Category Archives: In Memory. Pauline Campbell

Pauline Campbell’s legacy

I attended Pauline Campbell’s funeral which took place at St Alkmund’s Parish Church, Whitchurch in Shropshire last Friday (30th May, 2008). Family and friends took part in a service where her young friend, Georgina Griffiths, had organised music associated with Pauline. Fond tributes were paid by representatives of the Howard League for Penal Reform (Frances Crook, their Director) and Inquest as well as close friends.
Others remained outside with a banner accusing the Home Office with responsibility for now Pauline’s death. Pauline was interviewed outside Holloway prison earlier this year, along with other demonstrators, including Georgina, who had been a friend of Pauline’s daughter Sarah until her death in 2004. Before the interview Pauline had been manhandled by the police present and brought to the floor by a 16 stone officer.

Death of Pauline Campbell

As I sifted through mail on my return from Cuba I read with deep sadness of the death of Pauline Campbell. I understand her body was found beside her beloved daughter Sarah’s grave. Pauline had written to me while I was away to tell me of the inquest on Sheena Kotecha who died in the “care” of the prison services at the same time a s Sarah died in 2004.
—– Original Message —–
Sent: Tuesday, May 06, 2008 8:17 PM
Subject: Re: * Criminal trial abandoned as CPS comes under fire *
Well done Pauline. Greetings from Cuba. I have come to a conference and this seems to be a world that sees things rather more humanely than what we’re gatting at home a t the moment. Best wishes, John
To: John [in Cuba]: You certainly do get around, John. Many thanks for your message. I despair at the lack of humanity over here, and sometimes wonder if things will ever get any better. But people have to keep on trying. Regards, Pauline
In fact among the e-mail was the following entry on the latest climbdown by the Crown Prosecution Service when they dropped charges against her after protests against the deaths of women in custody. It was dated 11th May only a few days before her death. Pauline also linked up with the Mikey Powell campaign and commented on the outcome of the inquest into his death when once again there was no accountability.

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Sheena Kotecha, 1982-2004. The verdict: “Left to die”.

I am grateful to Pauline Campbell for updating me on the result of the inquiry into Sheena Kotecha’s untimely, unnecessary and brutal death at the hands of the state. Privatised institutions employ staff at cut rates of pay and this is what we get. More.
In 2004 I wrote of my experience of meeting the family just as they learned of the beloved daughter’s death the previous evening. Jamnadas Vadhia had been visiting her at Brockhill Prison where he took her fruit to perform Hindu rituals. It was the only way to get nutritious food to Sheena who had two stone.
At the time the Leicester Mercury had likened the story to Bonny and Clyde. Their reporting today looks a bit different. All it did at the time was to hide the reality in order to get a bit of sensational reporting. I hope they remember this disgrace.

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International Conference on Penal Abolition

A high profile conference will take place in London in July at which Pauline Campbell has agreed to speak;
International Conference on Penal Abolition
New Speaker added to the agenda
We are pleased to announce the addition of campaigner and penal abolitionist, Pauline Campbell, to the ICOPA line up. Pauline became involved in the campaign for penal abolition following the death of her daughter Sarah, whilst ‘in the care’ of Styal Prison in 2003. She was just 18.
Pauline is one of the leading figues in England and Wales calling for the closure of women’s prisons. She has, to date, organised 28 demonstrations, been arrested 15 times and been charged 5 times. She is currently awaiting criminal trial following a demonstration outside Styal Prison in February this year.
She said, “Where there is injustice, there will be protest. And long may the spirit of protest remain alive and well in our democratic society.”
She joins BBC Journalist and ex-prisoner Raphael Rowe, and leading human rights lawyer, Imran Khan, to discuss ‘Penal Abolition, the media and the public’.

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Another criminal trial – another waste of the court’s time – and an even greater waste of public money

The prison system is indefensible, not least in the way that women prisoners are treated. It is acknowledged over and over that those in prison need medical help. Because it is indefensible the government and its agents get tough. They hate to hear the truth. So people like Pauline Cambell are beaten up and taken to trial. Why? Because her daughter died in an inhumane institution, and yes she’s angry.
If people in our prisons are treated like garbage what do we expect the outcome to be? David Blunkett toured South Africa to tell us about using warehouses for prisons – and he’s a member of New Labour!!! Meanwhile in Scandinavia small local prisons are the thing where families can remain in touch more easily, rather than the end of civilisation as we know it.
The following is from Pauline Campbell and now a few day’s old:
Outcome of pre-trial review
Macclesfield Magistrates’ Court, Hibel Road, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK10 2AB
Wednesday 9 April 2008, 1130-1245 hrs
Defendant: Pauline Campbell
* Court has today announced a three-day criminal trial, to be held at Knutsford Crown Court, Wednesday 30 July 2008-Friday 1 August 2008.
* Application for legal aid has been refused, on the grounds of ‘interests of justice’.
* The Crown intends to call 13 witnesses to give evidence against me, making a total of 18 witnesses in all.
* Unconditional bail was granted.
Background to case
1. Arrest and charge (obstructing the highway): 5 February 2008, at a prison-death demonstration outside Styal Prison, to protest against the death of the young mother Lisa Marley, who died on 23 January 2008 in the care of the jail. Thirty-two year old Ms Marley was on remand, and therefore legally innocent when she died.
2. Court hearing: 27 February 2008 – ‘not guilty plea’ entered [Macclesfield Magistrates’ Court].
3. A pre-trial review was held on 19 March 2008, also in Macclesfield.
Today’s hearing
* The hearing took place before a panel of lay magistrates: Mrs Saunders (chair); Dr Sharma (male); and Mr Fryer, and I was unrepresented in court today.
* Clerk of the Court (“Senior Legal Adviser”) was Mrs Warren. She declined to answer my question about whether or not she was a qualified solicitor.
* CPS Prosecutor: Mr Jonathan McGahan (solicitor), based at the Crewe office.
* The court agreed to my request for the case to be transferred to another magistrates’ court in Cheshire. The trial will be held in Knutsford; venue: Knutsford Crown Court, Sessions House, Toft Road, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 0PB.
* At the start of today’s hearing, my legal aid position was still unclear, and I told the court this would need to be resolved before a trial date was set, to enable me to check if my lawyers were available on the suggested trial date. I further explained that, if my legal aid application was refused, it would be even more important that I speak to lawyers before agreeing to a date, as I would be dependent on lawyers acting pro-bono.
* Hickman and Rose, Solicitors, London, made an application for legal aid on my behalf on 28 February 2008, and again on 7 April 2008. I insisted the “Senior Legal Adviser” make enquiries about my legal aid status. I was told my application had not met the criteria necessary to meet the ‘interests of justice’ test. Despite my earlier request, the court insisted on fixing a trial date.
* The 13 witnesses for the Crown include police officers; Styal Prison staff; GSL prison van staff; and a local authority highways representative. Had these written statements been acceptable to me, fewer witnesses could have attended court. However, I told the court that I was not prepared to accept some of the statements, as they included factual inaccuracies and some outrageous comments about me, which will need to be challenged in court by my lawyers.
* The court has instructed me that legal issues and case law to be argued must be served by 30 June 2008.
* The CPS has still not provided all the necessary statements; two GSL statements are outstanding.
* New information was again handed to me in court today, including a statement from a GSL prisoner escort officer: page one of the statement included a glaring error about my late daughter – that she “had committed suicide [sic] in Styal”. I protested about this factual inaccuracy to the bench, and said the jury did not return a ‘suicide’ verdict at my daughter’s inquest, and I did not want to be confronted with such insensitive and inaccurate statements again in court.

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Arrested and charged for protesting over the death of a young mother at Styal Prison

From Pauline Campbell
Prison-death demonstration – Tuesday 5 February 2008
to protest against the death of the young mother Lisa Marley, aged 32, who died on 23 January 2008 while on ‘suicide watch’ and on remand at Styal Prison, Cheshire
– the 28th demonstration to be held outside women’s prisons in England since protests began in April 2004;
– Pauline Campbell arrested for the 15th time;
– charged in the early hours of Wednesday 6 February 2008, and bailed to appear in court on Wednesday 27 February 2008.
The protest
A small group of protesters held a peaceful demonstration outside Styal Prison, during the afternoon of Tuesday 5 February 2008, to protest against the tragic death of the young mother Lisa Marley, aged 32, who died in the care of HMP and YOI Styal on 23 January 2008.
Ms Marley was on remand at the time of her death. A person held on remand is legally innocent until proven guilty.
Protesters, from Shropshire, Cheshire, and Greater Manchester, included representatives from FRFI Manchester (Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!)
Lisa Marley is the first woman to die from apparently self-inflicted injuries in women’s jails so far this year.
Governor (F grade) Carol Williams, and Principal Officer Mark Whitehead, emerged from the jail and spoke to Pauline Campbell at the prison gates, but said they were unable to comment on Lisa Marley’s death. They expressed condolences over the death of Sarah Campbell, adding they were not at Styal in 2003 when Sarah died. Ms Williams took an envelope into the prison for Governor Steve Hall, enclosing a demonstration leaflet and two INQUEST leaflets, in the hope that the information is passed to the grieving family.
Lisa Marley is the sixth woman to die in the care of Styal Prison since Sarah Campbell’s death in January 2003. Both Lisa and Sarah were on ‘suicide watch’ when they died.
Forty-one women have died in women’s jails in England (including Lisa Marley) since Sarah’s death on 18 January 2003.
The demonstration, attended by reporters and photographers, was covered by local radio stations.
Protesters handed out leaflets to visitors to the jail. Banners were displayed, and flowers laid in memory of Lisa and, at the end of the afternoon, a memorial placard was left at the prison entrance. (See below for details of arrest and charge.)
The arrest and charge (Incident No. 173, Cheshire Constabulary; 05.02.08)
At 1505 hrs, a GSL prison van MV04 KJJ was stopped by protesters as it attempted to enter the prison. Minutes later, another prison van MV04 KKG, was forced to stop behind the first vehicle.
Cheshire Constabulary officers from Wilmslow and Macclesfield arrived on the scene. It was explained to both the police and the prison van drivers that in view of the recent death at Styal, protesters considered the jail to be unsafe, and a request was made for the women to be taken to a place of safety.
At 1525 hrs Pauline Campbell was arrested for obstructing the highway, handcuffed, taken by police car to Wilmslow Police Station, then transferred to a GSL cellular van, locked in a cell with no seat belts, and taken to Middlewich police custody suite.
Detention was authorised at 1700 hrs.
On Wednesday 6 February 2008, at 0042 hrs, Pauline Campbell was charged: “On 05.02.08 at Wilmslow in the County of Cheshire, without lawful authority or excuse, wilfully obstructed the free passage along a highway, namely Styal Road, Styal, contrary to Section 137(1) of the Highways Act 1980.”
The reply to the charge, logged in police records was: “Wilfully taking women into Styal Prison, when Lisa Marley only died there two weeks ago, is shameful.”
Unconditional bail granted; court appearance: Macclesfield Magistrates’ Court, Wednesday 27 February 2008, 0915 hrs.
Released from custody: Wednesday 6 February 2008, 0050 hrs.

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The death of a woman prisoner. Yes, it’s Styal again

Announcement from Pauline Campbell.

Lisa Marley, aged 32,
died on 23 January 2008, while in the care of Styal Prison, Cheshire
Demonstration will take place on Tuesday 5 February 2008
at 1.30 pm, for the duration of the afternoon,
outside HMP & YOI Styal, Styal Road, Styal, Nr Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 4HR
Banners will be displayed, and flowers laid in memory of Lisa
All are welcome to attend, including reporters/photographers
Lisa Marley is the first woman to die in prison in 2008.
Ms Marley, a mother, was being held on remand at Styal Prison when she died.
The demonstration will be led by Pauline Campbell, mother of Sarah Elizabeth Campbell, 18, who died in the so-called care of Styal Prison and Young Offender Institution (YOI) on 18 January 2003.
The protest on Tuesday 5 February 2008 will be the 28th demonstration to be held outside women’s prisons in England since protests began in April 2004.
To date, Pauline Campbell has been arrested 14 times, and has stood criminal trial just once [26.09.07] when the judge threw the case out of court. More.
Figures refer to apparently self-inflicted deaths, England and Wales. (There are no women’s prisons in Wales.)

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Prison demonstration ends with more police abuse of Pauline Campbell

The link gives a full and vivid pictorial account of what happened when Pauline Campbell organised a demonstration following the death of yet another woman inmate at Holloway on January 16th.
Two days later Pauline was back at Styal Prison on the anniversary of her own daughter’s death in custody:
Vigil held on Friday 18 January 2008 to mark the 5th anniversary of the death of Sarah Elizabeth Campbell, aged 18 who died in the so-called care of HMP and YOI Styal on 18 January 2003
A small group of supporters joined Pauline Campbell outside the prison on the afternoon of Friday 18 January 2008 to hold a vigil to commemorate Sarah’s life, and to mark the 5th anniversary of her death.
Bouquets of flowers were laid at the prison gates, and banners were displayed. The vigil was covered by local radio, television, and newspapers, including: Channel M Television [Manchester], 17.01.08; BBC Radio Merseyside, 18.01.08; and the Manchester Evening News, 18.01.08 (“Mum leads vigil in Sarah’s memory”): )
Professional visitors to the prison, and family members of those incarcerated in HMP Styal, stopped to speak to those attending the vigil. The apparent situation of one prisoner, as described by a family member, gave particular cause for concern, and will need to be looked into.
The vigil was attended by Georgina Griffiths, best friend of the late Sarah Campbell; and a representative from FRFI Salford (Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!).
Police: one police officer arrived at the vigil, at about 4 pm, but left after a few minutes. A police presence was unnecessary. No-one was breaking the law, and it was unclear why he was asked to attend.
“The fifth anniversary of Sarah’s death was another very sad, and moving occasion, when her life was commemorated, and flowers were laid outside Styal Prison. I cannot even say that ‘lessons have been learned’ from Sarah’s death, as a further 40 women have died in the ‘care’ of the prison authorities since 18 January 2003, when Sarah died. Every time another woman prisoner dies, it reactivates the feelings of loss and grief that I first experienced five years ago. The absence of an apology merely adds insult to injury.”
Two photographs are available [nil copyright]; anyone requiring a copy, please e-mail Pauline Campbell.

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Gigantic super prisons for the UK. “It’s not like Alcatraz” says Straw

When Channel 4 News announced that the government was proposing 3 “super prisons” to take 25,000 prisoners each I believed it, ‘cos it’s the kind of bloody stupid thing New Labour would do. No, it’s 2,500 each with a projected prison total exceeding 100,000 before long. Jack Straw was full of humanitarian warmth and kindness about it all. The prisons would be humanitarian (not at all like we’ve got now then) and inmates will be lovingly and tenderly cared for. But it’s humanitarian for those outside to since there won’t be anybody left outside to mug them. See? Jack you’re amazing, just see how far you’ve come since you were President of the NUS. How much further can you go?
Who else is lurking in the background? Having just written the above I look at the Independent-on-line. Amazing discovery. Where did the “super prison” idea come from? David Blunkett and South Afrixa, I’ll be taking a closer look at that haven. Did he visit Robben Island? Is that on the agenda? Nothing would surprise me when this lot’s let loose running the country. Serially discredited they creep back again and again. No one can tell them anything! New Labour, New Conservative. Blunkett a socialist? What happened?
The Real Prison Numbers Scandal. Independent 6/12/2007
Blunkett and the Mission to South Africa

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Three Reports on British Prisons

Pauline Campbell sen me the following information:
Neha Kumar recently completed an MA degree in International Journalism at City University, London, and has now returned to Tokyo.
“Suicides in UK Prisons” (Photo: Pauline Campbell)
20 September 2007
“Private Prisons: a success or failure?” (Photo: Web)
14 October 2007
“No to Women’s Prisons” (Photo: BBC)
14 October 2007