A man who served 17 years for a rape he says he did not commit could be allowed to appeal against his conviction for the first time  after new DNA evidence emerged.

Andrew Malkinson, 57, was jailed for life in 2004 after being found guilty of attacking a woman from Kearsley the year before.

He was released from prison in December 2020 and now Court of Appeal judges could be set to decide on whether to approve an appeal against his conviction after new DNA evidence emerged.

In a statement from legal charity Appeal, Mr Malkinson said: “I am innocent.

“Finally, I have the chance to prove it thanks to the perseverance of my legal team at Appeal.

“I only have one life and so far 20 years of it has been stolen from me. Yesterday I turned 57 years old.

“How much longer will it take?”

Mr Malkinson, from Grimsby, was convicted of attempting to choke, asphyxiate or strangle a woman with intent to rape her, and two counts of rape after a woman was violently attacked by the M61 in Little Hulton in 2003.

But he has claimed that he was in fact asleep at Aspinall Court, Atherton when the attack took place.

Mr Malkinson twice applied for his case to be reviewed by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), but was turned down,

But now after his release advancements in scientific techniques have allowed Mr Malkinson’s legal team to provide new DNA analysis that cast doubt on his conviction to the CCRC.

They then commissioned their own testing that found that DNA from the victim’s clothing matched another man on the national police database.

It has allowed the case to be referred to the Court of Appeal, where judges will decide whether to allow an appeal against the conviction.

Speaking to the Guardian Mr Malkinson said: “My life is on hold until I can overturn the conviction.

“I can’t get a decent job, I’m having to scrape by on the scraps of minimum wage jobs that nobody really wants.”

The CCRC has now passed the DNA evidence to Greater Manchester Police for investigators to consider.

CCRC chairwoman Helen Pitcher said: “The new results raise concerns about the safety of these serious convictions.

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"It is now for the Court of Appeal to decide whether they should be quashed.”

Greater Manchester Police said the force will continue to assist the CCRC review of the case.

A spokesperson added: “Following the discovery of new DNA evidence a full forensic review is now taking place and on 13 December 2022 a 48-year-old man from Exeter was arrested on suspicion of a rape which took place in July 2003.

“He has been released under investigation.”