Pomona Incident

On the morning of the 8th of June 1994 Mark Barnsley. A 33 year old writer, could not have been happier. He had become the father of a third daughter only 6 weeks earlier, his career was going well, and he would shortly be going on holiday to the Lake District with his young family. After working for a few hours on books he had recently been commissioned to write, he invited a family friend , Jane Leathborough, to call in and see the baby. His partner, Samantha, had to go out for an hour or so, and before leaving suggested that, as it was a bright, sunny day, mark and Jane might take the baby,  Daisy, for a walk and perhaps stop for a drink. It seemed like a good idea, but little did Mark Barnsley know that within an hour is life would be changed forever, and that he was about to be caught up in a nightmare that continues to this day.

At round 3.30pm that day a number of police patrols were alerted to a disturbance at "The Pomona" public house in Sheffield. When they arrived at the scene they found that 5 university students had received serious injuries. The headlines of the local newspaper, 'The Star', the following  day read : "Five stabbed for poking fun at girlfriend. Knifeman slashes students at pub"

When Mark Barnsley was subsequently arrested for what had quickly become known as "The Pomona pub stabbings", and charged with 5 counts of "wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, contrary to section 18 of the Offences Against the Person Act" there was total surprise from everyone who knew him. Friends, neighbours, and colleagues expressed complete disbelief.

Mark Barnsley has absolutely no history of violent or aggressive behaviour, quite the opposite, he was described as a kind and caring man by all who knew him. Nor has he ever suffered from any form of mental illness, indeed in the words of a psychiatrist: "He seems to have always enjoyed a very stable, mature, responsible, and pleasant personality." Yet the Prosecution case was that he 'took on' a group of some 15 people who he had never seen before, deliberately inflicting  knife wounds on five of them , because he took exception to an innocent remark , made in Barnsley's absence, by one of the group, (who was not injured at all), about the sunglasses being worn by Jane Leathborough.

More than a year later, during which he was remanded in custody, and after a trial which lasted nearly 3 weeks, Mark Barnsley was acquitted of 3 of the 5 offences with which he had been charged, but convicted on 2 counts. He was also convicted of 3 lesser alternative offences, (unlawful wounding), with which he was never charged.

After waiting a further 51/2 months Mark Barnsley received sentences of 12 years concurrent on each of the section 18 convictions, and 5 years concurrent for each of the 3 lesser offences. 

The Pomona case has been characterised throughout by lies, perjury, the with-holding and "planting " of evidence, and a biased and highly inaccurate local press campaign. The FACTS are very different. Anyone who bothers to look further than the lurid and sensationalist headlines can surely reach no other conclusion that Mark Barnsley is the victim of a gross miscarriage of justice.

Write to Mark direct at:

Mark Barnsley


HMP Full Sutton


YO41 1PS

Please remember to enclose a sae or supply of stamps when you write to Mark. He likes to write back!

25 facts on Marks case