A unique perspective, albeit a snapshot only, of what I, as a single campaigner, have witnessed and experienced. This is just me venting and not meant to be anything other than something for people to read if they are interested. I can of course support everything I have said with evidence. That’s just how it is now. An enduring change in my personality where I feel I have to back up everything I say because of false allegations that were prosecuted by the state.
“Penny we have been accused of poisoning our daughter, all the kids have been taken please please help us”
“Penny we have been accused of suffocating our son they’re saying it’s Münchausen syndrome by proxy, help us please”
“Is that Penny Mellor, we have a client who has been accused of shaking their son to death we would like to come and see you with our client, can you assist?”
The above was pretty much the norm when answering my telephone for approximately 15 years. At one point I was dealing with over 50 cases of alleged child abuse or murder worldwide. One of which was potentially a death penalty case in the USA.
My house was littered with medical files. “Non sensitive material” (my expertise was finding the nuggets in these files) My inbox was full of academic papers, emails from experts in various fields along with the usual threats and name calling because I was “helping baby killers”.
Much of what I did I could do collectively, the similarity in the cases allowed for the evidence I accrued to be used simultaneously in a number of cases. Some of what I uncovered led to the removal or change in chemical makeup of certain drugs in paediatrics as I was able to eventually evidentially and scientifically support the theory that the drugs themselves were in part responsible. Cisapride effecting the heart and breathing, Domperidone altering anti diuretic hormone and causing neuroleptic malignant syndrome, both of which altered sodium in the body, and the big one, Bonjella, which contained lignocaine, a sedative, known to interfere with cardiac conduction in people with long QT syndrome. I am not an expert, however through studying so many medical records, patterns started to emerge, not just genetic, but common denominators, like the drugs. Something most lawyers could not do because of the time it took to research. The reason I am putting this in the public domain is to show people that the law, the CJS, the medical profession, the police, the CPS, do not know everything. Patterns are key to false allegations. Look for the patterns. They are already emerging in HCSA cases.
This was my life. It was exhausting and furthermore left me reeling, such was the hope pinned on my being able to find something, anything, that would help. Guilty verdicts made me ill, I felt I had failed even though I was just a tiny cog in a much bigger wheel and because of the consequences for those families, I knew what that meant, I had lived it myself.
However, at least I had the benefit of being able to work with evidence, proper evidence, not hearsay, not just words. Allegations of historical child sexual abuse provide nothing by the way of evidence outside of words. I live an another parallel today, one in which I have to chase evidence said to exist, which is just not there. What is there however, is evidence of personality traits being very similar in those making allegations currently. That is now becoming the evidence of something being terribly wrong.
During this period of time, many of the family’s relationships started to break down, only the strongest survived. I have lost so many friends to false allegations, cancer being the main killer, with the oncologists stating that the stress was central to that along with the parents abject fear of the medical profession having been accused by them, leaving it too late to seek medical help. There has also been the suicides, not before during or after conviction, but after they have been cleared. They never recover. I didn’t just campaign for these people, I became very close to them, it was important for me to understand who it was I was helping, I was after all, being asked to believe in their innocence. To do that I had to get to know them.
This gave me a unique insight into the effects of what was happening, the lawyers and other professionals involved were 9 to 5 and no weekends, my day was from getting up to going to bed and at times, no bed as I was in a different time zone to some of the experts who were helping me. Quite often the calls would just be me reassuring a parent that everything that could be done was being done. Or demanding that they speak to every member of their family to see if we had any infant deaths. I became an expert at trawling through genealogy records obsessively looking for recorded deaths of infants in families, trying to establish if there were genetic traits.
Behind closed doors, the accused and their families themselves, were putting in the same hours. Diligently going through records that had been disclosed, not in any order, trying to paginate things chronologically, grilling other family members, getting their medical records too. On top of that, if they had other children, there were the meetings with social workers, family court hearings, children in care, children being placed for adoption, all of which had to be put order of priority depending on where we were in the criminal proceedings. It was, looking back, a living nightmare. One that sometimes came with the immense joy of winning a case, to the utter devastation of losing. Such extreme emotions inevitably lead to serious harm to the psyche of any family.
The advice in all these cases was moderate alcohol, a major problem, try not to be alone if everything is going tits up, you must try and see your GP if you have any suicidal ideation (so common). Leave the house for a couple of hours a day, go for a walk. Eat at least one proper meal a day, sleep for at least 5 hours a day. It sounds crazy, but you did have to remind people to eat and sleep they would keep going and going for days because they felt that every minute spent sleeping or eating was a minute lost fighting to prove innocence.
So very often, one falsely accused family would be getting into a car to drive 100’s of miles to help another falsely accused family. At times we would turn up en masse in court, each one of them going through their own private living hell, reaching out to touch the stranger that had in an instant become their second family.
We have cried together, laughed together, celebrated together, but in the midst of all of that, I have seen the loss of innocence, the ability to trust, the wariness of authority , the changes in the dynamics of the relationships (imprisonment causes enduring personality changes) the appalling impact on the children in the families, imagine being brainwashed into believing that mummy or daddy killed your sister or brother at very young ages and then being told, oh sorry, we made a mistake, off you go, back to your lives. It changes everything, not for the better either.
Behind closed doors, families weep, they struggle, they argue, they don’t sleep, they don’t eat, they feel powerless, they become alcohol addicted, suicidal. In public, they present a strong united front which belies what is really going on, when all they want to do is curl up in a corner and go to sleep and not wake up. They tell me this, they cry down a phone, or in my kitchen. I am just a mum, a partner, with some experience of what they are goi g through. I do not have the qualifications or expertise to help in any meaningful way, all I can do is listen or give them a cuddle. Nobody cares until it happens to them, that is the saddest part of all and they know it. There is nobody to turn to other than venting on social media, or responding to an article in a newspaper, or discussing it with others who have or are going through the same thing.
If you are an ordinary person, being called a baby killer, a nonce, a paedophile, a paedophile supporter, a rapist, impacts, it is so offensive when untrue. It undermines self confidence and integrity and replaces who you are as a person, with fear. Fear that you will go to prison, fear that your family will be ripped apart by the state, fear that you will be attacked, but most of all fear that you will never get past the allegation, once it is made, that no matter what the outcome, there will always be people that stop seeing you as the person you are, but suddenly define you by the allegation. Smile to your face whilst hiding their child behind their backs. I have seen it happen. And I have seen the devastated faces of those it has happened to. I am still called a child kidnapper today. 14 years on. Despite the circumstances of what happened being nothing like what that phrase implies. I did not abduct a child. But I am defined by it. Mostly because people cannot be bothered to establish the facts and because of “who” says it. So I have a fair understanding of what happens.
These are forever impacts.
Now I have described the above. If that is what is happening behind closed doors, imagine, just imagine, what it is like for the innocent behind the locked door ……