A fourth member of the “Stockwell Six” has been acquitted after being falsely accused of assaulting a police officer nearly 50 years ago.
Texo Johnson was one of six black men wrongfully charged with the assault of undercover police officer DS Derek Ridgewell in February 1972.
Today he has had his conviction quashed at the Court of Appeal, four months after three friends were cleared of the same.
The convictions of three of the six, Courtney Harriot, Cleveland Davidson and Paul Green, were quashed in July this year after their cases were referred to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC).
At the time the CCRC was not able to contact Mr Johnson who was living overseas, but he got in touch after his sister saw media coverage of his friends’ case.
After being contacted by the CCRC, Mr Johnson said: “It happened such a long time ago, so to be honest, I’d put it to the back of my mind.
“I’m still taking it all in and it’s quite overwhelming – but I’m pleased to have the same opportunity to finally clear my name.”
Speaking after today’s hearing, Mr Johnson’s lawyer Jenny Wiltshire said: “It is of course welcome news that my client has been cleared of all wrongdoing in this matter.
“Texo has lived his entire adult life with this hanging over him, and time has not lessened his ordeal.
“He has said that the pain of what happened still lingers, and that it is something he will take to his grave. This didn’t need to be the case.
“The British Transport Police knew about DS Ridgewell’s corruption in 1973, but it took until this year for the force to undertake any review of this officer’s cases.”
Now aged 67, Mr Johnson was 17 years old when he and five friends were arrested while travelling from Stockwell station in south London.
The six young men were charged with assault.
At their 1972 Old Bailey trial the men, who became known as the Stockwell Six, pleaded not guilty.
One defendant was acquitted when it was shown his reading and English were not good enough for him to have read the confession he had signed.
The remaining five were convicted.
One was sentenced to three years in prison and two others to six months in prison.
Mr Johnson were sentenced to borstal training, which was a type of youth detention centre.
The CCRC is still trying to contact the other two convicted members.
In 1980 Ridgewell pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal mailbags involving theft of goods in transit valued at well over £300,000, equivalent to almost £1.3m today, and was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment. He died in prison in 1982.
Pictured top: Paul Green (left) and Cleveland Davidson (right) outside the Royal Courts of Justice.
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