Google Search Clears Man 43 Years After He Was Jailed For Theft

It took over 40 years, but Stephen Simmons no longer has a criminal record. Simmons, along with two friends were convicted of stealing mailbags in 1976. He spent eight months in prison for the crime, which took a major psychological toll. Simmons and his friends maintained their innocence, and were finally able to clear their name. 

According to The Guardian, Simmons was advised by Daniel Barnett during a radio show four years ago to Google the name of his arresting officer, Derek Ridgewell. What Simmons found was shocking. Ridgewell was sentenced to seven years in prison "for mailbag thefts totalling £300,000 in 1980." He died in prison in 1982. 

Simmons brought the evidence to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, who examined the case, and determined the Simmon's and his friend had been framed by Ridgewell, according to the BBC. The investigation also uncovered evidence that Ridgewell had been involved in multiple cases in which young African American men were falsely accused of committing muggings on the London Underground. 

Simmons said that finally being cleared of the crime was "one of the happiest days of my life."

“This is one of the happiest days of my life,” said Simmons outside court after his conviction was quashed. “It has hardly sunk in but I am not a criminal any more. I can hold my head up high."


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