Friday, July 15, 2016
Australia: Henry Keogh spent 21 years in prison for a murder he never committed
Incompetent forensic scientist
HENRY Keogh remembers the moment his cell door slammed closed for the first time. “You’re just struck with disbelief that this is even happening,” he says.
He was sentenced to life in prison in 1995 for murdering his fiancee in a bath tub in Adelaide the year before. The evidence was damning. But it wasn’t true.
Keogh spent over two decades in prison, and in a Sunday Night investigation that airs tonight, he speaks for the first time about his cruel ordeal at the hands of Australian justice.
Keogh, a married financial adviser and insurance agent with three kids left his wife in 1991 after falling in love with Anna-Jane Cheney.
“She was just unbelievably engaging, funny, smart, super intelligent ... great sense of humour,” he tells the program. “Everybody loved her. She was amazing.”
On a Friday night in March, 1994, they met for an after-work drink. It was six weeks away from their wedding, and Keogh thought they were going to have just another “typical weekend”.
When they returned home, Keogh decided to give his mum a visit. Anna-Jane stayed home. She had complained of an achy back and was going to run a bath.
“I came back, was walking through the house, called out to her and didn’t get an answer,” he says. “I found her slumped in the bath. I’d hoped she was just asleep, just fainted. And my brain was screaming, ‘Get her out, she’ll be OK’. She wasn’t responding. I tried to revive her and was just praying when the ambos came she’d pull through.”
She didn’t make it.
The cops came and decided there was no suggestion of an argument or foul play. Neither Keogh or his wife had any injuries. It was concluded Anna-Jane died from natural causes.
WAS SHE MURDERED?
Things took a sudden turn. Questions started being asked and there were facts that raised suspicions. Alleged affairs didn’t look good. Either did the five life insurance policies Keogh had taken out in Anna-Jane’s name — forging her signature [for which he was never charged].
Reports suggest the combined pay off from the policies would have totalled $1.2 million.
The court was told the numerous policies he’d taken in his wife’s name is known as “tombstoning” — a common practice in the insurance world that usually involves agents submitting names of dead or fictitious people to earn commissions.
Two days after Anna-Jane’s death, South Australia’s chief forensic pathologist Dr Colin Manock performed an autopsy and didn’t raise any concerns. But after hearing about the suspicions over insurance policies, he examined the body again. His re-examination lead him to form a “grip theory” — which he says explained faint bruises on the outside of her left leg. He said there was a key thumb bruise on the outside of the left leg and suggested her legs had been lifted over her head in the bathtub which ended in her being drowned.
Keogh only realised the trouble he was in when he was arrested.
Dr Manock insisted all the slides he’d taken showed signs of bruising and told the jury Anna-Jane’s death was an assisted drowning — concluding she’d been conscious when she went under water.
Two trials later, a jury agreed. Keogh was found guilty in 1995 and sentenced to life in prison.
“I felt sick. I was numb. I was bewildered,” he tells Sunday Night. “There’s this disconnect. Intellectually you might hear what they’re saying but in your heart, when you know you haven’t done anything, you can’t switch that off.”
“Henry Keogh was convicted for something that never happened,” law professor Dr Bob Moles tells the program, adding “one can be confident no murder no physical assault” took place. Dr Moles began scrutinising the Keogh case in the late 1990s and found substantial flaws in Dr Manock’s evidence.
It was discovered Dr Manock did not follow proper procedure and did not have sufficient evidence to back up his conclusions.
When he was made South Australia’s chief forensic pathologist in 1968, he had no formal qualifications as a pathologist. His reputation began to unravel and now many cases involving evidence he provided are now in question.
Former South Australian chief forensic pathologist Dr Colin Manock.
Ten years after Keogh’s conviction, Dr Manock admitted there was no thumb bruise to support his “grip theory”. It’s pointed out in the Sunday Night investigation there’s a test that would’ve concluded if the bruises on Anna-Jane’s leg occurred when she drowned. Dr Manock didn’t do the test. In 2014, the conviction was squashed after it was found there had been a miscarriage of justice due to flawed forensic evidence. And in Sunday Night’s investigation tonight, evidence is revealed that could have set him free earlier. Instead, it sat on a government shelf for 10 years.
While a retrial was announced in 2016, it has not proceeded.
Keogh is now a free man. His daughters are grown up and he’s building a relationship with his grandkids. And he has a new wife, Fay Hambour. During the ‘90s, Hambour, like many, “pegged him as guilty”. But after hearing Dr Moles speak on the case at a conference, she began visiting Keogh in prison. Those visits went on for about five years.
As Keogh tries to move on with his life, the 21 years he spent in jail for a crime he didn’t commit have taken their toll.
“I still find it difficult to show hope, joy, excitement … that confuses and disappoints people sometimes ... that’s something else they’ve taken off me,” he tells the program. “It's a work in progress.”
Original report here
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Posted by bussorah at 6:08 AM