Murder teen mum’s photo proof hope

Janet Cunliffe, mother of Jordan Cunliffe
Janet Cunliffe, mother of Jordan Cunliffe

THE Wigan mother of a teen jailed for a notorious murder has new medical evidence she hopes will give him his freedom.

Jordan Cunliffe was one of three boys given life sentences for the brutal killing of Warrington dad Garry Newlove four years ago, even though the then 16-year-old did not lay a finger on the victim.

He was convicted under the law of joint enterprise, the Chester Crown Court jury believing that as he was part of the gang that killed Mr Newlove and did nothing to stop the attack, he was equally culpable.

But Pemberton-born Janet Cunliffe, who is calling for the scrapping of “guilt by association”, is continuing to protest her son’s innocence.

Part of it hinges on Jordan’s poor eyesight. He suffers from a degenerative condition called keratoconus and now medics from a hospital in Glasgow have taken images of the murder scene and doctored them so that they give an estimation of what Jordan’s view would have been based on his medical records. Only vague shapes can be made out.

Mrs Cunliffe is hoping to launch a new appeal in 2012 (leave to appeal has previously been refused) with the photos as part of her evidence. She is being helped by Bangor University-based law students attached to Innocence Network UK.

She said: “My son could barely see anything and these photos give a good impression of how little. “The photographs are in no way the finished article but a very good example of his visual acuity at the time,

“It should be added that the attack on Mr Newlove was not a prolonged one. The court heard that the injuries were inflicted in no longer than 10 seconds.

“Even someone with 20-20 vision would not have had time to intervene. I am in no way condoning what happened to Mr Newlove, or the behaviour of those that some consider to be the catalyst to his death.

“But it is important to recognise that Jordan should not have been expected to involve himself in someone else’s confrontation, regarding someone else’s bad behaviour in any case. That is the police’s job.

“I was not aware that it is a crime NOT to intervene in someone else’s fight.

“If he had been able to make a decision who knows what further problems that could have caused?”

Jordan Cunliffe was ordered by a judge to spend at least 12 years behind bars before becoming eligible for parole and is currently in Swinfen Hall young offenders’ institution, Staffordshire, where he recently celebrated his 20th birthday.

Next August he will be moved into an adult prison and his mother says that while he has been behaving himself behind bars he is “slightly depressed”.

He has been in custody since the murder in August 2007.

Adam Swellings, 19, and Stephen Sorton, 17, from Warrington, were also convicted and jailed for Mr Newlove’s murder and have since lost appeals against the convictions, although the latter’s appeal against sentence managed to get his minimum term reduced from 15 to 13 years.