Andrew Mallard a Brit imprisoned in Australia

Andrew Mallard, a 41 year old British citizen, has been in prison in Australia on a conviction for murder for more than eight years now. He was convicted on no evidence other than alleged unsigned confessions and a videotaped 20 minute interview. The transcripts of the verbal interviews were accepted as evidence by the trial judge, even though at the time of the trial a bill was already before the Western Australian Parliament rendering such unrecorded evidence inadmissible. 

The victim, Pamela Lawrence, was killed at her jewellery shop on 23 May 1994 in a suburb of Perth. In a brutal attack, Mrs Lawrence was beaten repeatedly around the head with a blunt instrument, causing multiple fractures of the skull. The police investigation narrowed their search to 136 'persons of interest', one of whom was Andrew. The motive for the crime was assumed to have been robbery. However, no jewellery was stolen (and there was gold jewellery throughout the shop), and there was no cash missing from the cash box. According to Mr Lawrence, who found his fatally injured wife, Mrs Lawrence's wallet was missing, from inside her handbag on a shelf behind a partition, still with the handles wrapped around it as usual. The police claimed that Andrew confessed to murdering Mrs Lawrence with a 10 inch long spanner and Mr Lawrence gave evidence that he thought that a 10 inch long Sidchrome spanner might have been missing from the work shed behind the shop (although he had earlier told the police twice that nothing was missing apart from the purse).

About Andrew Mallard

Andrew is the son of a British Army Staff Sergeant who had made Perth his adopted home. He felt somewhat in his father's shadow and unable to live up to his father's reputation. He called himself 'Andre' and claimed to be a rock star or sometimes an undercover MI5 operative. He has no history of violence but was known to police for petty offences. He was a marijuana user and was being treated at Graylands psychiatric hospital for a bipolarity disorder around the time of the crime (a symptom of which is grandiosity and the inability to separate fact from fantasy).

It was at Graylands that Andrew was first interviewed by the police, on 26 and 27 May 1994. He had been dropped by a taxi several blocks from the murder (which the Crown alleged occurred before 5:02pm) at around 5pm. A description of a man seen in the shop on the evening of the murder at 5:02pm, referred to a man with a light beard and no moustache, of medium build and 6 feet (183 cm) tall, whereas Andrew had a flowing moustache and no beard and is 6 foot 7 (198 cm)tall. The witness never identified Andrew as the man she had seen in the shop. Police witness evidence also shows that Andrew had no money before the murder and none after.

On 10 June 1994 Andrew was questioned again at a police station for eight or nine hours. The interview was not videotaped, but one of the officers took notes. The police alleged that he confessed to the murder during that interview. However, they did not arrest but they released him. He was again taken in for questioning on 17 June 1994. During these interviews, Andrew - only just released from the psychiatric hospital - asserts he was bullied, assaulted and forced to strip naked. There was a second short session of questioning on 17 June 1994, and this time it was videotaped. The police contend that Andrew confessed to the murder on both 10 and 17 June 1994. If he did, why was this self-confessed murderer not charged, but released? Andrew consistently refused to sign the records of the interviews, as they did not reflect what he had said. Those interviews were admitted as evidence for the prosecution. Andrew was finally arrested four weeks later and charged while he was back in the care of Graylands Mental Hospital.

Andrew said that before the videotaped interview, and during the verbal interviews the police suggested to him that he might be able to help them solve the murder by putting forward his own theories of how the murderer committed the crime. Andrew believed he was literally 'helping the police with their enquiries'. The police simply took advantage of his vulnerability and gullibility. Andrew said that they showed him a photograph of Mrs Lawrence's injuries, and then asked where the injuries had been inflicted. At the trial police denied showing him such a photo. However on the videotape Andrew is heard to be saying "judging by the photos you showed me…" after which the police cut him off and changed the subject, but did not deny that he had been shown photos. The police asked him to draw a picture of the murder weapon and he drew a Sidchrome Spanner which he said that he thought would have been taken by the killer from the shed. He was also asked to draw a plan of the shop, adding details as the police gave them to him. Still some of the details were not accurate. For example when he was told to put the shed into the plan, Andrew drew it as if it were the size of a small garden shed (meaning of a 'shed' in British-English in contrast to Australian-English), not a fully-equipped large workshop as it actually was. The investigating police officers showed no interest in following up other leads once the jumped to the conclusion that they had found the killer.

No forensic evidence links Andrew with the murder. A forensic pathologist gave evidence that the murderer would have had a lot of Mrs Lawrence's blood on his arms and hands and clothing, such was the savagery of the attack. Andrew was asked in the 'confession interview' what the murderer would have done to get rid of the blood. He answered that he would have gone to wash himself and his clothes in the salt-water river. All his hypothetical answers were taken as an actual confession by the court when the case came to trial.

The evidence itself shows the 'facts' in the confession could not have been true. It is now evident that a Sidchrome spanner, as drawn by Andrew and presented to the jury, could not have been the murder weapon. Both blue paint and rust were found in the head wounds, neither of which can be found on Sidchrome spanners. Expert tests, commissioned by the police and withheld from the jury and defence at the trial, also showed that such a spanner could not have caused the type of wounds found on the victim. Searches by the police for a spanner which could have inflicted the injuries were unsuccessful (that was not disclosed to the defence or jury either). If Andrew had bathed in the river, his clothes would have retained some salt from the water and his shoes would still have been wet the next day. The police commissioned a forensic report which examined Andrew's clothes and found that they were without any salt, but those pages of the report were removed from the report given to the defence. A single spot of blood was found on his shoes but that blood was his own. Other information not disclosed to the defence was that the lady in the flat where Andrew had been living at the time, had told the police that Andrew's cap was hanging on a hook behind the door on the afternoon of the murder. The Crown case was that Andrew was wearing this cap backwards at the time of the murder, so that it resembled the bandanna seen by the eyewitness on the man she saw in the shop. This information was edited from the lady's statement by the police and never disclosed to the defence or the jury. 

Despite the lack of forensic evidence, Andrew was convicted of murder on 15 November 1995 and sentenced to 30 years. His first appeal, in 1996, failed. After this, Andrew withdrew into himself and refused to communicate with anyone. Andrew's family continued to fight for justice, though he would not see them. His father blamed himself for his son's predicament and died of cancer after two years. Andrew's mother Grace and sister Jacqui are determined not to give up. As time goes on, more and more people are becoming convinced that an appalling miscarriage of justice has occurred here. Journalists, eminent lawyers, politicians, a prison chaplain and prison guards have all come over to Andrew's side. He himself has become a model prisoner, and has regained his enthusiasm for learning.

A second appeal, based primarily on the basis of information not disclosed to the defence was dismissed on 3 December 2003 by the Supreme Court of Western Australia, despite the justices admitting that information was (unfairly) withheld from the defence. They made the strange observation that the evidence of the wrench drawn by Andrew as the possible murder weapon, when it could not have been, was just one more inconsistency (there were many) between the facts and his alleged "confession", so they thought it would have made no difference to the jury's verdict!! The Court of Criminal Appeal that decided Andrew's second appeal are incidentally colleagues of the former DPP (Director of Public Prosecution, now a Supreme Court judge) to whom the report about the tests on the wrench (which was not disclosed to the defence) was personally addressed and sent prior to the trial. The former DPP was also the counsel for the Crown at Andrew's first appeal. While imprisoned Andrew passed two polygraph tests scrutinising his denial about an involvement in Mrs Lawrence tragic death with flying colours, but the results were not accepted as evidence by the Supreme Court. This decision was quite unexpected, nevertheless Andrew took the decision with dignity and his attitude is an inspiration to all involved. Andrew's lawyers are determined to prove that his conviction was a miscarriage of justice and are now taking the case to the High Court of Australia.


  • An application by Andrew before the original trial commenced to provide the assistance of more experienced counsel than his legal aid lawyer was rejected by the trial judge despite the seriousness of the charge and the particular vulnerability of Andrew as a psychiatric patient.

  • The principle of equality of arms was not adhered to, as several items of evidence such as key findings about the murder weapon and parts of witness and expert witness statements were withheld by the prosecution from the jury and defence. Though the Supreme Court of Western Australia acknowledged that the prosecution has failed to disclose those vital components of the evidence, they did not conclude that the non disclosure resulted in an unfair trial and thus a miscarriage of justice, as it could have been expected, but concluded that there is no likelihood that a jury might return a different verdict taking the additional evidence into account. Furthermore, the judges never questioned why the prosecution withheld evidence, facts which could have assisted the defence in establishing that Andrew's "confessions" were merely theories.

  • It is our view that the charge of murder was not established beyond reasonable doubt and that the order for a re trial would have been the only adequate decision to fully consider the numerous inconsistencies and fresh evidence in this case in light of the important principle of the presumption of innocence. 

This is what you can do to support Andrew Mallard:

  • Write to Andrew, c/- Locked Bag No 1, Kwinana, Perth, WA, 6966 Australia. Your letter will raise his spirits during his nerve-wracking period of waiting whether the High Court of Australia in Canberra will give special leave for the appeal.

  • Write to David Cameron, MP, Witney Constituency, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA, who has taken a strong interest into this miscarriage of justice. 

  • Write to the Hon James McGinty, Attorney General, Western Australia, 30th Floor, Allendale Square, 77 St George's Tce, Perth WA 6000, to voice your concern about Andrew's case

Just in case you forgot - read the Universal declaration of Human Rights
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All information is © Copyright 1997 - 2006 'Foreign Prisoner Support Service' unless stated otherwise - Click here for the legal stuff