Wrongly jailed man charged for prison bed and board

A man who spent 11 years of his life in jail for a murder he did not commit has been charged £37,000 for bed and board.

Michael O'Brien has been offered almost £650,000 compensation - but that is after £37,000 for living expenses was deducted by Home Office officials.

During his time in prison, Mr O'Brien's father and his baby daughter both died.

Mr O'Brien, 34, of Caerau, Cardiff, has branded the compensation offer "absurd".

He said: "They don't charge guilty people for bed and board, they only charge innocent people.

"I'm absolutely livid and I'm really angry about the size of the award because it doesn't reflect the hardship I suffered, the affect it had on my standing within the community and my distress.

"My daughter and my father died while I was in prison and my whole life was turned upside down."

Mr O'Brien was arrested in November 1987 and jailed the next year over the murder of a Cardiff newsagent called Philip Saunders.

Two other men were also jailed, but the three men were released on bail in December 1998.

They were cleared by the Court of Appeal a year later.

Mr O'Brien said: "I'm taking legal advice at the moment but I'm not prepared to accept the award as a whole.

"I would have ordered caviar and chips if I knew I was going to be charged - it is so absurd."

He was working as a painter and decorator and was of clean character when he was arrested.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "We do not disclose details of individual awards.

"Publication of such details is a matter for the recipients of the award.

"While the Home Secretary decides whether compensation should be paid, the determination of the amount of the award is solely a matter for the assessor, appointed by the Home Secretary under section 133(4) of the 1988 Act."

No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now