Concern for jail hunger striker

The condition of a prisoner who has been on hunger strike for more than three weeks to protest his innocence of the murder of a Portsmouth woman was causing concern last night.

Michael Shirley, 24, a former Royal Navy rating, from Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, was convicted in January 1988 of killing a part-time barmaid, Linda Cook. He is awaiting a Home Office decision on a new inquiry, which includes DNA fingerprint tests on another suspect, that could prove his innocence.

Since starting his hunger strike on 26 June he has lost two stone in weight and has been moved to the hospital wing at Winson Green prison, Birmingham. His case is one of 110 alleged miscarriages of justice sent in a dossier to the Home Office last week.

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