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‘I’ve got proof the Essex Boys’ killers is innocent,’ says former Met detective

A former Met Police detective has claimed that he's got his hands on evidence that proves the convicted killers of the Essex Boys are actually innocent.

Notorious drug dealers Tony Tucker, 38, Patrick Tate, 37, and Craig Rolfe, 26, all died after they were shot to death in a Range Rover on a farm in Rettendon, Essex in 1995.

Despite protesting their innocence, Jack Whomes and Michael Steele were convicted for the triple murder.

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While Whomes, 61, was freed by the Parole Board in 2021, Steele, 79, is still a Category A lag who calls HMP Wakefield, West Yorkshire, home.

Despite the convictions, former Met Police detective David McKelvey told EssexLive he’s got evidence that proves the pair are actually innocent.

The former copper, who now runs private investigations firm TM Eye, was one of the arresting officers for David Nicholls, a former friend of Whomes and Steele whose evidence was key in securing a conviction against the pair.

While Nicholls told jurors at the time that he was a getaway driver for the convicted pair, McKelvery said he now has “serious doubts about his account”.

He said that after he was approached with evidence from the pair’s original legal defence team, he began doubting the three life sentences the pair received.

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"I went and got more material and had more doubts, and went back over what I could remember of what happened in 1996 and then it started raising serious questions in my head about what had gone on,” he said.

The private eye then came across the evidence of Witness A, another man who was arrested in relation to other matters.

Witness A said that the murders were the result of an armed robbery, not a drug deal gone wrong.

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The former detective claims he would not have aired his suspicions if there was any chance Steele and Whomes were guilty.

"There has been a serious miscarriage of justice and if we had any doubts, and if anything had come along in the last 3 and a half years that would change our minds, or made us doubt they were innocent, we would have walked away immediately,” he said.

"[Steele] is undoubtedly innocent of the murders. The people who did that murder are still out there."

It comes after Steele was given a fresh hope of being released with a new parole board hearing scheduled for next month.


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