The true hero behind a 13-year battle to put a murderer behind bars died peacefully at his home just four days before justice was finally done.
Pensioner Arthur Hyatt was devastated when his son Keith was convicted of helping to dispose of the body of teenager Rachel Manning in December 2000.
Keith was a friend of Rachel’s boyfriend Barri White, who was originally found guilty of her murder .
As the pair were stuck miserably in prison, retired photographer Arthur, then 72, vowed he would persuade the BBC’s Rough Justice programme to investigate for wrongful conviction.
Said Keith: “He phoned the programme time and time again. He refused to give up. Eventually someone agreed to visit him – and the rest is history.”
After the programme he and Barri won an appeal and a retrial to have their convictions quashed.
Arthur was thrilled. But little did he know then that the real murderer was living just a mile away from his Bletchley home.
Last week 41-year-old Shahidul Ahmed, a restaurant worker and father of five , was found guilty of killing Rachel. He is now serving a minimum 17-year prison sentence.
Said Keith: “The jury convicted him on Wednesday. Tragically my dad passed away on the Saturday before.
“He had spent the past eight years on dialysis because his kidneys failed. When we knew he was nearing the end my mum and I asked if we could bring him home to die peacefully.”
Though Arthur was failing physically, he maintained a sharp interest in the trial of Ahmed.
“All he wanted was for the truth to be told at last ... It was just such a shame that he never got to hear the verdict,” added Keith.
He and Barri had already started a lengthy claim for compensation. Ahmed’s conviction is now likely to clinch their case.
Said 60-year-old Keith: “Money won’t make up for what we went through but it will certainly make life easier and mean I can treat my mum.”
He has already vowed to give some of his compensation cash to Willen Hospice, whose staff helped look after his father at home.
“They were wonderful. We could not have asked for more. It is only right that Willen Hospice and their nurses should benefit out of this whole sorry story.”