to see Carol Wilkinson at a point further along the route was Wendy Murphy. She did not know Carol Wilkinson. She identified her on that morning largely by the colour of her coat - and was not entirely certain of exactly where she had seen Carol. Even the judge told the jury that "perhaps as late as getting on for 8:40 she was seen near the butcherís shop in Ravenscliffe Avenue. Then she was seen a little later at about 8:40 to 8:45. near the end of Ravenscliffe Avenue"
Peter Hillís analysis in response to C3ís first reply added a significant point which C3 then chose to ignore.
Wendy Murphyís recollection of Carol was, on the evidence, poor. In her statement she described Carolís engagement ring as being " a small gold ring with a single diamond and sapphire stones surrounding it." In fact, Carolís ring, as described by her friend Jean Broadbent who had examined it and saw it every day was " a gold solitaire". This ring was on Carolís body and eventually became exhibit MAH 3 . There are no photographs extant of it.
As for the Hullah girls, they were the only witnesses to sighting who definitely saw Carol on the day of the murder. Neither Murphy nor Widdop noticed the difficulty Carol was having with her new shoes. It was an important piece of evidence that the jury was unaware of.
None of the other witnesses identified Carol so positively.
The strength of the Hullahsí evidence brings some doubt to the value of the trial evidence about Carol walking on Ravenscliffe Avenue. Essentially, the question is - should we believe them on time, or should Wendy Murphy be believed on identification?.
The Hullah girls and Wendy Murphy each claimed to know Carol Wilkinson by sight. However, the Hullah girls knew her from school, whilst Wendy Murphy did not even know her name.
Each claimed to be sure of the timing they have for the sighting of her. The Hullah girls claim that their sighting could not have been earlier than ten minutes to ninebecause they were in a routine of going to school.
Wendy Murphy was going to work. However, she was apparently surprised to see Carol on that particular morning - even though the bus strike had been on for a week. As noted above, if Carol had always gone by the same route ( as the other prosecution evidence alleged) - then Wendy Murphy should have seen her on Ravenscliffe Avenue during the previous week. She should not have been surprised.
Doreen Widdop, the other main witness to the position of Carol on Ravenscliffe Avenue, stated that since the bus strike she had "seen Carol on most mornings in the same locality on her way to work".
It is not possible that the Hullah girls might be mistaken, perhaps having seen Carol on some day during the previous week. They definitely saw Carol on the Monday. This was the only working day in her life that Carol wore the beige shoes.
C3 rejected the Hullah girlsí evidence without reason. If the reason for disregarding the Hullah girl was their age - then we must draw the readerís attention to the ages of the four boys who identified the key ring which was a much more important piece of evidence. Susan Hullah was 16 years old and her sister Julie was 15 years old at the time of the murder. At that time Brian Best was 19, Neil Best was 17, Paul Wilkinson was 17 and Terry Best was 11 years old.
THE C3 REPLY- III:
THE SIGHTING OF CAROL WILKINSON BY STEEL.
The C3 report was seriously deficient on this matter. Although it claimed that the question was "explored in detail", it failed to cover all the evidence presented and it misrepresented other evidence.
The entire manner of the approach taken by C3 and the investigating officers ignored the scientific evidence of the surveyor employed by the BBC. The present petition seeks to restore the original position of the 1986 petition and therefore re-instate the evidence of the surveyor.
THE SIGHTING OF CAROL WILKINSON BY STEEL.
1. Where was "the end of the avenue?
The first point the C3 report put was " There appears to have been no suggestion by the prosecution that Mr. Steel could have seen the victim at the point which was shown on the "Rough Justice" programme."
The point shown on the "Rough Justice" programme was a discernible physical join in the road where a new estate had been attached to the main Ravenscliffe estate. This join in the road was where Ravenscliffe Avenue had joined "the muck road" in 1977. It was some yards south of Oakdale Drive where Wendy Murphy lived.
Wendy Murphy said she saw Carol some 75 yards north of Oakdale Drive. It seems that the prosecution presentation failed to clarify the relative distances for the judge. He told the jury that the end of Ravenscliffe Avenue was " but within a few yards" of Langdale Road - indeed he said Langdale Road was "virtually the end of Ravenscliffe Avenue". Elsewhere he described Wendy Murphyís sighting of Carol as "very near, or quite near to the end of Ravenscliffe Avenue".
C3 quoted Steelís statement about the position of Carol. There were two descriptions:a) " she was "on the muck road", andb) she was on the avenue, nearly at the end and was nearly going to the muck road."
The judge did not quote either of these statements to the jury, though they had been available to the jury during the trial. His only direct reference to the position of Carol Wilkinson when Steel was supposed to have seen her was a repetition of Steelís words in the statement by D.S. Falconer:
"I saw her again in Ravenscliffe Avenue. I went over the fence and walked across the spare ground to the muck road." This statement was misleading, because the "muck road" referred to here was not the "muck road" at the end of Ravenscliffe Avenue. It was the "jockey path" - directly across the valley, eastwards from the back of Steelís home. These two different paths connected south of Steelís home.
THE SIGHTING OF CAROL WILKINSON BY STEEL.
2. Incorrect Map.
C3 did not refer to the fact that the judge also referred the jury to a map produced in court . The "Rough Justice" programme revealed that this map did not correctly represent the area known as the "muck road" as it had been at the time of the murder. In the correct map, as the programme demonstrated, the path across this area was significantly different to that shown to the jury.
THE SIGHTING OF CAROL WILKINSON BY STEEL.
3. Deceptive Photographs.
The JUSTICE petition pointed out that the photographs presented to the court showed a policewoman in the position where Carol was supposed to have been seen by Steel.
The policewoman is standing on the corner of Falkland Avenue and Ravenscliffe Avenue. This is a considerable distance away from the corner of Oakdale Drive mentioned by the judge, and is about 150 yards from the join in the road where the "muck road" began at the time of the murder. By visiting the scene, it is easy to see that this photograph was taken from the front corner of Steelís house. All of these points were made in the TV programme.
In reply to this, the C3 report stated "Enquiries have shown that a view from the back door of Mr. Steelís home (which is in fact on the side of the house) affords a view of Ravenscliffe Avenue where the victim could have been seen."
This statement is simply wrong: there is no view of Ravenscliffe Avenue at all from the door in question. This fact was clearly demonstrated in the film in the sequence in which Martin Young walked from the back door to a position of the camera which took the photo presented to the jury.
THE SIGHTING OF CAROL WILKINSON BY STEEL.
4. The Wrong "Muck Road".
The "Rough Justice" programme had also argued, as mentioned above, that the photograph presented to the jury entitled "muck road" was not of the Ďmuck road" which Carol might have taken. This path in the photograph was never a part of her supposed route.
This point was not addressed by C3, except as in the general manner of stating that the jury was not mis-led. The point in the programme about the difficulty of walking by the "muck road" - across a stream and up a muddy bank - was not presented to the jury because no photograph of the "muck road" Carol was supposed to have taken was ever appeared in court. The only picture of "the muck road" presented was of the path Steel was supposed to have taken.
THE SIGHTING OF CAROL WILKINSON BY STEEL
In summary on the C3 reply to evidence on the sighting of Carol by Steel, C3 ignored the fact that the picture the jury had presented to them was completely concocted by the police.
Against the evidence of the confession, the police decided that Steel had seen Carol on the corner of Falkland Avenue. They decided that this was "nearly going to the muck road". They also decided that this position could be seen from Steelís back door. They took a photograph which they claimed proved this.
Not only did the police concoct this story, but they supported it with a further photograph which purported to show that Steel could see "the muck road" from his back door.
In support of this, they added to their photographs an out of date map which did not show the true position of the "muck road" as it was in 1977.
When asked to re-investigate the matter for C3, a blatant lie was told about the view from Steelís back door. C3 failed to investigate this and did not address any of the falsities mentioned above. Indeed, the C3 report stated "There is no evidence to suggest that the jury was misled on this point"
To state, as C3 did, that " There appears to have been no suggestion by the prosecution that Mr. Steel could have seen the victim at the point which was shown on the "Rough Justice" programme" is to completely avoid the point of the petition evidence.
The prosecution may not have said this in words that appear in the transcript. But they effectively made the claim with their photographs .
In fact, the position that the prosecution claimed was " near the start of the muck road" was actually two streets away from the end of Ravenscliffe Avenue .
The photographs further suggested that this position could be seen from Steelís back door. That was impossible.
We would point out that the area of the position of the policewoman in the reconstruction photographs is the only position on Ravenscliffe Avenue which can be seen by someone standing at any point around Steelís house.
It is clear from the evidence inside the C3 report that these points were not investigated properly by C3.
If the Commission decides that the words " on the Ďmuck roadí, Ďnearly at the endí and Ďnearly going to the muck road" that appeared in Steelís confession meant what JUSTICE and the BBC researchers considered they meant, then we refer the reader to the evidence already provided to the Home Office and covered in detail in the "Rough Justice" programme that Steel could not see any area reasonably described by those words from his back door - or indeed anywhere near his house.
THE C3 REPLY - IV:
THE ALTERNATIVE ROUTE.
The C3 report did not answer the point made in the "Rough Justice" programme and in the JUSTICE petition that it was unlikely that Carol went by the "muck road" route.
THE ALTERNATIVE ROUTE.1. The Harden Grove snicket.
The TV programme had said, with pictorial illustration:
"She'd then walk through what is locally called 'the snicket'. This alleyway would take her on to a disused railway line."
The writer of the C3 report appears to have been totally unaware of the existence of the "snicket" mentioned.
The report stated:
" It was noted that the court were aware of the alternative routes Carol Wilkinson could have taken."
What the court was told was summarised by the judge thus:
"Which way she went, whether down Oakdale Drive or straight along the dirt path, the independent evidence does not tell us."
This was, as pointed out in the petition and in the TV programme, a mis-reading of the evidence.
Wendy Murphy had told the court that she had seen Carol about 75 yards before Oakdale Drive. This placed Carol north of the junction with Falkland Road. Falkland led to Harden Grove and the snicket through to the Railway line.
The railway line route was described by Kevin Best and mentioned by C3 in the report dismissing the petition. However, the way through to this route was not mentioned in any of the evidence either in police statements or at trial.
The judgeís statement that the two alternatives were " down Oakdale Drive or straight along the dirt path." was based on ignorance of the Harden Grove snicket - for the route through Oakdale Drive would mean that Carol would have doubled back on her journey. Oakdale Drive curves round and is going north when the snicket is reached.
On the other hand, the route through Harden Grove however is consistently in a southerly direction and in a direct line towards the bakery which was Carolís destination.
It is therefore clear that since the route through Harden Grove links up directly with the snicket in Oakdale Drive, it would not be logical for Carol to go the longer way round to the railway line by taking the Oakdale route.
C3 failed to grasp this point- as did the judge. We shall never know if the jury looked at the way that Oakdale bent back north and considered that Carol would not have doubled back on her journey in that manner.
It seems that the judge was not aware of the route via Harden Grove . That is not surprising, for it was not mentioned anywhere at the trial.
However, C3ís investigation, made in the light of the "Rough Justice" programme, should have disclosed this and various other routes to the railway line.
We can only believe that C3 was ill-informed when it wrote: " no new evidence has come to light to indicate which route Carol Wilkinson actually took and the situation remains as stated by the trial judge in his summing-up..."
It is clear that the TV programme had produced new evidence, by mentioning the Harden Grove snicket, which might well have influenced the jury in the consideration of the route.
THE ALTERNATIVE ROUTE.
2. Wendy Worsley and Jean Broadbent.
C3 also failed to address certain other points about the route.
No reply was made to the evidence that Mrs Wendy Worsley, the victimís sister had told the police "she always used to ... walk on the railway line." and " she was a girl who stuck to the same routines."
Nor was any reply made to the evidence that Jean Broadbent had told the police that she knew Carol Wilkinson had used the "railway route" on every day of the week prior to her murder- except when she had got a lift.
THE ALTERNATIVE ROUTE.
3. Carolís shoes.
C3 also failed to address the evidence that the jury was not aware that Carol was wearing brand new beige wedge-heeled shoes on the day of her death.
Beige shoes were mentioned at the trial, and one was visible in a photograph of the scene of the crime. However, the fact that these shoes had only been bought on the previous Saturday was not mentioned in the trial. The petition argued that the jury may well have considered that Carol would not have attempted to cross the stream that crossed the muck road - there were stepping stones over it - and climb up the muddy bank on the other side of the valley in brand new beige shoes.
THE ALTERNATIVE ROUTE
It seems that no proper consideration was given by C3 to any of the evidence presented about other possible routes for Carol. Much of this stems no doubt from the complete ignorance on the part of the judge, jury - and probably the prosecution team - of the true layout of the area.
As mentioned above, no police photograph was presented of the "muck road" that the prosecution claimed was taken by Carol. Harden Grove was never mentioned in evidence.
THE C3 REPLY- V:
Steelís alibi relied on Eddie Hannon having gone with him to Steelís home for a pot of tea on the morning in question. Hannon denied he had gone with Steel.
The TV programme "Rough Justice" did not dispute any of Hannonís evidence. Nor did it rely on any of Hannonís evidence which the JUSTICE petition mentioned - that Hannon had been pressurized by the police during his interviews.
Nevertheless, C3 addressed the matter of the alibi at some length and with some inaccuracy.
1. Hannonís supposed consistency of story.
The C3 letter of 29th September 1987 stated that "Mr. Hannon has always given the same details of his movements on the morning of the murder." The implication of this is that Hannon never supported Steelís alibi statements.
In fact the "door-to-door" form made out by P.C. Turton indicates that Hannon should have been routinely interviewed in 1977. He was a single man who went to work every morning along the road where the crime occurred. If Hannon had been routinely interviewed, and if he had failed to corroborate Steelís story about the morning of the murder, Steel would certainly have been questioned again.
The evidence for this series of episodes begins with two door to door inquiries in 1977 by P.C. Turton. At the first interview only Pamela Ward was present - at the second, Anthony Steel was present. During the second interview P.C. Turton filled in the inquiry form.
Steel was asked who could verify his movements. He mentioned Hannon and Pamela Ward, giving Hannon's address as 22, Nottingham Street, Thornbury - an area on the other side of Gain Lane from where Carol was attacked. In the column labeled "officer verifying" P.C. Turton wrote "verified C.G.T.". When this "verified" was inserted is unclear. It is against the name Pamela Ward, but "Eddie Hannon", just above it, is underlined.
However, further indication may be found above it, for under the area which is for office use only is a note " TBV 19/10" indicating "To be verified, 19th October". It would seem therefore that interest in the details on the form was still present a week after it was filled in.
There is no documentary evidence that the police interviewed Hannon in 1977, but that may be because no other door-to-door forms were ever disclosed. However, considering the route Hannon took to work, the police should have interviewed him in any case - because they were interviewing everyone who habitually walked through that area.
One example of what was happening on the estate can be judged from the door to door inquiry form for Steel. Turton took a note about a Pole who worked at English Electric in Thornbury and who went home by the scene of crime every morning. At Pudsey H.Q. this was marked for routine further action. The English Electric works was just along the road from Hannonís home.
Furthermore, P.C. Turton noted that Pamela Ward had not told the same story on his first visit as she told on his second. That too would normally mean that the second person verifying Steelís story would be interviewed.
In the light of this, it is difficult to believe that the police did not interview Hannon in the first days of the 1977 investigation, even though he denies it.
Moreover, he seems unduly sensitive on this point. When the Defence solicitor took a statement from him Hannon, apparently unprompted, made a special point of saying that he had never been interviewed by the police in 1977.
If the Commission, with the powers invested in it, reveals evidence that Hannon was routinely interviewed - as would be normal in the circumstances, we believe this shows prejudice in a witness who is central to Steelís case. It would also demonstrate prejudice on the part of the investigating officers in 1986-87, for they would have had the powers to reveal the truth of this matter.
This petition argues that Hannonís credibility is suspect - for, as we shall argue later, Hannon changed his version of events as to the end of Steelís visit home. Hannonís evidence, rather than "remaining unchanged", actually changed on two substantial points.
Here we simply refute C3ís assertion that Hannon always told the same story.
THE C3 REPLY-VI:
The C3 reply stated " The validity of Steelís confession was considered at length...account has been taken of all the points raised."
Although C3 claimed to have considered all the points, no explanation was given for one of the central issues in this area of the petition.
THE CONFESSION.1. D.C.S. Hobson and the brown bag.
Much was said in court and in the 1986 petition about Chief Superintendent James Hobsonís interview with Steel. It was clear that when this occurred the police already had enough evidence with which to charge Steel, for they subsequently charged him having acquired no further evidence.
The judge gave an account of Hobsonís interview to the jury . In particular he told them:
" there are matters which appear not to accord with the facts. For instance, the colour of the handbag.."
However, the original "Rough Justice" programme, sent to C3, mentioned additional matters:
"There were no other details to incriminate Steel. His confession was so sketchy, so inaccurate, that he had even got his own address wrong. The confession didn't satisfy the Detective Chief Superintendent on the case, James Hobson, He wanted more details about the attack because as he later said in court, the explanation that he gave in that statement was "not consistent really with what I knew had happened." Steel could offer only one further piece of evidence to prove his guilt. He said that Carol's handbag was black or dark brown. This didn't prove his guilt at all because he was wrong. Her bag was blue denim."
A thorough investigation by C3 would have revealed that the judge had not mentioned that at the time of the confession, Hobson had before him 3 statements that mentioned Carolís handbag.
Paul Wilkinson, Carolís brother said that she had the key ring attached to a brown handbag which he handed over to the police.
Neil Best had said it was on a "dark handbag".
Brian Best had said it was a dark brown handbag - and identified the brown handbag shown him as the one in question.
C3 might then have noted the strange coincidence that these three young men, particularly Paul Wilkinson, made the same mistake that Anthony Steel did. Not so strange however, if we remember that Hobson had had little to do with the case. His first contribution was this interview. The key interviews he would have read at this point would be those identifying the key ring. These were, coincidentally, the same statements which mentioned a brown bag.
This evidence suggests that there must be a lurking doubt that Steel was "fed" the colour of the handbag, either deliberately or by accident.
THE CONFESSION.2. Other possible "Special knowledge".
The TV programme also pointed to significant evidence of items at the scene of crime:
"the girl was half way through her menstrual period and a discarded sanitary towel beside her body indicated that her attacker had been frustrated by this fact. What was also significant was what had been stolen. Carol's purse had gone and so had her diary. Two keys which she used in her office at the bakery were also missing ."
In going through this area of evidence, the judge did not mention these items.
These were the "special knowledge" items that the police would identify routinely in order to test confessions such as had been obtained from Steel. It is inconceivable that a man as experienced as Chief Superintendent Hobson could have gone into the interview room without first learning what the "special knowledge" items were - and subsequently been prompting Steel to come up with them so as to firm up the body of the confession.
The judge thought this approach right and proper:
"So far as that Chief Superintendent was concerned, he was, you may think, entitled to take the view that he ought to ask some questions. Donít forget, this was a situation where 18 months and more had passed since that girl died, and as you and I know, with the possible exception, and it is for you to judge that, of that key ring with the fish, apart from that there was nothing, and there is nothing, to connect this young man with that murder save only what he himself has said about it. It is right, therefore, you may think that great care should be taken in that regard."
In fact Hobsonís questions did not mention the above specific items of "special knowledge". The questions indicate his particular interests in this interview:
Q: When you got her on the ground did you take her bra off?
Q: Did you take her knickers down?
Q: Did you take her tights down?
Q: What sort of handbag was it?
Q What colour was the handbag?
In addition to this, there was some question as to whether the statement was possibly not a full account of the interview. Steelís account to his solicitor of this episode suggests a longer session. Steel told his solicitor: " The interview was concluded according to the police at 7:40. I think it was later than that."
The point put to C3 was that the murderer would have known at least some of these "special knowledge" details - in particular the discarded sanitary towel, for that frustrated the attempt at rape. Steel was actually interviewed by Hobson with these omissions in mind; Steel was prompted quite properly to come up with the answers - and he failed to do so.
C3 do not appear to have addressed these difficulties with the confession - and if they did, they certainly did not account for them.
In summary, the C3 investigation of 1986-87 was wholly unsatisfactory.
C3 failed to address the inadequate nature of the investigation of the key ring evidence. In particular, it did not consider the potential unreliability of the witnesses to the key ring. It failed to properly balance against this the overwhelming evidence that Carol Wilkinson had not owned a key ring of the type presented at the trial of Anthony Steel.
C3 did not properly examine the routes Carol might have taken - indeed, in the light of the shoes and other evidence, the route she would have taken.
Furthermore, C3 did not notice the deceptive nature of the photographs presented by the prosecution at the trial. C3 also failed to see that the prosecution claimed that "near the start of the muck road" was a position two streets away from the end of Ravenscliffe Avenue. Additionally, C3 seemed to be completely unaware of the Harden Grove snicket.
As for the confession, C3 failed to take notice of the deficiencies in the evidence about D.C.S. Hobson and the brown bag, and the other possible "special knowledge" that Steel knew nothing about. Nor did C3 notice the unlikely nature of Hannonís evidence.