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Man who was 'wrongly' jailed for killing Middleton woman released from prison

Julie Stott, from Middleton, was killed in New Orleans in 1992 Credit: MEN Syndication

A man who was 'wrongly' jailed over the murder of a Middleton woman in 1992 has been released from prison.

Julie Stott was murdered during a botched robbery while on holiday in New Orleans, Louisana. She was out walking with her fiancé in the French Quarter of the city when she was shot.

Twenty-three years later, Robert Jones, the man imprisoned for her murder, has been released.

The 42-year-old was also convicted of various other crimes around the same time, including rape and robbery. He was jailed for the murder of Julie Stott despite the fact another man, Lester Jones, had already been convicted for the crime.

There was also evidence that linked Lester Jones to all the other crimes Robert Jones had been accused of committing.

It has since emerged that prosecutors withheld crucial evidence in the trial of Robert Jones.

In June 2015, a court ruled that he had not been given a fair trial and yet remained in prison.

Last month, the detective who investigated the murder, and the judge from the original trial, said they believed Robert Jones's conviction had been a miscarriage of justice.

He has now been released from prison on bail pending a retrial after what a judge called a “disturbing testimony from a lead detective”.

“It’s a great day,” Robert Jones, 42, said as he left Orleans Parish Prison in Louisiana.

Speaking outside the prison, his mother described his release as a “blessed day”.

Robert Jones's daughter Bree, who was born after he was jailed, said: “I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time.”

The Innocence Project New Orleans, which now represents Robert Jones, says his convictions for rape and robbery need to be reviewed, now that he has been cleared by police of Julie Stott’s killing.

Defence lawyers say victims of the other crimes for which Robert Jones was convicted picked him out of a line-up only after his name and image were publicised across the globe in connection with Julie Stott’s killing.

His legal representatives also argue prosecutors never told the jury that police had cleared him of several of the charges - including murder - while he was on trial.

New Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro is reviewing the evidence after admitting mistakes were made ahead of a retrial.

Julie Stott graduated from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) in 1986 with a degree in Textile Design.

Last July - on the date she graduated from UMIST - a series of scholarships were launched in her name, aimed at giving disadvantaged children the chance to go to university