The Wrong Man: 17 Years Behind Bars (2024) Documentary Review – Another miscarriage of justice

Another miscarriage of justice

In July 2003, a woman was strangled and raped as she made her way back home to her house in Salford. A few weeks later, a 37-year-old man named Andrew Malkinson was arrested for the crime while visiting family in Grimsby.

Andrew was put in a police lineup where the victim of the assault identified him as her attacker. At the court hearing in Manchester, two witnesses came forward who said they had seen Andrew on the night the woman was raped.

The jury found Andrew guilty of the crime, and on the 30th of March 2004, he began his life sentence at HM Prison Falkland in Durham. At the time, one newspaper headline read ‘Life For A Monster.’

The Greater Manchester Police had done their job and put another offender in prison. At least, that’s what people were led to believe. However, it turned out that Andrew was not guilty of the vicious attack on the woman in Salford. He was innocent, which is what he had already stated, time and time again, after his initial arrest. 

The new BBC documentary, The Wrong Man: 17 Years Behind Bars, tells Andrew’s story with interviews with the man himself. At times, he comes across as a broken man, ravaged by his 17 years in prison, which he describes as frightening. He talks about his ordeal and his attempts to appeal against his conviction – appeals that were sadly dismissed. 

A few years after Andrew’s incarceration, it was revealed that the male DNA found on the victim’s top didn’t match his DNA. But when he applied to the Criminal Cases Review Commission to take another look into his case, after these new findings, they rejected his application. 

The lack of DNA evidence wasn’t the only failing in Andrew’s conviction. The so-called ‘honest witnesses’ that came forward turned out to be not so innocent after all. Then there’s the victim’s description of her attacker, which did not match Andrew’s appearance. As the evidence piles up to support Andrew’s case, as highlighted in the documentary, you will likely be angered and saddened by the experiences that Andrew was forced to go through because of the failings of Greater Manchester Police and the CCRC. 

Featured in the documentary are interviews with Andrew’s mother, sister, and ex-partner, who were all deeply affected by what happened to him. We also hear from Emma Bolton and James Burley, two people working for APPEAL, an organisation that investigates the cases of those who have been wrongly convicted. They took on Andrew’s case and discovered new evidence that (unsurprisingly) proved his innocence. 

Documentaries like this one are intended to make us angry. They remind us of the innocent people whose lives are ruined by shoddy police work and cover-ups over their failings. They also remind us that it’s not only those who are convicted who are wrongly done to. Their families are also badly hurt, as are those victims of crimes who don’t get proper justice when the wrong people are put behind bars. 

So, watch the documentary, feel the rage, and then play your part in helping people in Andrew’s position by donating to APPEAL, the charitable company working hard on behalf of the innocent. Be sure to curb your judgements against those who are convicted of terrible crimes too. While many will be guilty, there may also be those people in prison who claim their innocence for one very simple reason – they are, in fact, innocent! 


Read More: Where is Andrew Malkinson now?

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  • Verdict - 8/10

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