A REDDITCH man given a life sentence for an attempted rape before his conviction was overturned has lost a High Court action in his fight for compensation.

Former postman Victor Nealon, 54, was told in December 2013 that after spending almost two decades in prison for a crime he did not commit, he was a free man.

He was given the news by appeal after a hearing in London ruled that fresh evidence made his conviction unsafe.

But judges, sitting in London, have dismissed his compensation case.

Mr Nealon’s law firm Jordans Solicitors, which will be appealing, said that the decision of the Divisional Court strikes at the very integrity of the justice system and what a modern society now expects.

"It cannot be right to send people to prison for decades, quash their conviction and then not compensate them for all that they have suffered," he said.

"A modern system of justice must accept its mistakes and put them right including compensating the victims who have suffered injustice.

"In the case of Victor Nealon there was clear evidence that suggested someone else was responsible for the crime he was convicted of, this led the Court of Appeal Criminal Division to quash his conviction."

He added that Mr Nealon, who upon hearing the news was "very disappointed", now has to prove his innocence for a second time.

A person who has been wrongfully convicted can now only get a payout if it is proved "beyond reasonable doubt" they had not committed the offence.

Mr Nealon, who spent 17 years in Wakefield Prison, was convicted in January 1997 for an attack on a young woman leaving Racquets nightclub in Redditch in 1996.

He denied attempted rape but was convicted after a trial at Hereford Crown Court and given a life term.

An appeal in 1998 failed.

Lawyers said recent forensic tests had revealed DNA traces from another man on clothing - raising fears of a miscarriage of justice.

The Advertiser reported in 2010 how crucial forensic evidence was left untested and independent tests carried out found matching traces of saliva and other DNA samples on the victim's blouse and bra from an unknown male.

The incident involved the victim walking home with a friend when she was grabbed from behind and forced to the floor.

Both women and a series of witnesses remembered seeing the attacker at the club, who was distinguished by an egg-sized lump on his forehead.

Mr Nealon, who did not have a lump on his forehead, was invited by police to join an identification parade where only two of the seven witnesses picked him out.

Speaking after his release Mr Nealon admitted that it would be difficult to adjust and stressed that he was keen to show his support to the victim and make sure that she gets justice, urging West Mercia Police to reopen the case.