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Monday, January 19, 1998 Published at 18:54 GMT


Compensation for 'confession' man
image: [ George Lewis - jubilant but embittered ]
George Lewis - jubilant but embittered

A man who spent more than five years in jail after he was beaten by police officers who made up his "confession", has been awarded 200,000 compensation.

A judge at Birmingham High Court told George Glen Lewis, 32, he had been totally vindicated after serving five and a half years for two armed robberies and a burglary he did not commit.

The court heard that Mr Lewis of Bushbury, Wolverhampton, was head-butted, punched and threatened with a syringe as he was questioned following his arrest in January 1987.

Officers then forced him to sign confession forms and fabricated evidence against him while racially abusing him, the court was told.

Mr Lewis spent five-and-a-half-years in some of Britain's toughest jails after he was convicted of the three crimes and sentenced to 10 years.

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For Mr Lewis, Mr Richard Clayton told the court his client had been wrongfully arrested on January 21, 1987 at home by two members of the now disbanded West Midlands Serious Crime Squad, Detective Constable John Perkins and Detective Constable Peter Reynolds.

"While being driven to the police station DC Perkins racially abused Mr Lewis, punched him in the head two or three times and head-butted him.

"DC Perkins and DC Reynolds then falsely alleged that while travelling in the police car, Mr Lewis admitted committing a robbery.

"When Mr Lewis arrived at Wednesfield police station he was unlawfully refused access to solicitors, and DC Perkins said: `You're not getting a solicitor.'"

"He was taken to the medical room where DC Perkins told him to sign blank sheets of interview notes. When Mr Lewis refused he was again struck by DC Perkins several times on the head."

Mr Lewis complained about his conviction and in 1989 his case was investigated by the Assistant Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police and consequently the Home Secretary referred the case to the Court of Appeal.

A retrial was due to be heard at Nottingham Crown Court but Mr Lewis was released from custody on July 23, 1992 when the prosecution decided to offer no evidence.

Mr Clayton said that in January 1993 Mr Lewis began proceedings against the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police.

Mr Lewis was jubilant that his long case had come to a successful end, but said he was unhappy that no action had been taken against the officers involved.

"It's screwed me up totally, I don't know if I'm coming or going from one day to the next."

His solicitor said the whole episode had been a great strain on Mr Lewis and he was not sure if he would ever recover.

A spokesperson for West Midlands Police said the regretted the miscarriage of justice but refused to comment further than to say that current police supervision helped to ensure that such incidents would not happen now.

Another case involving the West Midland's Serious Crime Squad is expected to be heard in the near future.

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