Jock Palfreeman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Jock Palfreeman (born 13 November 1986)[1] is an Australian who was convicted of murder and sentenced to 20 years in a Bulgarian prison. Palfreeman was serving in the British Army at the time of the incident.[2][3]

The event[edit]

In the early hours of 28 December 2007, 21-year-old Jock Palfreeman was involved in an incident during which Bulgarian student Andrei Monov was fatally stabbed. According to the case file, Monov received a single stab wound to the side of his chest, 19-year-old Antoan Zahariev received a slash wound to the side of his chest and Palfreeman was injured after being hit in the head and arm with pieces of concrete pavers.[4]

Monov and Zahariev had been out with a group of some 15 youths. Palfreeman was charged with murder with hooligan intent and attempted murder. He claimed he saw the group chase two Roma. When he saw the group start attacking one of the Roma he ran across a downtown square to help the victim. When the attack then turned on him, he pulled a knife from his pocket and waved it around to scare the youths away. However, instead of running away the youths continued to attack him as he tried to move the group away from the Roma.

Palfreeman admitted carrying a large butterfly knife when he went out drinking in Sofia.[5]

After being arrested, Palfreeman lied to the police, telling them he was living in a sack in Borisova Gardens and that he didn’t know the name of the English couple he had been with that night. In fact he was living at their house at Madjare 60 km from Sofia. This lie allowed the girl Lindsay Welsh, who had been present at the murder, to slip out of the country the next day. She was never questioned by police or appeared at court. Palfreman didn’t provide the details until told by Grayham Saunders that Welsh had left the country. When Welsh made a statement about the events that night she simply claimed she had seen nothing as she was helping someone recharge the credit on a mobile phone. Graham Saunders spoke to Palfreeman before he was interviewed by the police, and claims he had left his girlfriend with Palfreeman and gone to a hostel for the night. He therefore claimed he hadn’t seen anything or had any involvement.[6]

Palfreeman pleaded not guilty based on self-defence. Prosecutor Parvoleta Nikova argued that Palfreeman attacked the group of youths for no reason. In an interview given to 24 Chassa before the trial began, she claimed Palfreeman was guilty as charged and should receive a life sentence.[7]

This was not the first time Palfreeman had been questioned by the police over a stabbing. In 2004 he was asked to attend the police station in Chatswood (a suburb of Sydney) following a serious stabbing at a party. The police did not press charges, but the victims James Attack and Matthew Faunt were adamant that Palfreeman was the offender. This stabbing incident was raised during Palfreeman's trial.[8]

Monov had a blood alcohol reading of .290%. Zahariev's reading was .18%, and Palfreeman's was 0.15% in his blood and 0.29% in his urine.[9]

Among the mourners at Andrei Monov's funeral were head of the Supreme Court of Cassation, Lazar Gruev and members of the ruling Socialist Party, including soon to be Interior Minister, Mihail Mikov, and former legal advisor to the President, Chavdar Georgiev.[10]

The criminal trial was held concurrent with the crimes compensation case, which is the usual procedure in Bulgaria. The civil claimants were Antoan Zahariev and Andrei Monov's parents, notary Aksenia Monova and psychologist Hristo Monov.

During the trial some of the youths and police officers changed their versions of events, claiming there were no Roma and no altercation in the lead-up to Andrei Monov's death. When the defence tried to show that this contradicted what the youths had told the police first at the scene and police investigators, the civil claimants and the prosecutor were able to prevent examination of those accounts.[11] On 3 December 2009, the Sofia City Court found Palfreeman guilty and sentenced him to 20 years' imprisonment.

Despite the non-aggressive finding of the psychiatric panel, since being found guilty Palfreeman has been involved in fights in the jail, including attacking other prisoners in the canteen queue. He has been placed in isolation several times for offences including possessing an illegal mobile phone and possession of a hidden knife.[12]

Appellate court appeal[edit]

Palfreeman's friends and family supported his case since the initial incident and organised a rally ahead of his appeal.[13] The defence asked the appellate court to allow further examination of traffic recordings, which it argued supported the sequence of events put forward by Palfreeman and witnesses. The defence also asked for a review of the forensic evidence. Both requests were rejected.[14] However, the court allowed re-examination of some of the witnesses who had changed their versions of events at trial. A change in law meant that civil claimants were no longer able to block the defence's use of original witness statements in its questioning.[15] Palfreeman's lawyers raised issues such as the failure of the trial court to take into account the evidence of witnesses who were not associated with Monov.[16]

On 24 February 2010 the court upheld the conviction and sentence. On 27 July 2011, the Bulgarian Supreme Court of Cassation also upheld the conviction and sentence.[17]

Possibility of parole[edit]

In an interview published in November 2012, Palfreeman claimed he was being "held for ransom" by the Bulgarian government. He was subject to a court order from 2009 claiming restitution of 450,000 Bulgarian Lev (about A$ 375,000), which has increased with interest since his arrest. The Australian government requested that Palfreeman be transferred to Australia, according to the International Prisoner Transfer Agreement to which both Bulgaria and Australia are signatories. If transferred, Palfreeman would have served the remainder of his sentence in an Australian prison. However, the request was denied in July 2013, with the prosecutor's office stating that Palfreeman had violated regulations and had not served enough time to have been rehabilitated. The campaign for transfer continued in Australia, with journalist Belinda Hawkins, lawyer Julian Burnside QC and actor William McInnes speaking in support at a public meeting in Melbourne.[18] The human rights organisation, Bulgaria Helsinki Committee, has condemned the decision not to transfer Palfreeman, speculating that there may be undue influence from the dead man's father, who is now a government MP.[19]

Bulgarian Prisoners Association[edit]

As chairman of the Bulgarian Prisoners Association,[20] Palfreeman has offered legal advice to fellow inmates. As a result, his privileges were revoked, leading him to begin a hunger strike on 13 January 2013.[21] On 17 October 2013, Palfreeman said that he and 10 other foreign prisoners were subjected to a beating by a prison guard, which he believes was because the guard deliberately did not acknowledge his presence during roll call. Shortly after, the same guard allegedly beat him again, which Palfreeman has apparently reported to a lawyer, the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee and the Australian consulate. As of 23 December 2013 there have been no results reported on the findings of any investigation into the incidents.[22] In November 2015, because of his work in upholding the legal rights of Bulgarian prisoners, Australian Caroline Staples selected Jock Palfreeman as a nominee for the "Person of the Year" award in Bulgaria, which was approved by the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee. This caused a storm of controversy in Bulgarian society, leading to protests of relatives, friends and other Bulgarians. The BHK eventually decided to withdraw Palfreeman's nomination.[23][24] The renewed attention paid to the case in Bulgaria resulted in the production of a documentary, which featured an extensive interview with Palfreeman, during which he talked about his pursuits in prison, his place within Bulgarian society and recalled the events of late December 2007. He criticized a number of aspects of his trial and also claimed that he never wanted Andrei Monov to die.[25]


  1. ^ "Sofia City Prosecution Office" (PDF). Retrieved 25 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "Chapter one: Every Parent's Nightmare, the true story of Jock Palfreeman". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  3. ^ {{cite web|url=}Jock Palfreeman - Australian Story - Conviction - Part One & Part Two}
  4. ^ "Every Parent's Nightmare, the true story of Jock Palfreeman". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  5. ^ "Every Parent's Nightmare, the true story of Jock Palfreeman". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  6. ^ "Every Parent's Nightmare, the true story of Jock Palfreeman". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  7. ^ "Palfreeman appearing before the bail judge and Prosecutor Parvoleta Nikova who gave an interview to a Bulgarian newspaper before the trial". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Motifs for Judgement for criminal case No. 886/2008 by Sofia City Court". 
  10. ^ "At the funeral of Andrei Monov at which the soon to be Interior Minister was among the mourners". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  11. ^ Palfreeman, Simon (3 December 2009) [Dr. Simon Palfreeman's summary of Jock's case]
  12. ^ "Chapters 21, 22, 23 24: Every Parent's Nightmare, the true story of Jock Palfreeman". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  13. ^ "Rally for man jailed in Bulgaria". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  14. ^ "Free Jock". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  15. ^ "Free Jock". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  16. ^ "Court urged not to release Australian killer". ABC News. Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  17. ^ "The World Today - Bulgarian court dismisses final Palfreeman appeal 28/07/2011". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  18. ^ "Jock Palfreeman campaigns for Bulgarian prisoners' rights - Crikey". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  19. ^ "Bulgaria refuses to allow Sydney man Jock Palfreeman to transfer to Australian prison". ABC News. Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  20. ^ "english - Bulgarian Prisoners' Association". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  21. ^ "A Letter From Jock Palfreeman – Anti-fascist Prisoner On Hunger Strike". Malatesta's Blog. Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  22. ^ "Jock Palfreeman campaigns for Bulgarian prisoners' rights - Crikey". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  23. ^ Galabova, Ralitsa (5 November 2015). "Осъден за убийство с номинация за "Човек на годината"". Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  24. ^ "БХК оттегли номинацията на Джок Полфрийман за "Човек на годината"". 6 November 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  25. ^ ""Ничия земя": Кой е Джок Полфрийман? Кой стои зад маската на гневен защитник на правата на лишените от свобода?". NOVA. 21 November 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2015. 

External links[edit]