Andrew Malkinson: Man wrongly jailed for 17 years fears paying for prison

A man locked up for 17 years for a rape he did not commit has said he feels “sickened” by the idea of having to pay for prison “board and lodging” should he receive compensation.

Andrew Malkinson had his conviction quashed on Wednesday after fresh DNA evidence emerged linking another potential suspect to the crime.

The 57-year-old was found guilty of raping a woman in Greater Manchester in 2003 and the following year he was jailed for life with a minimum term of seven years.

He stayed in prison for another decade as he maintained his innocence, insisting he would “not falsely confess to abhorrent crimes which he did not commit”, his barrister Edward Henry KC said.

Mr Malkinson was released from jail in December 2020 but was under close watch by police and his name was still on the sex offenders register.

He has now described his current financial hardship where he revealed he was “living on benefits” and criticised the current route to compensation.

He told the BBC: “I feel very strongly about this. Somehow the prison service has lobbied the government in the early 2000s.

“The result is that even if you fight tooth and nail and gain compensation you then have to pay the prison service a large chunk of that for so-called ‘board and lodgings’, which is so abhorrent to me.

“I am sickened by it.”

While Mr Malkinson has had all charges against him dropped, he still hasn’t received a declaration of innocence from the Court of Appeal.

Without this, he cannot claim compensation.

Mr Malkinson said this process was a “whole new battle”.

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‘I was kidnapped by the state’

“They don’t like paying compensation and there’s resistance every step of the way.”

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) told Sky News that compensation for miscarriage of justice cases was assessed on a case-by-case basis by a MoJ caseworker – if compensation is to be awarded the amount is determined by an independent assessor, Dame Linda Dobbs.

The eligibility is determined by the secretary of state only once an application has been submitted.

The MoJ said the assessor could “consider deductions from the total compensation to reflect the particular circumstances of an individual case” including any “substantial savings likely to have been made on the basis of living costs not incurred while in custody” – for instance a prisoner not having to pay rent on outside accommodation.

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‘I have been innocent all along’

Mr Malkinson may not even receive compensation and follow in the unfortunate footsteps of Sam Hallam and Victor Nealon, who both served prison time and were then cleared of the crimes.

Mr Hallam served seven years after being convicted of murder, while Mr Nealon was imprisoned for 17 years after an attempted rape conviction.

Both men didn’t receive reimbursement afterwards because of a law which required their conviction to be quashed through a new or newly discovered fact that showed beyond reasonable doubt that they did not commit the crime, like DNA evidence – which Mr Malkinson has.

Should Mr Malkinson get any money, his lawyer Emily Bolton told The Guardian an arcane system meant it would be “years” before seeing any of it.

In an emotional statement outside court on Wednesday, Mr Malkinson said his exoneration had left him “jobless, homeless” and with a “black hole opened up in [his] life”.

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