Police Apologise To Family 70 Years After Executing Man For Murder

Police Apologise To Family 70 Years After Executing Man For Murder
Mahmood Mattan spoke very little English and could not read or write in the language



The family of a father who was wrongly convicted of murder have been given a police apology 70 years after he was executed in a British prison. Mahmood Mattan, a British Somali and former seaman, was hanged in 1952 after he was convicted of killing shopkeeper Lily Volpert in her store in Cardiff. His conviction was also the first


Criminal Case Review Commission referral to also be quashed at the Court of Appeal in 1998. South Wales Police have apologised and admitted the prosecution was flawed. This is a case very much of its time, racism, bias and prejudice would have been prevalent throughout society,



Lily Volpert (left) was murdered after taking over the family outfitters shop in Cardiff when father Mark (right) died.



Including the criminal justice system, said its chief constable, Jeremy Vaughan. There is no doubt that Mahmood Mattan was the victim of a miscarriage of justice as a result of a flawed prosecution, of which



policing was clearly a part. It is right and proper that an apology is made on behalf of policing for what went so badly wrong in this case 70 years ago and for the terrible suffering of Mr Mattan’s family and all those affected by this tragedy for many years. Mr Mattan’s wife Laura and their three sons David, Omar and Mervyn, who was also



known as Eddie, campaigned for 46 years after his execution for his name to be cleared. They have all since died and while the family welcomed an apology, one of his six grandchildren has called it “insincere. It’s far too late for the people directly affected as they are no longer with us and still, we are yet to hear the words I am/we are sorry, said granddaughter Tanya Mattan. The Mattan family received



Somali immigrant Mahmood Mattan was a former seaman who came to the UK after World War Two



Compensation from the Home Office in 2001 but never had an apology from the police force until now. Detectives from Cardiff City Police, which is part of the now South Wales Police force investigated the brutal killing of Ms Volpert inside her family outfitters and



haberdashery shop in the docks area of Cardiff on 6 March 1952. The well-known 41-year-old businesswoman had her throat cut while her mother, sister and niece were in the next room of the property in Cardiff’s old Tiger Bay area. There was no forensic evidence and, despite having alibis backed by numerous witnesses, Mr Mattan, was arrested within hours of the



Mattan’s wife Laura, flanked by family and supporters, leave the Court of Appeal after his murder conviction was quashed in 1998



murder, charged and convicted by an all-white jury. Feeling of prejudice towards Mr Mattan who spoke very little English, was heightened during his three-day trial at the Glamorgan Assizes in Swansea when his own defence barrister called him a semi-



civilised savage. Within six months of the murder, the 28 year old was executed by infamous hangman Albert Pierrepoint at the gallows at Cardiff prison on 3 September 1952. His widow Laura only found out he had been hanged when she went to visit him in jail a few hundred yards from their home in Davis Street  and discovered a notice of his death pinned to a door.