Australian man who was wrongfully convicted of murder dies in Los Angeles hit-and-run accident

An Australian man who served 12 years in jail for a murder he did not commit died in a hit-and-run accident in Los Angeles on Thursday at the age of 56, The West Australian reported.

Mallard was walking across the street around 1:30 a.m. when a driver struck him and failed to stop, LAPD told The West Australian. A witness attempted to administer CPR, but Mallard died at the scene. The British-born Australian was on vacation in the U.S. from his home in the United Kingdom when he passed.

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Mallard was sentenced to life in prison in 1995 for murdering Pamela Lawrence in her Mosman Park jewelry store on May 23, 1994, WA Today reported. The High Court of Australia exonerated Mallard in 2006 after discovering prosecutors withheld information from the defense team.

“It’s just fortunate that he got to spend 13 years of freedom after so much time wrongfully imprisoned,” Attorney-General John Quigley who fought for Mallard’s freedom told The Western Australian. The Australian state government paid Mallard a $2 million settlement in 2009 for his wrongful conviction.

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Police conducted two separate investigations into the cold case in 2006 and found new evidence to charge a different man, Simon Rochford, in the murder. Rochford, who had been found guilty of murdering his girlfriend Brigitta Dickens, committed suicide in Albany Prison before prosecutors could try the case. Mallard was finally eliminated as a suspect.

Western Australian police notified Mallard’s family of his death and offered condolences during this difficult time, a spokesperson for the department said.