From prime suspect to millionaire after being cleared of TV presenter’s murder

BARRY George is in line to become a millionaire in the wake of his eight-year battle to prove his innocence, experts said.

Compensation claims after he was found not guilty of murdering Jill Dando following two trials and two appeals would be expected to fetch up to €750,000.

In addition, the media bidding war over his story would at least double his takings, PR guru Max Clifford claimed.

To make a claim, George’s legal team must apply to the Miscarriages of Justice Support Service, run by the Royal Courts of Justice Citizen Advice Bureau.

If he was refused he would have a “very good case” for appeal, said Grahame Stowe, a leading criminal lawyer with more than 30 years experience.

“It is all very well talking about monetary compensation, but this man has lost eight years of his life and that is extremely difficult to put a cash value on, ” he said.

“To take a similarly shocking case, that of the Guilford Four, one individual was reported to have settled for approximately €750,000 after 14 years in prison.

“Given the prolonged loss of liberty and damage to George’s reputation, which is arguably as severe, a compensation claim could easily amount to at least €350,000.”

Mr Stowe dismissed claims George may not receive a penny in light of previous failed attempts to clear his name.

“Today’s ruling illustrates the best and worst sides of trial by jury. Eight years ago the evidence was enough to convince a jury of guilt — now, the evidence has been established as unreliable.

“While a miscarriage of justice has been rectified, how do you compensate the victim? Miscarriages of justice do happen — the question is how you address the injustice,” said Mr Stowe.

“I hope the CPS and the Government move swiftly to address this with Mr George and do not allow further damage to be caused by procrastination.”

Mr Clifford said George’s story would spark a bidding frenzy among Britain’s national media.

“In terms of newspapers and television, this is a big, big story. A huge one. In this era sensational stories have sensational price tags.

“This was something that everyone has wanted to know about. It has glamour, it has tragedy, it has injustice. It has everything. I would think this story is worth at least £500,000 (€634,000) in newspapers and TV deals.”

Should he apply, George will face a wait of nine months to hear if he is eligible for compensation.

More in this section

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox