Rose Swan was convicted in February 2002 of the murder of John Stevens, a manipulative and violent man who had ‘befriended’ her during a period of her life when she was particularly vulnerable. He had regularly been violent to her, had taken control of her medication and had admitted to raping her while she was asleep on two occasions. At her trial, despite two psychiatrists supporting a finding of diminished responsibility and despite evidence of provocation, Rose was found guilty and a mandatory life sentence imposed.
With the support of Justice for Women, Rose was finally granted leave to appeal in July 2005. At her appeal hearing on 7th June 2006, the court adjourned for further psychiatric evidence to be obtained. The adjourned hearing was finally heard on 14th December when the judges fully accepted the defence’s argument of diminished responsibility, Rose’s murder conviction was quashed and she was freed after spending five and a half years in prison. Rose’s eventual victory is a triumph for her and the label of “murderer” is one she no longer has to bear.