Foster father cash denial hailed
Government officials were right to deny Sion Jenkins compensation for the six years he spent in jail accused of murdering his foster daughter, her family has said.
They said the former deputy headteacher "had a cheek" to press for a reported £500,000 damages claim for his time spent behind bars before he was cleared of killing Billie-Jo Jenkins.
Jenkins had insisted he "fitted all the criteria" for a payout after losing his liberty for six years, which led to his ex-wife deserting him with their four daughters.
But it was disclosed that the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) had rejected his bid, with officials saying that the Appeal Court made clear compensation should be paid when someone has been shown to be "clearly innocent".
The statement led Jenkins' campaigners to condemn what they called an "insidious" remark by the MoJ and added: "In which universe does 'not guilty' mean 'not innocent'?"
Billie-Jo, 13, was found in a pool of blood with head injuries inflicted by a metal tent peg on the patio of the family's large Victorian home in Lower Park Road, Hastings, East Sussex, on February 15, 1997.
Jenkins, at the time headteacher-designate at all-boys William Parker School in Hastings, maintained his innocence and insisted Billie-Jo must have been killed by an intruder while he visited a DIY store.
In 1998 he was convicted at Lewes Crown Court of murdering her and jailed for life but he had a retrial in 2005 after successfully appealing. However, the jury failed to agree a verdict and a second retrial ended the same way in 2006, allowing him to walk free.
Now, the widow of Billie-Jo's natural father, Bill Jenkins, who by coincidence shared the same surname, has criticised the decision by Jenkins to submit a compensation claim in the first place.
Elizabeth Jenkins, 62, from Canning Town, east London, said: "Myself and the family think he had a cheek to put in for that money. I was pleased that he didn't get it because I don't think he should be a free man. As far as I'm concerned he should still be inside but he has just denied it all the time."