Father of Hoxton man Sam Hallam found dead as conviction re-investigated
‘Innocent’ Sam’s father Terry found hanged on week his conviction is reviewed.
A Hoxton man’s murder conviction is being re-investigated in a police inquiry, it emerged this week – but his family’s joy became bittersweet, after his father was found hanged at the weekend.
Sam Hallam, now 23, has always maintained his innocence for the 2004 murder of Ethiopian chef, Essayas Kassahun, for which he was jailed six years ago.
An inquiry has been launched by the Criminal Cases Review Commision (CCRC), raising his friends’ and family’s hopes they could be reunited, should his conviction be quashed.
But on Sunday, police found Sam’s father Terry hanging from a balcony at a block of flats in Hoxton Street.
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He was pronounced dead at the scene, and police are investigating his death, which is being treated as unexplained.
The sad incident overshadows the family’s joy that the CCRC decided to launch an inquiry - which is a significant move.
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Out of 12,000 applications received by the CCRC since undertaking responsibility for alleged miscarriages of justice in 1997, only 44 have warranted a new police investigation.
The CCRC has ordered Thames Valley Police to re-investigate the case originally handled by Scotland Yard.
The secrecy surrounding the inquiry – which began in February - was believed necessary to prevent the witnesses, who all live close to one another, colluding before they were re-interviewed.
The CCRC will decide whether to refer Sam Hallam’s conviction back to the Court of Appeal - where he will either be retried or simply acquitted.
Campaign group, The Sam Hallam Campaign, run by Paul May - who successfully campaigned to free the Birmingham Six and the Bridgewater Four - unearthed new evidence suggesting Sam’s innocence in 2008.
Mr May, said: “We are pleased, it’s a very unusual step and we are satisfied they have devoted sufficient resources to the inquiry – but again, it’s been going on since February, adding to the delay.
“Sam’s lost his teenage years and his twenties are going by and we have to ask how much longer?”
A spokesman for the CCRC said: “It is regular practice for the Commission to require the appointment of an investigating officer from an outside force for reasons of impartiality and independence.
“It should not be taken to imply that the Commission has concluded that there was anything wrong with the original investigation carried out by the Metropolitan Police.”