Ian Lawless could be compensated for wrongful murder conviction
IAN Lawless has been told he can seek compensation for serving almost eight years in prison for a murder he did not commit.
Mr Lawless was convicted in 2002 of killing a wrongly- suspected paedophile, Alfred Wilkins, 67, in an arson attack on his home in Arundel Walk, on Grimsby's Yarborough Estate.
But he was released in 2009 after his conviction was quashed by the Court Of Appeal.
His conviction was based on alleged confessions he made to friends and acquaintances, a taxi driver and a fellow prison inmate in the run-up to his trial.
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But after hearing fresh psychological evidence which came to light since the trial, three top judges at the Court Of Appeal said his conviction was unsafe.
The Justice Secretary had previously rejected his claim for compensation.
But that decision was deemed legally flawed by the High Court yesterday, and will now be revisited.
Mr Lawless's solicitor Mark Newby said his client could be in line for a "substantial" payout, possibly in excess of £100,000. Describing himself as "absolutely delighted" at the ruling, Mr Newby said: "It is a step in the right direction and a recognition by the state of what has gone wrong. For the length of time Mr Lawless spent in prison I expect the sum would be in excess of £100,000. It would be a substantial amount.
"Mr Lawless has struggled with his life on the outside. He continues to do quite well but he has obviously got a number of problems and any settlement will help provide for his future."
Mr Lawless's claim was one of five test cases assembled to decide who is now entitled to payments in "miscarriage of justice" cases following a landmark decision by the Supreme Court in May 2011.
Barry George, who spent eight years in prison after being wrongly convicted of the murder of TV presenter Jill Dando, lost his bid for compensation.
Decisions in all five cases to refuse payouts were defended by current Justice Secretary Chris Grayling in a three-day hearing last October.