Man wrongly jailed following mistakes by police

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A man who spent more than three years in jail for a crime he did not commit has described an apology from the police force that helped convict him as "too little, too late".

Warren Blackwell was jailed in 1999 for a sex attack outside a social club.

His conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal in 2006 after new evidence undermined the credibility of the complainant.

A report by police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) published on Friday, blasted Northamptonshire Police for its handling of the case.

It unveiled a catalogue of errors made by officers which contributed to the miscarriage of justice.

Information the force failed to disclose included concerns expressed by an officer from another force to a detective about the alleged victim's reliability, saying previously she had seemed to "enjoy police attention".

Notes taken by the Northamptonshire detective referred to her as "unreliable" and "unstable", but there was no evidence to show this information was ever passed to senior officers or the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

And while Mr Blackwell was in prison, a detective failed to make senior officers and the CPS aware of more information about false complaints by the same woman with striking similarities to Mr Blackwell's case.

There were also a large number of serious discrepancies in her accounts which seemed not to have been challenged by detectives.

The IPCC also turned its fire on the CPS, accusing it of failing to disclose the woman's medical history and a previous conviction to the defence.

Northamptonshire Police Deputy Chief Constable Derek Talbot apologised to Mr Blackwell in person earlier this week.

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