Mansfield apologises over memoirs
One of Britain's top barristers had to rewrite his memoirs after accusing a former client of a series of murders he did not commit.
Michael Mansfield QC, whose high profile cases include the inquests into the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales, and Jean Charles de Menezes, said his accusation that John Bowden was involved in a series of murders which involved "carving up homosexuals and winos" was a "mistaken recollection".
The error was made in the to hardback edition of Mr Mansfield's Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer and will be corrected for the paperback version which is out next month, publisher Bloomsbury said.
In his original memoirs, Mr Mansfield described how he was asked to attend Parkhurst high-security prison on the Isle of Wight after inmates took an assistant prison governor hostage in 1983.
Referring to Bowden, who was involved in the siege, Mr Mansfield wrote: "I had defended him at the Old Bailey in relation to what had become known as the Camberwell murders, a series of particularly grotesque and gruesome killings, which had involved carving up homosexuals or winos while they were still alive and freezing the cuts."
He described Bowden, 53, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1982 for the killing of Donald Ryan, as a "South Wales lad turned bad by drink and unemployment".
Mr Mansfield issued an apology, saying the error was "entirely unintentional", after Bowden complained that neither police nor prosecutors ever claimed he was responsible for killing anyone other than Mr Ryan in November 1980.
In his apology, which will also be sent to the parole board, Mr Mansfield wrote: "In the narrative describing the siege at Parkhurst I wrote that John Bowden was convicted of a series of murders that involved 'carving up homosexuals and winos while they were still alive and freezing the cuts'.
"This is in fact untrue and is the result of a mistaken recollection on my part.
"There were other serious charges on the indictment, but there was never any claim or suggestion during John Bowden's trial in 1982 that he or his co-defendants were responsible for more than one murder, or that John Bowden had ever targeted a specific group of people for the violence that I described in my book. This error was entirely unintentional, and has been corrected for all future editions of the book."