Double miscarriage-of-justice victim Martin Foran in payout fight

By Helen Carter
BBC News Online

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Martin Foran
Image caption,
Martin Foran is fighting for compensation a year after the double miscarriage-of-justice victim was cleared by the appeal court

A terminally-ill cancer patient who was jailed for two robberies he did not commit is fighting for compensation a year after he was exonerated.

Martin Foran, 71 and from Manchester, served a total of 18 years in prison but was twice cleared on appeal.

The Ministry of Justice said it only pays compensation when a conviction is quashed "because of a new fact."

But, Mr Foran says despite being found innocent his ordeal has left him ill and unable to pay basic bills.

Mr Foran was convicted in 1978 of robbery following an investigation by the since discredited West Midlands Serious Crime Squad.

He was portrayed as an IRA member by a regional paper and served six years of a 10-year sentence. The conviction was finally quashed last year.

'Nearly killed me'

Between his release and his successful appeal, he was found guilty in 1985 of robbing a Birmingham pub landlord.

That conviction was quashed on appeal in 2013, but not before he had served 12 years inside, during which time he spent 47 days in a rooftop protest and hunger strike at Nottingham jail.

His wife Valerie even scaled a nearby roof in a show of solidarity.

Last year, Mr Foran held a three-week protest outside the Ministry of Justice in London as part of his compensation fight.

He said he was told the justice secretary would speak to the West Midlands chief constable, but has not heard any update about this since.

Speaking exclusively to the BBC, he said the London protest "nearly killed me".

"It is affecting my health but I will continue fighting to my grave. My health is worsening."

He added: "I've had to walk the streets trying to find a solicitor who would represent me on a no-win no-fee basis. It has been soul-destroying.

"I can't even afford to run the car and the phone is about to be cut off. I'm also behind with the gas and electricity bill."

'Not necessarily miscarriage'

Mr Foran said his dying wish is to get an apology for his family.

"It destroys me that no-one has apologised to my wife Valerie and children for what has happened as they have suffered more than I have," he added.

"I would like to be able to go on holiday with my wife and enjoy what time we have left, but I cannot do this."

Speaking about Mr Foran's case, a Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "The fact that a conviction has been quashed by the Court of Appeal does not mean it was necessarily a miscarriage of justice."

The BBC has yet to receive a response from West Midlands Police.