Sir Peter Jackson gets 'special' tattoo

Sir Peter Jackson after getting a tattoo at White Tiger Tattoo in Queenstown
1 of 3Phil Turnock
Sir Peter Jackson after getting a tattoo at White Tiger Tattoo in Queenstown
Sir Peter Jackson after getting a tattoo at White Tiger Tattoo in Queenstown
2 of 3Phil Turnock
Sir Peter Jackson after getting a tattoo at White Tiger Tattoo in Queenstown
Damien Echols at White Tiger Tattoo in Queenstown
3 of 3Phil Turnock
Damien Echols at White Tiger Tattoo in Queenstown

Sir Peter Jackson has had a matching tattoo inked in Queenstown along with a man he helped save from death row in the United States.

Jackson and his partner, screenwriter and producer Fran Walsh, helped fund a seven-year investigation that eventually led to Damien Echols - at present in New Zealand - and Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelly being freed from jail in August.

The men were accused of murdering eight-year-old Scouts Steven Branch, Christopher Byers and James Moore in West Memphis, Arkansas, in 1993. Misskelly and Baldwin were given life sentences. Echols was sentenced to death and was on death row.

RELEASED: Damien Echols
Getty Images
RELEASED: Damien Echols

Jackson was in Queenstown this week filming The Hobbit and it is understood he and Echols visited White Tiger Tattoo, in Cow Lane, on Tuesday to get tattoos.

Tattoo shop owner Greg Burt confirmed the men were there and had the tattoos done, but declined to give more details.

"It was kind of special. I'd like to respect them for it."

Sir Peter Jackson
Sir Peter Jackson

In 2007, new DNA tests showed the three men were not linked to the murders and in August they accepted a bargain known as an "Alford plea", that allowed them to publicly proclaim their innocence in exchange for pleading guilty in court and giving up their right to seek compensation for a miscarriage of justice.

Jackson has since said that despite their release from jail it was "very difficult to suppress a deep anger" at the lack of justice.

The Southland Times