Strangeways Prison Riot - Ringleader Cleared of MurderNot guilty verdict - client exonerated
Case study summary
Mary Monson's client was Alan Lord, leader of the Strangeways Prison Riot, the biggest ever riot in a UK jail. He was also charged with Murder and Conspiracy. There were 30 defendants. We made arguments about the cause of death, and he was found Not Guilty of murder.
The 1990 Strangeways Prison Riot was a watershed moment in the history of criminal justice in the UK. For 25 days prisoners rioted in the prison and protested on the roof, complaining about inhuman conditions and abuse that inmates had been suffering.
£144 million in damage was caused. The riot resulted in the Woolf reforms, and improvements in prison conditions across the UK during the 1990s. HMP Strangeways was renamed HMP Manchester when the rebuilt prison was reopened.
Alan Lord was the alleged leader of the riot, along with other inmate Paul Taylor. Both were prosecuted for the alleged murder of a suspected paedophile prisoner as well as conspiracy to cause Grievous Bodily Harm (s.18 Offences Against the Person Act 1861), and riot under s.1 of the Public Order Act 1986. The cause of the inmate's death could be shown to be a heart attack.
The prosecution case was that Lord, Taylor and four others had subjected the dead man to a so-called 'kangaroo court'. Mary instructed barrister Vera Baird to speak for her client in court. Vera would later become a QC barrister, a Member of Parliament, and later the Solicitor General of England and Wales. We fought the murder allegation on the basis that guilt for murder could not arise from death from an apparent heart attack. The client was acquitted of murder. He was convicted of Riot and Conspiracy. On his release he became a community campaigner, and he now trains young people at risk of falling into the gang life at his own boxing gym in Manchester.
More cases we’ve defended
Our murder solicitors defended Warren Allen, wrongfully accused of the murder of Kelvin Easton, the so called 'unavenged killing' that led to the shooting of Mark Duggan by the Metropolitan Police, sparking the London Riots.
Our client had been convicted of murder in a first trial having been represented by a different firm of solicitors. The prosecution said that he had knifed the victim. On appeal we accepted less intent and therefore manslaughter. The jury agreed - not guilty of murder.
The Penny Black Murder. Our client was Damien Noonan, head doorman of the Haçienda nightclub. He was found not guilty of the murder of ‘White Tony’ Johnson. This case signalled the beginning of Manchester’s infamous ‘Gunchester’ era.
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