Date: 23 Dec 1990
Patrick Quinn was killed in a police cell.
A man was convicted of his murder, but later appealed and at a third trial he was convicted of manslaughter. Although he failed to overturn his manslaughter conviction, he continued to state that he was innocent.
Patrick Quinn had been drinking on the night of 23 December 1990 and was later picked up by the police for being drunk. He was taken to Hammersmith Police station where he was put into a 'Tank' cell with another man that had also been arrested for being drunk and who was later charged with his murder.
It was said that they had had an argument and that the man had beaten Patrick Quinn to death.
However, the man said that he had been woken up in the night by three policemen who were attacking Patrick Quinn and that during the struggle he himself was knocked unconscious.
Patrick Quinn suffered from numerous injuries including all but one of his ribs being broken, his heart and spleen being crushed, and his face seriously injured.
The man who was tried for his murder was a restaurateur who had no previous history of violence and was described as unfit.
It was claimed that two of the three policemen that were said to have been the main parties in the death of Patrick Quinn had not been at Hammersmith police station at the time, but it was also claimed that evidence stating that they had been out making arrests at the time of Patrick Quinn's murder had been altered. However, at the retrial, one of the policemen was found mentally unfit to stand trial, and evidence that had been thought missing for three years suddenly materialised supporting the claim that he had been out of the police station at the time. It was similarly heard that the other policeman that was said to have been a main party in Patrick Quinn's death, also suddenly found his note book which had also been missing, stating that it was hidden in a wallet behind his new one, but that he had not noticed it there.
It was heard that shortly after Patrick Quinn died the policemen that had been on duty washed their uniforms, even though they should have been handed over for forensic examination and that the logbook that showed who had visited the cell was lost.
The man was first convicted of Patrick Quinn's murder on 12 September 1991. However, he appealed his conviction in 1993 and was released pending a retrial. The first retrial was halted in 1993 after new evidence was presented after which in 1994 the man was convicted of Patrick Quinn's manslaughter and sentenced to 9 years imprisonment.
The man was released from prison in 1996 after serving half of his sentence and later died in 2013, aged 67.
After his release, the man said that he was unable to get work because of his conviction and so started a man-and-van business in 1998. However, he said that the police were tapping his calls and interfering with his business so that customers could not get through to him. He said that he took adverts out in the Yellow Pages telephone directory as well as on the internet but said that he received constant reports that people could not get through to his number, saying that some customers had told him that his number was engaged or was giving a dead signal. He added that he regularly heard strange sounds on the line and once heard a previous conversation that he had had being played back to him and that on another occasion had heard someone whispering, 'That's Kennedy - I recognise his voice'. When the man spoke of the talking to other people about the phone tapping, he said, 'People assume you're paranoid. They think I'm potty. It does send some people into mental illness'.
It was later determined that Patrick Quinn had been best friends with Joseph Fallon was also died at Hammersmith police station under suspicious circumstances and they were both Irishmen and passionate Republican's who had previously had dealings with the police.
A man that had been friends with both Patrick Quinn and Joseph Fallon said that about six hours after Patrick Quinn's death, the police called him to let him know. He had known Patrick Quinn since 1967. When the man was asked why he thought the police had called him to let him know that Patrick Quinn was dead, he said, 'It could have been because they had my name in there because of Joe Fallon. My opinion would be that they knew Patrick Quinn knew Joe Fallon'.
At the man's retrial, it was said that the timing of two arrests had been altered to show that two policemen alleged to have been involved with Patrick Quinn's death had been out of the police station at the time. One of the policemen was called to give evidence at the retrial to that effect, but after he was found to be performing badly in the witness box, he was found to be mentally unfit to give evidence. It was said that if he continued to give evidence that he would suffer irreparable mental damage. It was also heard that whilst he was giving evidence, an Exhibits Officer suddenly found a computer aided dispatch print out that supported the assertion that the policeman had been out of the police station at the time Patrick Quinn was killed. Although it was noted that the document had been searched for during three separate previous investigations, the judge accepted the evidence.
At the retrial, the man's defence said that the policeman who was diagnosed as mentally ill and unable to give evidence in court was a 'prime candidate for responsibility' and 'plainly at the centre' of Patrick Quinn's murder.
The other policeman who was alleged to have been at Hammersmith Police Station at the time Patrick Quinn died but who was claimed to have been out making an arrest said at the retrial that he had found his notebook which had been missing for three years, stating that it was in a wallet behind the his new pocket book that he had been carrying around for months. However, it was further noted that when he was asked to put it back in the place where he said he had found it, he was unable to make it fit.
At the retrial, it was said that if it was not found that the man had killed Patrick Quinn, that it would leave responsibility for his death on the police.
When the judge passed sentence on the man after he was convicted of manslaughter, he noted that the man had chosen to say that 'others were responsible', indicating the police and that he had chosen to try to blacken the names 'of a number of quite innocent people', including the police. The judge went on to say, 'They have been accused of being murderers, perjurers and conspirators to pervert the course of justice. Those people have been entirely vindicated. The jury's verdict means that they have found you and not any police officer or anyone else responsible for Mr Quinn's death. You have shown no remorse for what you did, quite the reverse. I have no doubt that you must have known from the outset that it was you who were responsible for his death'.
Following the man's release in 1996 he went on to protest his innocence and to help others who had been wrongly convicted, helping them with filmmaking.
Following the issues relating to phone tapping the man challenged the lawfulness of UK law governing surveillance at the European Court of Human Rights in 2010 but was unsuccessful. It was said that the police did not have to admit or deny that they were tapping a person’s phone.
see Stewart Tendler, Crime Correspondent. "New evidence found in cell murder case." Times [London, England] 10 Sept. 1992: 2. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 6 Sep. 2012.
see Stewart Tendler, Crime Correspondent. "Police examine claim that man was framed for murder in cell." Times [London, England] 27 Apr. 1992: 6. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 8 Sep. 2012.
see Total Crime
see Court News UK