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Man cleared of M50 murder told he must pay for prison bed and board.

A former Welsh guardsman wrongly jailed for the murder of a pregnant Midland woman could be charged pounds 18 a week for board and lodging for his six years behind bars.

But he has been told the Home Office may deduct the pounds 18 a week - running to more than pounds 5,000 over six years - for the cost of keeping him in jail.

Mr Browning, aged 46, of Cwmparc in the Rhondda, Wales, condemned the situation as a farce.

He said: "I was put away for six years for a crime I did not commit and then I am told that I may have to pay board and lodging for the time I spent in a prison cell. It is a travesty that the Home Office want me to pay over pounds 5,000 for spending time in prison when I should have been a free man."

Mr Browning was jailed for the murder of Mrs Wilks, who was killed when her car broke down on the M50 in Worcestershire.

He was freed by the Appeal Court in 1994 after his conviction was ruled unsafe. The former nightclub bouncer has been awarded an interim payment of pounds 75,000. An Independent Home Office assessor is calculating the rest of his compensation.

Mr Browning was told he may have to pay up in a letter from his London-based solicitors.

The latter stated: "The assessor will in all probability deduct a figure of approximately pounds 18 a week in respect of the time that you were in prison. I believe that he does this in order to cover a national 'board and lodging' fee. This will further reduce the net figure."

Solicitor Ms Tina Salvidge confirmed the board and lodge fee came up during negotiations with the Home Office assessor.

Last night, a Home Office spokesman said: "The Home Office assessor works independently."
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Apr 2, 1999
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