Melanie, a 43 year-old mother of two and survivor of childhood sexual abuse, has spent the last two months on remand in HMP Peterborough, enduring exceptionally harsh treatment, including bullying, solitary confinement and food deprivation for twenty-four hours, without evidence of her involvement in the offence being presented.
Unhappy with her defence team, she decided to represent herself in court. But strangely, there was no sign of Melanie at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday morning, and disappointed friends and supporters – some of whom had travelled from as far away as Plymouth, learned that the Judge was on holiday.
The news prompted speculation of a secret court hearing or a contrived attempt to confuse and demoralise Melanie, who claims to have powerful evidence of a paedophile ring operating at Beechwood.
“She wasn’t there. The whole thing stinks!” said Mickey Summers, himself a survivor of horrific physical and sexual abuse at the former Nottingham children’s home.
Yesterday, Melanie revealed that the clerk dealing with her case had arrived at the prison the day before the scheduled hearing to announce it had been cancelled for over a week. Then, the following day, Melanie was informed she would appear in court by video link. Nothing happened.
“I’ve sacked them. I’ve had no paperwork in eight months,” said Melanie, close to tears. “There are people controlling the show. I’m at the mercy of others. I forgive people. I have no hatred in my body. I love everybody, especially people who’ve had a hard life because I’ve got empathy. All I know is I trust God, and I trust myself. I shouldn’t be in prison.”