Raphael Rowe on Inside The World's Toughest Prisons on Netflix

Inside The World’s Toughest Prisons: Who is Raphael Rowe and why was he wrongfully in jail?

He spent 12 years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit

In the intro of Netflix series Inside The World’s Toughest Prisons, host Raphael Rowe says he spent 12 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He says the phrase so much, I’m sure you probably read that line in his voice.

Season seven has just dropped on Netflix and gone straight into the number one spot, and it sees journalist and former inmate Raphael Rowe experience life inside prisons in Finland, the Czech Republic, Indonesia and the Solomon Islands.

So, as you get stuck into the series once again, you’re probably wondering what exactly Raphael Rowe was wrongfully convicted of, and why the Inside The World’s Toughest Prisons host found himself in jail. Here’s the story.

Raphael Rowe on Inside The World's Toughest Prisons on Netflix

via Netflix

Who is Inside The World’s Toughest Prisons host, Raphael Rowe?

55-year-old Raphael Rowe is a broadcast journalist and presenter. He was born in 1968 in East London and, following being freed from prison after appeal, went on to become the first multiracial reporter on The BBC 6pm news.

During his career, Raphael Rowe has been a reporter on Panorama, and is now the host of Inside The World’s Toughest Prisons. It was his report on the murder of BBC presenter Jill Dando in 2001 which led to the acquittal of Barry George.

In terms of his private life, Raphael Rowe doesn’t speak about it very much but he has said he has a wife and children. It’s believed he has a son from a previous relationship, and is married to a women he was seeing before he was wrongfully jailed. It’s been reported they got back together when he was freed, and welcomed a child in 2004.

How did Raphael Rowe get wrongfully convicted?

Raphael Rowe when he was wrongfully convicted

Rowe at the time, via Shutterstock

In 1990, Raphael Rowe was wrongfully convicted of murder and a series of aggravated burglaries. At the age of 19, Raphael Rowe was sentenced to life imprisonment.

In December 1988, three masked men, one carrying a knife and another a gun, beat and tied up Peter Hurburgh and Alan Eley, who were having sex in a car parked in a field. During the attack, in which petrol was poured around the men, Hurburgh died of a heart attack. Using the car Alan and Peter had been in, the three attackers drove later that morning and committed two home robberies.

They stabbed one of the occupants, 40-year-old Timothy Napier, and told another their fingers would be chopped off if they didn’t give up their rings.

Rowe and Michael Davis were arrested for murder, and in January Randolph Egbert Johnson was also arrested. They were dubbed the “M25 Three”, because of where the crimes had taken place.

Victims involved in the crimes had said two of the attackers were white and one was black, however police believed Rowe, Davis and Johnson – all black males – had committed the crimes. Victims also described one of the perpetrators as having light hair and blue eyes – none of which matched the so-called “M25 Three”.

After a series of appeals the convictions were overturned, and all three were released from prison on July 17th 2000. Their convictions were deemed unsafe, with witness accounts being questioned and evidence lacking credibility. The case still remains unsolved.

While in prison Raphael studied journalism via a correspondence course, and then went on to have his now extremely successful career in journalism and TV.

Speaking on his website, Raphael says: “Eventually, I won and my convictions were overturned by the Court of Appeal in 2000. I was free…but changed forever. I knew, first hand, what injustice felt like, looked like and what prison can do to a human being. I am scarred by my life experience but I have not allowed it to hold me back.”

Inside The World’s Toughest Prisons is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

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