When I first came to the case almost seven years ago I found Jeremy had many campaigners and supporters. These people were all making a contribution to spreading the word of Jeremy’s innocence but what struck me was the lack of synergy between them. Many campaigners didn’t know each other and had very fixed ideas about how they wanted to support Jeremy, who was unable to manage and coordinate discrete groups of people from his confinement of prison.
During this period Jeremy had been waiting patiently for the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) to make a decision in his case. I was surprised the CCRC had initially made a refusal to refer to the appeal court in 2004. This was after many costly forensics in the region of £15,000 paid for by friends of Jeremy’s who desperately hoped to see him get the freedom he deserves.
This of course was deeply troubling for me to sit and watch especially with access to the submissions and forensic reports. I was baffled. Doing what I could to support Jeremy, some work colleagues and myself joined together to produce a new web site for him but I still wanted to see greater cohesion from supporters. This presented problems because of the range of geographical locations of those people and also the diverse nature of their personalities. Also, between 2004 and 2012 more forensics were carried out totalling almost £25,000 for further submissions to the CCRC.
After this, an early attempt to make supporters unite failed and eventually the team working directly with me were unable to commit long hours to the cause over many years. Each person’s contribution was valuable and to be honest by 2010 and the Guardian’s exposure of the fabricated scratch marks on the mantle, followed by the Daily Mirror’s publication of Jeremy’s alibi on their front page, we all thought the CCRC would make the vital referral to the Appeal Court. After the February 2011 provisional refusal by the CCRC, followed by the final refusal in April 2012, the campaign, lawyers and Jeremy were left knowing we needed to raise our game in this adversarial system.
During the summer of 2011 I had worked extensively with the dedicated support of Lorna Lake, a lady who knew a lot about mental health and took the time to discuss Sheila’s psychosis with me. Over a number of years Lorna and I had grown to be great friends and colleagues working for Jeremy. Lorna had made a number of contributions to the campaign through her many contacts and secured significant media exposure, as well pressing for forensic work to be carried out. Lorna pushed relentlessly to obtain more paperwork on Jeremy’s case and we tried a number of methods to obtain disclosure from the police without any joy.
Finally in September 2011 our search paid off and we obtained a transit full of documents disclosed after the 2002 appeal. Over 120 A4 Lever arch files had to be scanned and a document management system put in place. A lot of material was duplicated, it’s a common method of the police to ‘over disclose’ the same material up to ten times or more to try to overwhelm the defence with too much evidence to search through. Nevertheless, dedicated scanning meant that comparisons could be made of statements and in many cases the material wasn’t duplicated but edited. Vital evidence had been removed from the original copies disclosed to the defence pre-trial. After the documents were scanned and electronic copies sent to HM Full Sutton, Jeremy spent 18 months reading through this material at night on his ‘access to justice’ laptop, which was only available after ‘bang up’. Jeremy searched almost all the documents and produced material detailing what was in each folder and making comparisons. He also catalogued and referenced every single file and remembered the thousands of file names, recalling the reference numbers with ‘identic memory’ like capability I’ve never known in anyone. Eventually the ‘access to justice’ laptop reached the end of its ‘allowance period’ and all of the material came back to me in electronic format, totally catalogued and with word documents contextualising the evidence.
During this time Lorna had been recruiting campaigners who had offered to help us in an official capacity and along with others who had come to me directly, we began to form a more formal organization. All the people who are part of our management team were handpicked because we have the same ideas and vision about how the campaign should operate our top priorities, our ethics, co-operation and truth. About twelve months ago we decided to develop the company strategically and I discussed my ideas with Trudi Benjamin who then began talking to an accountant about possible legal entities for the campaign. Legal and forensic and even prison law for Jeremy is not paid for by Legal Aid. I was shocked to read more lies in a newspaper article claiming that Jeremy had obtained Legal Aid for a number of ‘parole hearings’ when of course he has never been entitled to a single parole hearing as a whole life tariff prisoner. No such financial claims were ever made, but all manner of journalists, muddled and incompetent writers with pre-conceived agendas, and sensationalist programme makers continue to make bad history of Jeremy’s case, life and person by using faulty theories, discarded narrative and superannuated chronologies of the case with the sole purpose of unethically lining their pockets.
After a long conversation with one of Jeremy’s legal representatives about funding forensic work I realised that her suggestions of raising money to help could be put into action but it would need to be carefully planned. The ethics surrounding raising money for prisoners maintaining innocence is always a divisive issue and this also had to be taken into consideration. It has been with extensive planning that Trudi and Pat Benjamin have been able to take the campaign to the next level as Directors of the Limited Company. We are sure that 2016 will see the release of Jeremy as a direct result of funds raised for forensics and promotion of Jeremy’s innocence in the media.
I also want to thank all of the campaign members Heidi, Trudi, Pat, Lorna, Matt and Yvonne as well as former official colleagues: Martin, Simon, James, Tom, Mel, Maria and Mark - without your help the campaign wouldn’t have reached where it is today.
Founder & Administrator