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One murder, one false confession, and a reporter's dangerous campaign to free an innocent man.

The Podcast



Finally Stephen gets his day in court to appeal his conviction for the murder of Wendy Sewell. The police launch a major new investigation and serious doubts are raised over Don Hale’s investigation...


Who is the real Stephen Downing? Why were the police so quick to point the finger at him for the brutal Murder of Wendy Sewell, and why did so many of the townspeople seem unsurprised to hear suggestions that he had attacked a woman? We hear about Stephen as a boy, and how growing up in prison shaped the man he became.


Don Hale joins forces with TV and national news teams to generate international attention for his campaign for the release of Stephen Downing. His tactics uncover some vital evidence, gain the support of the government - and Prime Minister Tony Blair - but have some unfortunate consequences in Bakewell.


Newspaper editor Don Hale is an unlikely sleuth and even less likely crusader. He has previous no police background, isn’t a PI and has no previous investigative experience. We discuss his background, motivation and unique approaches to this case...


Don Hale finds witnesses who deliver vital new evidence in the case.


Bakewell gossip presents a very different picture of Wendy Sewell than the one told to the court at the murder trial. Rumour suggests there may have been people and events in Wendy’s past that may have given people reasons to want to hurt or silence her. People other than Stephen Downing


Don Hale digs deeper into the conviction of Stephen Downing for Wendy Sewell's murder, and examines the police evidence that put Stephen inside.


In the first part of a major new true crime series we introduce the story of Wendy Sewell, who was murdered in the picturesque English town of Bakewell, in the Peak District National Park, in 1973. Wendy was attacked in broad daylight in the town's cemetery. Stephen Downing, the 17-year-old groundskeeper with learning difficulties and a reading age of 11, was the prime suspect. He was immediately arrested, questioned for nine hours without a solicitor present, and pressured into signing a confession full of words he did not understand.


In September 1972 Wendy Sewell, a young legal secretary, was murdered in the town of Bakewell in Britain's Peak District.


Introducing Murder In the Graveyard, the new true crime series from Wireless Studios


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Read the original full story that inspired the podcast. Murder in the Graveyard is available in hardback, ebook and audio

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