Kiwi director Peter Jackson has been inked with the same tattoo as a man he helped save from death row.

The Southland Times reported Jackson and Damien Echols - one of three men who were accused of murdering three eight-year-old cub scouts in 1993 - visited a Queenstown tattoo parlour earlier this week to get tattoos.

The owner of the tattoo shop, Greg Burt, confirmed to the paper that both men had visited but refused to give any other details as "it was kind of special".

Jackson and Fran Welsh helped fund the investigation that led to Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelly being freed from an Arkansas jail in August under an Alford plea which let the men plead guilty and go free, but give up their right for compensation.


The men, known as the "West Memphis Three", spent 18 years in prison for the murder of eight-year-old cub scouts Steven Branch, Christopher Byers and James Moore.

New tests in 2007 from the crime scene proved negative for the trio's DNA and showed others were present when the three Cub Scouts were murdered.

Echols has reportedly been a regular on the set of The Hobbit in Queenstown, where the film is being shot.

Jackson had expressed sympathy for the way in which Echols in particular had been treated in jail.

"He has not seen sky for over 10 years. He has not had sun on his skin for over 10 years. He is shackled hand and foot whenever he leaves his cell. His eyesight has deteriorated."

- Herald online