I've lived a long life and lots of things have happened to me. I could write a book or tell you different stories, but this story I'm going to tell you is about my husband. My husband was murdered and I was left with four children.
I've lived a long life and lots of things have happened to me. I could write a book or tell you different stories, but this story I'm going to tell you is about my husband. My husband was murdered and I was left with four children. They were young. It was a shock to the whole family when it happened. It was a complete nightmare. And I had the door knocked and CID (police) had come to my door then they said (my husband had been killed), and then they took me to the police station.
It was cold and there was hardly anybody in it. It was an old building. There was only two seats in a room. We were at the police station all day from 10 o'clock that morning to five o'clock that evening. (And did you feel looked after?) No. I then phoned for my brother. They phoned for my brother, and my brother came down.
My husband had a terrible death. He was beaten to death and they tried to burn his body. My husband was found in an alleyway by two fellas and they phoned the police. At first four fellas were arrested for my husband. One was let go and three of them were charged with murder. One pleaded guilty, but the other two didn't.
So the trial started. It lasted for eight weeks. It was completely stressful. Every day I went to court and something more was added on. It was horrendous. The whole experience of going through the trial was very draining and completely wrecked me every day. It was on TV, papers and everywhere you went, it was always on the pages of the papers. At the end of it, they were found guilty and it were given a life sentence. And, and this is when it really hit me.
I signed up with the PBNI. I registered with the prisoner release victim information scheme. I did not tell my oldest son. It's now been over 20, 20 years. I got to know when they were released, when they were getting out on bail, when they were getting days out and how they were behaving. To this day, they are still in (prison) apart from one got released. And he is back in again.
The probation officer I have now is a hundred percent. Letting you know everything that is happening, it means a lot because you feel a bit safer. Because, at times I wouldn't go out of the house when I knew any of them was out in parole. One of them did go out, and went on the run. And I would've been afraid to go out the door I barricaded my doors because he knew where I lived. And I was terrified that he was going to come, come to us.
My message to many people who's been in this situation and has lost a loved one, maybe murdered, violence or anything like that, and going through a trial and you're at, you're end and don't know what to do, to get in touch with this, with probation, they keep, they keep you up, they help you with it, and you don't feel so alone, isolated on your own and you get the help you need.
Maybe the time's too soon to join up. Give it a couple months, but do sign up because it gives you great support to know. And there's somebody else who cares and you're not left on your own. There's always somebody there. If you have a problem, you just left the phone. If I'm worried about any of them, I just have to lift the phone and keep your family safe. I would like to give hope to other people in the same situation and let them know life has to go on and try to help them through those days when I can be really low.
I would encourage people maybe to join the groups and try and keep active and occupied and try and get on, and it's hard. And to meet new people, try and get on with life, and hopefully things will get better.
It will never go away. It's always there. I think about it every day and just try and get all my life.
#RESTORE #STORYTELLING #CHANGE