A Brief Summary

A Liverpool football fan has been jailed for 15 years for the attempted murder of a Bulgarian barman, despite another man admitting responsibility.

Michael Shields, 18, from Wavertree, was accused of attacking the barman by throwing a brick/paving slab at his head. Martin Georgiev, 25, suffered a fractured skull and may have brain damage, the Bulgarian court was told.

Graham Sankey, 20, an electrician from Anfield, Liverpool, said he carried out the attack.Michael Shields was picked out of a line up at a Bulgarian police station by the majority of the locals. Sankey later admitted to lying in his interview. Shields was made to wear a blank white shirt in the line up despite never taking one on holiday with him.

Shields was asleep in his hotel room when the incident took place and this is supported by the statement of a hotel porter.Michael has now been sentenced to 15 years in jail and ordered to pay over £70,000 in damages and it is only with your help that we can get the Bulgarian authorities to release him. As much as you cannot condone his actions, Sankey has played his part by sending a confession and now it is up to the public to keep the media attention on the case to continue the fight for justice.

Sankey’s Confession

“I GRAHAM SANKEY, wish to make the following confession: On Sunday, May 29 2005 I was in the Bulgarian resort of Golden Sands near to the Port of Varna at about 5am.I unfortunately had far too much to drink; I had been drinking lager for the better part of the day. In the evening I estimate that I drank nearly a full bottle of vodka and I was very, very drunk.

I left the PR Club and I was making my way to my hotel. I remember seeing a disturbance and a fight was taking place involving a large number of people, some of whom were wearing red shirts.

I could see bottles being thrown and as I drew closer a bottle smashed on the wall behind my head. As I turned to see where the bottle had come from I saw three men running at me with bottles and bricks in their hands.

I panicked and stupidly picked up a brick and threw it in the direction of the men running towards me. I saw the brick hit one of them. I panicked and I turned and ran away and returned to the hotel.

I did not know at that time that Mr Martin Georgiev had been injured.

I was arrested (with others) by the Bulgarian police.

The following day I was questioned by an investigator. I was utterly terrified and denied any involvement in the incident.

I still did not know about the injuries to Mr Georgiev. I was then released and I discovered that Mr Georgiev had been seriously injured. I then returned to Liverpool.

I accept that I must have caused the serious injury to Mr Georgiev.

My conscience has been tormenting me ever since. I read in the papers about Michael Shields’ trial, and I felt that I could not let an innocent man take the blame for what I had done.

So I instructed my solicitor, Mr David Kirwan, to make public my acceptance of responsibility and my willingness to accept fully the consequences of my actions.

I expected that the Bulgarian court would accept my admission and free Mr Shields. I was horrified that the court has refused to do this, so I am making this signed confession in the hope that an innocent man will no longer have to take responsibility for what I admit I did.

Finally, I want to say that I bitterly regret what I did to Mr Georgiev. I wholeheartedly apologise to him, his family and the Bulgarian authorities.

I am only 20 years old, and am appalled that I have ruined Mr Georgiev’s life and that Michael Shields, an innocent man, has received blame for what I did.

I just wish that I had my time over again.”