Thursday, 7th January 2010


THE secrets behind two of Camden’s most cold-blooded murders may never be known after a man convicted of one of the shootings died in prison. Anthony Patrick Nolan, 49, from Gospel Oak, protested his innocence from the moment he was arrested for shooting Patrick Delaney in July 1998. The main arm of the evidence against him was eyewitness testimony from Gideon Tsagane, who told detectives he had seen Nolan walking away from the bloody crime scene in Queen’s Crescent. But Mr Tsagane, 30, could not be cross-examined in court because just days before he was due to give evidence at the Old Bailey he too was shot dead in an assassination-style killing. After two trials, a jury convicted Nolan of murder and he was jailed for life. From his prison cell, he maintained his innocence. The BBC’s Rough Justice team took up Nolan’s case and supporters insist he was the victim of a miscarriage of justice. Details of his death at Kingston Prison near Portsmouth are unclear but a Prison Service spokesman confirmed yesterday (Wednesday) that he died on December 22. Full story below.

Killer goes to his grave still protesting his innocence

Prime witness to baffling street shooting was executed before he could be cross-examined

“A DEAD man’s finger of guilt pointed from beyond the grave to seal the fate of a ruthless Kentish Town hitman.” So read the dramatic double-page exclusive in the New Journal 10 years ago, telling the story of how Anthony Patrick Nolan was convicted of the murder of Patrick Delaney. But in his prison cell in Portsmouth until his death just before Christmas, Mr Nolan, 49, never saw himself as a ruthless hitman – quite the opposite – and protested his innocence to anybody who would listen. A long statement he wrote in his defence still appears on a website apparently detailing a series of miscarriages of justice throughout the United Kingdom. Mr Nolan dreamed of a retrial or a judicial review into his case, anything that might clear his name, but he died on December 22 with that distant hope unfulfilled. Nearly every avenue of appeal had been closed down and even a television investigation by the BBC’s Rough Justice team failed to bring him closer to even a glimmer of freedom. A Prison Service statement released to the New Journal yesterday (Wed­nesday) said: “HMP Kingston prisoner Anthony Patrick Nolan was discovered in his cell at 8.15am on Tuesday December 22. Prison staff tried to resuscitate Mr Nolan but he was pronounced dead at 11.14am. The cause of death is not yet known. “As with all deaths in custody, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will conduct an investigation.” Mr Nolan’s supporters said they were trying to piece together the foggy details of his death and how he came to be unconscious. The most striking aspect of his conviction for shooting dead Mr Delaney, 29, in broad daylight on July 2 1998 remains the nature of the testimony of the star witness for the prosecution, Gideon Tsagane. Just days before Mr Tsagane was due to be cross-examined at the Old Bailey in February 1999 on his version of events, he was gunned down himself as he helped a friend at a garage in Islip Street, Kentish Town. Three bullets were fired at his back and a fourth into his head. Mr Tsagane, a father-of-two who worked as a stage-hand at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane and was often later described by friends as “happy go lucky”, never stood a chance. His killer has never been caught, although, frustratingly for Scotland Yard’s detectives, ballistics experts deduced both Mr Delaney and Mr Tsagane had been killed with the same gun: a pocket-size, silver-handled pistol. It was almost as if ­senior police officers were being mocked. Mr Nolan was in custody at the time of Mr Tsagane’s murder, awaiting trial for murdering Mr Delaney months earlier, so could not pos­sibly have been respon­sible. The case haunted senior police officers for several years and as different detectives picked up the case, all were left stymied. One man was arrested but released soon after and a series of public appeals failed to get anywhere. The file has effectively been put away as a cold case that would only be re-opened if fresh evidence emerged from a new source. In a critical decision for Mr Nolan’s fortunes at the Old Bailey, a controversial law was used to allow the evidence Mr Tsagane had supplied before he was killed to be used in his trial. Mr Nolan’s defence team failed to get the testimony struck out. And although in his statements Mr Tsagane never said he saw Mr Nolan fire the pistol, his evidence was considered essential to the outcome of the trial. He had told police he had been out with Mr Delaney on the day he died and was in a shop in Queen’s Crescent buying beers when he heard the crack of gunfire. When he rushed outside, Mr Delaney was gasping for life and Mr Tsagane said he could see Mr Nolan walking away. “I heard a bang from outside which sounded like a firework. I saw Paddy’s legs on the floor,” Mr Tsagane told police. “I knew immediately he had been shot. I ran out of the supermarket. I saw Nolan walking away. He was about five yards away, walking calmly.” Mr Tsagane helped stem the blood from Mr Delaney’s bullet wound but after he collapsed his friend never regained consciousness and died three days later in the Royal Free Hospital. Mr Tsagane, however, could never be challenged on his version of events by defence barristers. Mr Delaney, who lived in Kiln Place, and Mr Nolan had been involved in a street fight in the early 1990s. Yet no real motive for killing Mr Delaney – whose family was hit by another tragedy in when brother William Delaney died in a car crash in Hampstead in 2002 – was ever established. In his statement published on the MoJUK (Miscarriages of Justice UK) website, Mr Nolan picked apart what he said were glaring inaccuracies in Mr Tsagane’s statement and a conflicting account to other ­witnesses. Mr Nolan said: “There are too many discrepancies involved in my conviction for it to be deemed safe. Would it not have been fairer of the Crown to have approached me with a white-hot poker after telling me to drop my trousers or confess?” When the jury read out his guilty verdict, he reacted with “fury and venom”, according to the New Journal’s report from the time. There was a brief cheer from members of Mr Delaney’s family but as he was led to the cells, Mr Nolan kept on shouting: “I’m an innocent man.” The same message came ringing out from his cell at Kingston. But, 10 years later, all three of the figures in a gangland-style drama which left parts of Gospel Oak in a grip of fear – Delaney, Tsagane and Nolan – are dead and Mr Nolan will never know if a miscarriage of justice will ever be detected. And in the eyes of the law, he remains the killer of Patrick Delaney. RICHARD OSLEY

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