16/05/2012 17:07 BST

Sam Hallam Appeal: Ray Winstone Criticises Police

Actor Ray Winstone today criticised the police and demanded answers after a man walked free after serving seven years for a murder he always denied.

The film and TV hardman, who said there had been "an outrageous miscarriage of justice", has campaigned for the release of Sam Hallam, 24, since he was jailed in 2005 for the murder of 21-year-old Essayas Kassahun.

Winstone's nephew Bobby Hopwood is Mr Hallam's best friend, and in 2007 he told ITV's Tonight With Trevor McDonald he had doubts about the conviction.

Speaking after Mr Hallam was released on bail at the Court of Appeal, he said: "So why did an innocent man serve seven years?

"For me it is the disgraceful unprofessional action of the police involved in this case.

"Action that has caused a terrible stress within the family of the Hallams."

The Londoner said Mr Hallam's family had been left "broken-hearted" by the "tragic suicide of Sam's father". Terry Hallam was found hanged in October 2010.

He said: "Sam is free, but has lost seven years of his young life. The family can now hopefully rebuild their lives

"But they can't bring Sam's dad back."

In a statement Winstone said Mr Hallam was nowhere near the scene of the crime, people at the scene said he was not there, he was not captured on CCTV and there was no evidence linking him to the crime.

"Someone must answer for this outrageous miscarriage of justice," he said.

"A young man lost his life. His family will never get over that.

"The killer is out there because the police involved in this case did not do their job.

"Who will answer for this miscarriage of justice?"