A-Z

Terri - Interview 19

Age at interview: 43
Brief Outline: In 2003 Terri's son was stabbed to death in his home. His grandmother was attacked too. Three men were involved in the attacks. Terri was away. News of her son's death was very traumatic. Counselling, Compassionate Friends, family and friends have helped.
Background: Terri is a Health professional. She is married and has 3 children and 1 who died. Ethnic background/nationality: White British.

More about me...

In June 2003 Terri and her husband were on holiday in Cyprus. They had left their children at home with their grandmother. On the first morning of the holiday the police arrived and told Terri that their son, Ben, had been killed. He was just 16 years old when he died. This was a terrible shock. Terri howled, and fell to her knees, before finding her husband.
 
The airline managed to get Terri and her husband onto a plane within hours and they returned home to hear that Ben had been stabbed three times and that his grand-mother had been attacked too. She had facial injuries. Apparently three men, aged 17, 27 and 35, had chased Ben into the house, punched and kicked him and then stabbed him. The ambulance had been called, but he was dead when he arrived at the local hospital. Terri thinks that the 17 year old was jealous of Ben because he wanted to go out with Ben’s girl friend. It was this 17 year old who stabbed Ben to death. Ben’s young sisters, who were aged 8 and 4 at the time, were also in the house, and were shocked to see him bleeding to death.
 
Terri hardly slept for three days. She was worried about her mother and her daughters. She went to see Ben, who was in the hospital mortuary. The family liaison officer took her there. Terri spent some time alone with Ben and cried and cried. Later she also went to see him when he was in the funeral parlour.
 
After that there were numerous visitors, the police, the local priest and others. Terri felt that she was on auto-pilot. The coroner’s officer phoned to explain what would happen. The family liaison officer called every day to keep the family up-to-date with the police investigation.
 
Ben had two post-mortems. His funeral was a month after his death, on 12th July. It was held in a local Catholic church. It was a lovely funeral. About 550 people attended the service. There was a police escort and Ben’s headmaster from school gave the eulogy. Ben was buried. Terri is a spiritual person and believes that she will see Ben again. Criminal injuries compensation helped to pay for the funeral.
 
After Ben died Terri found it very hard to sleep. She found she could only get to sleep by drinking heavily. She was worried that she was going to die and got palpitations in the morning and felt agoraphobic. She realised that her heavy drinking had to stop so she went to the GP. He suggested sleeping tablets but Terri refused to take them because she was worried that she might find it hard to stop taking them. She managed to stop drinking but still finds it impossible to sleep all night.

Terri has had help and support from many different people, including family and friends. She saw a bereavement counsellor for 12 weeks. The counsellor used cognitive behavioural therapy and visualisation techniques to help Terri relax. Terri found it very helpful. This was all provided free. The police organised it.

Terri’s 8 year old daughter also had some one to one counselling. She also found help via Winston’s Wish. More recently Terri’s daughter has had some more counselling through the NHS. Terri has also attended weekends run by The Compassionate Friends, which have been wonderful. She has met other bereaved parents and has shared her experiences with them.
 
People from Support after Murder and Manslaughter (SAMM) also called at the house. They were also helpful and explained what Terri should do if she was not satisfied with the result of the court case.
A woman from Victim Support also called, but Terri did not think she acted in a professional manner and so asked her to stay away.
 
There was a short inquest, which Terri did not attend because she did not know it was taking place. The death certificate was issued, which stated that Ben had died from a stab wound to the left side of the chest.
The trial started in February 2004. At first the three men pleaded “not guilty”, but then, after some plea bargaining, the 17 year old pleaded guilty and was convicted of murder and the other two were charged with grievous bodily harm. The one convicted of murder got 12 years minimum. The other two got four years in jail and were out in 18 months. Terri was horrified at the lenient sentences and so she appealed to Lord Goldsmith, but she did not succeed in changing the men’s jail sentences.
 
Terri still misses Ben very much indeed, and sometimes cries when she sees his photo. However, she says that as the days go on the pain does get a little bit less. She is sure that Ben is with her and that he is proud of all the family.
Terri was interviewed in 2008.
 

Terri was on holiday when her son Ben was stabbed to death by a young man who had been...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

Me and my husband were going away to a wedding. My, my friend, very good friend was getting married in Cyprus. So it was all booked and planned and had been done for about 12 months and the plan was that my mum was going to come to my house, look after the children while myself and my husband went away.

 

Everything was hunky-dory. Off we went. We arrived in Cyprus late on the 16th June and went down for breakfast the following morning. I changed some currency, sat by the pool and the concierge came looking for me. And I presumed it was something to do with my passport. We’d had a bit of a joke because it was about 9 years old my passport and I looked very different. And I was ushered into a room and there was some very official looking people there, so I knew straight away something, it was something quite serious. And they asked me to confirm my name and date of birth and the lady said to me, “I’ve got some terrible news”. And it was a gut feeling, I knew straight away it was Ben. I just said, “It’s Ben, isn’t it?” And she said, “Yes. I’m sorry to tell you but he’s been killed.” So firstly I thought it was a car crash and the next thing I was just on my knees on, on the floor in this room screaming. I just don’t know where it came from. I just started howling. And my husband heard me. He, he was by the pool and I said, “What’s happened, what’s happened?” And she said, “He’s been stabbed. I’ve got no other details. We need to get you home.” And I said, “I need to ring my mother.”

 

So they gave me the phone. Unbeknown to me my mother, my mother had also been attacked which I didn’t know at the time. I rang my mum’s and my brother answered the phone and he said, “Look, Terri, just get home.” I said, “What’s happened with mum, what’s happened?” He said, “We’ll tell you when you get back.”

 

There were very good people at the hotel. They got me, me and my husband into a taxi almost immediately and we were on a plane within about an hour and a half. I drank a litre of brandy believe it or not and I don’t’ know how I walked off that plane. But I did, I just felt so violently sick. So arrived home literally a few hours later, to be told that three people had come into the house late evening, into my family home. They’d chased Ben down the road.

 

He’d come home from his job at about eight o’clock at night and unbeknown to Ben these three men were waiting for him at the end of our cul-de-sac. They didn’t know who he was. One of them did but the other two sort of had a description of him. They chased him down the road. He ran into the front room, just literally opened the front door and ran in and said, “Grandma, there’s somebody after me.” My mum had just got out of the shower, she was still in her dressing gown, and, and my daughters were downstairs. And the next minute there was, there was three men, aged 27, 35 and 17 raining blows on my son.

 

Just started to batter him. And my mum had no idea what was going on. The next thing my mum was punched and kicked and knocked to the ground and she was, she lost consciousness for a few minutes. When she came round Ben came staggering into the lounge with three stab wounds, one which had pierced his heart. And he, my mum just said, “Who, who is it Ben, who’s done this?” He named that, the man that had done it and the next door neighbour came and tried, tried to resuscitate him. And the ambulance came He were, he was taken to the local hospital but was dead on arrival.

 

We’ we’ve since found out, obviously during, well basically during the next 24 hours that the younger of the the three, who was seventeen, had had a grudge against Ben for seven months over a girl. The seventeen year old had been out with a girl who'd finished with him in favour of Ben. Ben had started going out with this girl for a couple of months, the relationship had even finished, but he'd been emailing people telling them how much he hated Ben and that he was jealous of him. Ben was the captain of the football team he was, obviously i'm very biased, he was a beautiful looking boy.

 

Terri could not sleep after her son was murdered. She relied on alcohol, could not sleep, became...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
So how are you over all this time? You told me about your terrible state of shock and not being able to sleep to start with.
 
Yes, that went on for a long time. I was completely, couldn’t sleep. I was drinking probably a couple of bottles of wine every night. I just could not get to sleep. It was horrendous. The first four months I became quite agoraphobic which anyone that knows me knows that’s not me, I’m a very, very sociable person. I hated any noise. I couldn’t stand the telly or the radio on. I couldn’t bear it, it was just unbelievable. So I just didn’t have any form of communication in the house at all. I couldn’t stand it. I wouldn’t go out shopping. I got palpitations all the time, especially in the morning when I woke up. My heart was fluttering. I used to think I was going to have a heart attack. It was just all these symptoms. And I just couldn’t sleep. The only way I could get to sleep was to have wine.
 
Oh dear.
 
And then I realised I was on the slippery slope really. And I thought this has got to stop. I need to get back to work. Ben died in the June so the girls were off all over summer. So I had like the rest of July, August, the beginning of September with the children. And then when they went back to school, I was lost really.
 
And that’s when I started to, to really feel it.
 

Journalists were intrusive and kept phoning the house. Terri’s brother emailed the local paper to...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
What about the press? How’s that been?
 
At the time I couldn’t stand it because they were ringing up and wanting to speak to people and my brother works for Yorkshire Television and he’s quite high up there and he was very annoyed at some of the coverage that, not the coverage, the intrusion of people who kept phoning the house. And so he emailed a very, very abrupt email from work to the local paper. And, and I think he must have put some, whether it be legislation or not to, to be intrusive and as from that moment they backed off. They rang up my liaison officer to say, ask if they could take pictures of the funeral and I said no.
 
I didn’t want all that. I don’t like all that intrusiveness. I’ve never had my picture in the paper or anything, I didn’t want it.
 
You know, because I think I’ve got two children here that need protecting and I didn’t want everything to be hyped up. So I, I said no to that. And I said no to anybody coming to the house and speaking to me. Yes.
 
You said there was a lot in the papers…
 
Yes.
 
Was it accurate?
 
Yes it was. It was all accurate. And it was very nicely written. The local journalist is a lady and she wrote some lovely, lovely tributes to Ben and everything was 100%. Yes. I did give them some pictures. They asked for some photographs. Not of me or my children, of Ben.
 
And things like that. Because they even put the, they even put your house, the front, your front door in with the number on. So everybody knew where we, what, what, what number we lived at because of, it’s just little things like that. And we had people calling round, I’d never met before in my life, and knocking on my door. It’s really difficult.
 
But, they were only doing it out of goodwill.
 

Terri saw a bereavement counsellor for 12 weeks. The CBT and visualisation helped her to cope...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Do you get any professional counselling?
 
I did. I went, I went to the local centre and I saw a lovely lady for 12 weeks.
 
Was that paid for by the National Health Service?
 
Yes, it was paid, the police I think paid for it, yeah.
 
Did they? And can you describe what happened? Did they say it was any particular sort of counselling?
 
Bereavement counselling.
 
Yes.
 
And I saw a lady who did some  what you call CBT, cognitive behavioural therapy, and visualisation, to help me relax.
 
So I would sit there and close my eyes and pretend, say I was on a beach somewhere, because I was stressed all the time and like I said my heart palpitations and things. Talked a lot about the grieving process. And, and how it was affecting me and my children and things. She’s really good. She just listened. I did most of the talking. And she sort of guided me. I don’t know what I would have done without her to be honest.
 
I think that’s really important. Can you, cognitive behavioural therapy, can you explain a little bit more about what actually happened during a session?
 
She well I had a phobia that I was going to  it sounds daft now but I kept thinking that I was going to die.
 
I had this terrible fear of death all of a sudden. And I used to go to bed at night and have my mobile and the landline by the bed because I was convinced that I was going to have a heart attack in the night. This just came out of grief. They said it was grief that had caused it, because I’ve never had any problems like that before. I was also frightened of getting in the bath because it, I don’t know where that came from, I just, I always had this thing that something was going to happen to me while I was in the bath. It was bizarre really what, what you’re brain does to you. And it was all to do with my heart and it was because everybody kept saying, “Oh, you’ve got a broken heart”. And she said that this is where this heart thing’s come from. “You’re thinking broken, it’s not going to mend and something’s going to happen”.
 
So she used to say to me, and it sounds daft but it worked, “Whenever you get a flutter in your chest, point to your heart and say, ‘Look, stop it now, there’s nothing wrong with you and I’m getting on with the rest of the day’”. And I did. And I used to feel daft. I used …
 
And you felt daft?
 
Yes, I used to get in the bath and think, flutter, flutter, flutter, it was anxiousness. Because I look back now and I know, but at the time I didn’t, and say, ‘Right, enough’. And she said, “Take the phone away from the bedside cabinet. Nothing’s going to happen to you. Take your phone away because the fact that it’s there and you’re rolling over in the night and seeing it and then it’s bringing you back to the fact that you think something bad’s going to happen”.
 
So I did everything that she told me and it worked.
 
She helped you to think in a different way.
 
Yes, yes.
 
And then the visualisation? She …
 
That was just helping me relax. There’d be, what, one session I’d be on the beach somewhere, another time it would be walking through the woods and there’d be a stream and lots of green grass and sunshine. And just to take your mind off things.
 
It sounds really good.
 
Yes, she was great.
 

After Terri’s son was murdered, a woman from Victim Support called on her, but Terri did not...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Did Victim Support get involved at all at this stage?
 
Yeah.
 
Can you say a bit about their involvement?
 
If you, I didn’t like, I didn’t like the lady. I, I didn’t like them. Sorry to say that. But
 
We want you to be honest…
 
She came round and she was absolutely bizarre. She came here and then ranted and raved for 10 minutes about another case that she’d been working on, which I just thought was really unprofessional. Naming names. And going on about why did I not feel bitter at the fact that what had happened with the court case, because this is how she would feel. And I asked her not to come after that.
 
She was a volunteer in her late 60s and a very, very angry woman.
 
How strange.
 
Ohh. And, and the irony of it was that she’d been to see my mum and my mum had got the same opinion but didn’t want to tell me because she didn’t want me to have any opinions of her before she arrived. And we both; and, she’s only professional I met in the whole of it where I thought, “Good God, you, you’re not in the right job.”
 

Terri found Compassionate Friends on the internet. There were no local groups but she went to...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I joined Compassionate Friends. That was after about a year.
 
Can you tell me about what they do?
 
Yes. Well, I went on the website one night when I was absolutely despairing and I put on it, “Help, for someone who’s lost a child.” And that link came up. And Compassionate Friends, at the time, they haven’t got one now, had a forum. So I went on and said this is me, and I’ve lost a child, I’m absolutely in despair, can anyone speak to me? And within literally a few hours I had about 50 emails.
 
It was great. People were sharing their experiences. And I met a very close friend who I’m still in touch with today. And we meet up once or twice a year. Lost her son, similar age and [sirens in background] it also has gatherings every year for bereaved parents, either down south. So you go for the weekend. And you can just; I can be Ben’s mum that weekend without having to worry about upsetting other people, if I’m feeling a bit sad. And you meet all the parents.
 
Do you think you could say a bit more about Compassionate Friends. You said that they had gatherings every year?
 
Yes.
 
Could you say a bit about those?
 
They’re absolutely lovely, because you go Friday to Sunday. You get to meet, there’s usually a couple of hundred parents that have gone that have lost children. And they do workshops. So you choose your workshop. It might be, ‘Death by suicide’, ‘Traumatic death’, ‘Death for parents that only; that have got no surviving children’. And you go on the workshops, which are in small groups of eight to ten and you all share your experiences, the good, the bad and the ugly really. And talk about things and the grieving process and, you know, sort of we all talk about our children and how they’ve died. But that’s very brief, and, and you share your experiences and you try and help other people, for the newly bereaved that are there.
 
Some of them have only lost their child six month ago. So its, you feel like an old-timer after you’ve been going a couple of years and you can, you can help them because when you’re in that level of despair you don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s nice for someone to say to you, “Well this is me, and I, I’ve made it and you, you’ll be all right.” Because at the time you just don’t think you’re ever going to survive.
 
So it’s very, very good, Yes.
 
And at the end of the day do they have a meal together?
 
We all have a meal. We all go to the bar. It’s not a morbid experience at all. Meet some other people. We have a laugh. We go to the bar. And then on the second evening in the afternoon we all go out for a walk and we all have a balloon with our child’s name on and release the balloon, which is lovely.
 
Lovely.
 
And in the evening we have a sit down meal. And it’s great because I meet up with people I only see once a year. And some, some of them have been going 25 years.  
 

After Ben died Terri made a Victim Personal Statement. She was annoyed that it was not read out...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Did you have to make a Victim’s Statement?
 
Yes, it wasn’t even read out. They didn’t even read it out. It was, you, you had to be there, honestly, to see what a farce it was. And then they wonder why people have got no faith in British justice.
 
Can you explain what a Victim…
 
Yes, a Victim Personal Statement is, my liaison officer came round to the house and basically said, “How has your son’s death affected your life?” And to me, I think how can you put that onto two sheets of A4 paper?
 
It’s bizarre. But I did. And told them all about plans for the future, about how I was much looking, how I’d always wanted a son, which I had.
 
No disrespect to my girls. I just thought if I have a son, I desperately wanted a boy. And I told them all about that and how I’d worked hard to get a good career to support him and how that post, posthumously he had got 9 GCSEs. That came a week after his death. All of it really. And what a void it had left in my life. 
 
But, that, that wasn’t read out. That’s another annoying thing because them three get to read everything that I write and feel and yet we get to see nothing.
 
So the judge will have read it.
 
Yeah, and, and they read it as well. The three people that killed him, they read it.
 
Do they?
 
Yeah. Oh, yeah they read it.
 
Did you ever get an apology?
 
No, never. In fact one of them smirked at my mum when he was going down after getting four years. He stopped and looked at my mum and smiled. A 35 year old man doing that. They were just, they’re just low lives.  
 

Ben had a ‘wonderful’ funeral. Over 500 people were in the church. Terri thinks that Ben would...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Do you want to say any more about his funeral?
 
It, it was lovely. And I just thought to myself, “Well if Ben’s up there watching”, which I believe that he was,” “he’d have been laughing” because he had a police escort and I can just imagine him thinking, “Oh my God.” And  there was 550 people in the church.
 
Wow.
 
Yeah, he was a popular, he was a lovely boy. And obviously there had been a lot of publicity in the area about his murder and there was a lot of people that was horrified because it was just completely motiveless. You can’t use jealousy as a reason to go and kill somebody. And the fact that my children had been there, and my mum was 63 at the time had been so badly assaulted. It was, it was fantastic. It was, he had a lovely eulogy by his headmaster at school. Lots of friends and family there. It was wonderful. It was a lovely day. And they were, they were great. They closed all the roads off from the church up to the crematorium so that all the cars could get there. And, and I just thought, well he’ll be laughing now.
 
Seeing the policemen on their bikes.
 
Guiding his hearse. So when it went past the school and stopped and all the pupils  were at the windows, it was lovely. Yeah. 
 
Text only
Read below

Two weeks after Ben died Terri's four year old daughter attended group counselling. Her eight...

HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I didn’t sleep for a couple of days, and my main concern, I believe, at the time was my children, my girls.
 
Of course.
 
Because they were completely traumatised, as was my mother. So a lot of my energy was like trying to, to sort them out and I dealt with myself after.
 
Did you get any professional help for them at the time?
 
Yes, at the time, yes, we got some very good counselling at one of the local centres which was arranged by our family liaison officers – we had two, a male and a female [officer], who were absolutely brilliant. And they did everything really for us, and arranged some counselling which they [the children] probably got about two weeks after Ben’s death.
 
The youngest went to group counselling. She was only four at the time and there were lots of little children there that had lost either a parent or a sibling, mainly through terminal illness. And basically she just, it was just, I think, to get her out of the family home. She did crayoning and, and you drew pictures of the person that you’d loved and lost. She was on the floor doing crayoning and things like that. It wasn’t one to one, whereas with the older girl she had one to one counselling with a lady and that was for about eight weeks where she talked about her feelings and did a memory book.
 
Did that help her?
 
It did help her, yes, yes.
 
Again, was that organised by the police?
 
Yes, it was all organised by them. It’s private counselling. Very difficult to get on the NHS they said, there was a very big waiting list.
 
How are the girls? Are they alright?
 
My elder daughter’s actually just restarted some counselling. She was eight, nearly nine when she lost her brother and she’s now 14 and doing very, very well at school but last couple of months have been very tearful.
 
I think it’s because she’s getting to the age now where she’s realising how much Ben has missed out on. And I spoke to a local paediatrician who I know and he said it’s very common for a child that’s had a very traumatic experience, for things to sometimes manifest themselves during teenage years. It’s all the hormones and everything going on. So she’s been seeing a bereavement counsellor. She saw her last week and she’s seeing her again in January.
 
Is that organised by the National Health Service?
 
Yes.
 
So you haven’t got to pay for that?
 
No.
 
Oh that’s good.
 
No. And yes they’re alright.  
 
Text only
Read below

Terri found the Winston's Wish website for her older daughter, which helped her. Through the...

HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Did you find any other help from the Internet?
 
I can’t remember the name of it now. I found one for my children. It was a sibling website. I can’t remember the name, it escapes me. And I got my daughters to go on it. And that was children, all under 16, sharing their experiences.
 
Did she find that helpful?
 
Yes, yes, very much. The elder one did. Yes, she met a couple of young girls on there that had lost a sibling, so yes. Winston’s Wish, that was it. Yes. 
 

Terri said the liaison officers were ‘fantastic’, but one upset her when he turned up without...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Well, if I could say one thing about my liaison officers, they were fantastic. If there’s one criticism about them I think that sometimes they can be, one of them was a little bit insensitive because literally 18 months after my son’s death he turned up one Sunday afternoon. I was cooking the Sunday dinner. He didn’t ring, and he came to my front door here, my front door here and he said, “Hiya Terri, here’s Ben’s shoes.”
 
And it ruined my day. And I couldn’t believe he’d done it. No phone call. You see to him it’s just a pair of shoes, but it’s my son’s shoes that he was wearing while he was killed. And it might only be shoes to them but it’s not to me.
 
And I couldn’t believe it. He just passed them me, not even in a bag. “Here you are.” And that was it. I was crying my eyes out because I smelt them and everything.
 
No warning or anything. And it’s all in the line of duty. And I think sometimes you’ve got to step back and put yourself in, in the shoes of the victim, haven’t you? And think, you know, how would, how would I feel if it was my child?
 
A bit more empathy. But apart from that they were brilliant, I can’t really be critical.
 

There was lots of paper-work but the funeral director helped. He let her see Ben’s body when she...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
What about the role of the funeral director, the undertaker?
 
He was lovely. Had a young man who was probably in his late 30s, he’d had two sons himself, he had a lot of empathy. He was lovely.
 
And he cried with me. And they were very, very good at,  letting me go, just ringing up and letting me go and see Ben. And the service, everything, I couldn’t fault them they were fantastic. Yes.
 
Did they help you organise the service then?
 
Yes. They, they did everything really because I couldn’t really, I, I’d never planned a funeral before and it’s very difficult when you’re in such a distressed state. So they just asked me what music Ben liked, did a [service] sheet for him, asked me if it was OK. And they did everything.
 
Did they?
 
Yes, yes, which was very good.
 
So was his funeral held at the crematorium or….?
 
It was at the local Catholic Church.
 
Oh how lovely.
 
Yes.
 
So the funeral directors helped you find that, the church?
 
Yes, sorted out the church. The priest came round to see me. They were, they were very good, and what day I wanted. I wanted it on a Friday. Yes, great.
 

 

So did the funeral director then go and collect Ben’s body from the hospital?

 
Yes, they did. They collected the body from the hospital. Then they came round to see me and I filled in all the paperwork. Which was quite, you don’t realise how there’s so much involved. Because then you’ve got to choose your plot and you’ve to apply to the council for your plot of land where you want the burial.  Gravestone, they did everything. Even where to get a gravestone from, because I didn’t know. And, and, you know, help you with the wordage and what do you think you want on it. And things that you want to put in the paper. So he, they were very good.
 
Do you mind me asking how much it all cost? Because some people might not realise how much…
 
The funeral?
 
Yes, the funeral director and everything that he did to help you.
 
The bill was just under £3000. But that, that’s reimbursed because, because Ben was murdered, the criminal injuries pay for that. We, we outlayed it at the time obviously and they reimbursed us about a year after.
 
 
Text only
Read below

The trial was very stressful. Two men were convicted of grievous bodily harm and one of murder....

HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
We got to the Crown Courts for the first day and I had to, I was sat in a separate room with my mother, and then went into the actual court and it’s just lots of hanging around. It’s so stressful. You’re just hanging around for hours. No-one tells you what’s going on. And then they said, “A few witnesses here, we’re going to have to adjourn today and go home.” That was after being there for about six hours. So we went home. And I started to get a bit of a bad feeling to be honest that something wasn’t right. I got back the second day and they said that the expert witness for the younger male had pulled out of giving evidence. He was trying to get off on the grounds that he had  ADHD and she’d said, “Oh yes,” and then I think she’d, at the end she’d decided that no it wasn’t an excuse for his behaviour.
 
Then they called me and my ex-partner in and said, “Oh the bad news is that the, we’ve done some plea bargaining and the elder two, the 27 and a 35 year old are going to we’re not going to charge them with murder. We’re going to charge them with Grievous Bodily Harm.” I just couldn’t believe it.
 
And the other one has pleaded guilty.
 
To murder?
 
To murder. He took the rap for the other two. Without a shadow of a doubt. I went ballistic, at the CPS. But they just, it’s like they’ve just got no heart.
 
So they, they…
 
They, it’s just so clinical.
 
...did they discuss it with you at all?
 
Oh, no, oh no, not at all. You get to know nothing. No decisions, they just called us in and said, “This is what we’re doing.” And it’s like it or lump it. So we then went back in, all the jury were there and the judge got up and said there’s a decision been made, the elder two, he named them, they were there, are not guilty of murder and they are to be done for Grievous Bodily Harm. And then the youngest lad he said, who’s, who’s, who’s 18 today like it was, you know, let’s all wish him happy birthday, has pleaded guilty to murder. Well, well done for pleading guilty. Oh it was just, it was a joke.
 
So the other two got four years. And they were out in 18 months. Well that’s another tale. And the other lad got 12 years minimum.
 
You said you had to be a witness. Were you called as a witness?
 
None of us were, nobody was because they made the decision without even consulting us. Never spoke, and what they did to my mother, the judge said we’ll leave it to lie on file. So my, my mother was no longer classed as a victim. The fact that she’d been battered, they said, because they’d pleaded guilty to Grievous Bodily Harm and to murder we’re not going to charge them with what, what they’ve done to you. My mum was devastated by that. It was, I was just really disappointed. So I appealed.
 
And how do you go about doing an appeal?
 
Well, that information I’d got from SAMM. So it was, it was so good that they’d been to see me because I would never have known about that. And I appealed to Goldsmith, Lord Goldsmith. I went through my MP who was absolutely fantastic.
 
I rang his office and asked if I could make an appointment to see him. I went with my ex-partner, Ben’s dad, and we sat there and he was furious. He said, it’s, all the papers said it was a joke, the trial. There, there was lots of ba
Previous Page
Next Page