A FORMER Great Harwood man who spent 18 years in jail for a murder he did not commit is facing a new compensation battle after the Government threatened to deduct the cost of his meals while he was inside.
Peter Fell was jailed for life in 1984 after being found guilty of stabbing to death two women on Aldershot Common. He was released in 2000 after being cleared by three Appeal Court judges.
Since his release Mr Fell has been trying to rebuild his life and launched a claim against the Government for compensation for the years he wrongly spent behind bars.
But he was shocked to be told his case was to be put on hold pending the outcome of an Appeal Court hearing into the case of the Bridgewater Three.
The trio were awarded compensation after spending 18 years in jail following a wrongful conviction for murder but they were later told a sum of money would be taken from their compensation to cover the cost of feeding them during their time in prison.
They protested and the case is now preparing to go through the Appeal Court.
Mr Fell must now await the outcome of that hearing before his claim can be dealt with.
He said: "I am disgusted by this. It's like torturing somebody and then asking them to pay the torturers."
Hyndburn MP Greg Pope, who fought for Mr Fell's release from prison, said he was appalled by the Government's position.
"It's not just Peter, it's a whole lot of other people. Until the test case is over they are not getting any compensation. I am just shocked."
"I think it is disgraceful. It's the sort of thing that discredits the Government."
Mr Pope has now written to Criminal Justice Minister Baroness Scotland raising the issue and expressing his disappointment in the Government.
He added: "I would like an explanation as to why it is behaving in this manner."
Mr Fell grew up in Blake Gardens Children's Home in Great Harwood and went to Norden High School, Rishton.