• Three False Convictions

Three False Convictions, Many Lessons

The Psychopathology of Unjust Prosecutions

by David C Anderson and Nigel P Scott


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A new perspective on the roles of psychopathology, confirmation bias, false confessions, the media and internet (amongst other causes) of unjust accusations. Putting lack of empathy at the fore in terms of police, prosecutors and others, it considers a wide range of other psychopathological aspects of miscarriages of justice.

By looking at three high profile cases, those of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito (Italy), Stefan Kiszko (UK) and Darlie Routier (USA)—the authors show that motive forces are a mind-set in which psychopathy (what they term ‘constitutional negative empathy’) may be present and the need to reinforce existing supposition or lose face plays a large part.

Darlie Routier is still on Death Row in Texas despite overwhelming evidence that her conviction for killing her own child is false, whilst Knox, Sollecito and Kiszko have been vindicated by the highest judicial authorities and telling evidence. The authors show how and why unfounded rumours still persist in the Knox/Sollecito case and advance a new theory that the Routier killings were the work of a notorious serial killer.


‘I was first attracted to the book by the sub-title – the criminal justice system does reflect exactly that and especially the lack of empathy and human concern – I hope in our work we can instil in a few future lawyers an appreciation that they are dealing with human beings not just “cases”. The adoption as you suggest of the medical rule “Do no harm” is one that would be massively beneficial to the legal system which sometimes seems to be doing more harm than good. The other massive failure of legal systems, as you demonstrate so well, is the refusal to be self-critical. The dominance of sociopathic individuals may well be a factor in this and it was refreshing to read a book that was prepared not only to admit this but also to demonstrate it with evident reasoning… a much needed and different contribution to the literature on this topic”– Dr Dennis Eady, Cardiff University Law School.

‘Provides a unique view of the biology of injustice and draws many lessons for judicial reform’– Floreat (Journal of the Rugbeian Society).

‘The beauty of this book is that it also highlights three cases of wrongful convictions from three countries, the United Kingdom, the United States and Italy, proving that injustice happens everywhere … I highly recommend this book for the public, but I also think that it would greatly benefit those in law enforcement’– Wrongful Conviction News.

As featured on The Justice Gap.


David Anderson is a former Professor of Medicine in Manchester and Hong Kong who awoke to miscarriages of justice in connection with a former patient of his, Stefan Kiszko, wrongly convicted of the murder of Lesley Molseed. Nigel Scott is a writer and researcher who has worked extensively with David Anderson on the Knox/Sollecito case.

New 2018 biography by David Anderson: Where Angels Fear to Tread: My Life in Medicine and Minding Other People’s Business (external link, opens in new window).

Additional information

Weight409 g
Dimensions234 × 156 × 16 mm


Waterside Press




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United Kingdom

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