Jailed Sheffield brothers speak out from prison after a decade behind bars for murder

Two brothers serving life behind bars for murder are calling for a 'fair day in court' in a bid to clear their names.

Thursday, 19th April 2018, 11:28 am
Updated Thursday, 19th April 2018, 11:36 am
David and Ashley Cohen

David and Ashley Cohen, who are behind bars at HMP Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire, were jailed in April 2008 after being found guilty of killing 53-year-old cab driver, Younis Khan, but have always denied responsibility.

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Sheffield brothers in fight to clear names over murder convictions
David and Ashley Cohen

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They claim a confession by prosecution witness Vincent Simmons that he lied during their trial casts a new light on the case against them and should merit an appeal or re-trial.

He called the Cohen family and in recorded telephone conversations admitted that it was 'beneficial' for him to give evidence against the brothers during their trial because he never went to prison for offences he was facing jail for.

The recordings were examined by the Criminal Cases Review Commission but the case was not referred to the Court of Appeal.

By making the existence of the recordings public, the Cohen brothers hope their case will be looked at again.

Murder victim Younis Khan

David, a dad-of-two whose 20-year-old son is studying criminology at university in a bid to take on the case, said he and Ashley had always maintained that Simmons was lying but had been unable to prove it until now.

"I feel let down by the criminal justice system," he said.

"All I want is a fair trial. I want a trial where the evidence used against me is not the cell confession evidence that is false. What I want is a re-trial or a fair day at the Court of Appeal, where they can assess what has happened. I believe the Court of Appeal will do the right thing."

Recalling the last decade spent behind bars, he said: "I have only got one life to live. I believe what has taken place is outrageous."

Younis Khan was shot as he was driving his cab in Pitsmoor

He admitted to having a criminal history from his younger days but stressed that he was not a killer.

"I'm not going to pretend I was as good as gold, I wasn't an angel but I'm not a killer," he said.

"They have me, my brother and our little brother all serving life and (we've) not killed anyone.

"I'm not going to lie, I'm not pretending to be anything that I'm not but I'm not a murderer."

David and Ashley Cohen

APPEAL: Man hunted for sexually assaulting boy on train in SheffieldHe added: "My message to the family of Younis Khan is do they understand that by having me and my brother wrongly convicted they haven’t received justice."

David, 38, from Upperthorpe, said that because he has never admitted murder or shown remorse while behind bars he may never be released unless his conviction is quashed.

"Every day I wake up I think about it. I feel like I've let my family down for something I have not done. It messes with my head. It's an awful experience. I would not wish it on my worst enemy," David said.

"If I had done something wrong I could accept it and deal with it and move on but I can't accept this and I'm stuck. It feels endless. I don't know where to turn."

He added: "We have the evidence that shows the evidence in court against us was a lie. It was the main evidence. He (Simmons) is on tape as blatant as can be. If that's not good enough, what is?

"I'm never going to admit to anything I have not done. I'm fighting for one day to be released. As it stands right now I don't know anyone who has got out on tariff who has maintained their innocence. I'm fighting all the way .

Murder victim Younis Khan

"I am a murderer on the say so of this fraudster, nothing else."

Ashley, whose daughter was three when he was jailed, said: "Every day is a struggle. My daughter was three. I have missed out on her life."

He described prison as a 'ruthless place'.

"We are here together and think about this every day. We know we are in here and we are innocent. It's awful. We have to keep ourselves strong for our family out there."

He said he 'feels sorry' for the family of Younis Khan for their loss but denied that he or David 'played any part' in his murder.

"We did not play any part, we did not know the person, we did not know him, we did not even know he existed," Ashley said.

He said he is confident the jury would have returned a different verdict if Simmons had not lied on oath.

Ashley, 35, from Oughtibridge, said the brothers were disappointed at the level of the CCRC investigation into the tape recordings of conversations with Vincent Simmons, in which he explained how his 'manufactured' evidence came to exist and suggested people who he claimed were involved.

David’s partner, Lindsey, said: "During the murder trial jurors were told by the judge that Vincent Simmons was a very important part of the case but that he was known to be a dishonest man, yet in essence the jurors were told during the trial to believe him.

"If that’s the case then the Criminal Cases Review Commission should believe him now when he is saying that he lied.

"Simmons was self harming in prison, he was a desperate man. He saw this as his way out.

"There are two men who have been locked up for 10 years for something they have not done - their lives are slipping away.

"The admission that a key witness lied in court must make the conviction unsafe.

"People need to realise that this could happen to anyone and that’s why we are fighting this - they deserve justice.

"My partner has lost 11 yrs of has life after being convicted of this horrendous crime."

Younis Khan was shot as he was driving his cab in Pitsmoor