Sion Jenkins reveals his friendship with Barry George

Sion Jenkins has spoken of his friendship with Barry George after the two men were united by their wrongful convictions for murder.

Mr Jenkins, a former teacher who was cleared of killing his foster daughter after spending years in jail, invited Mr George for dinner shortly after he was cleared of Jill Dando's murder.

He said the pair initially made contact through Mr George's sister, Michelle Diskin, who he met at a conference on miscarriages of justice.

As a result he went to the Old Bailey to support Mr George during his retrial on a charge of murdering the popular BBC presenter.

Barry George
Sion Jenkins

United: Barry George (left) and Sion Jenkins have become friends since having their convictions overturned

Mr Jenkins, who was cleared of murdering 13-year-old Billie-Jo Jenkins in 2006 after three trials, said: 'I knew that Michelle was going to have a very difficult time and she contacted me to say just how difficult it was.

'I attended some of the trial of Barry George at the Old Bailey - I did that to support her.

'Barry was then acquitted and, because of the pressure created by the media, he took a few days out from London to go to the Isle of Wight.'

It was then that Mr George visited Mr Jenkins' home that he shares with second wife Tina in Portsmouth.

However, Mr Jenkins said rumours that Mr George stayed the night were untrue.

Mr Jenkins, 50, said: 'He came here on the way and we went out for a meal together. This was in the evening and he also left that evening. It was a few days after his acquittal.'

Mr Jenkins believes Mr George is suffering from post-traumatic stress because of his ordeal and needs his support.

He said: 'Barry is trying to get on with his life in London and I'm trying to get on with my life here.

'It is not just myself and Barry, there are other miscarriages of justice but people don't know about them. Collectively those who have been through that kind of trauma are bound to get on and support each other.'

Mr Jenkins is studying for a masters degree at the University of Portsmouth and hopes to go on to do a PhD in miscarriages of justice. He recently published a book about Billie-Jo's murder.

He insisted he did not set out to become a mouthpiece for victims of miscarriages of justice.

However he accepted he will be in the spotlight because of what has happened and wants to put the publicity to good use to help other victims.

Mr George was freed last month by Appeal Court judges after he was cleared of killing Miss Dando in 1999.

Mr Jenkins was sentenced to life in 1998 for the murder of Billie-Jo who was battered to death with a metal tent spike at their home in Hastings, East Sussex.

He was released on appeal in 2004. Two retrials failed when neither jury could agree a verdict. He was formally acquitted of murder in 2006.

Mr George, who has spent seven years in jail, plans to move back to Fulham, West London, where Miss Dando was murdered.

Mr George's spokesman, Surjit Singh Clair, said: 'The men are friends. I think the friendship started around six months ago and it was cemented when Barry came out.'

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