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Mattan: Injustice of a Hanged Man
Image: BBC

New BBC Sounds podcast to retell the tragic tale of injustice 70 years later

Press Release · Cardiff, UK ·

A new 9-part BBC Sounds podcast explores a shocking miscarriage of justice which led to the execution of Somali seaman Mahmood Mattan on September 3 1952.

The series, Mattan: Injustice of a Hanged Man, launches 70 years after Mattan was wrongfully executed for the murder of Cardiff shopkeeper, Lily Volpert, with the first episode available on September 9.

Throughout the podcast, listeners will hear exclusively from those who have never spoken publicly before about the events. It also hears eye witness accounts including Lily Volpert’s niece Ruth, who was in the back room the night of her aunt’s murder. This is a story that has spanned generations and made headlines but the lasting trauma of what happened that fateful night is widely unknown.

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Presented by actress, writer and broadcaster Danielle Fahiya, the podcast uncovers the tumultuous highs and lows over the 46 year fight for justice and looks at the impact of generational trauma for those living in the shadow of injustice.

Danielle Fahiya was born in Butetown and, over the last few years, has been speaking to the family about their story. She says, “This has been a story that I grew up knowing as my grandad was friends with Mahmood Mattan. However, this isn’t just a historical tale, it spans 70 years and shines a light on those who have never had the opportunity to speak and Mattan’s wife and sons who fought so hard for justice and never gave up. Its significance is important now more than ever when looking at issues like racism and injustice. It has been a privilege to look into and tell their story”.

On the 6th March 1952, Lily Volpert a Jewish shopkeeper was the victim of a brutal murder. Lily, was a well-known member of the community and this killing sent shockwaves throughout Tiger Bay. What followed was the hunt for a silent killer dubbed the 'The Shadow’ and a flawed investigation and prejudiced trial that would lead to the hanging of an innocent man.

Radio Wales’ Commissioner, Jeremy Grange says, “This series exposes the prejudice and racism leading to the wrongful execution of Mahmood Mattan but it also goes far beyond that. It explores how this monstrous miscarriage of justice has cast a shadow over a family and a community for decades afterwards.”

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