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The Wrong Man: 17 Years Behind Bars | Preview (BBC Two)

BBC Factual has announced The Wrong Man: 17 Years Behind Bars, the deeply personal story of an innocent man failed at every turn by the criminal justice system. This one hour documentary for BBC Two and iPlayer tells the story of Andrew Malkinson and the devastating effect of the years he spent in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

On the morning of 2 August 2003 there’s a knock on Andrew Malkinson’s door.

It’s the police, there to arrest him for the violent attack and rape of a young woman.

Andrew is adamant he hasn’t done it but the police are certain he matches the victim’s description of the attacker. Convinced that everything will be cleared up once he gets to the police station, Andrew takes part in a video lineup.

But the victim identifies him in the lineup as the man who attacked her and Andrew is charged with attempted murder and rape. Just over six months later a jury finds him guilty of rape and sentences him to life in prison. He begins his life sentence on the sex offenders wing in HMP Frankland on 30 March 2004.

Emma Loach, Lead Commissioning Editor, Documentaries, says: “This film describes one of the most terrible miscarriages of justice of our time. This was not only a devastating failure of the judicial system for Andrew, it has also neglected to bring justice for the victim of what was an appalling crime. The film goes behind the headlines and shows Andrew’s bravery and tenacity as he fights for his freedom and the terrible repercussions he is still facing today.”

Directors Fran Robertson and Jemma Gander says: “We first met Andy on the day he was released from prison in 2020, when he was still considered a guilty man. We knew that he had already spent 17 and a half years behind bars, fighting for the truth to come out and hoping that one day he would be able to tell the full story of his wrongful conviction and of the failures of the criminal justice system. We’re grateful that he allowed us to follow his journey to the Court of Appeal and that he has trusted us to help tell his story.”

With exclusive access to Andrew, his family and his legal team, this powerful film tells the extraordinary story of his fight to prove his innocence, from the moment of his arrest to his exoneration at the Court of Appeal twenty years later. Filmed over three years, from the day he walks out of prison, Directors Jemma Gander and Fran Robertson follow Andrew and his legal team as they take on the criminal justice system to overturn his conviction.

Andrew takes centre stage to tell his story and describes the devastating effect of those years in prison. His mother, Trish and his sister Sarah reveal the impact on them: what it was like to read the front page newspaper headlines describing him as a ‘monster’ and how it affected their relationship with him.

After serving seven years of his sentence, Andrew was eligible for parole, an early release under supervision. For the Parole Board to assess his risk to the public, he’s asked to attend offender behaviour programmes which he refuses to do as it means talking about the rape he didn't commit. His mum reveals, “he said ‘I’m never ever going to admit to something that I haven’t done. I don’t care if I stay in prison for the rest of my days.’”

As APPEAL lawyer Emily Bolton and investigator James Burley investigate Andrew’s case, they uncover revelations about the witnesses that start to show a picture of failings by Greater Manchester Police in its original investigation of the case.

After more than seventeen years, the Parole Board finally decide Andrew can be released. His mum and legal team are there to meet him and it’s an extraordinary moment for Andrew to “go to the beach and feel the waves, the wind and the cold air”. It's bittersweet – he’s free from prison but he’s still convicted of being a sex offender, under tight supervision by the probation service and the police.

As Andrew walks into the Court of Appeal, almost twenty years since he was arrested, his family and supporters can only hope that this time he will clear his name. The judge delivers his decision: “Mr. Malkinson, having waited so many years, you leave the court a free man, no longer subject to the conditions of your life licence.

The Wrong Man: 17 Years Behind Bars, a 1x60’ is made by Two Step Films for BBC Two and iPlayer.


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