Possible appeal against St Albans killer’s prison payout

AN APPEAL could be lodged by the Ministry of Justice against the award of compensation to a convicted killer from St Albans.

After sending the ministry a copy of the front page article in the Herts Advertiser of March 17 about Sam Sturnham who was awarded �300 compensation because of the “anxiety and distress” caused by delays to his parole hearing, St Albans MP Anne Main has been told that an appeal is being considered.

Sturnham, 32, (pictured) who had been living in Harness Way, St Albans, before his trial was imprisoned indefinitely for public protection when he appeared at the Crown Court in January 27 where he was convicted of the manslaughter of 34-year-old Christian Noble, of High Street, Sandridge.

Sturnham was due to be up for parole in late 2009 but because of “administrative errors” by the Ministry of Justice, his case was not heard until May last year when he was refused his freedom on the grounds that he was still a risk to society.

The issue of the delay in holding the hearing went to a publicly-funded judicial review hearing before a High Court judge who awarded Sturnham the compensation.

In his response to Mrs Main, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, Crispin Blunt, confirmed that his department was “currently considering whether to appeal the judgement.”

He admitted the issue of prisoners being awarded compensation was a sensitive one but it had to be borne in mind that people were sent to prison to be deprived of their liberty, not their civil rights.

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Mrs Main said this week: “I very much hope they do appeal because it sickens people that so many prisoners can claim for relatively trivial incidents like this.”