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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

'God sees the Truth ~ but waits' - wrong sentence - Romano spends 12 years in Spain prison

In my school days remember this short story in English lesson ~ one by the eminent Russian – Leo Tolstoy, first published in 1872.  Titled - "God Sees the Truth, But Waits" – it  is a story of a man sent to prison for a murder he didn't commit ~ the brilliant narrative took the form of a parable of forgiveness. English translations were also published under titles "The Confessed Crime" and "Exiled to Siberia". This short story is of  Ivan Dmitrich Aksionov, a merchant living in a town in Russia, Vladimir. One day he decides to go to a fair as a business venture, but his wife pleads for him not to go because of a nightmare she had the previous night. Aksionov doesn't consider his wife's dream and leaves for the fair. Aksionov meets another merchant on his way, and the two decide to travel together. They check into an inn and have a good time drinking, then they retire separately.

Next morning Aksionov wakes early  and leaves soon to be stopped and arrested by Police of murdering the other merchant ~ evidence being a blood stained knife found in the bag of Aksinov; he is sentenced and sent to Siberia. After his trial flogging, his wife can finally visit him, and she sees that Aksionov's hair has begun to go gray from the stress. Resigned to his fate, Aksionov spends twenty-six years in Siberia, becoming  a mediator of sorts in the prison, and he is well respected by the other prisoners and also guards alike. One day some new prisoners, one of them being Makar Semyonich, are transferred to the prison. After overhearing several conversations, Aksionov is convinced that Makar Semyonich is the man who committed the murder for which Aksionov was blamed. Eventually Aksionov confronts Makar Semyonich, but he denies committing the murder.

Later he stays put in not telling the authorities of an  escape attempt of Makar – eventually the killer admits his wrong deed.  Aksionov forgives Semyonich, and feels as if a terrible weight had been lifted. Makar Semyonich confesses to the authorities, and the process for Aksionov to be cleared is begun. Unfortunately, Aksionov dies before he can reach home, but he dies in peace.  This story was adapted into television series, Katha Sagar (1986) directed by Shyam Benegal. It was adapted into a CBS Radio Mystery Theatre program, All Things Are Possible (1978) directed by Himan Brown. Simple, yet a resounding story which will make the readers feel bad for the hero.

Away in Spain, an innocent man has spent 12 years in prison.  MailOnline reports that the  killer of Sally Anne Bowman has sensationally admitted brutally raping a woman in Spain for which another man has spent nearly 12 years in prison. Murderer Mark Dixie, 44, is serving life for murdering the 18-year-old model in South London in 2005. The former pub chef is suspected of attacking three women on the Costa del Sol where he was living before Sally Anne's murder.

In a dramatic twist in the case last week, Dixie admitted raping one of the women in Spain. MailOnline revealed last year how Dutchman Romano van der Dussen was wrongly jailed for the Spanish attacks - yet he remains behind bars to this day.  It can also be revealed that new DNA analysis, carried out this week at the Dutch National Forensic Investigation Agency, proves beyond any doubt that Dixie carried out the attack. Last week, Sally Anne's killer broke down in prison and confessed to raping the Spanish woman in a drink and drug-fuelled rage in the seaside resort of Fuengirola in August 2003. He made his confession to Romano’s lawyer Rachel Imamkhan when she visited him at Durham.  Ms Imamkhan, legal director of PrisonLAW, interviewed Dixie while gathering evidence for Romano’s appeal against his conviction for the three sex attacks.

Dixie’s handwritten, three-page statement will be lodged with the Supreme Court in Madrid as part of Romano’s appeal. In a statement, PrisonLAW, a law firm specialising in overturning miscarriages of justice, said: 'Mark Dixie confessed that in 2003 he was living in Fuengirola and he remembers committing a rape that Romano van der Dussen has been convicted of. 'He also stated that he is sorry that another person has been in prison for such a long period of time for that rape.  Dixie claims he does not remember the attacks on the other two women.

For the rape of that woman in Spain, man by name  Romano Van der Dussen was convicted and  has served 11 years behind bars. Dixie, from Streatham, South London, was living in Fuengirola when the three Spanish women were brutally attacked within two hours of each other in the early hours of August 10 2003. Romano, now 42, was arrested three weeks later after one of the victims picked him out from photographs in police files. Detectives had found the attacker’s DNA on the first victim. But astonishingly Romano was charged and prosecuted even though his DNA did not match that found on the victim. No forensic or physical evidence linked Romano to the crimes but he was jailed for 15-and-a-half years. He remains behind bars and continues to protest his innocence.

During the trial prosecutors argued that all three attacks must have been carried out by the same man. Shortly after the three women were attacked, Mark Dixie returned to the UK from Spain. In September 2005, he raped and murdered Sally Anne Bowman near her home in Croydon. The teenager was stabbed seven times and raped while she lay dead or dying. Dixie was arrested the following year by chance after having a fight in a pub – and was linked to Sally Anne’s murder through his DNA.  In February 2008, Dixie was jailed for life and told he must serve a minimum of 34 years.

After his arrest, Met Police detectives discovered Dixie had been living in Spain from 2002 to 2003 and sent his DNA to Madrid as a matter of routine. Spanish police ran it through their national Veritas database and came up with a match for the Fuengirola attack. In 2011, Romano’s lawyers appealed his convictions but the Spanish court demanded a fresh sample of Dixie’s DNA.

The story of Romano Van der Dussen convicted and sentenced for a crime that he never committed, makes a sad reading.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

17th Jun 2015.

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