Love, death and a miscarriage of justice: How Henry Keogh was locked up for 20 years for a crime he did not commit

A man who was wrongly convicted and jailed for nearly 20 years for drowning his fiancé in the bath has spoken for the first time about his new-found freedom, and how he is rebuilding his life after one of Australia’s worst miscarriages of justice.

 

Henry Keogh, now 60, has spoken out for the first time about his first taste of freedom and falling in love again behind bars.

Keogh was sentenced to life in prison in 1995 for the drowning of Anna-Jane Cheney based on the now discredited autopsy findings of Chief Forensic Pathologist Dr. Colin Manock.



The conviction was quashed in December 2014 but to make the injustice even more shocking, Sunday Night can reveal an independent report could have freed him in 2004 but gathered dust on a shelf for nearly 10 years. Keogh’s conviction was not overturned until December 2014.

"Henry Keogh was convicted for something that never happened, that is abundantly clear. There is no evidence of a criminal event having occurred at all," long-time advocate for Keogh, Dr Bob Moles, said.

Before he was locked up, life looked pretty good for Henry.

Henry Keogh, free after 20 years behind bars for a murder that never happened

He had previously married at 21 and had three daughters, working as a financial advisor and insurance agent.

Then, in 1991 he left his wife Sue after falling in love with lawyer Anna-Jane Cheney.

The 29 year-old blonde's last day was like many others; on Friday March 18 she met her fiancé for a drink after work.

"We were both in really good spirits, it was the end of the week, looking forward to the weekend, the wedding wasn't far off um we just enjoyed, we loved each other’s company, " Keogh said

A couple of hours after they got home, Henry decided to visit his mum and Anna-Jane stayed home.

"I came back, was walking through the house and called out to her, and I didn't get an answer … I thought she might have just been having a nap and I found her slumped in the bath."

Keogh says the biggest tragedy of the case that saw him wrongly imprisoned is that no one knows exactly what happened to Anna-Jane that night.

His memory of finding her still brings him to tears.

News coverage was scathing of Henry due to his supposed motives for murder

"Because the autopsy was so deficient and so defective we will never know what it might have been and that has to be one of the biggest tragedies of this whole case, you know, we will ever know exactly why Anna died."

Reporter Graham Archer who would later present more that 60 stories about Henry's case said it appeared Anna-Jane's death was simply a tragic accident.

"From the scene there was no suspicion raised. Henry had no injuries on him, Anna-Jane had none to speak of, there was nothing there that suggested this was a murder," Archer told Sunday Night.

But days later police thought they had found compelling circumstantial evidence pointing to a motive for murder.

There were alleged affairs, and Henry had taken out five life insurance policies in Anna-Jane’s name and forged her signature.

He admitted to the suspicious nature of the insurance policies, explaining them away as an insider industry practice, but believed the physical evidence would rule him out.

"I'm thinking, well, this madness is going to stop as soon as the results of the autopsy are going to come in."

However, the autopsy performed by South Australia's chief forensic pathologist Dr Colin Manock generated a theory that would be the smoking gun in the case against Henry Keogh.

South Australia's chief forensic pathologist Dr Colin Manock has since retracted some of his findings

He began his autopsy two days after Anna-Jane was found drowned in the bath but revisited the body when he learned Henry was under suspicion.

The theory he presented was that bruising on her legs indicated they had been gripped and raised above her head.

What Henry didn’t know at the time was that Dr Manock was appointed to South Australia’s top forensic position without all the necessary qualifications.

Dr Manock presented his theory to a jury, claiming the bruises he found were newly inflicted and that Anna-Jane had been conscious when she was drowned.

"You're just struck with disbelief that this is even happening, I couldn't believe it. Could not believe it," Keogh said about his two trials.

Journalist Graham Archer covered the case closely over 20 years

After two weeks of evidence, the jury could not reach a verdict.

The result was a hung jury and a retrial was ordered. Henry was found guilty.

"I felt sick, I was numb, I was bewildered, there's this disconnect; intellectually you might hear what they are saying when in your heart you know you haven’t done anything."

His daughter Elise was just 12 when her father was sent to prison.

"When he was in prison we couldn't call him, he could only call us. When dad called us we knew that he was doing well. When we didn't hear from him we knew he wasn't doing well," she said.

The road to freedom

It would be five years before experts discovered the serious flaws in the evidence Dr Colin Manock presented at Henry’s trial, Bob Moles among them.

"One can be quite confident that there was no murder," Dr Moles said.

"Henry Keogh's conviction is probably the worst of the wrongful conviction cases that we have ever had in Australia."

More disturbing still is the fact that Dr Manock performed 10,000 autopsies in the 30 years he held his position, presenting expert evidence at 400 trials.

Henry is enjoying his freedom after 20 and a half years behind bars

Alarm bells about his competency had already been raised in the early 1990s, surrounding the deaths of three babies in separate incidents.

All of them showed horrendous signs of abuse with one even suffering fifteen fractures.

"[Dr Manock] said they died of bronchopneumonia," Dr Moles said

Graham Archer said, "It so shocked police and doctors that they demanded an inquest be held."

The coroner was scathing of Dr Manock during the inquest, saying he had made serious errors and had even been 'spurious' in some of the answers he gave.

Dr Manock later retracted key parts of his evidence from the Keogh case when appearing before the Medical Board of South Australia.

Furthermore, in 2004, an independent review of Henry’s case by a government appointed medical expert, Professor Barrie Vernon-Roberts, found there was no evidence Anna-Jane had been murdered.

Dr Moles 'introduced' Faye and Henry and was one of his biggest advocates

The report was shelved in a government office and was not discovered until 2014.

In a meeting with Sunday Night, Dr Manock did not accept there was any problem with his evidence.

Henry and his family stand alongside those who helped free him as staunch advocates for change in the justice system.

"Something has got to be done to make sure I am one of the last," Henry said.

Life after prison

Despite his eligibility Henry says time with family takes priority over seeking compensation for the time he lost.

"I came out of jail with a bag of 20 year old clothes, a CD, and a HECS debt. So I have a bit of catching up to do."

"I have got what's left of my life back, why would I want to spend more time in court?"

And with his new life came an unexpected new love.

Faye Hambour had a firm belief Henry had killed his fiancé

Faye and Henry were married in secret after he was released in 2014

She met Henry in prison after she attended a talk by Dr Bob Moles featuring details of Henry's case.

"I actually did not want to go and I'm embarrassed to admit that I did not want my thoughts rattled, I didn't want to even be challenged," Faye said.

"Slowly but very surely I started to believe in Henry's innocence.

Over the next five years the pair grew closer through Faye's visits and then 'just clicked'.

But it has not been smooth sailing for the couple, who celebrated their wedding in April.

Faye met Henry in prison, unsure of his guilt

"I still find it difficult to show joy or excitement, hope, anticipation and that confuses and disappoints people."

"That's something else they've taken off me."

"It's something I envy when I see it because I feel all the poorer for it."

But he still has plenty in life to enjoy with four grandchildren to watch grow up.

[ http://netk.net.au|READ MORE: Dr Bob Moles has written a book about Henry's case plus many more]

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