The Jock Palfreeman story

Jock Palfreeman in the Visitors' Room at Sofia Central Prison (Ron Ekkel)
Jock Palfreeman in the Visitors’ Room at Sofia Central Prison (Ron Ekkel)

The lives of Jock Palfreeman and  Andrei Monov were destroyed one fateful night in the Bulgarian capital Sofia in 2007.


 Andrei Monov and his friend, Antoan Zahariev

Soon after 1 am on 28 December some fifteen young Bulgarians emerged from a metro at one end of St Nedelya Square in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia. They were chanting Levski football slogans and singing a former national anthem. One of them was 20 – year- old law student, Andrei Monov; another was his 19- year- old friend, Antoan Zahariev.

Jock Palfreeman

On the other side of the square 21- year- old Australian, Jock Palfreeman, was at a kiosk with an English woman and a young Bulgarian man. Hearing the racket,  they ran across the road that formed one side of the square and hid behind a fence. The Bulgarian feared the youths were football hooligans who could cause trouble.

A freeze frame from the traffic recording that shows Andrei Monov's friends in pursuit of someone.
A freeze frame from the traffic recording that shows Andrei Monov’s friends in pursuit of someone.

Jock Palfreeman later told police that he kept an eye on the loud youths as  they traversed the square and got closer to him.  When he saw the youths suddenly start chasing two men whom he believed were Roma (Gypsies), Palfreeman started walking back towards the square. When he saw them attacking one of the Roma, Palfreeman ran across the square to assist the man on the ground.

Jock Palfreeman is charged with murder

A melee ensued in which Monov was fatally stabbed. Zahariev and Palfreeman were injured. Palfreeman was charged with unprovoked murder and attempted murder.

Pieced together using police statements, expert reports, court documents and interviews with the key people involved, this is the story of what happened that bitterly cold morning and in the days, months and years that followed.

It steps inside two families from either side of the world whose lives were shattered in the space of five minutes as it explores just how far two fathers went to get justice for their sons.

Inside Sofia Central Prison (Dobrin Kashavelov)
Inside Sofia Central Prison (Dobrin Kashavelov)

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