Sam Hallam’s mother speaks following dramatic news of the Hoxton man’s release

Sam Hallam’s mother expressed her shock that her son is free after seven years saying: “I didn’t think it would happen today.”

Wendy Cohen spoke of her surprise at the sudden announcement that the prosecution would not oppose the appeal, on the first day of the Court of Appeal hearing.

She said: “I am shocked, but this should never have happened in the first place. It has been terrible for Sam and the family has gone through hell. His dad is not here. It has been terrible for Sam and all my children. It shouldn’t have happened in first place, we said that from day one. I didn’t think it would happen today but after this morning I thought it might.”

Mr Hallam, 24, of Hoxton, was jailed in 2005 for the murder of 21-year-old trainee chef Essayas Kassahun. Mr Kassahun died in hospital two days after a brawl on the St Luke’s Estate in Finsbury a year earlier.

Today Mr Hallam, who was 17 at the time of the killing and has always maintained his innocence – insisting he wasn’t even at the scene – was told he would be released on bail after the prosecution’s decision, pending the final judgement tomorrow.

Mr Hallam’s father was found hanged in 2010.