Derek Ridgewell was a British Transport Police officer. He had previously been a South Rhodesian soldier in Zimbabwe.

His arrests of young black men for their muggings in the underground, which was high-profile at the time, made him a household name. 

It has been revealed that he is linked to several court cases, including the wrong convictions of many people in 1970s such as five Stockwell Six members and Oval Four.

Oval Four: The group that framed them 47 years ago for assaulting and theft have had their convictions overturned 

After a five week trial at The Old Bailey, the Oval Four were found guilty of attempted theft, assaulting police and theft of a handbag. Mr Christie was also found guilty.

Winston Trew (Sterling Christie), George Griffiths, Constantine Omar Boucher and George Griffiths – all between 19 and 23 years of age – were captured at Oval Underground station by the ‘the Mugger Squad’ police force in 1972. 

The prosecution’s principal witness was Det Sgt Ridgwell.

The four men were sentenced to two-year imprisonment, which was later reduced by appeal to eight months.

After being referred by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, (CCRC), earlier in the year, Trew, Christie and Griffiths had their convictions overturned at the Court of Appeal on December 19, 2019.

Winston Trew and his wife Hyacinth, pictured outside court in London last year

Winston Trew (left) and Hyacinth Trew (right), pictured at the London Courts last year

The Court of Appeal did not refer Mr Boucher’s case to them as they were unable to locate him. However, Mr Boucher contacted the CCRC shortly after the convictions of his friends had been overturned.

Last year, his conviction was reversed by the Court of Appeal. 

In 1972, six men of color were also arrested at Stockwell station. They are accused of trying to rob Ridgewell. Ridgewell was at that time a plain-clothes police officer.

The prosecution again relied heavily upon Ridgwell’s evidence. 

Five of the five were found guilty and sentenced to up to three year imprisonment or sent to Borstal.

Mailbag theft: 19 year old businessman is convicted of taking mailbags. He was found out by Googling corrupt officers 

Ridgewell was a member of the Anti-Mugging Squad. Prosecutors started to see a pattern.

This culminated in the acquittal of the Tottenham Court Road Two – devout Jesuit students from Oxford University the prosecution of whom was thrown out by a judge.

Ridgewell was moved quietly to an investigation team for mailbag theft, in order not embarrassment.

Stephen Simmons was wrongly found guilty of theft of mailbags in 1976. In 1976, Mr Simmons was only 20 years old when he was convicted of stealing mailbags from a Clapham Goods Yard train.

Stephen Simmons

Stephen Simmons with his wife Sue

Stephen Simmons, left and his wife Sue, are pictured here. He said that the January 2018 overturning his conviction was one of the most satisfying feelings he’d ever experienced in his entire life.

The 64-year old Mr Simmons was transferred to Hollesley Bay, Suffolk. He served eight months.

When Ridgewell’s arresting officer was Googled, the businessman realized he could appeal. He had been sentenced to seven years for conspiracy to steal mailbags in 1980.

Ridgewell, who suffered a heart attack and passed away in prison, was among the many victims.

He was referred by the Criminal Cases Review Commission to the Court of Appeal. In January 2018, his conviction was overturned.

According to him, winning his appeal was “one of my greatest feelings in life”.