Hale plays key role in second release

Campaigning journalist Don Hale has helped secure the release on appeal of security van driver Graham Huckerby who was serving a 14-year sentence for a £6.6m robbery.

Hale has campaigned for Huckerby’s release after being asked to investigate the case by his family.

Huckerby was convicted of conspiracy after the robbery at the Midland Bank Clearing Centre in Salford in 1995.His conviction was quashed by the Appeal Court just before Christmas.

Huckerby was the driver of a van that was held up by armed raiders, but denied he was the gang’s “man on the inside”. He was jailed for 14 years for conspiracy to rob in 2003.

The case involved a joint appeal with one of Huckerby’s co-accused, James (Shay) Power, who was said to have been Huckerby’s accomplice and “handler” for the gang.

Hale met Huckerby at Dovegate prison, visited the scenes of crime and interviewed several witnesses.

Hale said: “I was able to cast doubt on the conviction by providing credible evidence to counter the original claims at trial, and even proved Huckerby had been the victim of another raid several months before when his van was again attacked and his colleague stabbed.

“I was determined to campaign for justice, and I am so pleased that both men will be released in time for Christmas.”

Hale came to prominence with his campaign, while editor of the Matlock Mercury, to free Stephen Downing, who had been convicted of murder.

By Jon Slattery

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