A MAN convicted of rape over 17 years ago believes he now has DNA evidence to prove his innocence ­— with Greater Manchester Police said to be reviewing the case.

Andrew Malkinson, then 37, was jailed for life at Manchester Crown Court in February, 2004, after being found guilty of attempting to choke, asphyxiate or strangle a woman with intent to rape her, and two counts of rape.

Malkinson, of Grimsby, was staying with a colleague at Aspinall Court, Atherton, in July 2003, when the attack took place. He claimed he was asleep in bed when a 33-year-old woman, from Kearsley, was attacked.

The woman had been walking home alone following a row with her boyfriend. She was dragged on to an embankment by the M61, in Cleggs Lane, Little Hulton, before being throttled and raped twice.

Malkinson, now 55, was freed last December and is campaigning to clear his name, having always protested his innocence.

He is working with the law charity APPEAL which insists it has recently made a significant DNA discovery showing an unknown male’s DNA was found among original samples taken at the time of the investigation.

Key witnesses in the trial also didn’t have their criminal histories disclosed to the court. APPEAL says, which both proves his innocence and the real attacker may still be out there.

GMP has now appointed a senior officer to review the case in light of this new evidence, according to reports.

It is the first time that GMP has reviewed the case, although this does not mean the case has been formally reopened, only that there may have been some flaws in the original case.

Emily Bolton, of APPEAL, told a national newspaper: “While it is a step forward that a senior officer is reviewing the case, GMP needs to understand that this situation is an emergency.

“An innocent man remains wrongly convicted of a crime that DNA evidence show he did not commit. The real perpetrator of this violent attack may still be at large and posing a threat to the public’s safety.”

And Andrew Malkinson himself added: “I hope the police can find the courage to do the right thing and investigate openly and honestly all the factors that led to me being subjected to such an overwhelming and gross injustice.”