Fight to clear name of hanged uncle

ALMOST sixty years after his uncle was hanged for murder, David Schofield has returned from New Zealand to his Yorkshire roots in the hope of seeing his relative's name cleared.

In 1952, when Alfred Moore was hanged for shooting dead two policemen in Huddersfield, Mr Schofield was a boy of five, unaware of the horror that was unfolding around the family.

Now 63, having emigrated to New Zealand in 1968, he is backing a campaign by a retired policeman for a posthumous pardon for the murder conviction.

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Mr Schofield visited the scene of the murder, his uncle's old farm in Kirkheaton, Huddersfield, and said he was convinced that police had got the wrong man.

Alfred Moore, a prolific burglar well known to police, was hanged for killing the officers following a police stake-out of his farm in 1951, where they were hoping to catch him red-handed returning from a burglary.

Moore always denied any involvement, saying he was in bed with his wife Alice at the time. There was no direct evidence linking him with the shooting and the weapon was never found.

Doubts about the conviction have been raised over the years and in 2006 the evidence was re-examined by two retired detectives during an unofficial re-investigation.

Following painstaking work by former Huddersfield policeman Steve Lawson and his late colleague Colin Van Bellen, the case is being examined by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which looks at suspected miscarriages of justice.

Mr Schofield says his mother, now 90 and still living in Yorkshire, wanted to live long enough to see her brother's name finally cleared.

He said the more he read about the case, the more he doubted that his uncle was the real killer.

He was contacted by Steve Lawson, whose also had his doubts about the case going back as far as the 1970s.

"I had a growing feeling inside me that this was a miscarriage of justice," says Mr Schofield, a former textile engineer.

Over the years Mr Schofield has formed a clearer picture of his uncle's character and outlook, having spoken to his mother about him.

"She told me he was a conscientious objector during the war; he didn't want to shoot people. She told me he was involved in the black market and that a policeman had been on his tail all the way through."

His mother described Alfred as a kind man who often gave her eggs and chickens at a time when food was hard to come by.

"To her, he was a kind, caring brother. Alfred was five years older than her. He would be 95 now." His view is that his uncle was a burglar who used stealth and not force.

Having read a dossier of evidence recently submitted by Mr Lawson to the CCRC, Mr Schofield is convinced that a pardon is within reach.

"I think there was a fit-up by the police at the time. I am looking forward to the day when Alfred's daughters are given the certificate showing that Alfred has been given a pardon," he said.

Other family members are also keeping a close eye on the case from their homes in Australia and New Zealand, as are Moore's daughters in the UK.