Sheridan Smith to star in ITV drama based on mum's fight to bring double jeopardy killer to justice

Sheridan Smith will play Ann Ming in the new ITV drama I Fought The Law. Credit: PA/ITV Tyne Tees

A mother whose fight to bring her daughter's murderer to justice made legal history will be made into an ITV drama starring Sheridan Smith.

Ann Ming campaigned for 15 years to change the centuries-old Double Jeopardy Law following the brutal killing of her daughter Julie Hogg in Billingham, County Durham, in 1989.

Her determination secured the conviction of William 'Billy' Dunlop, who admitted the murder while serving time for another crime.

Ann will act as a consultant throughout the production process and will be played in the drama by Smith.

She said: "My daughter’s killer was wrongfully acquitted, and a number of years later confessed to her murder, for which he could only be prosecuted for perjury due to the 800-year-old Double Jeopardy Law.

"I wasn’t going to let this stand in my way of getting justice for Julie. I’m overwhelmed that Sheridan Smith will be playing me.

"Having such an iconic and talented actress portray me is truly wonderful.”

Julie Hogg was just 22 years old when she was murdered in 1989. Credit: Family photo

Mother to three-year-old Kevin and married to husband Andrew, Julie was only 22 when she was killed after working her late shift at a local pizza parlour in November 1989.

She had been strangled and her mutilated body hidden behind a bath panel where it lay undiscovered for more than two months.

It was Ann who eventually found Julie’s concealed remains in the bathroom of her modest terraced house in January 1990.

The discovery was made after extensive searches of the property by police forensics teams in the days after her disappearance.

Dunlop was tried twice for the murder but both juries failed to reach a verdict.

Three years later, while in jail for another crime, Dunlop confessed and admitted lying in court, boasting there was nothing anyone could do about it because of the double jeopardy rule in place at the time.

It was thanks to a campaign by Ann and her family that the law was changed and in 2006 Dunlop became the first person to be tried under the new rules. He was convicted of murder and jailed for life.

Dunlop is due to face a public parole hearing this summer.

Billy Dunlop's case made legal history thanks to the tireless efforts of his victim's mother and family. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Following the family's campaign, the four-part series is written by Jamie Chricton, whose scripts are based on Ann’s book For The Love of Julie.

He said: “As soon as I heard Ann's story, of her iron resolve and unbelievable courage tosee justice done in the face of adversity, I knew this was one that had to be told.

"Ann is a shining beacon of what can be achieved if you stop at nothing to make your voice heard. In an age when it's all too easy to feel helpless, we need more Ann Mings in the world.”

Filming on the Hera Pictures production is due to begin in August on Teesside and the surrounding areas, in collaboration with North East Screen via the North East Production fund.

I Fought The Law will air on ITV1 and ITVX.

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