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 JENKINS: WHY BARRY GEORGE IS MY FRIEND

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PostSubject: JENKINS: WHY BARRY GEORGE IS MY FRIEND   Thu Sep 04, 2008 3:13 am

SUFFERED: Sion Jenkins

Wednesday September 3,2008
By Cyril Dixon

SION Jenkins yesterday spoke of his friendship with Barry George that came about through each of their wrongful murder convictions.

The former teacher, who was cleared of killing his foster daughter after years in jail, invited Mr George for dinner after he was cleared of TV star Jill Dando’s murder.


He said they made contact through Mr George’s sister, Michelle Diskin, whom he met at a conference on miscarriages of justice.


As a result he went to the Old Bailey to support Mr George during his retrial on a charge of murdering the BBC presenter.


Mr Jenkins, who after three trials was cleared of murdering his 13-year-old foster daughter Billie-Jo Jenkins in 2006, said: “I knew Michelle was going to have a very difficult time and she contacted me to say how difficult it was.


“I attended some of the trial. I did that to support her. Barry was acquitted and, because of the pressure created by the media, he took a few days out from London to go to the Isle of Wight.”

During that time Mr George visited the home Mr Jenkins shares with his second wife Tina in Southsea, Hants.


However, Mr Jenkins said rumours that Mr George stayed the night were untrue.


Mr Jenkins, 50, said: “He came here on the way and we went out for a meal. He left that evening.”


Mr Jenkins believes Mr George, who lives in Hackney, east London, is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder because of his ordeal.


He said: “Barry is trying to get on with his life and I’m trying to get on with mine.


“It is not just myself and Barry. There are other miscarriages of justice but people don’t know about them.


“Those who have been through that kind of trauma are bound to support each other.”


Mr Jenkins is studying for a master’s degree at Portsmouth University and hopes to do a PhD in miscarriages of justice. He recently published a book about Billie-Jo’s murder.


He insisted he did not set out to become a mouthpiece for victims of miscarriages of justice.

However, he accepted he will be in the spotlight because of what happened to him and wants to put the publicity to good use to help other victims.


Mr George was freed by Appeal Court judges last month after he was cleared of killing Miss Dando in 1999.


Mr Jenkins was sentenced to life in 1998 for the murder of Billie-Jo, who was battered to death at their home in Hastings, East Sussex. He was released on appeal in 2004.


Two retrials failed when neither jury could agree a verdict. He was formally acquitted of murder in 2006.


Mr George, who has spent seven years in jail, plans to move back to Fulham, west London, where Miss Dando was murdered.


His spokesman, Surjit Singh Clair, said: “The men are friends. I think the friendship started about six months ago and it was cemented when Barry came out.”
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