A man jailed for the notorious murder of a council worker in Belfast nearly 40 years ago has spoken of his relief after his conviction was quashed.
Senior judges declared significant unease about the safety of the verdict returned against Patrick Livingstone for the so-called ‘Good Samaritan' killing of Samuel Llewellyn.
Their ruling was based on the alleged brutality of RUC officers involved in securing a statement implicating the west Belfast man.
Mr Livingstone (62) said the decision was a vindication of his fight to clear his name.
He now plans to seek compensation for the 17 years he spent behind bars for the murder.
Mr Llewellyn was abducted as he delivered hardboard to repair homes damaged by a bombing on the city's Falls Road in August 1975. The council worker was taken to a house in Leeson Street where he was shot dead. His body was wrapped in a sheet and put in the back of a van which was then set alight.
The only evidence against Mr Livingstone at his trial came from three RUC officers who later interviewed him at Dundalk Garda station and claimed he confessed to the murder. He disputed their account and denied the killing.
However, he was subsequently convicted at Belfast City Commission in May 1977 and sentenced to life imprisonment. His case was reopened and referred back to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
The challenge centred on alleged police brutality towards another man who said he was beaten into signing a statement which claimed Mr Livingstone admitted the shooting to him.
Ruling on the case alongside two other judges, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan held that the fresh evidence should be introduced.
He said the claims of police mistreatment were never tested and would have opened a line of inquiry “which might have affected the credibility of the police witnesses”.
“I feel totally vindicated. But there's a lot more people than me, on both sides of the divide, who went through those Diplock courts. I spent seventeen-and-a-half years in jail for something I didn't do.”
Patrick Livingstone, whose conviction for killing a council worker has been quashed