Skip to content
Home » Ilford Murder: Ashes Legend Ian Botham Backs Free Jason Moore Campaign

Ilford Murder: Ashes Legend Ian Botham Backs Free Jason Moore Campaign

Cricket legend Sir Ian Botham has thrown his support behind the campaign to free a convicted killer in a controversial East End murder case.

Sir Ian, who sits in the House of Lords, has issued a statement calling for the release of Jason Moore.

“I am 100 per cent behind the campaign to free Jason,” he said. “Let’s get the big lad out.”

Sir Ian knew Jason, a passionate cricket fan from Canary Wharf, before he was jailed in 2013 for the 2005 murder of Robert Darby outside the Valentine pub in Perth Road, Ilford.

Robert’s older brother Tim, from Havering, is one of the leaders of the campaign to overturn Jason’s conviction.

In spring, Newsquest’s Investigations Unit produced a series of articles raising questions about Jason’s conviction.

Jason was never forensically linked to the crime. Only one eyewitness picked him out of a line-up as the killer.

But Jason did not match the description that witness gave on the day of the man he saw tussling with Robert.

The witness was even shown Jason’s photo weeks after the incident and didn’t recognise him.

However, seven years later the witness took part in another line up, which experts say should never have been allowed. Only then did he pick Jason as the killer.

When Newsquest found the witness, he claimed he had been “drunk” when he saw the incident and had told that to the police.

If true, that was withheld from the defence.

The witness told us he was not sure he had identified the right person.

Robert Darby (right) died in 2005 after sustaining a single stab wound to the heart outside the Valentine pub in Gants Hill. His older brother Tim (left), from Havering, believes Jason Moore is innocent of his brother’s murder and is fighting for his release (Image: Charles Thomson / Met Police)

Catch up on our exclusive investigation into Jason Moore’s case:

Part 1 – East End Killing: Is a man doing life for a murder he didn’t commit? Part 2 – East End Killing: ‘My brother is doing life thanks to an ID parade which should never have happened’ Part 3 – East End Killing: Witness and CCTV evidence never presented in court casts doubt on the case against Jason Part 4 – East End Killing: ‘I was drunk’, confesses star prosecution witness Part 5 – East End Killing: Pathologist’s pattern of ‘serious misconduct’ was hidden from jury Update: Fury as ‘innocent’ killer is sent to the back of appeal queue Newsquest’s investigation into Jason Moore’s conviction led to two protests outside the High Court in central London (Image: Charles Thomson)

Our reports sparked two protests outside the Royal Courts of Justice, demanding Jason’s release.

Now former England cricketer Sir Ian has joined the chorus.

“I’ve known Jason for a good few years through our love of cricket and sport in general,” he said.

“He looks to be the victim of a miscarriage of justice and his case needs reinvestigating.”

Sir Ian was knighted in 2007 by Queen Elizabeth II and appointed to the House of Lords in 2020 by Boris Johnson.

He is the government’s trade envoy to Australia.

Aristocrat and justice campaigner Lord Nicholas Monson has also previously endorsed the Free Jason Moore movement.

Jason’s sister Kirstie said: “This is a massive boost to the campaign. People like Sir Ian wouldn’t get involved and put their reputations on the line if they weren’t sure the evidence supported Jason’s innocence.”