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Life means life

Comments Off on Life means life 10 November 2017

Life means life

Who is going to tell Darren Galsworthy, the father of murdered Bristol schoolgirl Becky Watts, that he is wrong in calling for the reintroduction of the death penalty for Becky’s step-brother Nathan Matthews and his girlfriend Shauna Hoare? Two years on and his life, as well as that of his wife, who is Matthews’ mother, is ruined. How is he supposed to feel?

I’m a lifelong opponent of the death penalty. I think it’s wrong in every circumstance. Even this one. How would I feel if it was my daughter who had been murdered and disposed of in such a grotesque manner? I can’t answer that. I can only react from a distance. The more I learn – and I didn’t have to sit through an entire court case where everything was revealed – the more vile and depraved the whole thing was. I can only take a many-times-removed, objective view. I would prefer Matthews and Hoare to rot in jail for the rest of their lives. To never experience freedom, to live with their consequences of their actions and maybe even to grow old in jail and look back at the lives they lost. The trouble is, I doubt they have “normal” feelings at all.

Mr Galsworthy has had inflicted on him both a death sentence and life imprisonment. It’s an horrific double whammy of the ultimate sadness. He will not recover because he cannot recover. It’s not something you can forget about. We all know that the vast majority of our fellow citizens are good people who only love. The Matthews’ and Hoares of this world are the exception, not the norm. They must have been bad people all along. What they did could not happen simply by impulse. The potential for the ultimate travesty must always have been there.

There can be no satisfactory outcome. Matthews and Hoare have lost their freedom, everyone else lost their lives, literally and figuratively. You would like to think that at some time, both will realise the error of their ways. That they might somehow regret what happened, perhaps even be sorry. I would like to think so and I would then like someone to tell them it’s a bit late for that now. You are going to spend the rest of your natural life banged up at Her Majesty’s pleasure. Tough shit. Now go and empty your bucket and get back to your cell. And while you’re at it, watch out for the psycho in the cell next to you. He knows what you did. Nathan: he wants to cut your balls off and then cut your eyes out. Mind how you go. Do I want all that to happen? Not really. That would make me as bad as them. But it would be great if that was what went through Matthews’ head every waking moment of the day.

None of this will be of any comfort to Mr Galsworthy. Life for him ended when Becky died. There is no good way of saying this because I am not him, but if he has to suffer every day for the rest of his life, then I would like Matthews and Hoare to think – if they are capable of rational thought – that their future too has passed. Death now to Matthews and Hoare would save them from many decades of being in prison. Whatever anyone tells you, prison is a horrible place, the worst place you could possibly live. For Matthews and Hoare, the worst place is everything they deserve.

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