Man wrongly jailed for 27 years walks free ... and is hit by a taxi

The man released after spending 27 years in jail for a murder he did not commit has spent his first weekend of freedom in hospital after being hit by a taxi. [via dailymail]

Sean Hodgson needed stitches in his face after being struck by the cab as he was about to cross a busy road in London.

His solicitor said the accident was just one example of how difficult it was for Mr Hodgson to adjust to life on the outside after nearly three decades behind bars.

Mr Hodgson was convicted in 1982 of killing barmaid Teresa De Simone after he confessed to the murder while in prison for another offence.

But the 58-year-old was finally released last week after new DNA evidence came to light proving he could not have committed the 1979 murder.

Declaring himself 'ecstatic' as he left the Royal Courts of Justice last Thursday, Mr Hodgson headed straight for the pub for a pint with his brother Peter and the £46 prison discharge grant he had in his pocket.

But in a moment reminiscent of Rip Van Winkle - the classic story of a man who falls asleep for 20 years and wakes to find the world changed - Mr Hodgson immediately had to be stopped from lighting a cigarette, unaware of the smoking ban introduced in pubs nationwide two years ago.

Solicitor Julian Young said his client was upbeat but was finding especially difficult to adjust to life in the capital.

Describing the accident, Mr Young said: 'He was struck by the wing mirror of a taxi that mounted the kerb and taken to hospital where he had two stitches in his face.

'He's OK but I think he's struggling with life on the outside, and particularly in London. He's been in to see us and his spirits are up,' he said.

Mr Hodgson, who left prison with just £46 discharge grant, is now staying in a small hotel paid for by housing benefit arranged with the help of the Royal Courts of Justice's miscarriage of justice team.

Mr Young said work had now begun on Mr Hodgson's claim for compensation for the years he spent inside.

He added: 'We're hopeful things might be moved through a bit quicker for someone who has wrongly spent 27 years in prison.

'You might think a moral stand could be taken given the nature of the case.'

A Home Office scheme means compensation is capped at £500,000. But Mr Hodgson may make a further claim against the Forensic Science Service (FSS) after a blunder prevented him being released ten years ago.

In 1998, the FSS wrongly told his solicitors no scientific evidence had been kept from the murder scene behind the Tom Tackle pub, in Southampton, Hants.

Mr Hodgson was jailed for life for strangling Miss De Simone after her body was found in her Ford Escort in December 1979.

He confessed to the murder a year later while in jail for stealing a car - but later retracted his confession, saying he was a 'pathological' liar.

Despite this a jury convicted him of the grisly murder of Teresa, who also worked as an accounts clerk for a gas company.

Mr Hodgson appealed unsuccessfully against his conviction in 1983.

Although he continued to protest his innocence while being held in Albany Prison on the Isle of Wight, his case remained closed until he contacted solicitors last year.

Earlier this year, a review of the DNA evidence showed the genetic material found at the scene did not match a sample taken from him.

Police have now reopened their investigation into the killing of the 22-year-old.

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