Top barrister apologises for murder-claim blunder

One of Britain's top barristers had to rewrite his memoirs after accusing a former client of a series of murders he did not commit.

Michael Mansfield QC, left, whose high-profile cases include the inquests into the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales, and Jean Charles de Menezes, said his accusation that John Bowden was involved in a series of murders which involved "carving up homosexuals and

winos" was a "mistaken recollection".

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The error was made in the hardback edition of Mr Mansfield's Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer and will be corrected for the paperback version which is out next month,publisher Bloomsbury said.

In his original memoirs, Mr Mansfield described how he was asked to attend Parkhurst high-security prison on the Isle of Wight after inmates took an assistant prison governor hostage in 1983.

Referring to Bowden, who was involved in the siege, Mr Mansfield wrote: "I had defended him at the Old Bailey in relation to what had become known as the Camberwell murders, a series of particularly grotesque and gruesome killings, which had involved carving up homosexuals or winos while they were still alive and freezing the cuts."

He described Bowden, 53, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1982 for the killing of Donald Ryan, as a "South Wales lad turned bad by drink and unemployment".

Mr Mansfield apologised, saying the error was "entirely unintentional", after Bowden complained that no one ever claimed he was responsible for killing anyone other than Mr Ryan.