The family of a man convicted of killing his girlfriend are yet to raise a penny towards an appeal hearing to clear his name.
Luke Walker was convicted of causing the death of his girlfriend Chelsea Hyndman while on holiday in Crete by a Greek court following a two-day trial earlier this year.
The 24-year-old has always protested his innocence and his family has backed him in his battle, which has proved costly in legal bills.
After his conviction Luke’s grandmother gave her life savings towards a £8,522 bail surety to bring him home after he appealed, which resulted in an eight-year prison sentence being suspended.
But today, the family from Brierley Hill are yet to begin saving for the appeal hearing next year – instead they are still paying off debts accumulated from the initial trial.
A £17,000 solicitor’s bill is yet to be paid from the trial and they are still paying off thousands of pounds in credit cards and loans.
Luke’s older brother Ryan, aged 31, said: “We are in a nightmare – it’s almost like we are beyond help right now.
“We want to save but we are so stretched at the moment by paying off the last trial and solicitors bills that we can’t yet start putting money toward the next hearing yet.
“We’re paying off three to four credit cards, a couple of mortgages and a loan – I think it is about £50,000 worth in total.
“We think the next trial is going to cost another £20,000 to £30,000 as we have to fly everyone out there, the witness and medical people – we have to pay for the whole lot.
“But we have to do it, we have to clear Luke’s name. We have thought about what if we can’t, of course, but we must believe. We’re praying we win the lottery, or anything.”
Ryan has moved out of his parents house in Gayfield Avenue, Withymoor, ahead of his parents Patrick and Lindy selling the family home to rent another property in the area.
He said: “We wanted the best possible defence, but it has cost us and now we are paying for it, plus we have to start all over again now. We’ve ended up losing everything, it’s been a really difficult few years for everyone connected.”
Ryan works alongside his father Patrick, runs Walker’s Electrics in Brierley Hill.
“We hope the equity from the house will pay off the debts and leave us a bit of money for going back over there,” said Patrick. We have to find somewhere to rent, it is sad, because everything we have done for our lives has gone. But at the end of the day it’s our son and we will do everything for him to prove his innocence.”
The jury at the Mixed Criminal Court of Heraklion heard how Chelsea, from Castleford in West Yorkshire, had died after she was taken to hospital with abdominal pains. Chelsea, who lived with Luke on the island, was pronounced dead on May 17 2010 from acute peritonitis, having suffered deteriorating health for a fewdays.
Greek prosecutors claimed she was beaten by Luke – but Luke said the injuries came from when she fell on a cobbled street during a night out 10 days before she died.
Luke was initially charged with murdering Chelsea, but this was downgraded to a lesser charge of grievous bodily harm leading to death. The appeal is expected to take place at the end of May next year.