Today we meet *Frankie. Frankie tells us the heart-breaking story about her husband who has experienced a tragic miscarriage of justice, and is now stuck within the system.
Frankie tells us her side of the story, and the devastating effect this has had on their life, as well as the additional challenges, and worries, that lockdown has created.
All information which could show identities has been changed.
Please do get in touch if you would like to share your story, we are ready to listen.
Tell me a little about your connection with prisons. Is it yourself, a partner, friend, or other relative? Can you tell me a little about what happened?
My husband is in Prison. He was wrongly accused of a crime and found guilty in a Crown Court last year.
Was the situation a shock? Or did you know it was going to happen?
Yes, it was very shocking he did not come home one day, and then the Police turned up and raided our house. He came back a shadow f his former self the next morning. He tried to kill himself and he also took to drinking and smoking. On the last day of the trial we did not know he would be found guilty (as who goes to prison for something they did not do) or would he be remanded under judge’s remand with immediate effect. My whole life fell apart and I went into shock. I bruised my vocal cords for months it was very, very hard.
What is the main prejudice you had to deal with? How has this made you feel?
That my OH was convicted of a crime which is seen a disgusting by the public, and this is why we think the jury found him guilty. It has made me feel very scared for the future as he will be labelled forever.
What is the biggest, or most difficult thing you have had to deal with as part of your journey? Telling children for example, and how did you deal with this?
Having to restart my whole life, having to deal with the prejudice and the visiting prisons. Trying to keep my head above water whilst waiting for calls and letters. I lost everything, we had a very successful company which I had to close. I had to inform his family and hope that they knew he did not do this crime. The media coverage was hard, and it was posted on Facebook also. I had to stop looking at the comments.
What has surprised you the most about this experience? Can be good or bad. Maybe something you have learnt about yourself.
I am surprised that we both have got though the first almost a year, as if you asked us last year, we both would have said no we cannot do it. He is just a normal bloke in a prison full of people we would not normally socialise with and I am proud of him and the way he has coped so far. This lockdown has been the worst time as I have been so worried but ever time, he calls he tells me he is doing better. I am a strong person, but I have just had to change my mind set and it’s got me through this, and I didn’t know I would be able to do that this time last year.
If you could send a message to those who have judged you, or others in your situation, what would you say?
Do not judge a book by is cover. Just because someone is convicted of something does not mean they are guilty. I never thought I would ever end up in this situation so it can happen to anyone.
If you could say something to someone who was starting a similar journey to yours, what would you say?
I would say if I can do this then anyone can. Take each day as it comes and try not to predict the future
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I don’t know what the future holds, and I still wish he could have been stronger in the beginning as I could not talk to him about changing from the appointed legal team so they did not defend him as they saw him as guilty as well. I tried to help him in the 4 months before the sentencing, and spent 11.5k on a legal team who did nothing and he got the maximum sentence, purely because they said he did not show remorse. How can you be remorseful of something you never did? The evidence was shocking and poor, but because of the crime he was found guilty as well he is a man and men usually do these kinds of things. I hope that we can get through this. I have known him for 20 years and this is the longest I have not seen him for. We had ample character witnesses for him in court but it meant nothing, as they said he had hidden this life from all of us including me who he lives with and spends 80% of his time with. I really struggle knowing there are more people in prison in a similar situation and they prison service just don’t care, as we get labelled the same as they do.