Former London’s Burning star John Alford, whose life was devastated by a Fake Sheikh sting, has called for action against unscrupulous journalists to “cleanse this stain on our democracy once and for all”.
The 44-year-old actor, who also found fame in Grange Hill, read a statement on behalf of Mazher Mahmood‘s alleged victims outside the Old Bailey following the undercover reporter’s jail sentence.
He paid tribute to Alistair Morgan, brother of murdered private eye Daniel Morgan, who was killed with an axe in 1987 amid allegations he was about to expose police corruption.
Alford said: “Firstly, I would like to say we welcome today’s sentence and would like to thank the British public and our family and friends for their unwavering support.
“I would also like to thank Alistair Morgan for his strength and inspiration.
“In 1984 the Pace Act was put in place to protect us from corrupt and unscrupulous police officers but there is nothing to protect us from corrupt and unscrupulous journalists.
“This has led to a very unsavoury relationship between the two.”
He claimed Mahmood was “a manipulator of evidence” and “a serial perjurer”.
He added: “No-one is above the law and no-one should be given carte blanche to create crimes and destroy evidence.
“There is a clear pattern of evidence, manipulation in all our cases, hours of taped evidence was missing.
“All these tapes were in Mazher Mahmood‘s sole possession. There are many more questions to be answered and more justice to be served.
“It’s taken over 20 years for some of us but finally a judge and a jury of our peers has woken up to Mazher Mahmood‘s lies.
“We would now like to ask parliament to honour their promise to the British people and implement Leveson part two.
“Our three estates, the monarch, our parliament and our judicial system, must be held accountable, yes?
“But they must not be held to ransom by a corrupt or unscrupulous press. So please let’s cleanse this stain on our democracy once and for all.”
The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) has confirmed it is reviewing six cases involving people who were convicted following involvement with Mahmood, including Mr Alford’s.
The actor fell foul to a similar cocaine string as Contostavlos at the Savoy Hotel in 1997 and was found guilty following a trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court despite insisting he was set up, shattering his budding career.
Following the verdict against Mahmood earlier this month, it was announced that 18 civil claims were being launched against him which could total some £800 million.
Media lawyer Mark Lewis said the claims would “dwarf” those brought following the phone- hacking scandal.
Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire