Why we must never forget Melanie Shaw

  • Posted on: 3 April 2015
  • By: John Galloway

For those of you who may not know Melanie Shaw she is a very brave lady. Raped and abused from the age of 3-4 years old by members of her family, she was passed to the ‘care’ of a foster family who also abused her. She was then taken into the care of Beechwood children’s home Nottingham where she was abused until she was finally allowed to leave. Denied any help to find a job she then succumbed to a life of drugs and the streets.

Most of us cannot even imagine what she has suffered. Many simply cannot bear to hear what she has experienced, never mind worry that she is presently making financial profit for the Directors and Shareholders of Sodexo private prison.  

Yet one kind man took Melanie under his wing, looked after her, gave her a lovely home and fathered a child she loved. Strengthened by a stable family home and the passage of time, Melanie then found the courage to speak out about her abuse and those of many other children at Beechwood children’s home Nottingham. The local police took her evidence seriously and started Operation Daybreak - they soon admitted that up to 150 children were likely to have suffered. Many other children’s homes were implicated.

Far from being protected, nurtured and praised Melanie Shaw was quickly returned to prison. It would seem that Nottingham police became nervous when she discovered that they had lied over their interviewing of witnesses. Fitted up with charges of arson and criminal damage, Melanie was sentenced to 3 years community service and branded mentally ill. Her real sentence was to start when she returned home. Tired, distraught and still suffering post traumatic stress from her abusive history, she was denied any help from Nottingham Social Services or Mental Health Services. Credit where it is due though, Nottingham Social Services had previously been remarkably efficient in taking her son into ‘care’ after she was charged with the arson offence.

Alone without access to money, except for that provided by the generosity of the UKColumn readers and other members of the public, Melanie was subjected to repeated harassment by the police. Intimidating telephone calls, followed by police cars in public, her house broken into by heavyweight police in black, arrested for visiting the bank, Melanie was brutalised by the very public services that claim they are there to protect.

The stress took its toll and she became volatile - but who wouldn’t? Her unpredictable behaviour allowed Nottingham police and the Crown Prosecution Services to cook up more charges - unlawful imprisonment of a paramedic two offences under the Communications Act. Further charges of breaching her probation service conditions were also concocted, however these were later dropped.

Returned to HMP Peterborough after a secret court hearing, Melanie has repeatedly been denied her desired legal representation - that of her trusted and capable Lay Legal Advisor. Instead she has been bullied by the Judge into using VHS Fletchers law firm, who happen to be the very people she sacked for their poor performance and unqualified staff in her first trial. Now incarcerated in the same Sodexo prison that has previously denied her medical treatment, pushed her into solitary confinement, bullied her and denied her basic human rights, Melanie is now being blocked from receiving telephone calls or letters from those who can help her. She is due to appear in court for a ‘mention request’ on 8th May 2015. The next hearing will then be 18th May for a case management hearing.

In the meantime, and as Sodexo’s profits rise, we must never forget Melanie Shaw or her vicious treatment at the hands of the British State. Why? Because when there is no justice or law, any of us could be next.