Trio Must Pay For Prison ‘Board’

Three men who spent years in jail after being wrongly convicted of murder will have to pay for their prison board and lodgings, Law Lords have ruled. Brothers Vincent and Michael Hickey of Birmingham, spent 18 years in jail for paperboy Carl Bridgewater’s murder.

Michael O’Brien from Cardiff spent 11 years in jail for a separate murder. The three were deducted money from their compensation for what lawyers called “living expenses” but what the court agreed was for life necessities. Judges ruled by a four to one majority that they must pay back 25% of their compensation.

Th three men had appealed against an earlier Court of Appeal ruling the Independent Assessor was entitled to deduct their compensation to reflect the necessities of life which they would have to buy from wages if they were free. Their lawyers had argued it was wrong to expect people wrongly imprisoned to pay for what is effectively their “board and lodgings”.

Vincent Hickey, 49, and Michael Hickey, 42, of Birmingham, were jailed in 1979 over Carl’s murder at Yew Tree Farm, near Stourbridge. They had their convictions quashed at the Court of Appeal in 1997.

Michael Hickey was awarded £990,000 in compensation and Vincent Hickey £506,220, subject to the deductions. Michael O’Brien spent 11 years in prison after being wrongly convicted in 1988 of the murder of a Cardiff newsagent. He was awarded £670,000 subject to similar deductions.