Sunday, 28 October 2012

Third Article in the series, Jeremy Bamber: A life of Less Liberty

This is the third article in a sequence called A Life of Less Liberty, which is a series of four short pieces written by Jeremy reflecting on his 27 years of wrongful incarceration. 

“I wanted to write about the social dimension of my imprisonment and explain how things have changed for me since coming to prison.  In my late teens I was very lucky to have an older sister who in the late ’70’s was a very beautiful and popular model. Sheila and her modelling mates took me under their wings and showed me around London’s glitzy night clubs on many enjoyable evenings. I think they saw me as a little mascot and I made them laugh and they felt safe with me, even today I’m still in touch with some of them. As the New Romantic era in music came into fashion I was doing A Levels at Colchester Technical College and I seemed to mix with all the trendy girls most of the time as I was never a ‘beer with the lads’ kind of bloke. I always had lots of gay friends too though I’d mix easily with the young farmers locally, my friends generally were from a wide circle.  I feel upset that I have missed out on all of their weddings, birthday parties, Christenings and watching them become good parents or celebrate a change of career, and I’ve even been denied the mourning process of saying goodbye at funerals. I have missed all the key times in their lives as I’ve not been able to share so many things with them, or protect them when they were afraid, or comfort them when they were hurt, just to be there for my friends at any time of the day or night when they needed a kind word or listening ear.  

At the prison there is just a concrete yard to walk around but I enjoy visits from friends on the outside and it’s great to catch up on how everyone is doing. When friends are happy that’s easy of course but when they have a crisis that’s when I feel it as I’m unable to help them in a tangible way.  So I am left feeling useless as a friend and powerless which is tough. I have friends who are the same age as my nephews Nicholas and Daniel and it’s always heartbreaking thinking about the lives they live and thinking about the boys doing the same had their lives not been cut short in the tragedy. But I also love the enthusiasm for life that my younger friends have – the career opportunities now are worldwide and available to anyone who works hard and wants it enough.

When I still had my liberty I used to go to the gym, not as frequently as I do now but I liked to keep fit and working on the farm also naturally helped to keep me strong. Being healthy is something you don’t think about when you are younger but coping with the stress of coming to prison as an innocent man has been difficult. One of the great ways to help with pressure is by going to the gym, whatever type of activity you’re into it makes a huge difference. The prison regime encourages sport and sports training. I’ve done many different activities over the years including football and other team games but I really do prefer to lift weights rather than aerobic exercise. I am dedicated to my gym sessions which are really enjoyable and another way of stress relief is through yoga, and this is something I learnt in prison a long time ago through classes and I’ve continued to use it since then, it makes up part of my physical therapy routine to keep supple, centre myself in difficult times, and it adds to my overall wellbeing because prison is a naturally stressful environment.  

I have of course made friends inside prison and I remember doing time in Gartree with Yusef Abdullahi one of the Cardiff three wrongly convicted for the murder of Lynette White. Yusef was a very nice man and a great friend at the time which is why I was upset by his tragic death last year. I felt the injustice of the time in prison which he had lost as a result of his wrongful conviction. We used to share our thoughts about what life would be like when our convictions were overturned and I know at that time neither of us would have believed that his freedom would be taken by his early death and that I would still be convicted even now.”


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