Back to:  freepeople      info & campaigns      links


On the afternoon of the 8th June 1994 Mark Barnsley, a 33 year old writer and father of three from sheffield went out with his baby daughter and a family friend and walked into a nightmare that continues to this day.


It was a warm day and Mark and Jane decided to go for a drink in the beer garden at the Pomona public house. They were soon joined by about 15 drunken students. while mark was inside buying drinks the students began abusing Jane, who was sitting alone with the baby. When Mark returned he and jane decided to leave to avoid any further unpleasantness. Unfortunately they had to pass the students, whose behaviour was getting worse. as they passed the students hurled more abuse. when mark questioned their behaviour the students became even more aggressive, swearing and shouting. one of them began pushing mark in the chest and another, Paul Sheperd, grabbed hold of marks arm and began to get up from his seat, as did a number of others. certain that he was about to be attacked Mark struggled to get away. In his own words Sheperd went 'apeshit', punching Mark repeatedly. at the same time other students began to attack him and mark was hit over the head from behind with a heavy bottle or beer glass. at this point one of the students produced a knife but dropped it on the floor. mark, who was still being kicked and punched was terrified when he saw a number of the students dropping to the floor to pick up the knife, finally pulling it from someones hand. During the struggle, Mark who was already bleeding heavily from head wounds was cut with the knife. having gained possession of the weapon Mark again tried to flee the scene but the students continued to attack him mercilessly, punching and kicking him repeatedly about the head and body, causing substantial injuries. Mark was knocked to the floor and even then the students carried on kicking him.

In fear for his life, mark clung onto the knife in his hand so as to prevent any one from using it against him. At no time did he inflict deliberate injury on any of the students, not even in what might be considered legitimate self defence. Under a sustained and brutal attack Mark only tried to get away but he was chased for about 150 yards before he was again brought to the ground. after beating him some more one of the students said that he would let Mark go if he would release the knife, which he did. During the course of their attack 5 of the students were injured and undoubtedly some of the injuries were caused by the knife which one of the students had produced and which Mark hadbeen forced to hold onto. In the aftermath of this incident Mark Barnsley was the only person to be arrested and charged.

The above account of events is supported by every single independent prosecution witness; by every single defence witness, and each detail of it is supported by a least 2 of the student prosecution witnesses. It is also supported by all the forensic evidence. Nonetheless, after a 3 week trial characterised by judicial bias, lies, blatant perjury, the witholding and planting of evidence and every dirty trick possible by police and prosecution, Mark Barnsley, while being acquited of 3 of the GBH charges was convicted on 2 of the counts and also 3 lesser alternative offences, with which he had not even been charged. The court adjourned for reports, the only definite recommendation being probation. Incredibly, Mark was sentenced to 12 years!


In a nutshell, the prosecution case was that Mark Barnsley, a man with absolutely no history of violence and with no psychiatric problems whatsoever, took on a gang of of around 15 people, some of whom were bigger than himself and all of whom were much younger and fitter. According to the prosecution the 'motive' for this and for mark deliberately inflicitng knife wounds on five people, whom he had never met beofre was that he took exception to an innocent and innocuous remark, made in his absence by one of the students, (who was not injured at all), about a pair of sunglasses being worn by his friend, Jane.

The prosecution case is plainly ridiculous and it should be obvious to anyone who bothers to find out the true facts of the case that mark Barnsley, who is currently in his fifth year of prison, is the victim of an appalling miscarriage of justice.


The campaign to free Mark is growing daily, with supporters throughout Britain and the world. For more information about Mark's case please

You can write to Mark himself at:

Mark Barnsley (WA2897), HMP  Frankland, Brasside,  Durham  DH1 5YD  England

You can email the Home secretary, Jack Straw at the Home office:

Phone, fax or email the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and ask why the Sheffield CPS won't hand over evidence to Mark or his solicitors: Sheffield CPS: tel 0114 2912000 / 2811911 / 2298600. CPS HQ: 0171 7968000.

 back to freepeople