The security guard who served 17 years in jail for a rape he did not commit is quitting Britain for a life abroad. Andrew Malkinson, 57, wants to renounce his UK citizenship and become a Dutch national. Boarding a Eurostar train from London’s St Pancras Station to Amsterdam on 29 July, he said: “It’s been a long time coming but this is the first day of the rest of my life. I was born here but I don’t identify with it and it doesn’t feel like home after what I’ve been through.
“I feel more Dutch than English and I’d like the Foreign Office to negotiate a Dutch passport. I don’t think it’s a big ask on humanitarian grounds.” Andrew, of Grimsby, North Lincs, spent much of his 20s backpacking. He was working in the Netherlands when he returned temporarily to the UK in 2003 and was wrongly arrested.
The Appeal Court heard DNA evidence has put another man in the frame for the rape in Salford, Greater Manchester. Andrew said: “If I hadn’t have been arrested, I’d have been [in Holland] 23 years now and be eligible for a passport. They took everything – love, relationships, joy. I hope going to Holland will help the healing. I’ll be back with friends.”
Two officers who put Andrew in the frame were commended at his original trial. But he said: “It was like a smash in the face because I knew I’d been set up. I want authorities held accountable. I want compensation.” Andrew, who took a degree in maths and science in jail, could have been released up to 10 years earlier if he had given a false confession – but he refused to. He said: “It almost drove me mad. I don’t think I’ll ever stop feeling angry. One life is all we have and they’ve devastated mine.”
Andrew was seen off at St Pancras by his lawyer, Emily Bolton, of charity Appeal, who helped secure his release. He hugged her and said “Thank you”, and she told him: “You’ve got this!” Once through passport control, he was asked for selfies by fellow Eurostar passengers.
For now, Andrew can only stay in Holland for up to 90 days, due to post-Brexit immigration rules. He also aims to visit his sisters and their kids in Australia – health permitting. Andrew, who missed out on seeing his own son grow up, has life-limiting type 1 diabetes. He said: “I’m not well. If I make 70 I’ll be doing well.”