The sister of a Blackpool man stabbed to death in his own home has been forced to give up her 13-year fight for justice because vital court transcripts have been destroyed.
Beverley Keenan thought she was on the home straight in her bid to face her brother’s killer Mark Oldfield in court for a second time under the new double jeopardy law.
But without the transcripts of the original trial, the 46-year-old has been forced to abandon her fight for her brother Wayne, who was stabbed to death in 2000 in his Chapel Street flat.
Miss Keenan, of Ribble Road, Blackpool, said: “All I want is answers and justice.
“It’s been 13 years of fighting for nothing.
“My brother’s killer was only given seven years in prison when he should have got life.
“He got out in 2005 and has been back to prison since for attacking his neighbour with a pizza cutter, how is that right?
“I have evidence that was never heard in the first trial.
“In my fight for justice I wrote to the House of Lords and in a reply they told me to contact the police and ask them to reopen the case under the new double jeopardy law used in the Stephen Lawrence case.
“I met with the police and a solicitor who told me they could nothing without the original court transcripts.
“I got in touch with the court but they told me the documents had been destroyed as they are only kept for five years, nobody warned me this would happen.
“My campaign is over.”
Mark Oldfield was jailed for seven years after being found guilty of the manslaughter of 34-year-old father-of-three Wayne, also known as Joey Evans.
He was convicted by a jury in December 2000. He was released in 2005. He was put back behind bars again in 2009 after attacking his next-door neighbour.
He was given eight years in prison but the sentence was reduced to five at London’s Criminal Appeal Court in 2011. Court transcripts detailing whole trials can be made available for around £5,000.
Miss Keenan, said: “I was never told there was a time limit in getting hold of the transcripts. When Joey was killed there was no point in spending so much money because under the law Oldfield had answered for his crime.
“I’m on benefits, £5,000 isn’t money I have sat around. I had saved up to get them only to be told they no longer exist.
“It’s heartbreaking to wait so long for a change in the law only to find out I can not doing anything else because the paperwork has gone.”
Miss Keenan said more now needs to be done to give victims of crime the right to appeal sentences.
She said: “For me the justice system is fairer on the criminal.”
A spokesman from the Courts and Tribunals Service, said: “HM Courts and Tribunals Service policy is to retain tape recordings of trials for five years and then destroy them.
“This policy was devised to balance the time during which requests for transcripts might be required with the costs of storage and the interests of only retaining relevant data.”
The service has now moved to digital recordings, which are kept for seven years.