On Monday 22nd November 1993, two Department of Transport Inspectors, Alan Singleton and Simon Bruno, were shot dead while carrying out a routine inquiry at a garage in Stockport.
The men had arranged a 3.30pm appointment at Chestergate Motors and were shown into a small, greasy office to wait for the manager. They were killed within minutes of arriving and the killer apparently fled the scene in a bright red Ford Sierra.
There were two main witnesses at the scene - garage manager David Mitchell, and a fitter, Howard Ridgeway. They gave mendacious and inconsistent accounts of exactly what had happened to the MOT men and eventually incriminated two brothers: Walter and Thomas Bourke who owned a chain of "quick-fit" style garages in the town.
This was a case in which ALL the prime players – police, witnesses, lawyers and jury - have been wittingly or unwittingly duped – a case corrupted by shady deals between agents of the State and kingpins of the illegal drugs trade in the North West of England.
To this day no one knows why the MOT men were singled out for assassination. But crucially, the jury never heard that a bent police officer was complicit in targeting Alan Singleton’s address weeks before the murders.
It was clear, even at trial, that the case against Thomas Bourke was flimsy since it depended upon the testimony of criminals who, by their own admission, were complicit in these murders. So flimsy, indeed, that Richard Ferguson QC strongly advised Thomas Bourke – a man of unblemished character - not to give evidence.
This strategy backfired when, shortly before the judge, Mr Justice Sachs, came to sum up the evidence, a gun was found in Strangeways prison. This was the culmination of a long planned conspiracy to prejudice the jury by transforming Thomas into a gangster. No juror could have failed to link stories in the local press and broadcast media about the ‘Gun in Strangeways Prison’ with the sudden appearance of armed police officers and prison guards at the court and during their deliberations.
At the leave to appeal hearing on 18th October 2007, Lord Justice Moses accepted that the jury members could have been aware of the increased security. He also accepted that it was now proven that the gun was nothing to do with Thomas. However he said that without proof that the jury were affected, he would not accept that this gun and the subsequent increased security had had any effect on their deliberations. One would have expected Moses to bring the jury into court to definitively answer this question - but he did not.
If you are able to shed any light on whether any member of the jury was influenced by this increase in security, please contact Thomas’s defence team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There was no forensic evidence to link Thomas to the murders, the corpses, the murder scene or the alleged getaway car. There was, however, clear forensic evidence to implicate the key prosecution witnesses, Mitchell and Ridgeway, both of whom received substantial payments for giving evidence. These payments were dependent upon Thomas being found guilty on their evidence. Despite their admissions of complicity in murder, these witnesses were given immunity from prosecution.
On Wednesday, 7th December 1994 a jury convicted Thomas Bourke by a bare majority 10:2 – a man with no previous convictions.
And so began this campaign to rectify one of the most heinous miscarriages of justice in English criminal history.
Thanks to the dedication and commitment of Jane Hickman thomas's solicitor a well respected appeals specialist and senior partner at Hickman and Rose Aylesbury House 17-18 Aylesbury street Clerkenwell Green London EC1R 0DB