Andrew Mallard: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Andrew Mallard

Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images) Australian Andrew Mallard was wrongly convicted of murder in 1994 and was freed 12 years later after being exonerated. Mallard was killed in Los Angeles on April 18.

Andrew Mallard, the Australian man who made international headlines in the 1990s after being imprisoned for 12 years for a murder he didn’t commit, has died. Exonerated in 2006, Mallard, 56, was killed on April 18 while crossing a street in Hollywood, California.

Here’s what you need to know about Andrew Mallard and the Pamela Lawrence murder case.

1. Mallard Was Accused of Murdering Jewelry Store Owner Pamela Lawrence in 1994

Andrew Mallard was born in England in 1962 and raised in Perth, Australia. Mallard, who had a troubled adolescence and was often bullied, dropped out of school at the age of 16. As a young adult, Mallard was unemployed, had psychological difficulties and by 1994 was homeless and living at his girlfriend’s Mosman Park apartment.

On May 23, 1994, 45-year-old Pamela Lawrence had been left alone at her trendy jewelry store, Flora Metallica. Around 5:02 p.m., a staff member’s school-age daughter passed by the shop and saw a stranger standing behind the counter. He was described as a tall Caucasian man with a beard who was wearing a bandanna. Lawrence’s husband Peter became worried when his wife didn’t return home that evening. Unable to reach her by phone, he drove to Flora Metallica where he found his wife barely alive. Lawrence succumbed to her injuries en route to the hospital.

Nothing had been taken from the jewelry store, so robbery was scratched as a motive. But detectives revealed that Lawrence had been struck over the head 12 times with a blunt object. Whoever had killed Pamela Lawrence seemed to have been frenzied. Friends and family members said Lawrence had no known enemies.

Mallard, who had been arrested the same day for breaking into his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend’s apartment, was an immediate murder suspect. After being released from jail for the break-in around 4 p.m. he arrived by taxi back at his girlfriend’s apartment an hour later. Mallard had no previous history of violent behavior and there was no blood, DNA or trace evidence found either on Mallard or at the crime scene.

Mallard was questioned by police for 12 hours and originally proclaimed his innocence. When police asked hypothetically what the murderer could have done, Andrew made a statement submitted as a confession. In that statement, Mallard said he “mashed the fuck” out of the victim. Mallard later submitted to a polygraph exam and was regressed using hypnosis. Both the polygraph examiner and hypnotherapist believed Mallard did not commit the murder. But the “confession” was shocking and Mallard was eventually sentenced to life in prison.

2. The Pamela Lawrence Murder Case Was Reopened in 2006

In 2006, a High Court overturned Mallard’s sentence after a bloody handprint left at the scene was presented. The handprint turned out to be a positive match for Simon Rochford, a convicted felon already incarcerated for the July 1995 murder of his girlfriend Brigitta Davis. Rochford had admitted to bludgeoning Davis using a stick with a heavy weight attached. A cold case review of the Lawrence murder was opened which revealed that a weapon recovered at the 1995 Davis murder scene had blue paint that matched paint found in Rochford’s backpack and Lawrence’s wounds. While the murders were similar, the weapon recovered in 1995 was never presented to clear Mallard’s name. The stick and weight used by Rochford were found in 2013 during an audit of police exhibits. The Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) demanded to see the weapon in 2007, however, commissioners were told it could not be located.

“What’s happened and what is happening now has the stench of a cover-up,” Shadow Attorney-General John Quigley said, continuing, “It is very serious and now the Government should come out and say how long they have known about this, the police should come out now and produce the court order that they claim ordered the destruction of this vital piece of evidence.” Rochford committed suicide in 2006 at Albany prison where he was serving his sentence for the Davis murder. He killed himself within hours of learning he’d been publicly named as the suspect in Lawrence’s death.

“I was wrongfully imprisoned. There’s a stigma that goes with that and still goes with that,” Mallard told ABC Australia in 2010. “I know what they did to me and it’s the truth. They framed me for a murder I did not commit.” ABC Australia also spoke with journalist Colleen Egan who investigated the case and came to a similar conclusion. “It was just a cruel twist of fate that put him on a collision course with this inquiry and it was just a matter of fact that there were police who were willing to act dishonestly,” she said, adding, “There was a prosecutor willing to run a case that wasn’t quite right, and there were three judges who refused to believe it when evidence was put in front of them, and they saw what the High Court saw.”

4. Mallard Was Exonerated and Received a Multi-Million Dollar Settlement

In May 2009, Mallard received a settlement of $3.25 million. Premier of the State, Colin Barnett, said that the government would support Mallard’s efforts should he decide to take further civil action against anyone who was responsible for his wrongful conviction. The Sydney Morning-Herald reported that Mallard was “extremely disappointed” with the figure. According to the paper, Attorney-General Christian Porter characterized the payment as “a gift” to Mallard, based on “precedents on what a true ex-gratia payment should be,” and was not meant to compensate for lost wages.

5. Mallard’s Death By Hit-And-Run is Being Investigated

According to reports, Mallard was in Los Angeles, where his fiancee lived. On April 18, he was walking along West Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood around 1:30 AM when he was struck by a silver car that stopped briefly but then sped off without rendering any assistance. A bystander attempted CPR but Mallard died at the scene. KTLA is reporting that the case is currently under investigation and a reward up to $25,000 has been offered. Anyone with information has been asked to call Los Angeles Police Department Detectives at 213-473-0234.