justice for kevin lane

The Case


The Crowns case was that Kevin Lane and Roger Vincent had gunned down Robert Magill and that Kevin was paid in cash on the same day for payment.

The Crown has yet to name the persons from whom Kevin received this alleged payment, nor were they able to substantiate other pieces of tenuous circumstantial evidence on which they relied. There was one strand of scientific evidence that concerned the discovery of Kevin’s fingerprint from a bin liner that was recovered from the boot of the car suggested to have been used in the murder. Although Kevin had a plausible innocent explanation for as to how his fingerprint may have got on to the bin liner, this strand of evidence does not place Kevin at the scene as one of the gunmen. Robert Magill was shot dead whilst walking his dog along Berry Lane, Chorleywood, Hertfordshire at approximately 8.20m on Thursday October 1994.

The ensuing police investigation was called operation Cactus. In March 1996, Kevin was convicted of the murder after a second trial when a jury returned a majority verdict; Kevin turned to the jury and said four poignant words: “I didn’t do this”. Kevin still maintains “I didn’t do this”18 years after his conviction. Several people witnessed the shooting. None of the eyewitnesses picked Kevin out in the subsequent identification parades.


There was no evidence to place Kevin at the scene of the shooting. The murder weapon was never recovered. The story of Operation Cactus is still unfolding 18 years later. There is now a substantial amount of evidence to suggest the prime suspects for murdering Robert Magill had an inappropriate relation with the investigating officer. Further significant facts have now come to light and had they been placed before a jury for them to consider, Kevin’s conviction would have been rendered unsafe. Roger Vincent’s Deal with the Police Roger Vincent and David Smith were both arrested on suspicion of murdering Robert Magill on 16-12-94. Smith was interviewed twice on that date before being released without charge.


Both Vincent and Smith are recorded in the police evidence as supplying information to the police upon their arrest. DC Spackman claims that Vincent approached him in the presence of DC Kennedy shortly after he was charged and said that he would provide an innocent explanation for his fingerprints in the vehicle used in the murder along with information about those responsible in return for his charges being dropped.


Spackman made a number of other claims in both his statements dated 21-12-1994. The information Vincent supplied to Spackman formed part of the original Public Immunity Interest material (sensitive information) and was not disclosed to Kevin’s legal team until some years after he was convicted. The PII material contained allegations that Kevin was the gunmen responsible for the murder of Robert Magill along with other murders across the country.


The CPS has repeatedly refused to disclosure material to Kevin’s legal team that was requested prior to trial. Subsequent requests were made after he was convicted and David Smith’s interviews were disclosed in December 2007! Kevin’s barrister said they are nothing short of gold. For years the CPS refused to acknowledge that material existed that undermined Kevin’s conviction, such as the information that Roger Vincent supplied to the Hertfordshire Police.


The Journalist Nick Hopkins from The Guardian & Jamie Doward from the Observer both reported that Roger Vincent supplied information to Hertfordshire Police and met with Spackman on a confidential basis to discuss a deal (DL to Roger Vincent). Kevin’s Alibi Kevin’s defence was one of alibi. He was at home in Bedfordshire at the time of the shooting and was at home preparing to take his children to school at around 8.20am as he would sometimes do on a school day. Although Kevin was arrested some months after the murder he had good reason to remember Thursday 13th October 1994. Kevin’s car was stolen from outside his house on the evening of the 4/5th October.


As a result Kevin purchased a BMW car on 10th October, some three days before the shooting and had travelled from his home in Bedfordshire to South Ruislip to collect it on the 13th at the seller’s request. (Download to Kevin’s Alibi) Fingerprint Evidence Kevin’s fingerprint was discovered on a bin liner that was recovered from the boot of a car the police suggest was used in the murder. The bin liner was discovered inside a length of plumbing pipe that was claimed to have been used to conceal the alleged murder weapon. Although this evidence does not mean Kevin was responsible for the shooting he did give a perfectly innocent explanation as to how his fingerprint may have been deposited on the bin liner. Kevin had borrowed the car over the period 7th – 10th October 1994 from Kevin’s partner’s uncle.


This is supported by police reports concerning Operation Cactus that state Kevin’s partner’s uncle had possession of the car for a short period whilst carrying out repair work and from a witness statement from the uncle that confirms he loaned the car to Kevin. Fingerprints that matched Kevin’s five year old son were also discovered in the car which further supports Kevin’s claim that he borrowed the car for family purposes after his car was stolen. WPC Atkinson reported in her evidence that she had seen the car being driven by an unknown man on the 11th October 1994 but she stated that the man was not Kevin Lane. Although Kevin accepts that he may have deposited his fingerprint on the bin liner during the period when he had borrowed the car there are a number of factors that would suggest that his print had been planted by a rogue police officer. Former Hertfordshire Police Officer Derek Webb came forward in November 2011 and made a statement that has been served to the Court of Appeal. Mr Webb says that he had a conversation with Detective Inspector Spackman in which he, Spackman, had spoken of “needing to destroy a black bin liner” (DL to fingerprint evidence & Rosaline Sharpe).


Several fingerprints belonging to Roger Vincent were discovered on a separate bin liner that was also recovered from the boot of the car and he was never pressed at any time before his acquittal to give an explanation as to how his fingerprints were deposited on the bin liner. Getaway Car The red BMW car used in the murder was recovered by police on the 26-10-1994 in the Harrow area. It was established that one of the last persons to have possession of it was a man called Leonard [Pip] Bennett. Bennett is of mixed race and therefore would have been excluded from being either the gunman or his accomplice. Police Corruption Kevin claimed from the outset of his arrest that the officer in his charge of the case (Det Sgt Spackman) had vowed to fit him up for the shooting because of a grudge some years earlier.


In 2002 Spackman was sent to prison for four years for stealing £160.000 from his employers at Hertfordshire Police. The money had been confiscated from alleged criminals suspected of drug dealing. Spackman and his associate Trevor Powell and Joanne Fletcher set up a bogus bank account in the name of one of the men from whom the money had been seized and transferred it from the Hertfordshire Police account in the pretext that it was being returned to its original owner. Powell had previous criminal convictions and claimed that he had been a friend of Spackman for a number of years. Fletcher also had a criminal record and claimed Spackman was obsessed with her. She described Spackman in her evidence: “Spackman is the biggest name in Watford.


Everybody’s frightened of him. He’s ruined a lot of people’s lives”. DL to Khan & Bashir Spackman certainly ruined Kevin’s life (DL to Fabricated Evidence). Powell and Fletcher were not the only criminals Spackman consorted with. He also had an unhealthy relationship with Vincent and Smith that went back several years. In 1992 Roger Vincent and David Smith along with a male named Brian Donelan were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and kidnapping. Spackman was in charge of that case. Smith and Vincent previously collaborated with former police officer Spackman to convict Brian Donelan, all three were arrested together; Vincent immediately put forward duress and began visiting Donelan in prison obtaining information for Spackman whereby he handed it over, and eventually gave evidence in court against Donelan as part of a deal with Spackman that he would not be charged and to secure Smiths acquittal. Spackman and Vincent had an unhealthy relationship prior to Vincent’s arrest for the murder of Magill.


Spackman further stated that Vincent claimed he was able to provide him with details about the Magill shooting that include the names of the people who paid to have Mr Magill shot. Vincent also told Spackman that Kevin was responsible for the shooting. It was at this stage that Kevin had first emerged as a suspect. Does this unhealthy relationship between Spackman, Vincent & Smith seem somewhat unhealthy? Khan and Bashir In 2005 the Court of Appeal quashed the 1999 conviction of Khan and Bashir because of concerns about Spackman’s role in that case. This is what Mr Evans, Counsel for Mr Bashir said at paragraph 16 in his Advice on Appeal dated 08-04-05. “In my opinion Mr Spackman’s accounts in interview show a history of dishonesty and a history of tampering or falsifying police records in cases he was involved in at least as far back as the investigation of Mr Bashir’s case”. The car suggested by the police that they thought may have been used in the murder had previously belonged to a Mr Toms who claimed that he had sold the car to a man with an Irish accent who had stated his name was O’Reilley. A work diary was seized from a shed at Kevin’s mother’s house that belonged to a man that had previously managed a business for him called Mr Paris. There was an entry in the diary for the name Riley who was an employee of Mr Paris.


Spackman had possession of the diary and there is clear evidence that someone had tampered with the entry by attempting to prefix the letter O before the original entry for Riley to make it read O’Riley. DL Fabricated & Withheld Evidence Spackman had also indicated to Kevin’s solicitor that WPC Atkinson had changed her original statement to place Kevin as the unknown driver of the car on the 11th October 1994, two days before Mr Magill was murdered. WPC Atkinson subsequently told the truth at Court and confirmed that Kevin was not the driver of the car. Although Spackman was not successful in persuading WPC Atkinson to change her evidence it does illustrate the arrogance he displayed throughout the case and the lengths he was prepared to go to ensure that Kevin got convicted. DL to WPC Atkinson Spackman was responsible for the investigation into Kevin’s finances during the period before the shooting. The Crowns case was that Kevin had no savings in UK Banks and that the money for a new car was paid for from the payment received for shooting Mr Magill.


It was further submitted that Kevin had debts at the time. Kevin did have savings, but they were not kept in banks because he was concerned that the money would be seized by bailiffs acting for a company he was in dispute with over commercial premises he had leased. Kevin was living in both the UK and Tenerife and had other sources of income that included selling wholesale designer clothes and perfumes and Timeshares. Spackman’s investigation took him to Tenerife and he reported that he found no evidence to suggest that Kevin had any alternative savings or sources of income. Spackman’s inaccurate findings were to play a crucial part in Kevin’s subsequent conviction. Owen Cleary gave evidence and confirmed that he kept money belonging to Kevin in his safe and that on at least four occasions he sent a total of £13.000 to Kevin in Tenerife during the latter half of 1994 and six months prior to Mr Magill’s murder. It has now emerged that Spackman spoke to a Mr Sillett in Tenerife and he confirmed that money had been sent to Kevin from Mr Cleary and that Kevin sold wholesale goods in both the UK and Tenerife. Spackman never disclosed the contents of his interviews with Mr Sillett, or the banks records. Mr Sillett also claims that he informed Spackman that he was willing to come to court to give evidence but that Spackman threatened to have him arrested if he set foot in the UK in relation to a civil matter. DL to Spackman’s visit to Tenerife after the first trial Sillett Criminal Cases Review Commission In 1998 Kevin applied to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) to have his case referred to the Court of Appeal. Part of the submissions concerned allegations that Spackman had fabricated evidence with Roger Vincent and David Smith and withheld other evidence that would have proved Kevin’s innocence. It was also submitted that Spackman had done a deal with Vincent that would result in his acquittal at the expense of Kevin’s conviction.


These submissions may have sounded preposterous at the time because Spackman was perceived as an honest high ranking officer with an unblemished record. Kevin’s allegations would be somewhat vindicated over the next few years. Peter Taylor from the CCRC contacted Kevin’s solicitor on the 18th September 2003 and made the following comments: “The representations were just what they had been looking for, and commented on the fact that they were very well argued and so far as witnesses are concerned, it is the view of the CCRC that they should interview witnesses alone. In previous cases appellants have been criticised on the basis that they have instructed their solicitor’s to see witnesses in advance of the CCRC investigation and it had been suggested that this was to prime witnesses about what they should say. Thus, his view is that it is better that witnesses are seen by the CCRC as they are an independent body and no such criticism can be made. Peter Taylor also said he would be speaking to his colleagues in the CCRC and coming to a decision as how to best take the case forward and what they should do and he would call in a couple of weeks. The CCRC refused Kevin’s first application on the 15th October 2003 (27 days from the 18-09-2003) without carrying our one single interview and stated the following: “The Commission has now considered your application for a review of your conviction. On the information currently available to it, the Commission is not minded to refer your case for a fresh appeal”.


Kevin contacted the CCRC and expressed that although he was very disappointed with its decision he was concerned that his application did not receive a fair review and was suspicious that Mr Baden Skitt, the former Chief Constable of Hertfordshire Police at the time of Mr Magill’s murder, was one of the 14 CCRC members. The CCRC stated in its response: “…it was inevitable that members of the CCRC knew the police in Mr Lane’s case, or knew someone who knew them; however this has not caused bias…” They did invite Kevin to make further submissions in the light of Spackman’s imprisonment but again refused Kevin’s application and commented that it could not see how Spackman’s imprisonment affected the safety of Kevin’s conviction. There have been significant developments since the last CCRC refusal. Kevin and his defence team have had to do what the police and CCRC should have done (and are better equipped to do), and that is investigate evidence built on formidable details based on existing evidence that suggests other suspects for the Magill murder. When that evidence is tallied with the related developments arising from this sensitive material, the only logical conclusion that can be arrived at is that Kevin’s conviction is unsafe. Investigation into the Anonymous Documents Never has the phrase “who is to guard the guards themselves” been so poignant and will hopefully go a long way towards confirming Kevin’s innocence concerning Hertfordshire Constabulary withholding key material pertaining to a miscarriage of justice that would be more suited to a plot in an airport thriller. What I am about to set out may appear longwinded but I want to provide you with as much detail as possible to ensure you are fully informed and to hopefully show the Systemic collaboration between the Crown Prosecution Service and Hertfordshire Constabulary to prevent the largest scale corruption between two agencies ever seen in British History.


I would like you to consider these developments within the context of some of the existing material in Kevin’s case and form your own view. It can be reasonable inferred from the recent disclosure of statements from Hertfordshire Police officers, Det Inspector Flavin and Det Superintendent Hanlon, that Kevin’s case may not be referred to the Court of Appeal. These officers were instructed to investigate the authenticity of a number of documents in relation to Kevin’s grounds of appeal, and it is for such reasons that I feel the need to submit the following Representations to ensure any enquiries you may consider making are as meticulous as one may permit. After all, I am the one who has to pick up the pieces should Kevin’s application be refused in Kevin’s quest to prove his innocence. Finally I apologise for outlining the following cloak and dagger developments that undermine the safety of Kevin’s conviction in reverse order but there are reasons for applying this approach. Enclosures 1 - Statements of Detective Inspector Flavin and Det Superintendent Hanlon. Detective Inspector Flavin’s statement dated 18 October 2011 relates to investigating a series of documents Kevin’s solicitor Maslen Merchant received by post in April 2011. These documents demonstrate the most blatant and shocking plot by the police to pervert the course of justice to ensure I was convicted for murder. On the 11 August 2011, Kevin’s solicitor submitted an application to the Court of Appeal in relation to the above documents. The C.O.A circumvented the first judge which would have been normal protocol and asked the CPS to respond by the 9 September 2011. On the 9 September the CPS responded and requested a “Directional Hearing” in front of a full court within six weeks. This is not unheard of but it is unusual.


As a result of the above and sometime in ‘early September 2011’, temporary Detective Inspector Flavin says he was ‘made aware’ that I had lodged an appeal directly with the Court of Appeal and the responsibility for this case was now to move from the CCRC to the CPS Appeals Unit in London. On ‘22 September’ Mr Flavin says he received an email from Paul Lodato, a special appeals prosecutor from the CPS head office in London. Mr Lodato explained the events in relation to the documents arriving at Kevin’s solicitor’s office and that the documents purported to be from the original investigation into Operation Cactus. Mr Lodato requested Mr Flavin to investigate the authenticity of the documents and if need be, speak to Detective Superintendent Whinnett and ask him to offer his opinion regarding the authenticity of those documents. Superintendent Whinnett was the Senior Investigating Officer in Kevin’s case and was named as a co-conspirator in the documents. Subsequently, Mr Flavin began investigating the authenticity of the documents from material still contained by Hertfordshire Constabulary. This is highly irregular when one considers the serious allegations contained in these documents that name a number of police officers fabricating evidence from the same force as Flavin and Hanlon. Surely it should have been police officers from another force investigating the documents and more significantly, officers that did not have a conflict of interest in the investigation.


On 5 October Kevin’s solicitor Maslen Merchant, received a telephone call from the source that sent the documents to his office. The caller said that undercover police officers were searching the files looking for the original documents and that there were 30 boxes with Kevin’s name on! The source also said the original documents that were sent to Mr Merchant, were still in the boxes. Mr Merchant took advice from Kevin’s QC, Joel Bennathan, who advised that we notify the C.O.A of this development. Mr Merchant telephoned Gill Rouke, the case work lawyer at the C.O.A. Ms Rouke informed Mr Merchant that the CPS had been instructed to conduct an investigation. This is very unusual when one considers we were due to go before the full court for any such direction. What of course all of this means, is this, firstly it confirms that there is a police source in relation to the disclosure of the papers. Other wise, how would we have known about the undercover operation? I have attempted to play every situation through Kevin’s head, being devil’s advocate so to speak. I thought maybe it was Herts Police looking for the papers in an attempt to pull the rug from under Kevin’s feet and destroy the originals. However, I had hoped at this point, that the CPS would not have been so stupid to have instructed the very same police force that convicted me to investigate themselves.


On 12 October 2011, Mr Flavin met with Detective Superintendent Hanlon and gave him an overview of his findings so far. He also explained that as a result of the fact that he had worked with both Spackman and Whinnett it may be more appropriate & transparent that someone else undertook the investigation. He went on to say that Whinnett would have been the senior investigating officer in serious crimes that they would have jointly worked on. What I find difficult to understand, is why it took Mr Flavin 20 days to notify his superior of the conflict of interest, and subsequently by which time Mr Flavin had already investigated the authenticity of the papers and searched the files held by Hertfordshire Constabulary. Surely Mr Flavin must have been aware of the conflict of interest, as a result of his position as a conduit for assistance that the CCRC required during their reviews of Kevin’s conviction that date back at the very least, to February 2008.


On the 13 October 2011, Mr Flavin raised the above concern of a conflict of interest with Mr Lodato and he said he was going to seek advice from counsel. On 17 October 2011Mr Lodato emailed Mr Flavin to notify him that he should not take any part in the investigation as a result of the conflict of interest. Horse, bolt and gate spring to mind. Surely such blatant concerns would have been a priority in any such investigation. Detective Superintendent Hanlon. Detective Superintendent Hanlon is currently head of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit and he says,


in 2009 he became aware of the investigation into the murder of Robert Magill. In his mission statement dated 20 0ctober 2011, he states that in 1985 he joined Hertfordshire Constabulary as a Police Constable and was stationed at Rickmansworth Police Station where Spackman was his ‘tutor’ for the first two years of his career. (Consequently in the course of his duties you would expect that he would have crossed paths or served with Spackman and Whinnett during their services for Hertfordshire Constabulary). In ‘September 2011’ Det Sup Hanlon also says that he ‘became aware’ that I had lodged an appeal directly with the Court of Appeal.


On 12 October 2011 Hanlon and Flavin met to discuss what had been established to date and at that point it became apparent that they had both worked with Spackman, and the work being requested by the Appeals Division would best be served by someone independent who had no knowledge of Spackman and I quote “to prevent any defence allegations”! I am somewhat shocked that it took such an inordinate amount of time for such high ranking and experienced police officers to realise that they knew Spackman and such an obvious conflict of interest was blatantly apparent. Moreover when one considers Spackman’s arrest and conviction would have been a source of shame to every up standing police officer in Hertfordshire Constabulary - Persona Non Grata no less. Det Sup Hanlon’s statement makes little sense when you consider what he first said, which is, he became aware that I had lodged an appeal to the C.O.A. which was early in September 2011. Surely Det Sup Hanlon does not expect us to believe he knew nothing in respect of the nature of Kevin’s grounds of appeal, or who featured in them. One must ask why Flavin and Hanlon kept such a close eye on Kevin’s case prior to being instructed by the CPS to investigate Kevin’s grounds of appeal.


These issues raise grave concerns in respect of the safety of the original documents that were forwarded to Mr Merchant. Mr Flavin and Mr Hanlon’s behaviour lead me to believe the originals will no longer be in existence. After all, most of the Detective Sergeants involved in Kevin’s investigation will now be high ranking police officers or public officials. We must also be mindful that Flavin and Hanlon probably hold close ties within the ‘police family’ with those who had a hand in fabricating a case against me, after all, Spackman could not have done it on his own! Kevin is only too painfully aware from his previous dealings with the CCRC and Hertfordshire CPS that he is battling up hill and welcomes your support for Justice to be done. Please feel free to look into other areas of the fabricated case against Kevin and be deeply shocked by accessing the downloads.