06/22/2015 12:14 EDT | Updated 06/22/2016 01:12 EDT

Man's 45-year quest for exoneration in wife's death ends with acquittal

TORONTO - An Ontario man convicted of killing his wife in 1970 has won his 45-year battle to clear his name.The province's top court today acquitted 75-year-old John Salmon of manslaughter in the death of his wife Maxine Ditchfield.The prosecution also apologized to Salmon for a miscarriage of justice that sent him to prison for four years.Salmon's trial in the 1970s heard that Ditchfield had died from a severe beating.He maintained her injuries came from a series of falls at their home in Woodstock, Ont.The Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted hired three pathologists to re-examine the evidence and concluded that Ditchfield had indeed fallen multiple times after suffering a stroke.The new evidence allowed Salmon to have his case re-opened after all these years."Charged with killing the woman I loved and spending four years in prison for it was an awful experience," Salmon said in a statement before the hearing."The years since have been difficult, too. I have always carried the shame of a crime I did not commit."Salmon, who called Monday a "very important day," said he has spent his life with the feeling that people shun him.Follow @mich_mcq on Twitter