I met Jeremy in Long Lartin prison between 1989 -1996 and it was so obvious that he did not fit in to prison life. He stood out for me, and he seemed lost just like I once was when I first went to prison. I knew something was not right with his case and believed in his Innocence from the start. It was a gut feeling I had about him and Jeremy was different to the other prisoners. The case was the most important thing to him, and proving his innocence was the main thing on his mind just like it was with me. They say you can spot an innocent man a mile off and they stick out like a sore thumb—Jeremy was certainly in that category.
Wrongful convictions have a habit of leaving the innocent suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder and they may not even know they are suffering from it. I thought I was ok however experts soon found out that I was far from ok. Being in prison for a crime you didn’t commit leaves many scars and it can only be described like a roller coaster ride. One minute you are angry and you feel you can fight whatever obstacles are placed in your way, and the next you are in total despair. Depression seeps into your mind overwhelming you. The only thing I had on my mind 24 hours a day was to fight the injustice and I lived and breathed the case just like Jeremy is doing now.
I do not know whether I would have had the strength that Jeremy has got if I had still been in prison for almost 30 years like he has. However, one thing I do know is that I would have fought as hard as I could to obtain justice in the same way as Jeremy has done, and he has to continue fighting until he has been proved innocent because that is exactly what he is.
When I found out I was going to be released, I had a lot of anxiety not knowing what to expect in the outside world and this was after eleven years. Looking at it from Jeremy’s perspective it would be quite frightening with the way society and the outside world has changed in the 30 years he has been incarcerated. Fear of the unknown and not knowing how he will adjust back into society can also be a daunting thought. I felt this too, and also wondering what reception you are going to get from the general public. These are just some of the things, which will be going through Jeremys mind.
We must not lose sight of the fact due to the injustice that has been laid on Jeremy, he has suffered further by losing his family: Nevill, June, Sheila, Nicolas and Daniel. He has not been able to grieve for the loss of his family, as he should have been able to do.
My thoughts are with Jeremy’s family who lost their lives in tragic circumstances and also with Jeremy who not only lost his family but also his freedom, which has been stolen from him. I believe a miscarriage of Justice does not lay doormat, Jeremy’s case is going to rise up and haunt all those who have taken part in this injustice and the truth will come out.
Michael O’Brien: Author and Motivational Speaker
Michael O’Brien was imprisoned for eleven years for a crime he didn’t commit—the Cardiff Newsagent Murder. In his book he revealed all about the police incompetence and scapegoating, which landed him, an innocent man in prison. It also tells of his tooth and nail fight through the highest courts, not only to get himself free, but to gain the highest compensation pay out of its kind.
While in prison Michael lost not only his freedom but everything he’d ever had, including his wife, his child and even his health. It has taken him years to rebuild his life. But he did gain something from his time inside: a self-taught knowledge of Law, and a burning desire to help others fight for justice.
On his release he joined forces with another victim of miscarried justice, Paddy Joe Hill, a member of the Birmingham Six. They set up MOJO (The Miscarriages of Justice Organization) to help others who were wrongfully imprisoned. Michael recently spoke to James Whale on BBC Radio Essex about Jeremy's innocence. Listen Here.
Michael and his family have set up the Dylan O’Brien foundation in memory of his son who died of an undiagnosed metabolic condition on June 15th 2012. The charity raises awareness and provides support for children with metabolic genetic diseases.
Michael is the author of two books available on the following links:-