Anorak News | Graham Sankey And The Michael Shields Case

Graham Sankey And The Michael Shields Case

by | 9th, September 2009

michael shieldsMICHAEL Shields was jailed for 15 years, reduced to 10 on appeal, for the attempted murder of Bulgarian, Martin Georgiev on May 30, 2005. Shields was wrongly found guilty of attacking Georgiev in the Black Sea resort of Golden Sands, Bulgaria, following Liverpool FC’s 2005 UEFA Champions League victory.

The victim, a waiter, was struck in the head by a paving slab. His skull was broken.

In 2006, Shields was returned to England to complete his sentence at Thorn Cross Young Offender Institution in Warrington. He has now been released. Justice Minister Jack Straw says Shields is “morally and technically innocent”.

We know this because a) Mr Shields innocent and b) Liverpudlian Graham Sankey once admitted to the crime, although why he did this became unclear.

Today, the Mail says:

The alleged confession by Mr Sankey, an electrician from Liverpool, had been ruled inadmissible at Shields’ trial.

Alleged confession? This would be the alleged confession that the Mail highlighted in July 2005. Sankley refused to go to Bulgaria to see justice served, preferring, as is reported, to have his words faxed there – because you can cross-examine a fax:

“I accept that I must have caused the serious injury to Mr Georgief. My conscience has been tormenting me ever since. I read in the papers about Michael Shields’ trial, and I felt that I could not let an innocent man take the blame for what I had done. So I instructed my Solicitor, Mr David Kirwan to make public my acceptance of responsibility and my willingness to accept fully the consequences of my actions.

“I expected that the Bulgarian Court would accept my admission and free Mr Shields. I was horrified that the Court has refused to do this, so I am making this signed confession in the hope that an innocent man will no longer have to take responsibility for what I admit I did.”

michael-shieldsSo why is this confession only alleged? Does the Mail now suspect that with Shields free, honourable Mr Sankey will withdraw his confession and justice will not be served?

No. It is alleged because Sankey later retracted his statement. As the Sofia News Agency explains:

Sankey subsequently retracted his confession and his solicitor said his client was involved in a different fight. It is that confession which appears to have persuaded Jack Straw to grant the pardon, although, in an extraordinarily detailed statement released by the Ministry of Justice today he does not mention Sankey by name.

Note: Does Bulgaria have a tabloid press, a Daily Express equivalent that can scream “Foreign Killer Escape Justice”? Bulgarians are, of course, one part of the Rogarian menace that is destroying Britain.

Brian Reade addressed the man Sankey and the matter:

This piece is for the attention of Graham Sankey, the Liverpool fan who confessed to dropping a rock on a Bulgarian waiter’s head after the 2005 Champions League final. Who then, under advice from his solicitor, retracted it. And spent the next four years watching an innocent man serve a sentence for that attack.

The Trinity Mirror’s site ICLiverpool publishes a picture of Sankey’s signed confession and that confession in full:

I GRAHAM SANKEY, wish to make the following confession: On Sunday, May 29 2005 I was in the Bulgarian resort of Golden Sands near to the Port of Varna at about 5am. I unfortunately had far too much to drink; I had been drinking lager for the better part of the day. In the evening I estimate that I drank nearly a full bottle of vodka and I was very, very drunk.

I left the PR Club and I was making my way to my hotel. I remember seeing a disturbance and a fight was taking place involving a large number of people, some of whom were wearing red shirts. I could see bottles being thrown and as I drew closer a bottle smashed on the wall behind my head. As I turned to see where the bottle had come from I saw three men running at me with bottles and bricks in their hands.

I panicked and stupidly picked up a brick and threw it I saw the brick hit one of them. I panicked and I turned and ran away and returned to the hotel. in the direction of the men running towards me.

I did not know at that time that Mr Martin Georgief had been injured. I was arrested (with others) by the Bulgarian police. The following day I was questioned by an investigator. I was utterly terrified and denied any involvement in the incident.

I still did not know about the injuries to Mr Georgief. I was then released and I discovered that Mr Georgief had been seriously injured. I then returned to Liverpool…

I am only 20 years old, and am appalled that I have ruined Mr Georgief’s life and that Michael Shields, an innocent man, has received blame for what I did.

I just wish that I had my time over again.

but he is innocent. The wrong palce he was in at the wrong time was not Michael Shields wrong place and wrong time. It was another fight, another brick, allegedly.

As Jack Straw says:

6. At this meeting, following a series of questions which I put to the family, I was told for the first time about a visit by two members of the Shields family to the home of a man alleged to be responsible for the crime for which Michael Shields was jailed. I was told that in the course of the visit that man made an oral confession to the crime in front of several other people. This episode, I was told, happened on 22 July 2005, a day after the start of Mr Shields’ trial in Bulgaria.

7. Since the 28 August meeting in my constituency further inquiries, including by the Merseyside Police, have been made at my request into the events of 22 July 2005. I will not set out in this statement all the evidence that has come to light over the last two weeks but suffice it to say that there is very good reason to believe I was being told the truth. This in my view profoundly changed the credibility of the various accounts of what actually happened in this case.

So what now for justice?


Picture 1 of 12

Michael Shields during a press conference held at the Liverpool Echo and Daily Post Newspaper Offices after the Liverpool fan was released from prison on a royal pardon.

Posted: 9th, September 2009 | In: Key Posts, Reviews Comments (3) | TrackBack | Permalink