Page last updated at 14:34 GMT, Saturday, 2 August 2008 15:34 UK

No miscarriage payment 'enough'

Michael O'Brien
Mr O'Brien says he wished there was more support after his release

Barry George will find it difficult to adjust to life after eight years in prison, a man who was also wrongly convicted of murder has predicted.

Michael O'Brien, 40, who served 11 years for the 1987 killing of a Cardiff newsagent, said the impact of such an experience was "tremendous".

He said he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder.

Compensation would not help Mr George, 48, understand why he was convicted of killing presenter Jill Dando, he added.

On Friday, Mr George was cleared after an Old Bailey retrial of murdering Miss Dando outside her London home in 1999.

The murder convictions of Mr O'Brien and two other men were quashed by the Court of Appeal in December 1999.

Mr O'Brien told the BBC his 670,000 compensation was not "enough for what I went through and what they give Barry George won't be enough either".

I was released with just 44 in my pocket and told to just get on with my life
Michael O'Brien

He added: "I think he is going to find it difficult to come to terms that he went to prison in the first place.

"He is going to be very angry that he did and he'll want people [held] responsible for this miscarriage - some sort of redress - not just compensation."

Mr O'Brien, who lives in Cardiff and now works to help other victims of miscarriages of justice, said he had to wait eight years before receiving his compensation from the government.

But he remains bitter that the House of Lords ruled the cost of board and lodgings could be deducted from any payment made to wrongfully-convicted prisoners - in his instance 37,500.

Mr O'Brien said his time in prison had a "tremendous effect" on his life.

"I am very pleased that Barry George is free because I know the suffering he is going through," he said.

He said it was also "really difficult" having to deal with personal issues while facing a miscarriage of justice.

Mr O'Brien's father and daughter died while he was in prison and his marriage broke down.

In his case, he also wished there was more support from the authorities on release.

He had to seek his own psychiatric help.

"The problem we had was when we actually came out of prison because when we came out there was no help for us whatsoever," he said.

"I was released with just 44 in my pocket and told to just get on with my life as if nothing had happened."





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