A CONVICTED rapist jailed for life 10 years ago was cleared and freed

yesterday after the Court of Appeal declared his case ''a miscarriage of


Scotsman John McGranaghan, 48, found guilty at the Old Bailey in 1981

of ''horrific and nauseating'' rapes and indecent assaults on three

women, smiled and waved from the dock after his convictions were ruled

''wholly unsafe and unsatisfactory''.

The property dealer, of Tooting, London, had lost his original appeal

in 1982, but the case was reopened after the organisation Justice

investigated it and the Home Office received fresh scientific evidence.

It was that evidence, from forensic scientist Mr Roger Cook, that

positively eliminated Mr McGranaghan as the attacker of the final victim

in a case that had been conducted on the basis that the same man was

responsible for all the offences.

Lord Justice Glidewell, quashing all the convictions and setting aside

the life sentence, criticised the prosecution team for not appreciating

the importance of scientific evidence available in 1981, and also the

defence for advising Mr McGranaghan not to provide blood and saliva


Mr McGranaghan -- who had been told by Judge Charles Lawson in the Old

Bailey case that he should not be released until he reached old age --

emerged from the High Court cells to be greeted with cheers and hugs

from waiting relatives.

He said: ''I can't believe it. I'm just glad to be free and to know

that this miscarriage of justice is finally over.

''I've been through years of hell in prison. I've been treated by

every-one as a sex offender when all along I have known I was innocent.

Sex offenders are treated worse than anyone else in prison. I've had to

fight all the way.''

Mr McGranaghan added: ''Now I just want to pick up the pieces of my

life and try to start again. It's impossible to say what my plans for

the future are.

''I'm not bitter really. Well, I'm bitter against the system which

convicted me for crimes I never committed. But I can't be bitter against

the victims of the rapes for which I was convicted.

''I have suffered and so have they. Their suffering still goes on.

They'll suffer forever because of what happened to them. And the person

who raped them is still free. He's never been caught. He's still out

there somewhere.''

Justice director Leah Levine, who was in court to hear yesterday's

ruling, said afterwards: ''It's been a very long haul to get this


Lord Justice Glidewell, sitting in London with Mr Justice Hodgson and

Mr Justice Buckley, had described the attacks on a married couple and

two women living alone, as nauseating and horrific.

They happened between 1978 and 198O in the Wimbledon and Ewell,

Surrey, areas.

Mr McGranaghan, on his lawyers' advice, had not provided blood and

saliva samples, the appeal Judge said, and the Crown relied on the

victims' descriptions of the rapist and the similarities in each case of

the way the attacks were carried out.

However, the fresh evidence from Mr Cook, a Metropolitan Police

forensic scientist, indicated that seminal staining on a cotton

bedspread taken from the final victim's home, could not be linked to Mr


The staining came from an ''A'' secreter, while the accused's blood

group was ''O''.

Lord Justice Glidewell said the victim Mrs F, a divorcee at the time

of the trial, had relived her ordeal for the Appeal Court and said she

had been completely unaware of the staining. She also admitted that she

had had a brief affair at the time of her marriage break-up some time

before she had been attacked.

However, the staining was recent and was close to the area of the bed

where the ''hideous episode'' had been enacted, the appeal Judge said It

was wholly consistent that it had come from her assailant.

''If so, this appellant was not that assailant,'' the Judge said.

Turning to the other attacks, the Judge said that had these matters

been tried separately, Mr McGranaghan could have been convicted.

However, the case was conducted on the basis that the attacks were so

similar that it was highly likely the same man was responsible.

None of these convictions now could be regarded as safe or


Lord Justice Glidewell said the Crown team at the trial, led by Miss

Ann Curnow QC, had failed to appreciate that Mr Cook's report could have

led them to a reappraisal of the case that the same man had carried out

all the attacks.

The defence, had it seen the report, would have appreciated its

importance. The defence team had been aware that Mr McGranaghan had been

a blood donor and that his card indicated his ''O'' blood group.

The appeal Judge said: ''This (the case) can only be regarded as a

miscarriage of justice.''

Broadcaster Ludovic Kennedy, who backed the campaign for Mr

McGranaghan organised by Justice, said his release was ''wonderful


He said the case further highlighted the need for a totally

independent forensic science service with equal access for the defence.