Oak Vale/Meaders Road - Crime Trilogy Part 3
The final part of a trilogy of crime essays. This looks at how victims of crime are treated. The perspective of how the UK justice system can often appear to be loaded in favour of the criminal is considered, together with strategies on how crime victims can turn negatives into positives.
How Crime Injustice Victims Can Turn Negatives into Positives.
This article is the third of a trilogy of essays examining the causes of crime and anti-social behaviour in the United Kingdom. This article focuses on victims injustice, and how the criminal justice system can often appear to favour the criminal rather than the victim on the receiving end of their crime. A small Cul De Sac Meaders Road, in Ryde on the Isle of Wight is further examined as a case study in which a formerly peaceful area was turned into a crime hotspot, to the extent that the author and family were effectively driven out of there home within 3 months of a new estate and connecting walkway being built. Despite all the inherent injustices, the article attempts to adopt a positive slant, with strategies and anecdotes on how to turn a negative crime experience imposed onto victims (survivors) into a positive.
An audit titled ‘Summing Up: A Strategic Audit of the Criminal Justice System’ was published in June 2011 by the Victim Support organisation in the United Kingdom. This statistically revealed that people’s satisfaction and confidence in the justice system tends to drop once they come into contact with it. In other words victims of crime are more dissatisfied than those who have not suffered crime. Significantly the perception of the police is held in higher esteem by those who do not use the police service. Also the Criminal Justice System (CJS) can be perceived as assisting the accused rather than victims, and again this general view is more pronounced for actual victims of crime. This is not a great outcome, and really underpins a commonly held view in the UK that victims get a raw deal and criminals can (literally) get away with murder.
A recent UK case of victim injustice is the sad case of the murder of the young Milly Dowler. This lovely schoolgirl was abducted on her way home from school in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey on 21st March 2002. She was just 13, and her body was discovered in 23 June 2011. Levi Bellfield was recently found guilty of Milly’s murder on 23rd June 2011 and sentenced to a whole life prison sentence. The treatment of Milly Dowler’s family in the aftermath was disgraceful. A good hard working family, yet appeared to have been treated like criminals themselves. The family’s privacy was totally destroyed, and during the court process Milly’s murderer was using every trick to heap further misery on the family whilst hiding behind the Human’s Right act, which appeared to prioritise the criminal’s rights over those of his victims. To add to the turmoil the family has had to deal with the distressing news that the News of the World (former) newspaper apparently hacked into their daughter’s telephone.
The UK has a somewhat dubious reputation in some of its dealings with victims of crime. An iconic case occurred in 1999 when Tony Martin had endured apparently ten acts of burglary on his farmhouse property. On 20 August 1999 two burglars broke into his house, Tony Martin confronted them and shot the pair with a shotgun as they apparently tried to flee the scene. One died. Tony Martin was subsequently charged with murder and attempted murder. This was subsequently replaced with a manslaughter charge on the grounds of diminished responsibility and Tony Martin was released in 2003. This case was well covered by the UK media, and to be frank the two burglars generally had little sympathy.
A news victim injustice story well publicised by the UK media was of businessman Munir Hussain. The family home was burgled by a knife wielding gang, who viciously threatened to slit the throats of his wife and children whom were tied up by the gang. Munir escaped and chased one of the burglars Walid Salem into a neighbour’s garden. Salem was apparently attacked by Munir and a group of asian men by a cricket bat and metal pole, the burglar ended up with a fractured skull. The case provoked an outcry as Munir and his brother Tokeer were arrested, and ended up with a stiffer prison punishment than the burglar Salem (the others escaped). The UK public outcry did succeed in a reduction of the sentences, and of course Salem continued to commit criminal acts after his sentence. However, the point remains that the UK justice system does bizarrely appear to protect the human rights of career criminals.
Another case highlighting UKs ‘reverse justice’ is of business owner Simon Cremer, who discovered that one of his employees Mark Gilbert had stolen £845 from his company. Simon was obviously furious and made a cardboard sign reading ‘THIEF I Stole £845 AM ON MY WAY To Police Station’ which he got Mark Gilbert to wear as he was walked down to the police station. No prizes for guessing the outcome, the thief Mark Gilbert got away with stealing with a simple police caution - the business owner was charged with false imprisonment (albeit charge was dropped after 3 months). The thief Mark Gilbert had the cheek to sue his former employer who ended up paying £13,000 including costs for the ‘humiliation’ this crook endured.
The above had all occurred prior to the severe England Riots of August 2011. This is where the world were greeted to images of police passively watching while criminal louts were smashing, looting, and destroying businesses in such areas as Tottenham, Brixham, Toxteth (Liverpool), Lewisham, Salford (Manchester), Birmingham, and Wolverhampton - the usual suspects. It is hard to escape the view that much of the criminally inclined views the UK as a soft touch, and they therefore feel as though they can do what they like. There’s an adage that people with nothing to lose are dangerous people, too many people in the UK have indeed nothing to lose - benefits continues irrespective of behaviour.
In a town called Ryde on the Isle of Wight is a small residential road of 25 houses called Meaders Road. Past articles have focussed on this road. In the first article of this crime trilogy wider UK issues were examined including the Welfare state and over population leading to building tiny houses in unsuitable locations. The second article showed how connecting a formerly quiet residential area to a known trouble spot, resulted in immediately imposing a dramatic increase in crime and anti social behaviour to the area. This second article left the author at just after 1:00 am on 22nd May 2010 just about to walk down Meaders Road to return home following a couple of quiet drinks. His family already discovered that day a small statue of immense sentimental value had been stolen from their front garden.
On walking towards the approach to Meaders Road a group of yobs were seen walking down Meaders Road - two young males and a female. It was obvious they were thoroughly drunk, foul mouthed, and up to no good. It was therefore decided to keep a distance - with the wonderful benefit of hindsight a better option would have to gone back for another pint rather than walk down the author's own road! The yobs were loud, swearing profusely, and seen kicking residents property - their behaviour was such that as the author subsequently discovered they had already been reported to the police.
priority was to keep a distance, but as he approached his home the yobs turned
back and one said “You’re f***ing following us”. The author did a fatal mistake
in trying to reason with them, saying “No I’m just walking home”. One of the
youths squared up saying ‘Where’s Your f***ing home’. Replying ‘Can’t answer
that as have a wife and son to think of’. Of course it didn’t occur to this
lowlife that somebody might genuinely be walking home, the fact was the author
was within 20 yards of his house, not telling the yobs where he lived was purely motivated by protecting his family. At one
point the author begged to be let go, and desperately saying ‘I’m not following,
I just want to go home, please let me go’. The next thing the author felt a
severe blow to his head, as well as being in severe pain he lost all vision.
The blows continued, about half a dozen all on the face. Being blinded and in
great pain and distress, he was knocked to the ground. A subconscious reflex
action of the author's hand going back protected his head from being splattered on the
concrete (which would have resulted in severe brain damage or death - of course
it wouldn’t have occurred to the yobs that such action would have lead them to
being convicted for murder). On the ground blinded and in a semi-conscious state
one of the male yobs was seen by a witness kicking the author. The author
realised he was in great danger possibly of losing his life, and before drifting
into unconsciousness summoned up every last ounce of energy to shout ‘Help!
The violence attack immediately ceased, as the yobs run off as neighbours ran out to assist. The author will be eternally grateful to Meaders Road residents including Simon, Colin, Janet, Jean, and Jane for all their assistance. Police arrived and it was established the author needed to go to hospital. Medically the author suffered from facial bruising, body bruising, cuts to leg (following impact on ground), neck whiplash, and a fracture to his scathoid bone in wrist.
The perpetrators of course got away with this vicious attack; they produced minute perfect statements, suggesting that the author attacked them and that they didn’t touch him! A number of witnesses saw the attack, not all were interviewed by the police - including the witness who viewed the author being kicked whilst in a semi-unconscious state on the ground. The author was temporarily blinded during the attack so he was not the best witness to establish which of the yobs was beating him. The CPS did not proceed due to insufficient and conflicting evidence, but they were not even shown medical reports recording the author’s injuries. The author thanks his local MP Andrew Turner for investigating on his behalf, but it remains a sad case that the law in the United Kingdom often appears to protect criminals rather than victim.
The yobs even visited the author’s business premises following his report of their attack to the police, whether by accident or as a ‘frightener’ the author wasn’t able to ascertain. What was for certain was enough was enough; life was no longer tenable living in the house that the author personally owned and lived in for over a decade. Escape seemed impossible, the yobs and undesirables imposed on the formerly quiet Meaders Road significantly reduced the value of all houses in Meaders Road. However a local estate agent Watson Bull & Porter in Ryde; provided invaluable expertise to enable a plan of escape.
In July 2011 the author and his family abandoned their home as a direct result of the aforementioned attack and rented it out. For the next three months the homeless family lived in a variety of temporary accommodation. However, this was far better than having to put up with the feral rats that were imposed on Meaders Road by the council. The family at last could walk ‘home’ without being abused, having their home vandalised, or witnessing drug addicts injecting themselves, being stolen from, or having rubbish and dog mess imposed on home, and of course not being violently attacked to a semi-unconscious state by feral yobs because you are simply walking home. The author and family completed purchase of another home located well out of Ryde on 1st November 2011.
The next six months or so saw the author on the receiving end of three further (unrelated) crime attacks. An unusual one occurred in a pub toilet on the Isle of Wight during the summer 2010. The author was stood at a urinal, and a man ran out of a toilet trap and shouted ‘cover ears’, but there was no time before an explosion was heard and the author felt immediate huge pressure in both ears and was virtually deaf in the aftermath. This chap had let off a firecracker in the confined space of a gents toilet - they sound loud at a distance let alone from a few feet away. The landlord immediately banned this individual, and the author informed the police. Ears recovered after a couple of unpleasant months. To be fair to the man he admitted his silly potentially dangerous act to the police, and was reasonably given a simple police caution.
Another unsavoury incident was during the author’s visit to Southwark in London on Boxing Day 2010. The author’s car was left in a lay-by on a main road for less than an hour in broad daylight. He returned in sub zero temperatures to find the passenger window was smashed, and a pocket computer was stolen from the glove compartment. He was astounded on immediately reporting this to the police, that if the car was driven the driver could be arrested for driving an un-roadworthy vehicle; they were not interested in investigating the damage and theft. The author thought it was just as well they didn’t steal the tax disc; they could have done him for this as well. This is not justice, this is just pathetic, and highlights that it is possible for a crime to be done to an innocent victim that immediately results in a law transgression by said victim. Another example would be by a driver having his parked car tires slashed by some yob, in theory the victim now owns an un-roadworthy car on the public highway - but to penalise the victim for this fact is just rubbing salt in the wounds. What next, being charged with littering (i.e. with your body) when an attacker knocks a person unconscious? The author of course was not arrested, but to even mention such a possibility illustrates how any semblance of justice appears to have been eroded from England.
An appalling incident happened on 8th February 2011 at the author’s Datalite business from a former full time employee. That morning this employee proceeded into a rant about how he didn’t need managing and could do what he liked. The Managing Director requested he be quiet for a moment. His response was to get out of his desk chair and to violently assault his boss by a head butt. He then stepped back and feigned injury, whilst his boss was still in shock and in pain from his violence. This former employee then telephoned his wife to lie that his boss had head butted him. The Managing Director immediately reported this assault to the police. However, under pressure of intimidation, abuse, threats, bullying manner, and a disgraceful attempt at false accusation to the police by this former employee; the company ultimately dealt with his assault and misconduct as a company serious misconduct disciplinary matter. This employee was immediately dismissed due to gross misconduct on four counts: insubordination, violent assault, malicious lie, and false accusation. The employee has not disputed the findings of the company’s investigation. His last words on dropping off business keys amounted to: - 'You Will Still Give Me a Good Reference Won’t You?!'
This was not a great period for the author, but these unsavoury events were turned into positives. The yobs that attacked the author in Meaders Road, may have drove him and family out of their home, but he managed to buy another superior property in a more secluded location - and still owns the Meaders Road property which is now rented out. The firecracker man to his credit admitted his act to police, and the author’s hearing fully recovered. The pocket computer stolen from the author’s car was replaced with a much better model at nominal cost via eBay The full time employee dismissed for gross misconduct, was replaced with two part time employees who between them provide a broader skill base and flexibility, together with being cheaper due to the way the UK’s taxation system works. In short all these negative incidents have resulted in positive outcomes.
The perpetrators of a crime have to live with the crimes they have committed, some probably don't care, but in any case in time the truth has a habit of catching up. Also there is no time limit to convict for violent acts, offenders can always be arrested and charged at a later date, particularly if more evidence is produced. Ultimately criminals become ultimate losers, both at a personnel level and in context of bringing down the environment they live in. Their unsavoury actions can end up driving out businesses from the area and hence jobs (sometimes cited as an excuse for criminal behaviour). This is what will be the ultimate outcome on areas effected by the England Riots, and at a smaller scale the author has already decided to relocate his business to another area in the future.
Looking at the UK in broader terms police focus seems at times to be far too politically correct (largely politically driven from above), as recently witnessed when an Isle of Wight singer Simon Ledger was arrested for singing ‘Kung Fu Fighting’ as part of his normal act, just because a Chinese son and mother who happened to walk past said they were offended. The information provided by Simon Ledger that the Chinese son was using foul mouth language, taking unauthorised photographs, and using an obscene hand gesture in front of young children - was trumped by this ridiculous complaint. There was no case to answer, but not before this case made international news and provided another ‘soft touch Britain’ embarrassment to the world.
What really concerns most people is the proliferation of low level anti-social behaviour & crime in the UK from what appears to be a growing underclass - this can happen so often in certain areas that it is something that the majority of decent people live with and can feel it is not worth reporting to the police. The author of this article experienced yet another example of such behaviour this morning (8th December 2011 at the time of writing). On leaving the train at Ryde St John's railway station on the Isle of Wight a hooded yob spat onto the platform, about 3ft away for the author. The author was greeted with the standard "Are You Looking At Me" moronic utterance, followed by "You f***ing old dirty c***. This was ignored and the author quickly left the scene. These lowlife individuals appear to be able to basically do what they like. The incident is not really worth reporting to the police, in rough areas you would be doing this all the time. For a decent hardworking business owner, it hardly sets a good tone for the day.
It is true to say that when serious crime occurs, particularly when picked up by the media. The police and criminal justice system can be very proactive. All politically correct feminist ideology was disposed of when dealing with the female child abuser Tracy Lyons from Portsmouth; she was jailed for seven years for her disgusting crimes. Incidentally it is ironic that this vile woman would have been able to sit next to a child on a British Airways flight, when all men (except parents/guardians) are banned from doing so - so much for equality!
A recent trend in crime has been the increasing use of the internet. A recent internet bully case involved Sean Duffy; this 25 year old jobless man (high profile criminal cases nearly always appear to be perpetrated by an unemployed person - not the same as saying all unemployed commit crimes, of course) had a hobby of posting sick messages and images on to Facebook tribute pages to dead children and teenagers. Sean Duffy clearly was a very sick individual, but was in the author’s view very correctly dealt with by a thoroughly deserved prison sentence.
However, when it comes to low level crime, the law abiding public can get a poor deal. As discussed when looking at the Meaders Road scenario on the Isle of Wight, the author was astounded about how much anti-social and low level crime certain lowlife individuals can get away with. The basic problem appears that there is no effective punishment for individuals, largely on benefits, who cannot be effectively fined, can refuse community work, and are reluctant to be incarcerated into the UK’s already overcrowded prisons. Furthermore these criminals know how to play the system; the first thing they will do if caught or reported is lie and claim that the victim assaulted/attacked them. Even worst an ethnic criminal can always play the race card, hence if a white man goes to help an old lady being attacked by an ethnic individual, he will almost certainly face the trauma of a false racist accusation. Overall the system in the UK is far too soft regarding low-level crime, those of a criminal persuasion believe they can do almost anything - and the dice are loaded too much against innocent victims. In this regard things came to a boil during the recent England Riots in Tottenham, Birmingham, Toxteth Liverpool, Wolverhapton, Bradford, Brixham, Woolwich and similar areas - anarchy ruled for a while, and a fair majority of those caught were already known to the police. There is a good chance of a repeat of these riots in the future, with Olympics 2012 being an obvious time slot, despite the unprecedented planned military presence.
Returning to Meaders Road on the Isle of Wight, this formerly quiet Cul De Sac of 25 houses, has through a council decision been turned into an anti-social crime hotspot. The decision to build a walkway connecting a quiet residential area with a known trouble spot, against the wishes of police and residents has caused havoc. Ultimately new houses are being built in inappropriate areas due to UK national policies which encouraged uncontrolled immigration and broken family units. Meaders Road has changed beyond recognition, the area now has bright night lighting, a proliferation of CCTV cameras, and the troubles continue despite best efforts of police. As the author is writing he learned of a resident’s car in the road recently vandalised, and numerous examples of anti-social behaviour continues. However, to be fair it is understood that situation is improving, largely down to a proactive police presence. The Meaders Road residents have overall adapted well to the huge societal change imposed, and remain a close knit respected community.
The constant theme running through this article is the raw deal victims appear to get at every stage of the UK justice system. The dice appeared to be loaded firmly in favour of the criminal fraternity who invariably know the system far better than their victims, and can be adept at making counter accusations and using the system to get away with criminal behaviour. Precious little account appears to be taken of how the very crime imposed on a victim can both affect their physical and psychological ability to give a 100% account recollection, or indeed to compose themselves in the light of severe provocation. The criminal will often lie through their teeth to get off with a crime, the system appears poorly adept at recognising this, and when it does precious little is done to correct matters - such as an additional penalty if a deliberate lie is uncovered attempting to further abuse the victim. One of the prime problems in the UK is that the wrong people are afraid of the law.
However, the victim and in the case of fatalities the loved ones of a victim ultimately have the upper moral ground. The criminals no matter what lies they use, deviousness employed, or manipulating the UK’s sometimes overtly soft justice system; are generally regarded by society as at the lowest echelon. Their job prospects will invariably be poor; their esteem amongst society is generally viewed as negative. Conversely the survivors of crime can hold their heads high, and with a positive approach can rebuild their lives, and maintain the respect of their peers.