A body with gunshot wounds to the head was found in a burnt-out car on a remote lovers’ lane in Bury. The murder had all the hallmarks of a gangland killing.
Graham Redford, an ex-soldier and surveillance expert who had worked for GMP, was found guilty of murdering Stacey Lloyd. His body was discovered by firefighters in the boot of his burning, blue Subaru Impreza on the night of January 16, 2005.
After spending a year in custody, Redford was given a life sentence on February 21st 2006 and told he must serve at least 30 years. In October 2020, Redford asked the Court of Appeal for more time to file a Notice of Appeal and for permission to appeal against his conviction. The request was denied. However, after nearly two decades in prison, he still says he’s innocent and is trying again to clear his name.
Redford argues there were big mistakes in the case made against him by GMP. His case has been looked at by APPEAL, the same group that successfully proved Andrew Malkinson had been wrongly convicted of a rape for which he spent 17 years in jail. Redford hopes APPEAL will meet with him early this year to talk about whether they will take on his case, reports the MEN.
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The jury at Manchester Crown Court was told that Redford, while serving in the Army, received a military conviction in 1982 for stealing 32 9mm bullets. However, Redford was later informed by the Central Criminal Records and Intelligence Office, Service Police Crime Bureau, that a “clerical error” had occurred when his Ministry of Defence Army file had been accessed for GMP.
The Bureau admitted he was never disciplined for unlawful possession of ammunition, and the issuing of such a statement was “a mistake”. He actually left the Army after being treated for frostbite.
Redford says the error was significant as bullet casings were found next to the Subaru when it was discovered burning on Griffe Lane, a winding road which cuts through urban farmland next to the M66 in Unsworth, Bury. Redford said: “The jury passed a note to the judge. They were curious about my army service. They asked how long I had served, when did I leave, and why did I leave?”
“The prosecution provided a document saying that I had a military conviction for theft of 32 9mm bullets. I denied it in court but was accused of lying. I wrote to the MOD and they confirmed this was a ‘clerical error’. I often wonder the impact this may have had on the jury when one considers that 9mm bullets were discovered at the crime scene on Griffe Lane.”
Redford also alleges there was collusion between a key witness and GMP officers, that technical evidence given about the victim’s car was flawed, and that evidence was planted in a vehicle at his industrial unit.
The court was told at Redford’s trial that he had meticulously cleaned his industrial unit at Pioneer Mill in Radcliffe where Mr Lloyd was shot and even had parts re-concreted. The prosecution also said that Redford, who once ran a surveillance and private detective agency, had posed as Mr Lloyd after the killing and used his mobile phone to send messages to his girlfriend and another person to convince them he was alive.
The court heard that instead of saying “I’m” in the texts Redford spelled it “Ime” and detectives investigating the case found that was the way Redford, unlike Mr Lloyd, always spelled it.
In his defence, Redford told the jury he believed the killing had been carried out by a gangland boss and the hit ordered because of disputes over loyalty, money, and drugs deals.
He told the trial that he had been in the army for nine years before setting up a detective and surveillance agency, Omega Investigations. He claimed that his work brought him into contact with the police and the criminal underworld and that he had helped officers with two murder investigations in recent years.
Redford said he met Mr Lloyd and his criminal boss, who was not named for legal reasons, when the pair bought some surveillance equipment from him.
He told the jury that during the summer of 2004, the crime boss, who was said to have links to a notorious Manchester criminal family, showed him a large cache of weapons at an address in Salford. The cache included an AK-47 assault rifle, a TEC 9 mm machine pistol, a Sten machine gun, around 20 keyfob guns and several rounds of ammunition.
He was told the guns had been obtained from Eastern Europe via Northern Ireland and that they were being used to trade for drugs. Redford claimed he contacted both a retired and serving police officer, an MI5 agent and also former police deputy Chief Constable John Stalker to tip them off about the weapons store.
He told the jury he had a recorded message from Mr Stalker saying the information had been passed on to two assistant chief constables at Greater Manchester Police. But Redford alleged that police did nothing about the tip-off for months.
Redford claimed he later rented out an industrial unit to Mr Lloyd and the crime boss, who said they wished to store motorbikes there. But, he claimed, he later discovered that they were storing cigarettes and guns in the unit. The jury was shown a video taken by Redford of some of the weapons he claimed he had found at the unit, which were placed next to a newspaper dated October 10, 2004.
His voice is heard on the video saying: “I have passed on information to the security services and GMP, nobody seems very interested to do anything about it. Why they are not taking me seriously I just don’t know.”
When asked in court if he had anything to do with Mr Lloyd’s death, Redford replied: “Not at all. I believe it was (the crime boss) and his close associates.”
The prosecution’s case was that Redford shot Mr Lloyd, 31, after he arrived at Redford’s unit to collect a £6,000 debt owed to his boss.
Redford says his belief is that Stacey Lloyd was shot in his car on Sunday, January 16 – a time when he was at home with his family. The prosecution had alleged that Mr Redford had shot Mr Lloyd at his garage on Saturday the 15th, with a key witness claiming to have seen a car matching the description of Mr Lloyd’s arriving at the scene, followed by a bang. Redford claims CCTV proves the witness was wrong about being there on the Saturday.
Redford, now 61, met Andrew Malkinson while they were both in Frankland Prison. “It became clear that we were both trying to clear our names. Our spare time was spent researching our cases. Both Andy Malkinson and myself spent many years passing our case papers to solicitors who would simply syphon money from the public purse and then inform you there was nothing they could do.”
“I was allowed a hearing (at the Court of Appeal) but it was at the height of the pandemic and I was not allowed to attend. The barrister advised that he should focus on the bad character issue regarding the bullets. I was criticised for leaving it so long to appeal. But solicitors’ firms would sit on my case papers for four of five years then do nothing.”
The Court of Appeal hearing in October 2020 found that the prosecution evidence against Redford had been ‘sufficiently strong’, as well as questioning length of time he had taken to challenge his conviction.
Mr Justice Lavender said: “The applicant had Mr Lloyd’s mobile telephone on 15 January 2005, after the time at which the prosecution contended that he had shot Mr Lloyd. He sent messages from that telephone, pretending to be Mr Lloyd. He asked his own sidekick, Clive Heaton, to lie to the police about his and Mr Lloyd’s movements on 15 January 2005.”
“On 17 January 2005, the applicant put his own car in a location where it was, as he acknowledged, concealed from public gaze. The applicant made no comment in interview and the prosecution invited the jury to draw an adverse inference from his failure to mention in interview the explanations which he subsequently offered for the evidence against him”
“The applicant’s case was that he did not shoot Mr Lloyd, but that there were many people who might have shot him. He did see Mr Lloyd at Unit 59 in the early evening of 15 January 2005, but he left at 7.58pm. Mr Lloyd gave him his telephone and asked him to charge it and to return it when they met later, as they had arranged to do, at a petrol station near Bury at 11pm. Mr Lloyd was still in Unit 59 when he left.”
“He met Mr Lloyd, as arranged, at 11pm, but Mr Lloyd was in a hurry and told him to meet him again at another petrol station in half an hour and said that, if anyone called on Mr Lloyd’s telephone, the applicant was to ‘fob them off’ by sending a text. That, he said, is why he sent the messages from Mr Lloyd’s telephone. He last saw Mr Lloyd, he said, at one minute to midnight, when they separated from the second petrol station.”
Mr Justice Lavender said that the time for filing a Notice of Appeal expired in 2006 but the Notice was not filed until the end of 2019, 4,975 days late.
“The applicant’s explanation for the delay is that he instructed numerous, unidentified firms of solicitors who made little progress, despite having the case papers for unspecified periods of up to six years. This is not an adequate explanation for over 13 years’ delay,” the High Court judge added.
He added that only one ground for appeal had been submitted- the incorrect information regarding the bullets. But he said: “Even assuming, however, that there was some positive evidence before the jury about the alleged 1982 ammunition incident, we do not consider it to be arguable that it affected the safety of the conviction.”
“The applicant submits that it did so in four ways; first, it was bad character evidence; secondly, he was cross-examined on it and, if disbelieved by the jury, it would have undermined his credibility to the extent of nullifying the good character direction; thirdly, it concerned wrongdoing in relation to ammunition, which was particularly significant in a case of murder by shooting; and, fourthly, it concerned 9mm bullets and 9mm bullets were found in and near Mr Lloyd’ s car which may have been treated as a further link between the applicant and the murder, although it is to be noted that Mr Lloyd himself had a gun which fired such bullets.”
“Looking at the case overall, the evidence against the applicant was sufficiently strong that it cannot realistically be considered that the admission of the evidence about the alleged ammunition incident in 1982 could have affected the outcome. Accordingly, we refuse the renewed application.”
But Redford now hopes that with the help of APPEAL the Criminal Cases Review Commission will consider the case and get it back before the Court of Appeal.
During his Army career he did seven tours of duty in Northern Ireland. Manchester Crown Court was told of glowing references from his commanding officers in the Third Royal Anglican Regiment who described his conduct as “very good”, with Redford rising to the rank of Lance Corporal during a career between 1979 and 1988.
He said: “I have been in prison for 19 years and never had a disciplinary issue. I keep myself fit and have a strict regime.”
“One day I will clear my name,” he adds. “As long as I have a breath in my body I will keep fighting. I will never ever back down. I was brought up to be straight and upfront and that’s what I have been all along. I have paperwork to prove my case and I am lucky I can read and write – many inside here can’t.”
“I have done everything myself, I have gone into survival mode. You just have to stay strong.”
Redford claims that before his conviction he did GMP’s “dirty work”, using his expertise for surveillance. “They would come to me and say ‘we want that bugging’. They would then pick up intelligence and be in a position to move in if something was going down.” In court he was described as a GMP informant, but he denies this.
Redford’ sister, Hilary Charlesworth has a standing glass cabinet in the hallway of her home. It is full of framed family photos and a box contains her brother’s Army medals for serving in Northern Ireland and Cyprus. Hilary, 73, said: “I was raised to respect the police but I have no faith in them. My brother will win the war. He will clear his name.”
“Our mother, Mary, died eight years ago. She died of a broken heart through this. I wear my brother’s medals every Remembrance Sunday and I am so proud to put them on because he can’t in prison. He will come out one day and I hope it is before I die.”
Redford made a formal complaint to GMP regarding the alleged actions of officers involved in the case. But in a response sent in December 2020 GMP said: “Your complaint is around several members of GMP staff regarding an incident going back to 2005. Unfortunately due to the length of time that has since passed it would not be reasonable or proportionate to further your complaint. Therefore the matter has been logged but no further action will take place. The matter is closed and there is no right to review.” Redford has since made a fresh complaint to GMP in August last year.
Asked to comment on Redford’s latest complaint Detective Chief Inspector Dave Jones of GMP’s Professional Standards Directorate, said: “GMP is aware of Mr Redford’s complaint, which was first reported to GMP’s Professional Standards Branch in November 2020. Mr Redford was notified in December 2020, that his complaint would not be further progressed. GMP is aware that he is seeking an appeal and the matter has been brought to the attention of GMP’s current Professional Standards Directorate.”
“The force has recorded a new complaint, which will now be investigated. Due to the nature of the allegations made, GMP has referred the complaint to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). As GMP now await a response from the IOPC, it would be inappropriate for GMP to comment further.”
An IOPC spokesperson said: “We received a referral from Greater Manchester Police following a complaint linked to the police investigation into the murder of Stacey Lloyd in 2005. After carefully assessing the available information, we determined an investigation into the allegations is required and that this should be carried out by the force.”
“We have written to GMP reminding them that if any further information comes to light during the investigation that may alter our decision, this must be re-referred.”
“If the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome of the investigation, they will have the right to have the IOPC review GMP’s handling of their complaint. This ensures independent oversight of the matter, should it be required.”
* An AI tool was used to add an extra layer to the editing process for this story.