A man who spent over three years in jail for a rape he didn’t commit, has had his conviction dropped after Facebook messages were found by his sister-in-law.
The messages were missed by police, but were found by Danny Kay’s sister-in-law, Sarah Maddison, who took them to the officer in charge of the investigation.
By the time this new evidence resulted in his conviction being overturned, Mr Kay had spent over three years in prison, according to the Mail on Sunday.
The Appeal Court heard the investigative police relied on ‘edited and misleading’ accounts of the Facebook conversation, which was given by Danny’s accuser.
Mr Kay said:
Even now, with the conviction quashed, I still can’t believe it took years of pain and stress for this nightmare to end and the terrifying thought is that, if the police and justice system could fail me like this, it could happen to anyone.
Why didn’t the police check my Facebook account when they had my laptop and login details right from the start?
Why did it take my sister-in-law to find the evidence? This isn’t some small matter, this is my life and for the police not to do those basic checks is horrendous.
During his time in prison, Mr Kay was made to see a psychiatrist because he was ‘in denial’ as a result of his continuous protestations of innocence.
During his trial, the jury were told a message simply reading ‘sorry’ was in regard to the alleged rape, whereas it was in fact a response to the woman asking Mr Kay why he was ignoring her.
Also absent in the original trial was the accuser’s response of ‘Dnt be [sic]’.
Other messages sent after the alleged rape were absent from the original trial, including the accuser telling Mr Kay, ‘I’m still here for ya!’ and saying:
I thought u woulda at least tried to get me back. [sic]
In light of the new messages, the Appeal Court judge ruled the exchange undermined the woman’s account and supported Mr Kay’s testimonies.
The couple apparently met on Facebook and struck up a relationship which ‘petered out’ very quickly.
Mr Kay said:
She initially mentioned calling it a day because she was getting some messages off an ex-partner of mine and she didn’t want the hassle.
I agreed and she came back with the message about me at least fighting for her. At the time we had sex, she seemed perfectly happy.
The accusation of rape was made six months later and Mr Kay was arrested at East Midlands Airport in front of his girlfriend and her family.
Mr Kay said he thought the legal system would not fail him, but when the messages were presented in court his jaw ‘dropped’.
According to the Mail on Sunday, the Facebook conversations were requested from the accuser by the police.
They asked her to log in and print them off for them and didn’t think to verify what was provided to them.
Mr Kay’s barrister Philip Rule, said:
This is an important victory for justice. This is the tip of an iceberg of failings brought about by chronic and long-term under-resourcing of the criminal justice system.
Derbyshire Police are reviewing their investigation to see where lessons can be learned.