Case of murdered Bakewell woman Wendy Sewell to air on new TV crime series

Wendy Sewell.
Wendy Sewell.

The case of murdered Bakewell woman Wendy Sewell is to appear on a new television documentary crime series.

In ten one-hour episodes on ITV1, ‘Judge Rinder’s Crime Stories’ will lift the lid on some of Britain’s worst crimes, with the first airing on Monday, June 20.

Respected crime barrister, Judge Rinder, is used to ruling the courtroom on his own daytime TV programme, also on ITV, but now he will be delving into individual real life cases using CCTV footage, witness accounts and news reports.

In episode eight, the programme will look at the case of Mrs Sewell, who was found in Bakewell Cemetery in 1973 before dying in hospital two days later.

Bakewell man Stephen Downing, who was 17 at the time but was said to have a mental age of 11, was convicted of her murder in 1974, but the sentence was overturned in 2002 after he had served 27 years in jail.

Former Matlock Mercury editor Don Hale, 63, who successfully campaigned against Mr Downing’s conviction and who has helped with the episode on Mrs Sewell’s murder, said: “It is one of the longest miscarriages of justice in history.

“It will be interesting to see what conclusion Judge Rinder and his team come to.

“It is something that people can look at with a fresh pair of eyes.

“The campaign was massive and we received tens of thousands of support from people.

“It really put the town on the map and everybody knew about it.”

In 2014, retired police officer Chris Clark reported Derbyshire Constabulary to the Home Office after unearthing a rarely seen pathologist’s report which shed new light on Mrs Sewell’s murder.

Mr Clark claimed that notorious serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, known as the Yorkshire Ripper, may have been responsible for her death due to the nature of the attack.

The report showed that Mrs Sewell was kicked and choked with a ligature before being struck several times with a pickaxe handle.

The episode into Mrs Sewell’s murder will air on ITV1 at 2pm on June 29.