Adam - Interview 27
Age at interview: 22
Brief Outline: In 2005 Adam's brother, Lloyd, was murdered in the street. He was attacked by two men, who said that they were drunk at the time. Adam, his parents and friends were devastated. Since then Adam has worked hard to try to prevent other violent crime.
Background: Adam is a staff nurse. He is co-habiting. Ethnic background/nationality: White British.
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In 2005 Adam’s brother, Lloyd, was murdered in the street. He was attacked by two young men, who said that they were drunk at the time. They hit Lloyd over the head with a wooden sign, which fractured his skull.
Adam heard the terrible news when his father phoned to say that Lloyd was dead. Adam was in shock. He tried not to cry because he wanted to stay strong for his parents’ sake. When he told others what had happened he felt an urge to laugh because he couldn’t believe that Lloyd had died and he felt that he was telling a crazy bizarre story. He tried not to laugh because he knew that laughter would soon change to tears.
Adam was only allowed to see Lloyd after the autopsy, when he was already cold. Adam wishes he had been able to see him when he was still warm, soon after his death.
Lloyd’s funeral took place at the crematorium. There were over 1,000 people at the service and there was an RAF fly past to mark the event. The town held a one minute silence. Lloyd’s ashes are still in the family home. His parents haven’t decided what they want to do with them.
Adam tried to find help via counselling, but has not found it helpful. He found most support from family members and from friends who had known Lloyd, and who could talk about him and share memories together. At times Adam still feels very sad and upset about Lloyd’s death, but now some people expect him to have got over it and they forget that he might still be grieving. Adam believes in a spirit world and he is sure that Lloyd is still around him. This belief has been helpful.
Adam’s parents have found help via the Compassionate Friends. They also have wonderful friends who cooked meals and delivered food to the home during the early days after Lloyd’s death. Adam’s parents found this a wonderful help at a terrible time.
In August 2006 the two men were found guilty of Lloyd’s murder. They were sentenced to life in prison; one was given 12 years and the other 13 years. They will then be eligible for parole. Adam thinks that these sentences were much too lenient.
Lloyd’s things are still in his room. They have not been packed away. Adam says that it is hard to believe that Lloyd has really gone and that he is not coming back.
Since Lloyd died Adam has worked hard to try to prevent other violent crime. He gave a talk at the opening of an exhibition in his home town. The exhibition was called Anne Frank + You. He has also taken his power point presentation into schools and has talked to the children about the victims of crime and how violence can affect the lives of others. He has also started a website called Stand Against Violence. Adam is now making an anti-violence DVD, which he hopes will also be used in schools.
Adam was interviewed in January 2009.
When Adam heard news about Lloyds death he wanted to cry but almost laughed. He knew laughter...
SHOW TEXT VERSION
On the 25th September 2005 I had a phone call about roughly one o’clock in the morning. It was my Dad on the phone and I had to work the next day as well, so I was a bit angry at first because I didn’t know why he was phoning me, and I couldn’t make out what he was saying, I thought it was interference with the phone signal.
And then as I figured it out, I could hear that he was crying, and he said, “Adam, Lloyd’s, Lloyd’s been attacked, he’s dead”, and I remember that, well I just went into a daze really, I can’t even, I can’t even say I felt anything, I didn’t even feel sad, I didn’t I didn’t know what to think, I was just like a zombie after that. And they said that the police were going to come and pick me up and take me to the, to the hospital, so that I could meet them there and see him and things like that. I got dressed, I was wandering around the house just aimlessly, I mean my housemate was still up and he said you know, “What’s the matter?” And I said, “My brother’s been, my brother’s dead.” And I just didn’t, I didn’t have any sort of reaction on my face at all. Although to be honest and I don’t like saying it, because I think it’s a really weird thing, to react like but, I might as well be honest because other people might have reacted the same to news like that, I actually laughed, and I can never understand why, but then it happened again, I was with some friends and we were having a joke and a laugh just trying to lighten the mood, and I can remember we were laughing so hard our sides were splitting and I can remember because I was laughing so much it just suddenly turned into this horrendous amount of crying, but I managed to stop myself before it got like that, because there was this thing at the back of my mind the whole time saying, “Don’t cry, don’t be stupid,” you know, “Pull yourself together.” So, even now if I start crying, two sniffles later and then I stop because I feel stupid even when I’m on my own.
Why do you think you feel stupid?
I don’t know, it’s one of the things that was said to me by a member of the family, I don’t know whether, I don’t know whether it was that but I was told, “Be strong for your parents”, so every time I started to get upset I would choke it back, and walk away, anything to not let myself be seen crying and things like that. And I think as a result of that that maybe one of the reasons that I’m unable to cry as much now because I’ve got this built in thing saying, “Don’t, don’t cry, don’t be silly, be strong.” and going to back to before going to the hospital, my parents turned up in the end, and they said the police were unable to pick me up and take me to the hospital because they didn’t have enough police cars. They didn’t have enough resources. So my parents turned up.
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After Lloyd died Adam started a website called Stand Against Violence. He has had great support...
...but then like I say, it never made national news because there was a lot going on with the war in Iraq and stuff, and so it didn’t really make national news, and now as far as the campaign goes, and things, I have real support from the press. If I ever want the local gazette to print anything, they all print it, and if I ever, if I ever want the BBC to come and do something they will quite often agree to it, I quite often go on the local BBC radio.
Local ITV West they do a lot as well.
And they often keep in touch with me as well as me keeping in touch with them, to see what’s happening and whether there’s anything they can do to help. So I have so much support from so many different people, including the media. And they’ve never, not once has the media let me down in terms of said something, or printed something that I didn’t, that I’ve asked them not to print, they’ve never done that to me, and that’s why I will never, that’s why I never mind talking to the press, I don’t mind talking to people because generally speaking I’ve not had that experience of being screwed over, if you know what I mean.
You know because some people have that experience, don’t they? And they think, “I hate the press,” because you know they, you know print this, that and the other, but I think what they’re really thinking of is celebrity paparazzi people who will ignore your wishes, but they’re all very good, and they’re all very sensitive.
Adam had three different counsellors. It felt good talking to the counsellors, but the feeling...
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How have you found help for yourself? Did you go to your GP or did you seek any counselling?
I did have counselling, because people were a bit worried that I wasn’t facing it, because, because I wasn’t grieving very much, or, I wasn’t openly grieving and crying and a sobbing wreck like most of my family. Well, my Mum in particular.
Who arranged that counselling? Was it the NHS?
Two of my counsellors were from my college because I was a student nurse at the time. And one was from my GP’s surgery. And I didn’t find them particularly helpful. I tried, I tried the counselling because I thought well it might help. And I always found that for the time I was there I would talk to them about, I’d try and focus to talking about Lloyd rather than other problems that are going on and things like that, but I always found that, yes, I felt really good because I got it off my chest, and that feeling would last for about an hour until I got home, sat down, had a cup of tea, and then it would be back to normal, you know, it wouldn’t have really made a difference. And I tried it for a couple of months, and you know after going through three counsellors none of them really helped me that much, you know, not for want of them trying you know it’s not their fault it’s just me in particular, how I deal with things. I didn’t find it particularly helpful.
Were they professionally trained?
Yes, they were professionally trained counsellors. Even the ones at college they were properly trained counsellors. Obviously the one through the GP’s surgery she was properly trained.
When Adams brother died his belief in the spirit world helped him to cope with his grief. He...
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You mentioned a chapel. Do you have any spiritual belief yourself?
I’m, I am more of a spiritual person. I’m not really a religious person. And I don’t go to church. I don’t believe in you know, the Bible and stuff like that. I kind of just think it’s you know you shouldn’t need a building to be able to pray to somebody, you know you should, you know that’s your belief. I mean I believe that there’s a God and I believe in a spirit world, and that’s my belief. And some people question that but, that’s because that’s their belief, and…
But have your beliefs helped you in this, or not?
They have yeah. My beliefs have helped me in it a lot.
I’ve been sort of a spiritual person ever since I was about 17 and I’ve always sort of known of mediums and so I’ve seen a couple, but I’m more of a sort of person that go by myself, I’ll go by my own experiences, and my own…, I mean some people like to go and sit in Church, some people like to watch demonstrations from other mediums, and, I just I like to have my belief, but I don’t like to take it big, if you know what I mean. I don’t like to sit in big audiences and watch a medium do whatever on stage. I much prefer to just have my own subtle belief and not you know, I mean a lot of religions you’ve got the pressure of, you know you have to go to church, or you have to do this, you have to do things a certain way, whereas I believe in, in a God, I believe in the spirit world, and that’s enough for me. I mean I’ve had a lot of weird experiences, they were fairly recent experiences actually that, and very difficult to explain. I mean I’m not, I’m not an idiot and I will look at things in a logical way before I sort of jump, jump to conclusions or anything, but there are some things that have happened that you just can’t really explain and you think, “Wow. What was that?” Which is quite…
Can you give me an example?
Yes, I’ve seen things like, I was in work the other day and it was witnessed by a patient and a healthcare assistant. We have a tablet crusher so I was using that to crush up some tablets. I put it down on a patients table, and it moved across the table and I had to catch it before it fell off the edge. And I thought well, what could that be? Could it have been that there was some water there and I’d put it down and it got trapped, because sometimes it glides along water. But it was from a stationery position, and glided along the table. So obviously I checked the table for water, no water. And then I thought well I wonder if it’s a sort of same movement so I put it back down and pushed it with my finger and it was a jerky movement, like you’d expect on a, on a rough surface, and it’s just things like that. You know I’m not an idiot, I won’t jump into it and say, “Oh my God did you see that?”, if there’s a logical explanation. But I can’t figure out a logical explanation and it was witnessed by two other people. So it’s just little things like that.
So you had, what, what do you conclude from that?
I don’t know what I conclude from that, I think that’s just belief in there’s something else; it might have been a message of some description to say that, yes, you know just to confirm your belief.
Adam and his parents receive updates from the victim liaison officer. They are content to know...
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Does the family have any contact with the people who are in prison now? I mean not direct contact, but do you get reports from the probation service?
Yes, we have got a probation officer that keeps in touch with us every now and then, and they just let us know what is happening. Obviously we’re not allowed to know where they are, but they’ll let us know if somebody has applied for an appeal or they’ll let us know when their time is up, they’ll let us know when they’re coming up for probation and if they succeed in probation.
Does your family appreciate this contact with the probation service, knowing what’s going on, or would they rather just not know?
No, they do like updates from them to make sure, you know, just to see what’s going on, because anything could happen otherwise, I mean they could be out by now, or something like that, you know, anything could’ve happened, but you know it’s good to know so that we can appeal against their appeal if they, you know, if we feel it needs to be fought or whatever. We can do something about it.
Have the people in prison ever sent you a message or apologised?
Yes, one of them, the main guy that used the sign [the murder weapon], he wrote a letter to my Mum and his defence barrister came up and said, “Oh my client has written you a letter, would you like it?” And this was the guy that had a smirk on his face all the way through and swaggered out through the dock when he’d been sentenced, and you thought well, you’d know for sure that somebody else has written it, or they’ve at least told him what to write, and it’s in his own handwriting. You know there’s no way that somebody like that would ever feel guilt or feel sorry about what he’d done. Sick, sick person.
Did your mother want to look at it?
No, Mum, Mum, yes my Mum couldn’t care less, you know they did what they did, so they take the consequences. You know as far as we’re concerned what they got was not half enough. You know they should have got ten times more. And life should mean life for anybody that puts a family or anybody through that sort of grief, you know that’s changed the rest of our lives, that’s changed the life of everybody in our family and it’s changed friends' lives, it’s obviously extinguished Lloyd's life, and these people will be out when they’re 30. Life should mean life, so they should be you know locked up for life because they’ve ruined everybody else’s. Not just the one they’ve taken.
The liaison officers came regularly and kept them up to date with the murder investigation. Two...
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Yes, the police liaison officers were very helpful. They were very nice, they were very sensitive and any development in what had happened, you know, to do with the people that had committed the murder, they made sure that we had all the facts and kept us up to date, and they would visit us regularly, and they almost became like family friends really, you know, they were that close really. It was really good to have had that because you knew where you were at all times. And I know some people have had bad experiences with the police but we couldn’t fault them. And all the way through the court case they were, they were always there, and they used to take us down because it wasn’t in the local area. They used to drive us down there every day.
Did you have two police liaison officers did you?
Yeah. We had, we had two, and then I think there was a third, who was for Lloyd’s friends, and like the witnesses and the people that were standing, the people that were going to stand up and talk in the court case.
Adam was upset that no one was allowed to give his brother, Lloyd, a character reference in court...
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Witnesses, we had a couple of people take the stand, and another thing about the fair trial and everything, the defendants were allowed the character references, character, sort of people to stand up and say, “Oh he was a lovely boy, he used to come and baby-sit for me, we lived next door to each other, he used to mow my lawn.” But we weren’t allowed any of that for Lloyd, it was like Lloyd wasn’t, Lloyd wasn’t there to defend himself. Nobody could see what sort of person he was, they couldn’t say, nobody could stand up and say he was a lovely person, wouldn’t, wouldn’t hurt a fly, and they couldn’t know anything about him, yet they would allow somebody who is the defendant's next door neighbour, who knows the parents therefore is either going to make up an excuse for him, and say how lovely he is, or the parents probably threatened them that if they say anything horrible on the stand, they’ll get ‘em, because they’re those sort of families, you know the sort of, they come from the background, from the typical families that are violent.
Did the police liaison officers prepare you at all for what was going to happen?
They did, yes, we got to go down, they allowed us to go down and see the court, and see what it was going to be like, where we were going to be sat, and they talked us through everything, and anything we didn’t understand whilst we were in court. Our prosecution lawyer, the prosecution barrister we had, he always came and spoke to us, at the end of the day to explain exactly what had gone on, and if we had any questions. So I mean you can’t fault any of them, they were really, really good, the police, the courts, I mean unfortunately the justice system sucks, so obviously they, I mean they, they’re, the verdict was; one was found innocent, two were found guilty, and obviously of murder so that’s an automatic life sentence, but they only have to serve 13 years, because you’re given a, a length of time that you have to serve, and then after that you’re eligible for parole. And they were given 13 years, one was 12, one was 13. So not very long, considering they’ve taken a life at the age of 17, and they’re going be out when they’re in their thirties.
It helped Adam to talk to friends who had known Lloyd and who could exchange memories about him....
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Did you ever look at the internet at the time for any form of help?
No I didn’t. I didn’t do a lot of; I didn’t really look for support groups. I didn’t do anything. My parents started looking at the Compassionate Friends and they were talking to me about, “Oh I met this person on Compassionate Friends website, who’s lost a brother” or something like that, “and it would be nice if you could talk to them.” But I just, I don’t know I mean I, I couldn’t, it just didn’t interest me in talking to other people because, because like I said, you know everybody goes and experiences their things, you know, everybody experiences grief in a different way, and they didn’t know Lloyd whereas my friends, Lloyds friends, they all knew Lloyd, they knew what he was like, they all had memories, so we could exchange memories and talk about Lloyd and that made me feel better than, and I don’t suppose I’ve really faced it, I’ve never really had to, but, so even now I can still talk about him and not get upset, but I find that if I do get upset people tend to they don’t, unless you’re crying and sobbing you can’t, people don’t feel for you. And that’s something that really annoys me, really, it’s very disheartening to think that people are so short sighted that they can’t see beneath, you know, they can’t read you enough to know when you’re upset.