A MAN who spent 17 years in jail after being wrongly convicted of attempted rape has been refused compensation.
Victor Nealon, who lived in the borough, was given a life sentence for sexually assaulting a 22-year-old woman on her way home from a nightclub in Redditch in 1996.
He was found guilty by jury in January 1997 at Hereford Crown Court and despite maintaining his innocence throughout the years his appeal was rejected in 1998.
The former postman had offered to give a DNA sample at the time of the attack and no trace was found on the victim’s clothing.
But the case was eventually re-opened and the Criminal Cases Review Commission referred it to the Court of Appeal which revealed another man’s DNA was found on the victim’s clothing.
He was finally freed in December last year and was acquitted of the crime by the Court of Appeal, while West Mercia Police relaunched an investigation into the incident.
But the Ministry of Justice turned down his claim for compensation following the introduction of a new test for miscarriage compensation claims.
The MoJ ruled the request had ‘no merit’ and although the jury could have found Mr Nealon innocent after hearing the new DNA evidence, it said it could not completely rule him out.
A letter from HM Courts & Tribunals Service informing Mr Nealon’s solicitors of the decision said: “It is, in my view, simply unarguable that the newly discovered fact itself shows beyond reasonable doubt that the C [Mr Nealon] did not commit the offence.
“It did not “demolish” the prosecution’s case and the highest the CACD were able or willing to put it was that the newly discovered material “might reasonably have led the jury to reach a different verdict” and that the “case may have resulted in an acquittal.”
But Mr Nealon said it was a complete contradiction of the Court of Appeal’s decision and tarnished his innocence.
“Why did the Court of Appeal choose to make me a free man? They listened to the arguments and the evidence and ruled out I committed this crime, but the Ministry of Justice now says I could have.” he said.
“I’m left 18 years without any form of compensation, while the victim hasn’t received justice either.
“One year on and I still haven’t received an apology.
“I will fight this to the bitter end.”
The case will now go for a renewed hearing and Mr Nealon hopes he will eventually be given compensation.