Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Page 25

I was so down I could see no future for me, my life had ended. Perhaps my Mum was right, maybe I was all the things she called me. I couldn`t see how I was to face what had to come.

I got up the next morning, I felt terrible, my Mum said perhaps I should see the Doctor to see if he could help. I think the shock and realisation of what had happened, Jackie`s relatives visit last night had been the last straw. I said I wouldn`t as it was a bus ride away and I wasn`t going out unless it was life or death, until it was all over.

The New Year 1959 had come and gone I hadn`t even been aware of it. I looked a mess and I didn`t care, which was really unusual for me. I just couldn`t be bothered.
The next thing I knew the Doctor had arrived unbeknown to me my Dad had called him and explained the situation, surprise surprise he had read about it in the papers, so understood that I may need help.

He came asked me a few questions said todays papers would be tomorrows chip wrapping, which in those days was what they did wrap your chips in. He prescribed some anti-depressent tablets.
The tablets didn`t seem to help much but at least they helped me get some sleep, so I suppose they did help. I still felt really depressed, didn`t care if I washed or changed my clothes, just sat around all day feeling sorry for myself.

My Mum said to me one day that they had received some anonymous letters which were by all accounts pretty nasty, she hadnt let me see them as she thought it would give me more worries. Instead she had given them to the police and now they wanted me to act as a decoy to enable them to catch the person. The police came to talk to me and explain what was going to happen.
I was to stand outside the cinema in Rotherham and the police would be in plain clothes standing around and in the bus queue across the road, they assured me I would be in no danger because if I was approached they would immediately jump in.

It was all set for the next night an unmarked police car collected me from my house and dropped me off at the cinema. I was terrified but it had to be done. I was stood there for about 15mins and no-one approached me so the police woman came over to me and said the person wasnt likely to approach now, so off we went home. What an experience I never wanted to have to do anything like that again.

Time went by, at last a letter from our solicitor saying the court case was in two weeks time, this brought us into March 1959, three months of our lives had passed, I dont think any of us could believe it.

The absolute terror set in now, to have to stand in the witness box in front of a jury and be cross examined. I was sure I wouldn`t be able to open my mouth or pass out or something.
The solicitor came to see me and explain the order of things, there was still a possibility that Jackie could change his plea to guilty, then the judge would decide on the punishment if any, if this happened then I wouldn`t have to go in the witness box, it would go on what had already been said at the Magistrated Court, the jury would be dismissed. I hoped and prayed this would happen but of course we wouldn`t find this out until Jackie had once again entered his plea in front of the jury.

The day came at last, I cleaned myself up, made myself up and wore a smart outfit, it didn`t help much ,I still felt a nervous wreck, as my Mum and Dad did too. My Dad and I were led into the witness room, I had to run the gauntlet past Jackie`s wife and brother, we sat virtually opposite.

Eventually the barrister came out of the court room and said to my Dad and me that Jackie had changed his plea to guilty and that the judge passed a custodial sentence of 9 months with the reccommendation of being deported to Mountjoy Prison in Dublin. My Dad was pleased, I was pleased that I didnt have to face the jury but sad at the sentence then I remembered something Jackie had said ages ago when we were talking about things that scared the hell out of us, as you do, his greatest fear was to be put in Mountjoy Prison, now through my stupidity that is exactly where he would be spending the next 9 months. I was wracked with guilt, I could have avoided all this just by saying to my Dad that I wouldn`t see Jackie again after he received the letter from his wife.

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