13 June 2006

Paisley students

When you are fighting an injustice there are times when nothing seems to move forward and you can feel very deflated and demoralised.  Then out of the blue something turns up that revitalizes you and lifts morale up yet again.  This week I received an email from one of the Paisley students who took it upon themselves to look at my case, especially the forensic evidence and their findings have been very helpful.  So to hear from one of them again and to realise he (Chris McGrory) is still taking an interest in my case is so refreshing and a much needed boost.  He left his message on "14 years on" in my blog.  The update on the case is the CCRC are still working on various avenues and my solicitor is also pressing ahead with different enquiries, so things are happening and I remain hopeful that I will hear positive news soon.  Thanks to everyone who continues to write, email and offer their support - it does give me strength.


Anonymous Nigel said...

What I find so moving about the whole saga, Susan, is that so many people have stood behind you through all these years, through thick and thin, from setback to setback (as for me - I'm just a latecomer by comparison!!). But for every unjustly adjudged person such as yourself, there must be many others not so fortunate. I think of Stefan Kiszko, who had only his indomitable mother to carry on the battle to free him, for the best part of 16 years. Likewise Donna Anthony, whose solicitor never lost faith in her innocence - even when, after the death of her mother, Donna had lost all hope of ever seeing the outside of a prison again. How many more innocent persons must there be, who because they've given up the whole prospect of freedom entirely, we know nothing about?

8:18 pm  
Blogger Susan said...

It is true I am so fortunate to have such great support from so many. It has sustained me throughout and still does. There will be prisoners who lose all hope because they fight alone. Despite being surrounded by others in jail, it can be the most lonely of places. I made some good friends whilst inside, but I recall times when I felt desperately alone!

8:20 am  
Blogger Alan said...

I would also describe myself as a latecomer. I didn't realize the extent of miscarriages of justice until I read Ludovic Kennedy's book, "Thirty-six murders and two immoral earnings". It is very difficult to imagine what it must be like to go to prison for something you didn't do, especially something as serious as murder. Nevertheless, I think it must also be very difficult when one comes out of prison, in the same way that it is difficult for hostages who have been released and go through an initial period of euphoria before sinking into depression, or so I've heard. I don't really know what I'm talking about, but I just imagine it must be very difficult to adapt afterwards.

6:40 am  
Blogger Susan said...

One either survives prison or you 'go under' and I think it is that very survival mechanism whilst inside that keeps you strong? There are of course times when you feel terribly low, when you feel you cannot cope and the very resources you draw on are empty. But because you are innocent somehow you manage to pick yourself up and carry on. Inevitably people may think that once out of the prison environment you will be fine? You are not. What has to be realised is that you come out damaged! Prison damages and added to that is the whole injustice of it all. I am still fighting to clear my name but I know of others who came out with their names cleared and they too are still struggling. Only someone who has experienced the nightmare of injustice and the horrors of being imprisoned for a crime you did not do can fully understand how difficult life after prison is.

8:42 am  
Anonymous Nigel said...

Not having "done bird" myself, it's only conjecture on my part, but I think that the question of whether you survive or go under depends on which prison you're in. I'm reading Angela Cannings' autobiography "Against all Odds" right now, and she makes the point that no two prisons are alike. Durham, where Angela spent about two months (with Rosemary West for company), was the hardest, but as prisons go in the UK, Bullwood Hall was easier, despite the coffee thrown over her by two of the inmates. Angela writes that at Bullwood Hall the food was decent, and the boss she worked for in the prison laundry was "...strict but fair".

In order to survive, I suppose it counts if you've got a sense of humour (not just in the Ronnie Barker sense!) too.

12:57 pm  
Blogger Susan said...

Yes Angela is right in saying no two prisons are the same, but when you know you should not be there in the first place, then it matters not how 'soft' a jail is I feel? I spent over 7 years in Durham and it is a most restrictive, confined jail, but I found my time in H.M.P Newhall in Wakefield very hard. Not all prisoners are awful. It certainly opens your eyes as to why some people end up in prison and to the social problems which need addressing in order to help reduce offending. It is so sad to see those with mental problems locked up in prison!! And do you know what - Rose West is not the worst person I met up with by far! Lots of stories are written about her but she keeps herself to herself and sadly is an easy target for other prisoners to say simply anything about her. She is locked up for life and maybe one day she will tell her side of that infamous story - which may change the way she is viewed!

7:36 pm  
Anonymous Chris McGrory said...

Hi Susan

I'm glad my message had the effect on you that it did. I don't think any of us can really appreciate how hard it must be to keep up the strength to fight on after all this time, for that I really admire you! As I said in my previous message I really hope you find justice soon!

12:04 pm  
Blogger janetngoodwin said...

I echo what Chris says - I hope you do find justice soon Susan. You must do and you will do. The work on your case that is going on behind the scenes seems to be grinding on so very slowly, but it is proceeding and it will be successful. Your name will be cleared. Those responsible for your wrongful conviction will be exposed. I do not know how they can sleep at night knowing what they have done to the life of such a lovely person.

4:47 pm  
Blogger Susan said...

Key Productions recently did a programme on my case which was aired on ITV Granada and you the Paisley students featured - so again my thanks for the work you did on the forensic issues in my case.

8:25 am  

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