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Hollywood hit-and-run victim had been wrongfully convicted of murder in Australia

Hollywood hit-and-run victim had been wrongfully convicted of murder in Australia
Andrew Mallard was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Hollywood this week (Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Andrew Mallard got another chance at life after the highest court in Australia tossed out his murder conviction in 2005, ultimately allowing him to go free after more than a decade in prison.

That life ended this week in Hollywood, when Mallard was killed by a hit-and-run driver.

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Police said Mallard, 56, was struck by a driver heading east on Sunset Boulevard as he crossed Formosa Avenue around 1:30 a.m. Thursday. The driver fled, and as of Saturday morning, the Los Angeles Police Department had no suspect or vehicle description in the incident.

Australian media identified the victim as the same Andrew Mallard who was convicted and later exonerated in the 1994 slaying of jeweler Pamela Lawrence in a suburb of Perth. He was arrested following an interview with police in which he speculated on how Lawrence might have been killed. He was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

A subsequent investigation revealed that police and prosecutors had withheld evidence in Mallard’s trial and his conviction was thrown out. He received more than $3.25 million in compensation from the government and two police officials involved in the case stepped down, according to Australian news reports.

Other evidence pointed to a British backpacker named Simon Rochford as having actually killed Lawrence, according to the Australian Associated Press. Rochford committed suicide in jail in 2006 before he could be charged.

“It’s just fortunate that he got to spend 13 years of freedom after so much time wrongfully imprisoned,” Western Australia Atty. Gen. John Quigley said of Mallard.

When he was freed, Mallard told the Sunday Times that he wanted a wife and children. “I need to share my life with someone to make me complete,” he said in a 2006 interview.

The West Australian reported that Mallard had been in Los Angeles visiting his fiancee when he was killed.

As of midday Saturday, no arrests had been made in the hit-and-run crash, according to an LAPD spokeswoman. Police asked that anyone with information on the incident call (213) 473-0234 or (877) 527-3247.

Times staff writer Rong-Gong Lin II contributed to this report.

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