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Thursday, August 26, 2010

The curse of the victimisation of gypsies

The curse of the victimisation of gypsies

When I received a 5 year sentence for arson, burglary and deception, I was transfered from Armley Prison in Leeds, West Yorkshire, to Walton Prison in Liverpool, Merseyside, only to be transferred to Wakefield Prison in West Yorkshire. There I met Henry, a gypsy/traveller, serving 12 years for allegedly raping a police superintendent's daughter. I say allegedly because Henry claimed that it was consensual, but when her father discovered who she had been with it could not have been consensual. In any event, I instantly took a liking to Henry and did not feel disposed to judge a fellow prisoner for a matter dealt with by the court. Nor am I prejudiced against gypsies/travellers/Roma, because they used to pass through our village when I was a young child and the fair would be in the field next to our house.

Henry was largely unable to read and write, I did teach him, but he could make very good match stick models of vardos. When we both separately ended up in Albany Prison, IoW, a prison visitor, a draughtsman by trade, saw Henry's models and asked if he could look at the blueprints. When I explained that he made them purely from memory the draughtsman was sceptical because of their accuracy measurement-wise.

The reason why I relate this little tale is because of this and this.

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