Freedom for wrongfully-imprisoned Michael Shields moved one tiny step closer today when the real offender signed a confession at long last.
According to a statement in the Liverpool Echo, Graham Sankey, aged 20, has signed a document admitting he was to blame for the attack on a 25-year-old waiter. The confession has been faxed over to the courts in Bulgaria.
According to the statement in the Liverpool newspaper, Sankey finally signed the confession after talking the matter through with his family. The statement from David Kirwan. senior partner of Kirwans Solicitors, reads: "I have today faxed a signed confession from Graham Sankey to the Bulgarian courts. Graham’s decision to provide such a statement follows the worst days of his life and that of his family. This has culminated in the past 48 hours with death threats being made against him.
"Graham had hoped that by admitting responsibility for the attack on Saturday that the Bulgarian courts would immediately free Michael Shields. Instead, the Bulgarian judge dismissed all rational pleas for an adjournment and sentenced an innocent man to 15 years in prison. Like everyone on Merseyside and elsewhere, Graham was left shattered and totally bewildered by these turn of events.
"He wishes he could turn back the clock for both his own sake and that of Michael’s. He wishes he had never set foot in Bulgaria. He has spent the past days talking to his family, who have provided him with all the support a son could expect. This has now resulted in him deciding to sign the confession.
"No matter what the rights and wrongs of the case, this has been a traumatic decision for Graham to make but a decision he knows is the right one for Michael Shields and his family. Graham’s life and that of his family can never return to what it was before the terrible night of May 29.
"His only request is that they are left in peace to handle whatever repercussions may lie ahead in the days and weeks to come."
It remains to be seen whether the Bulgarian authorities will accept this lates document, but it certainly gives more hope to Michael and his family. It also gives more ammunition to those who are wondering why our own government are showing a complete lack of interest in the situation.