28 May 2008

Australian man pardoned 86 years after execution

A man hanged in 1922 for the murder and rape of a young girl in the southern Australian city of Melbourne was posthumously pardoned for the crime on Tuesday after new tests found crucial evidence against him was flawed.

The Ross case has been controversial since he was executed 115 days after his arrest, with witnesses saying he was at work at the time of the crime and with Ross going to the gallows protesting his innocence.

The prosecutors relied on hairs found on a blanket at Ross's home, which experts at the time said came from the murdered girl Alma Tirtschke, and from a jailhouse confession, reported by a fellow inmate who had convictions for perjury.

But a researcher found the hairs used as evidence against Ross in an archive in 1995, and new tests proved they did not come from the murdered girl.

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