A MAN found guilty of a notorious North-East murder has urged officials to allow evidence allegedly suppressed by police to be put before a court for the first time.
Michael Luvaglio spoke out after The Northern Echo revealed last week how a pensioner told detectives he witnessed a mystery man confessing to the 1967 killing of gaming machine collector Angus Sibbet.
However, the statement made by Darlington paint sprayer Tom Fellows was never passed to Mr Luvaglio's defence team.
Mr Luvaglio, 77, said he was undergoing tests for cancer and he wanted to see his conviction quashed before he died.
“What I want to see is a search for the truth wherever it leads – and I know that won’t be to me because I didn’t do it.”
Mr Sibbet's body was found on the back seat of his Jaguar car under Pesspool Bridge, South Hetton, County Durham, on January 5, 1967.
His colleagues, Mr Luvaglio and Dennis Stafford were convicted of his murder three months later.
Mr Fellows told police he was working in a Darlington garage on the morning of January 5, 1967 when an injured man armed with a gun entered.
According to the witness, the man – thinking Mr Fellows was a fellow gang member - confessed to the murder.
Mr Fellows was traced last year by investigators Ian Wright and Neil Jackson, who found that the pensioner stood by his account.
The pair have passed their findings to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which has the power to refer the case to the Court of Appeal.
Two previous appeals have already been heard, with both cases upholding the convictions of Mr Lavaglio and Mr Stafford.
Mr Luvaglio said: “The police said at the appeals that we had been handed all the evidence over but the statement of Tom Fellows as not amongst that package.
“I had never heard of Tom Fellows. If we had been given that statement I believe the conviction would have been quashed.”
The pensioner, who lives in London, added that he was only alive today because of campaigning work by The Northern Echo which contributed to the suspension and then abolition of the death penalty.
The campaign by former editor Harold Evans was launched with the aim of overturning the conviction of Timothy Evans, who was hanged after being wrongfully found guilty of murdering his wife and daughter in 1950.
“Capital punishment had only been stopped a couple of months before my conviction – if it hadn't I'd have been executed,” Mr Luvaglio said.
The CCRC said it was considering the case.