Sam Hallam campaigner speaks of battle ahead to get compensation for wrong Clerkenwell murder conviction

Sam Hallam will have to “fight tooth and nail” for compensation after he was wrongly locked up for more than seven years for a murder he did not commit, the man who led his fight for freedom said this week.

Mr Hallam will not get an automatic payout from the state despite being cleared at the Court of Appeal on Thursday, a day after the prosecution announced it would not oppose the appeal.

Campaigner Paul May, who helped on the Birmingham Six case, also said Mr Hallam, 24, could easily have been released last year – and been at his dying grandmother Audrey’s side in February – if the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had backed down earlier.

He attacked the CPS for insisting it would fight the appeal right up until the last minute, before suddenly changing its mind on the first day of the hearing.

Mr May told the Gazette: “There’s a myth that victims of miscarriages of justice automatically get compensation, but that’s not the case.

“People assume it’s happy ever after, but it’s not.

“The previous government changed the rules and now it’s very difficult, but we will fight tooth and nail for it.”

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Criticising the CPS, he added: “If they had dropped the case when they should have done, his grandmother would have seen him freed.

“His sister and two brothers were with her when she was dying and Sam would have been there as well. The prosecution barrister said last year he didn’t want to oppose the appeal, but the CPS insisted.

“That’s just cruel and stupid.”

This week Mr Hallam escaped London to an undisclosed location to avoid the media onslaught.

His mum Wendy Cohen, of Purcell Street, Hoxton, said the family had been through hell.

“I’d always known the day would come when Sam’s name would be cleared but it still came as a shock that it all happened so quickly in the end,” she said.

“One minute we were all sitting down in the court for the afternoon’s hearing, the next the prosecution were dropping the case.

“I’m happy to get my son back, but still angry that the police and criminal justice system did this to him and his entire family.”