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Those whose Children lie upon the Stones

 
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 1:16 am    Post subject: Those whose Children lie upon the Stones Reply with quote

Joshua Davies, a 14 year old boy in Pontypridd, was warm hearted and trusting. He saw the good in people whether it was there or not. But perhaps his kindness was not evident to his peers.

They might have mistaken his idiosyncratic demeanour for cold aloofness. In fact, he found it a bit difficult to communicate or to perceive other people's malice. He had been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome.

He had been persecuted by terrifying bullies for much of his school career.He had repeatedly sought help from the police, but they did nothing. In flight from a rabble of pursuing young yobs, he jumped in blind panic from a great height. He is still alive, but doctors say he will be paralyzed for life.

The reason this press release is so belated is that I didn't have the courage to read the details or concentrate on them when the story came out. It's so upsetting.I wish there was something I could do, but there is not.

We know that life is unfair, but the unfairness in life should be more fairly distributed. Because he was not a typical boy, Joshua was persecuted. But at least he had his mobility. Now he has been deprived of that too.

Apart from the physical inconvenience, he may be shunned for that also. I don't suppose he will be deemed worthy of the minimum wage.

The words put into Jesus' mouth are tragically true. To those who have, more will be given. But from those who have not, even that which they have will be taken away. It's not just, but that's how it is.

Somebody said to me that she hoped the bullies would now be prosecuted. Perhaps the police should review their own former lack of response too.

I've had both positive and negative experiences with the police. I found them very helpful when I discussed with them a racist hate incident at Cilmeri. But one newspaper thinks they do not yet take disablist hate crime with the same seriousness.

An example of this is Fiona Pilkington and her teenage daughter Francesca Hardwick. Because Francesca had learning difficulties, they were both targeted by yobs for many years. The youths would bombard their house with missiles, shouting,''Disabled bitch''. Even the word 'disabled' was an insult in their vocabulary.

Fiona made over 300 complaints to the police. But they didn't take her seriously. Finally, she was driven to incinerating herself and her daughter alive in a car. It was the only way she could express the pain.

An uncomprehending person on the internet said ''She murdered her disabled daughter, the evil bitch!'' But she was not evil. She had been driven to extremities. I can well understand how she felt.

Hope was expressed at the time that the police would learn lessons from this. But the Joshua Davies story suggests that they have not.

I remember trying to persuade a GP in the 80s that I really needed his help to make my comely but slightly atypical body look more acceptable. I said, quite truthfully, that some people at school bullied me. ''No, they don't, bach'', he said.In those days, it was ignored entirely.

He was making a rod for his own back. A few years later, he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. He probably found that he wasn't taken seriously after that.

I have a friend who is almost saintly. He has no malice or pettiness. In a sense, he is extremely wise. But in a world of fools, he sometimes has misunderstandings or gets ripped off because he judges people by himself. His high IQ which is Mensa level only makes things worse. It isolates him from typical people all the more. Also, for such a kind and wise person, he can sometimes be surprisingly tactless.

He has wondered if he had Asperger traits. He thought it might be a good idea to get a diagnosis. He expected that people would make allowances for him if they appreciated he was on the spectrum, as opposed to trying to annoy them on purpose.

I hated to break it to him but he was giving people too much credit for rationality.Labels can be used to dehumanise people. Asperger's Syndrome has only recently been recognised, but there is already a hate site on the internet, dedicated to mocking 'Aspies.' Like a chorus, each paragraph ends with 'Flap flap' in allusion to their perceived tendency to flap their hands.

It's not always the kids who bully 'Aspies' at school, but the teachers. Asperger's Syndrome is the term for able people with some autistic traits.We've heard of a school for autistic kids between Llanelli and Burry Port where the teachers enjoyed a reign of terror.

In the southern USA, teachers are still allowed to assault pupils with a horrible instrument called a 'paddle' which was formerly used to subdue slaves. A six year old boy with Asperger's Syndrome was left severely traumatised after experiencing this.He had no idea what he had done to offend the teacher in the first place.

The most flagrant example of abuse by people in authority was seen in the case of Gary Mckinnon. He was an exceptionally intelligent but unexpectedly naïve young man who hacked into American government computers because he believed they were covering up information about UFOs.

It was only when he was subsequently interviewed by media outlets, that anyone noticed that he had Asperger's Syndrome. At first, it did not look as if this would prevent his being extradited from Britain to the US, where some bigshot said that he wanted to 'see him fry.'

As usually happens, a plague of sadists infested message boards to say what should happen to him. Some of them thought that Asperger's Syndrome aggravated the offence rather than mitigating it. Some despairing citizen commented, 'And they say it's Aspies who lack empathy!'

The Labour Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, came across as very human. He wrote some engaging books about his poor boyhood.He enjoyed a laugh at his own expense on 'Have I Got News For You'. His Conservative successor, Theresa May imperiously sneered at human rights.

So which of the two conceded that Gary Mckinnon should not be extradited? It was Theresa May! It shows you should never jump to conclusions about anyone.

Gary Mckinnon's mother Janis Sharp expressed the hope in her book on the case that the Paralympic Games of 2012 were evidence that society was finally becoming more accepting of disabled people. The hope was partly justified.

A young man wrote to the Metro that he had previously looked down on people with disabilities, but he had changed his mind after watching the Paralympics. We know that Jac o 'the North was freaked out by the whole concept that a disabled athlete could exist, and thought it shouldn't be allowed. To him it was an oxymoron. He was like the little boy who saw a giraffe and said, ''There ain't no such animal!''

Well, there's always one. At least the Metro correspondent accepted that if experience showed him that the world was not as he had previously thought, it was his ideas that had to change, not the world.

Incidentally, I agree very much with those who have challenged Simon Baron Cohen on his view that people with Asperger's Syndrome have zero empathy. Far from it, they have so much empathy that they are hamstrung by it. They feel other people's suffering so much that it paralyzes them. This doesn't make them much practical use, but it's not that they don't care.

Baron Cohen can only be right if he is using the word empathy in a very restricted sense. If he means that people with Asperger's have difficulty reading others' body language or understanding what they are thinking, he is correct about that. But it's not that they don't want to understand. And they have no lack of compassion. They also tend to act in an extremely principled and above board way. They are genuinely surprised when others don't.


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marianneh



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 12:17 am    Post subject: How can this bullying be combated? Reply with quote

Given that a great deal of this bullying is done by schoolchildren and youths, how should it be tackled? It may be that we have evolved to judge people on appearance, although we're less likely to do this as we get older, as experience shows that it's not very useful.

It must, though, be partly cultural. A few years ago, parents wrote to complain about a young woman with an incomplete arm appearing on a TV children's show. They said that they were unable to answer their children's questions on the subject. This sounds like an unwitting admission of a severe lack of parenting skills.

Personally, I find it impossible to understand why people have this sort of problem with other people's bodies. I had a next door neighbour whose mother had taken the thalidomide drug. I was used to this boy from earliest infancy. I was amazed later when adults rather tactlessly referred to thalidomide as causing 'horrific' deformities. They were serious all right but not horrific in the sense of being difficult to look at.

But when we went to school, the kids were inclined to bully him, suggesting that it was already a bit late for them to develop a sensible attitude. From the 90s, I noticed library books for children with titles like 'I have Muscular Dystrophy' or whatever. The text made plain that people with disabilities were like everyone else. Sadly, the writers felt a need to explain that 'although they are disabled, people still want to be liked.'

This does need to be specified. A journalist who had a crippling accident noted that some idiot came up to imitate his impaired movements, and was genuinely offended that he didn't appreciate it. 'Haven't you got a sense of humour?' he demanded indignantly.

It may be that some schoolkids are really frightened about disability. They may seriously think that conditions like cancer and epilepsy are catching. It should be explained clearly that they are not.

But as children and teenagers are often narcissistic, don't make the mistake I did in the case of Jac o' the North, and try to bring it home to them how unpleasant it is to be on the receiving end with autobiographical and historical examples. If they're deficient in sympathy, can't put themselves in someone else's shoes and are not mature enough to take responsibility, it's not going to work. A good telling off, however justified, will just make them feel it's they who are being victimised. Or they might take a sadistic pleasure in hearing how upset someone is, and become worse than ever.

The next best thing is to say that they may -say-have a leg amputated or develop Parkinson's Disease at some point, and if it ever happens, they will want to be treated with respect. You could say,''If you woke up tomorrow and found that you'd had a stroke, would that make you any less human?''

I don't think punishment ever works in the sense of making people better. It's much more likely to aggravate their objectionable qualities. It's like Jeremy Bentham said, all punishment contains something of evil.

But when it's got to the stage that someone has been driven to the extremities that Joshua Davies was, prosecution ought to be inevitable. It's not that it will do the culprit any good but it's necessary as a deterrent to others and to protect society.

Although overweening narcissism is usually a passing phase of adolescence, there is a view that there is now an epidemic of malignant narcissism among adults. Ironically, narcissism can mimic the symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome or autism. In each case the person will be self absorbed. But while there is little or no malice in Asperger's people, narcissists really do lack empathy and they will be big trouble for people who get involved with them.

My cousin who worked with autistic adults, said that the person who trained her mentioned Margaret Thatcher as a good example of someone with Asperger's Syndrome. I think this is quite unlikely as Thatcher remarked that she was gloating over the defeat of the miners for instance. It sounds much more like narcissism to me.

Sam Vaknin thinks it is positively useful if you hear adults disparaging groups like the disabled, the accident prone, the unlucky or the soft hearted. If they do any or all of these things you can be sure that they are malignant narcissists, and if you allow them into your life, they will just exploit you and abuse your good nature. He says, 'Save yourself a world of trouble and pain.' Stay away from them.

I agree this is necessary as a self defence measure, but it's a bit unfortunate. If it's extreme enough to qualify as a personality disorder which is supposed to be true in one per cent of cases, couldn't it also be classed as a disability?

Sam Vaknin himself says that those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are insane. Perhaps it's a case where they need the support of their friends but their friends don't need them.

My son Andantom blames the parents. He says if you bring up your children with constant praise and 'unconditional love' in the mistaken notion that you are fostering high self esteem, they're just going to become narcissists.

I felt stricken.Until a few decades ago, parents and teachers often told kids they were rubbish. I don't think they were being consciously cruel. It's how they had been brought up themselves, and it never occurred to them to do otherwise.

Some of us remembered how unpleasant that was and went to the opposite extreme. We thought we were doing something good. It looks like you can't do right for doing wrong.


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marianneh



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2014 12:15 am    Post subject: In-What-Furnace-was-thy-Brain? Reply with quote

I met a woman at the bus stop yesterday who told me she had recently managed to get a diagnosis for Asperger's Syndrome. She found this genuinely helpful. People at work did now make allowances for her.

On the other hand, she knew a young man with Asperger's Syndrome who was constantly subjected to cyber-bullying. I suggested he show the electronic hate mail to the police. The evidence would be unassailable. What better time could there be? The penalty will soon be two years in prison.

Why do we hear so much about Asperger's and autism today? They used to be almost unknown. Now everyone knows a child who has a statement of needs asserting that they are autistic or have Asperger's Syndrome. And what is it really?

I first heard of autism as a child when I picked up a copy of 'Reader's Digest' in the 70s. It had the condensed version of 'For the Love of Ann', a book about a girl born in the 50s with severe autism.

Doctors weren't aware of autism in those days. They wrote her off as a psychopath or severely subnormal with an IQ of zero. They weren't at all sympathetic to the parents' feelings, advising them gruffly to put her in a home, and forget about her.

The parents refused to give up. Nothing shows how much times have changed since the 50s and even the 70s than their strategy for bringing Ann out of herself. Her father noticed that her ability to learn, leapt forward after each time she received an accidental injury.

From this, he deduced that she could be slapped into feeding herself and should be beaten into submission if she behaved inappropriately. The writer recorded this uncritically.

You would be locked up if you treated your children like this now. Yet it would be churlish to be over critical of the parents. In their time they were heroic.

The writer believed that autism was a mental illness, and Ann had made a full recovery. This would now be considered impossible. It's more likely that a combination of threats and cajolery had enabled her to behave conventionally.

Another article claimed that autistic people were like 'ancient philosophers'. It recorded the thoughts of Neil, a young autistic man of 19.

He made whimsical remarks like 'If there was a darker colour than black, I'd paint the bathroom in it. Then, I'd paint the bath black to brighten it up.''

Bruno Bettelheim, who had survived a concentration camp, thought that autism was a reactive psychosis caused by severe trauma. He thought autistic children were in the same emotional state as adults who had just been liberated from Belsen. He put it down to crap parents.

As late as 1983, Robin Skynner in 'Families and How to Survive Them' was expounding the 'Refrigerator Mother' theory of autism to John Cleese as fact, although he did not use that phrase. This was not a very helpful explanation as it made parents feel guilty on top of their other stresses.

Skynner reassured Cleese that only one child in 2,000 was autistic. No one would say that now.

A piece of whimsy sometimes heard is that autism or Asperger's is the next stage of evolution. This doesn't seem very likely as, although there are adaptive features, the maladaptive ones are often extremely marked.

The idea that it is the extreme end of the typical male personality is intriguing. But it does sound quite sexist and stereotypical to me.

It sounds as if it comes out of the 'Men are from Mars;women are from Venus' stable. My response is 'Men are from Earth; women are from Earth. Get over it.'

The maverick doctor, Vernon Coleman, is very naughty to continue to peddle the anti-vaccine line, by saying autism is caused by brain damage, and this can be attributed to vaccines. The brains of autistic people may or may not be wired differently from those of other people. But this is not brain damage in the sense that most of us would understand.

It is not caused by an internal catastrophe like a stroke or an external one like being hit by a brick. We now think that children are born with it.

Robin Skynner unwittingly gave a clue when he said that parents of autistic children tended to be detached, abstract thinkers. He deduced that they were no good at responding to their children emotionally, which was why the children became autistic.

Another and probably more helpful scenario is that there is a degree of genetic heritability. The parents are detached, abstract thinkers. It sounds quite a bit like Asperger's.

It is hard to know what to think of Simon Baron-Cohen's rather depressing little book. He says that the exceptional 'savant' skills attributed to autistic people are very rare, and most of them are severely subnormal with no hope of significant progress. Is this telling it like it is, or uncalled for doom mongering?

Those who blame vaccines will say you never heard of autism or Asperger's in the past. No, you didn't. This was probably because if children were severely affected in the past they would be classed as imbeciles, consigned to asylums and forgotten. And if they were mildly affected, they were called 'loners' or 'eccentric', and nobody thought anything of it.

One thing's for sure. It can't be true that autism didn't exist at all in the past.

The diaries of H H Asquith's daughter-in-law, Cynthia have been published. She wrote them during the First World War. She was puzzled and anguished about her son. She had no idea what his problem was, but it looks like a textbook case of autism now.

It would probably be impossible to say for sure if the perceived run away escalation of kids with autism or Asperger's is real or imagined. One quirky theory could account for a genuine hike.

In the past, geeks and anoraks had about as much chance of mating and passing on their genes as they had of going on holiday to Mars. Now, they can sit in front of a computer all day and commune with like minded people. They can even get together with them and have children who will have a double dose of abstractedness.


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marianneh



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2014 4:08 pm    Post subject: Conpspiracy Theories Kill Reply with quote

A Mail journalist, who was predisposed to support Gary Mckinnon, was nevertheless a bit irritated by his harping on his belief that 9/11 was an inside job, but then remembered that Asperger's sufferers must be expected to have narrow and obsessive interests.

It behoves us to be tolerant. According to his mother, he no longer believes that the American government caused 9/11.

Perhaps the journalist was barking up the wrong tree here. Conspiracy theories have always existed, but they have really taken off in the internet age. Hordes of people spend all day ruminating on their pet conspiracy theories, and the majority of the brooders do not have Asperger's

What they will usually have is a feeling of alienation, a low level of trust and - strangely enough- open minds. You can see all these in Russell Brand. I'm ashamed to admit than I too briefly accepted the 9/11 conspiracy myth while staying with people who subscribed to it. It was a case of intellectual contagion.

One thing that made it seem quite plausible was when a radio host said,''But if George Dubya Bush knew about it, he's not just a stupid and unlikeable man. He's a monster!''

He said this as if that was impossible. But to those of us who had seen Bush's cruel impressions of Texas prisoners on Death Row, the possibility that he was a monster sounded quite compelling. After all, monsters do exist.

Since I've taken my friends' advice to do my own research, I've changed my mind. I pointed out to a friend that I'd seen the second plane go in. He said, ''What you saw was an illusion.'' So I looked at it again from different angles, and it definitely happened.

The 9/11 conspiracy theory is not internally consistent or logically based. And as Aspies are supposed to be logical to a fault, I do not see conspiracy theories as a defining trait.

If conspiracy rumination was a besetting Asperger's trait, it would be ironic that one of the most lethal of all conspiracy theories is about autism. I can remember having an open mind on the theory that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine could cause autism when my children were having their jabs. I think even the Guardian was asking if Leo Blair had had his jab.

Andrew Wakefield's paper had been published in 'The Lancet' after all. At that time, I had respect for Dr Vernon Coleman who also thought vaccines in general were the work of the Devil.

As I took my son Andantom out to have his MMR jab, my husband looked at him lugubriously, and said, ''This may be your last day of happiness. From now on, you could be a zombie'', revealing a macabre and negative attitude to autism.

By the time Taliesin was old enough for the MMR jab, my husband's negativity was less passive. He threw a hissy fit in the surgery, threatening to sue everything that moved.

A young doctor tried to convince me of the safety of the procedure. She said that people said that they saw a difference in their children within 24 hours of having the vaccine.But if that was true, the autism couldn't be caused by the jab, as it would take longer than that to take effect.

I professed to agree with her as I didn't want her to think we were both mad, but I really didn't know what to believe. I did volunteer the thought that people still had a stigmatising attitude to mental problems. So, it was easier for parents to blame an external event than accept that they had a perceived taint in the family.

It's definitely better that they should blame the jab, rather than be ashamed of and scapegoat the affected child. Autism is not obvious from birth. Autistic children are seen as 'good' babies. They are undemanding, no trouble at all. By impish timing, they don't show signs of autism until they are old enough for the MMR jab.

The Lancet has now disowned Dr Wakefield's paper. His senior colleagues have concluded that he was not just sloppy and unprofessional but deliberately deceitful. He has been struck off. But he has as much support as ever in the lay community. A film 'Hear the Silence' presented quite a slick defence.

Some journalists such as Jo Bailey of Swansea's 'Evening Post', continued to find the case compelling. The 'Evening Post' ran a campaign imploring parents not to subject their children to the MMR jab.

It wouldn't matter if just a few kids didn't have it. According to the geneticist, Steve Jones, infectious childhood diseases didn't take off until we abandoned living in small bands of hunter gatherers, for farming and settled life. A human community has to reach a certain size before an epidemic can take hold.

Someone had even said that measles did not exist until we became pastoralists. Rinderpest jumped the species barrier and became measles. I really can't say if this in accurate. According to Steve Jones, Iceland was so under populated before the Second World War, that it only had a measles outbreak about once every seven years.

It just shows how successful the 'Evening Post''s campaign against MMR was, that vaccination levels fell below the danger threshold, and Swansea suffered a measles epidemic in the spring of 2013.

People were worried about the several children who were off school with measles but it was a young adult, 25 year old Gareth Colfer Williams who lost his life.

To their credit, the staff at 'The Evening Post' have been big enough to admit they were wrong, and now urge parents to give their children the MMR jab without fail. It shows that careless talk costs lives.

At least, the good folk at the 'Evening Post' were able to admit their error when they were presented with new information. But a committed vaccine denier will not listen to any evidence.

They can only get away with their dangerous bamboozlement because vaccines have so successfully rid us of polio, diphtheria and the like that we can't remember what it was like before.

In Somalia, there's a conspiracy theory that the polio vaccine is a plot to make Muslims sterile. I've even heard an extremely humane and usually sensible British person stand up for Somalis who kill aid workers who have given the polio jab to their children. The same person won't have the flu jab because you feel ill afterwards.

''Do you think it's a plot, and if so, who's behind it?'' I asked, and finally elicited the response, Ex-Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. There's no point in arguing with people who want to believe these things. It just makes them more stubborn.

I spoke to my friend Jean about this. She said that on the one occasion she failed to have the flu jab, her lung collapsed. She had once been offered a jab herself when she took her baby to be vaccinated. Her arm ached all the way home, and she blamed the jab. But then, she remembered that she had been carrying a heavy baby.

Her daughter Sarah had been so premature that it was amazing she survived. She had remained weak throughout her childhood, getting every infection that was going. Jean discussed with the GP whether it was advisable to give Sarah a certain routine vaccine.

After giving a long spiel on the importance of vaccines, the doctor surprisingly said that he would not recommend it in Sarah's case. He was quite flexible, not just dishing them out regardless of individual circumstances.

The anti-vaxxers are wrong and they are a menace. But, after all, doctors shouldn't be trusted automatically. Traditionally, they have closed ranks and covered up for incompetent colleagues, at the expense of integrity and patient welfare. Harold Shipman was probably only the tip of the iceberg.

Sadistic and narcissistic types are often attracted to the medical profession because of the power it confers. It's quite true that the Tuskegee experiment deliberately infected unsuspecting African Americans with syphilis.

Children in the Australian care system really were used as guinea pigs in medical experiments. Geriatric patients really are left to starve to death in hospitals. Our next door neighbour really was prescribed the thalidomide drug in 1961, although doctors knew that it caused deformities in 1958.

It's great that doctors are no longer given automatic deference - or indeed any deference at all. They are not worthy of it. But we must be rational. Criticism has to be evidence based. Doctors must do the right thing sometimes. They are nothing special as people, but they have access to expertise that most people don't. And sometimes we need to make use of their expertise.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 1:54 am    Post subject: The Hate Crime We Ignore Reply with quote

Ian Birrell has told us of a shocking crime. Two soldiers were out drinking near their camp in Wales. They came across two inoffensive teenagers walking home.

They lured them into a dark alley. They first subjected them to horrible verbal abuse.

They then beat the younger one who was aged 16 unconscious. The older one managed to flee after being punched, hit and battered with a terracotta pot.

The soldiers filmed the fun on their mobile phones as a form of entertainment which they could share with their friends later. Why did they do it?

From the insults such as 'spastic', it is obvious that the squaddies intuited that the youths were disabled in some way, although they got the details wrong. They were in fact autistic. The younger one was also deaf.

The younger boy was left in a coma for three days. Even before this, the 18 year old struggled with socialising. He will find it much harder now.

To me, it is all the more tragic that it is part of their condition that they are naïve and trusting. Ian Birrell comments that the assailants were 'inadequate', but confesses himself baffled as to why anyone would want to behave like this.

The only good thing is that the police did get their act together in this case. The culprits have been given appropriately severe sentences. Nevertheless, Lord MacDonald calls disability hate crime a 'scar on the conscience' of the criminal justice system.

I know a gifted musician in Abergavenny. He is rather quiet. People tell me he gets deluged in verbal abuse as he walks down the street because of 'the condition he has.'

''What condition is that?'' I asked. 'Autism' or 'Aspergers' came the answer. I was surprised that strangers would notice it. He doesn't differ from the 'norm' physically.

But I am not very observant. Perhaps they pick up on something that I can't see.

It sounds harsh but some have designated the anti-MMR vaccine conspiracy hate speech. If you'd rather take the risk of your child dying of an infectious illness than live on the autism spectrum, what does that say about you?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:56 pm    Post subject: vaxxers Reply with quote

The former doctor, Andrew Wakefield, has arrived in the UK to watch the film 'Vaxxers' which promotes the fairy tale about MMR causing autism. A garbled understanding is abroad in our streets.

An elderly woman appeared at a GP's surgery accompanied by her daughter. She was asked if she had had her flu jab for that winter. The daughter said quickly, ''She can't have the flu jab. It causes autism!''

The medic looked at her in disbelief. Did she really think the flu jab could give her 90 year old mother autism?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:08 pm    Post subject: o Reply with quote

Emily O' Reilly was an exceptionally attractive teenager. But her life was not easy. She had Asperger's Syndrome.

She was walking down the street near Walsall when she was attacked by another girl of her own age which was 16. The girl stole her jewellery and ipod, and not satisfied with that, punched and kicked her and stamped on her face as she lay on the ground.

The assailant only desisted when she heard the words, ''I think she's dead.'' Emily is still alive but she will be disfigured for life.

When her mother came to see her in hospital, she didn't recognise her. We will probably find out in the course of the trial if this was just street robbery or a definite hate crime.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MMM ... Something that I have begun to fret about now that I am old, thin and ill and walking with a pronounced limp is what I witnessed years ago in this street in Butetown when I was in my twenties ... in the first instance there was my elderly neighbour who was living in horribly reduced circumstances because as an office secretary she had never been paid much and thus had a very small pension and her house was in a very dilapidated state. I never got further socially with her than being provided with a chair in the hall where we sat and talked : after she finally left I carefully went trespassing to find out what state the house was in when it was put into an auction ... derelict : she lived in one room with one gas ring for both cooking and heating. The paper was peeling off the walls and the remaining curtains were rotting cobwebbed rags. She must have been about eighty and trudged off to the shops in her old coat held closed with a safety pin dragging one of those wheeled trolleys and as far as I can tell she was friendless before I arrived next door to replace Ephraim who had died two years previously.

Sue and Jackie used to share the house with me back then and I am ashamed to think that they were not as interested in her as in their hoped for boyfriends from the motorbike crew whom they brought back say 02.00 am and played loud music for hours - really pissing me off because I was often struggling to meet work deadlines - and perhaps scaring her. But what shocked me were the number of people who displayed open contempt and hostility towards her as she slowly trudged along pulling her trolley - and even more so was the number of people who deliberately kicked her door to scare her ... and this has happened to me recently ... One night when Jackie came in and before she and her boyfriend bedded down and put their records on they came to me and led me into the middle room - which was physically as close as we could come to where she lived in that room next door - and we stood there at gone 02.00 in the morning listening to her crying, bawling ... soon afterwards she gave up and left ... you know the people who sent these anti-social people into my street Marianne : The Labour & Cooperative Party - and other Democrats.

But you also know Marianne that The Labour & Cooperative Party have done the same in other places i.e. claimed a Demockeratic mandate to dump the problems from their own neighbourhoods into other people's thus winning themselves the approval and votes which keep them elected in their own wards. Besides my own experiences here ( not the one mentioned above but multiple other examples of disorder on our streets ) you are well aware of what Dafydd found dumped upon him and how very deeply it harmed him - but are you aware that it was not merely Dafydd's personal capacity to attract trouble ? I am thinking of that elderly man who lived around the corner from Dafydd in Splott who had some kind of glandular disorder or perhaps it was the drugs they gave him which gave him that odd balding appearance and swollen body and strange gait. Bad enough to be ill and have difficulty walking but with the general sanction for immoral behaviour being broadcast by The Labour & Cooperative Party the local children - even quite small ones - decided that this man was their legitimate prey to call names after, scream into the face of, kick at his legs and run away and of course throw stones at.

As you know better than I what the Labour & Cooperative Party's war against The People in Splott was like - I will leave you to tell the story.
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wojattaca



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like it
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:38 pm    Post subject: ed Reply with quote

An old lady who lived in Splott had old fashioned and rather intolerant attitudes which I disagreed with. For most of her life until the 60s, suicide was a crime for which you could be imprisoned - attempted suicide I should say! There's not a lot of point in sending your corpse to prison.

The old woman was deeply religious in a legalistic way. I would have expected her to think suicide was a sin as well as a former crime.

But she told me that she was so beaten down by the attacks on her by a notorious family with nine delinquent kids that she had been on the way to the chemists to get the pills to end it all with, when somebody talked her out of it.

It was the same family who persecuted Dafydd and his neighbours. I sent her a copy of the letter I wrote to the headmaster. She wrote back, ''I know just what that young man [Dafydd] has been through. I have been through the same myself. My sympathy is with him.''

She later told me that she had tried to get the police involved, but they admitted they were scared of the family themselves. A young policeman told me that the kids' grandfather had killed a man in a pub brawl in the 40s, and some of his sons had killed people by reckless driving.

He predicted that the most notorious boy in the family would undoubtedly kill someone one day.I was in the public gallery when one of the boy's cases came up. His counsel said that when he was called to advise the kid in a police cell, a policewoman gave him a computer print out detailing his client's former offences.

He said he felt the need to make inquiries as to whether she really was an experienced officer or if she was an ingenue who would believe anything. To his suprirse, it turned out that the boy really had committed at least one serious offence per day for the last - who knows how long? - and those were just the ones they knew about.

In telling how he had ridden the wrong way down a street on a stolen motorbike just when the infants school in the road was breaking up at 4 pm, the lawyer said he'd endangered the lives of the little children coming out of school and the female passenger on the plllion. He added, ''I think I am correct in saying that the danger he posed to his own life is not an aggravating factor.''
I thought, ''You can say that again!''

The solicitor added that there wasn't much point in sending him letters, telling him when to appear in court. He couldn't read and other key people in his famiiy couldn't read either.

He surprised me by saying this reflected his general level of intelligence.

The boy was involved in two rape cases but he never killed anyone except himself. Were you aware that he died of a heroin overdose in his early 20s?

He had a gang he could manipulate, but not all the local kids liked him. One of them sprayed graffiti around his parents' front door, calling him by a nickname which contained the word 'robot.' Maybe he was a bit mechanical, and not spontaneous.

The gang may have picked on Dafydd more after he started going out with a woman who appeared vulnerable, the one from Ayrshire.

You are much more likely to be picked on in the street if you have an unsteady gait or a definite limp or indeed any outer sign that can be seen as a weakness.

I know this from experience. For the Son of Atos is hallucinating rather conveniently, in saying that Karen Goode saw me striding down the landing with an Amazonian gait like Xena Warrior Princess. If only it was true!

I've suffered bullying at school over my less than Amazonian physique, and intermittent harassment as an adult- oh and other variations on the theme - but this persecution by a government agency is making me think I never knew what real persecution over disability was, until the other day. It makes the hell I suffered seem a heaven.

Yes, the police and other agents of the state were at fault in not protecting the good folk of Splott in the 90s. But that the government is now doing the bullying itself - I can't get over that as it is not possible to evade it.

I don't see that it would be less likely to happen if we had a government chosen by some mandate other than democratic elections. But democracy hasn't prevented it happening either. I just want this reign of terror to stop.


Added note on 7 June 2018: The delinquent family's reign of terror continues. Today I read in the Western Mail that a girl in the family - who was arrested in the 90s for besieging Dafydd and his girlfriend from Ayrshire in the corner shop- has now been arrested for murder.

The victim, a 39 year old man, was set on in the street on 27 May 2018. He was later taken to the Heath Hospital where he died. His family, unsurprisingly, say they are 'devastated.'

I feel numb. I've asked myself if we could have done more. But we did quite a lot to alert the responsible authorities to the danger this family posed and poses to the public, and their response was not what it should have been. We were left frustrated and feeling even worse than we did before.

The case is coming up in November. I won't write any more while the case is sub rosa. I'll wait for the conviction which I can't believe she'll evade. I hope not.


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marianneh



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:00 am    Post subject: fi Reply with quote

In the area of Leicester where the terrible murder-suicide of Fiona Pilkington and Francesca Hardwicke occurred, people will admit they knew them by sight, but won't ackowledge any closer acquaintance with them.

They try to brush the awful story under the carpet. It is as if they never existed. People don't want to dicuss the subject.

So just as with the police in the first instance, the silence about the persecution of the disabled is preserved. And yet, it is going on today under their very noses.'Ann', who lives in the same area of Leicester, told the Guardian that people even come into the charity shop where she works to taunt her on her disability.

As she goes down the street, she gets verbal abuse from pedestrian passers by, and people shout at her out of car windows. They also film her on their moblile phones. They then upload the picture on the internet and invite cruel comment from a world wide audience.

A disabled man in the same area has made numerous complaints to the police; they have spoken to the kids responsible for bullying him, but it has had no effect. He has stopped going to the police as they must be sick of the sight of him.

He thinks that if they put the kids in the cells for just a few minutes, it might frighten them into good behaviour, but they say that would be a breach of their human rights. 'What about his human rights?', he asked.

Perhaps he is harking back to an earlier era when parents sometimes persuaded police officers to put their troublesome kids in police cells for a few minutes, to terrorise them into submission, an atrocity once perpetrated on Alfred Hitchcock as a child.

I can't say I approve of this, but something does need to be done. I remember how frustrating it was when my adoptive mother refused to believe that random strangers gave me verbal abuse in the street based on my inferior physique.

Denying that it happens is convenient for the person doing the denying. It is also cowardly and is part of the problem.

We can't reasonably expect the state to do anything right now. After all the anti-cripple thugs have infiltrated the government and are now denying that disabilty itself exists. Autism in particular is held not to exist. The government itself has taken over the role of drving cripples to suicide, as opposed to out sourcing this important task to yobs on the street.

These are dark days in an increasingly uncivilized country. Will we ever emerge from the darkness?
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:58 pm    Post subject: y t Reply with quote

An autistic boy has been thrown off a bus for singing happily,'The Wheels on the Bus Go Roound and Round'. The government has declared that autism does not exist.

I was told this in a triumphant and bumptiously malicious way by a judge with an Irish accent,calling herself Mrs Thomas who used her bouffant hair and her false icy smile as shields. This was in a terrible building called 'Columbus House' on the outskirts of Newport.

In Wetherspoons in Abergavenny today, I heard an ordinary looking woman who may or may not be called Elaine, denouncing cripples as frauds while expressing jealousy of them. She was an old woman, old enough to know better. She was elegantly dressed with a pink jumper, many bits of gold jewellery, and heavily framed but fahionable glasses.

She was with a blue jumpered friend called Dan who had once insulted me for being a cripple in the street. I found it almost poignant that Dan was wearing the same blue jumper he had worn on that occasion. Elaine, if that is her name, had always treated me with disdain but I had no idea why until today.

These two weak minded Nazis look so inoffensive, like people you would meet at a bowls club or at a world tiddlywinks quarter final. Appearances are deceptive.


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marianneh



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:49 pm    Post subject: rhodri Reply with quote

My heart is heavy. My friends are upset about the death of Rhodri aged 22. Like Joshua Davies, he had autistic or Aspergery traits. He was bullied, sought for help and had no joy. Like Joshua, he jumped from a bridge.

In this case, it wasn't a wild attempt to escape from immediate persecution. It was a suicide attempt. He broke both his legs but survived. He continued to make suicide attempts by other means.

He was not sectioned or offered counselling, as the cuts to services are beginning to bite locally. We don't even have a police station any more. In other areas, fire stations are being closed down. Because we don't need emergency services, do we? They are just luxuries.

Rhodri's father found him dead in bed this morning. He had probably taken an overdose. His father feels terrible. He blames himself.

Like many people on the autistic spectrum, Rhodri was exceptionally physically attractive. He looked as if he should be appearing in 'Hollyoaks'. Maybe, the bullies were also jealous of him.

When Rhodri was a boy, his lovely grandmother lost her nose to cancer. People shouted ''leper!' after her in the street. A celebrity who had been affected by the thalidomide drug, received hate mail from total strangers who objected to his disability.

He was relaxed about it. He said, ''They're very unhappy people.'' I thought: ''I don't know if they're very unhappy, but I hope they are! They deserve to be!'' Am I putting the cart before the horse?
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:07 pm    Post subject: but it still goes on Reply with quote

The people who drove Rhodri to suicide, have gone on Facebook to celebrate his death. When his mother made bitter remarks on her account, they played the victim just like Ella Whelan, and complained to the police.

Even in today's fascist Britain, it is hard to believe that the police will take their side, especially as the local police station has been closed down. Somebody marked the closure by fire bombing the home of a policeman, outside Abergavenny. It was a mercy the whole street didn't go up in flames, and that the government has not closed down the fire station too, at least not yet.

It is of course government policy to drive autistic people and their relatives to suicide. I remember Valerie Whitty who threw herself under a train after her son, a young adult with autism, was coldly informed that he was no longer entitled to benefits.

Jeremy Corbyn said in the House of Commons, that Theresa May's claim that austerity is over, is a big fat government lie. I have no serious doubt that he is right, although I would love to believe he was wrong.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is an appalling story … How come people are unable to connect what is happening at the government level with its consequences at the local level ?
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:49 am    Post subject: the aftermath Reply with quote

A few day ago, I was at Rhodri's funeral. I didn't take away the personalised booklet. It would have given his exact date of birth. It would have been too upsetting. He was younger than my eldest son. 1997 seems like yesterday to some of us.

Apparently, he had a brother and four sisters. The attractive blonde young women on the edge of tears constantly, were probably his sisters and cousins. Even the conventional vicar said: ''Where is God in all this?'', and 'If love could have saved him , he would have lived for ever.''

It reminded me of a local programme on informal bullying of disabled people , which acknowledged that 'love is not enough.' You cannot shield your loved ones from bullying and persecution, however much you might want to. It is even more impossible now that bullying of the sick and disabled is sponsored by the state.

But whether the government of Theresa May actually caused Rhodri's death, is impossible to decide. This sort of thing did happen before disabled people became our leaders' scapegoats of choice. It was just much less frequent.


We do not have enough information to say how and in what way the bullies were motivated by government propaganda. It's not the sort of thing an inquest would be interested in investigating.

We can't even be entirely sure that the government's hate campaign was a causal factor at all . But it seems reasonably likely that it was.

In fact, we can be totally confident that the state was secondarily responsible for Rhodri's death. They had abolished the aftercare services that would once have cared for him after his first suicide attempt. These are the kind of people who say that it is not the answer to problems to throw money at them. People like Rhodri have to get some backbone and stand on their own two feet. This talk is madness.

The other day, a sick 12 year old boy in his hospital bed was pictured in the colours of the 'People's Vote' marchers. He was bravely joining in although he couldn't attend in person. A Tory MP called him a 'pathetic cretin.'

Why did he pick on a child undergoing hospital treatment, instead of the fit adults who actually attended? It is part of the fascist instinct to try to destroy what is perceived as vulnerable or weak. The Tory party in Britain today has become radicalised. It is effectively a fascist party.

By the way, I have referred to disliked persons as 'cretins' too, on this site, even this very thread! I've recently become aware that I shouldn't have. It's not just an insult but a real medical condition. I've amended the passages in question. If I've failed to delete any, you could let me know.

The Tory MP looks like a really nasty spiteful bruiser. But it is he who is pathetic. It is the weakness in themselves these people really want to destroy, but they can't.It is all too evident.

Pressure groups of single mothers have now organised themselves against Universal Credit. Save the Children has become involved. That's a good thing, but what a disgrace that it is necessary!

The funeral gave the false comfort that religion is for. We heard about angels taking Rhodri to his rest. Rhodri was only 22. There should have been no question of his going to his rest for many years to come.

There are no angels except what Steven Pinker would call, 'the better angels of our nature'. Perhaps one day, people with Asperger's and all other variations on the human theme, will be embraced by our society, and given a chance of a decent life on earth, so there will be no need to take a desperate exit route on the off chance of finding bliss beyond the stars.


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marianneh



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 10:43 am    Post subject: not so clever hans Reply with quote

Hans Asperger, after whom the syndrome is named, has been seen as an enlightened paediatrician. He did not write off children who were in some way 'different' as broken or unworthy, but nurtured them, playing to their strengths.

He worked in a progressive clinic in Vienna. He himself had several traits which we associate with Asperger's.

He was socially awkward, and found it hard to make friends. Some of the Asperger's traits he did not have were the trademark shining integrity and basic kindness. After the Viennese clinic became 'Aryanised' in the Nazi era, he ingratiated himself with the Nazis.

He picked out some of his child patients to be killed directly by gassing as part of the T4 programme. He also allowed others to be used in torturous 'medical experiments' which typically involved vivisection without anaesthetic. Others, he gave to Nazis, knowing they would be slowly starved to death.

This was all revealed a few months ago while this site was down. I was not at all surprised. I had wondered about him previously. His name was obviously ethnically German, and he had been active at the relevant time.He had the window of opportunity. Why be surprised he took advantage of it?

It's not consistent with the glowing accounts we had heard of him before, but those were just a posthumous 'puff' by his colleagues. All doctors and nurses are exposed to the temptation to abuse their power.

Let's face it. Perhaps, most of them succumb. They are only human. I could give you very sobering stories about people I know personally. It is always because of a weakness in their own psyches, never an objective assessment of the patients, although they may deceive themselves that it is.

Idealistic people who had believed the propaganda, were shocked and upset. They now want Asperger's Syndrome to be called something else. It will cause confusion in the short term. But in the long run, it's an excellent idea.
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2018 7:52 pm    Post subject: hegerty Reply with quote

Anne Hegerty of Newport is often asked if she suffers from Asperger's Syndrome. She says:''No, I have Asperger's Syndrome. I suffer from idiots.''
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:52 pm    Post subject: philomena Reply with quote

I can now say the Mcdonagh dynasty was the family that terrorised Splott for so long. Their grandfather had killed a man in a pub brawl. Some of his sons had killed people by reckless driving.

Their parents were on heroin. They had nine children who beat up, burgled and taunted the neighbourhood, driving many individuals to suicide attempts. A policeman told us that the most notorious boy, Billy, would definitely kill someone one day. Apart from daily burglaries, he was charged with raping a granny in a park, and organising a gang rape. The trials later fell apart.

Happily, the person he killed was himself. It was a heroin overdose. We heard his sister Philomena was persona non grata in the family. She had some connection with the fatal overdose. It was 2006.

It was an interesting day when I entered the public gallery in Cardiff Crown Court. Philomena was giving evidence. She was on trial for robbery and murder.

She said that on the evening of 26 May 2018, she had been going by taxi to buy drugs. I thought it was heroin but it might have been crack cocaine. When the taxi stopped at the traffic lights, a young man of 19, Kalib Facey, whom she had met twice before, jumped in -as so often happens in taxis! He said:''Hi Philomena! Where're you going?''

She said she was on her way to score heroin. The barrister asked why she wanted to admit that to someone she hardly knew. She said that everyone who knew her,knew she was a drug user. The barrister sounded rather sarcastic as he said, ''Oh, of course, you were going to buy heroin. What else would you be doing?''

Kalib testified that he had never met Philomena before that night. They were both of no fixed abode, but Philomena took him to the flat of a Titus Dutt in Splott. At first, I heard it as Titus Dove. Later, I kept absent mindedly calling him Titus Oates.

Dutt is a common name for Brahmins..er, no, I mean a posh one! He must have come down in the world.

Titus habitually allowed Philomena to use his washing machine and shower. So that he would allow the teenage Kalib in, Philomena who was now 35, mendaciously said he was her nephew. In his testimony, Kalib both confirmed and denied that she had said this.

Kalib treated Titus' flat as if it was his own, using his shaving gear to shave off his own beard. He took a knife from the kitchen, and forced it between Titus' teeth. He just about forced Titus to become a sword swallower. He said:''I am going to put you to sleep!''

He also used and abused a mirror. At first, the evidence suggested that Kalib was head butting the mirror,and bits of glass were flying about dangerously.''Did Mr Facey injure himself?'', asked the barrister with weary and restrained patience.

It then turned out that he had been using the mirror as a weapon, hitting both Titus and Philomena with it. He was not behaving like a 'normal person'. This cannot be confirmed. The mirror is cracked. That's all we know. Kalib and Philomena couldn't even agree if they were sitting close together or far apart on the sofa.

Titus thought they appeared to know each other well from their intimate conversational style. He thought they must have known each other a long time.

The prosecuting barrister also thought they were as thick as thieves. They were in it together.

Philomena was on the landline to a drugs line called the monkey line. It doesn't look as if it was run by the government or an NGO. It must have been a private agency.

Kalib helped himself to Titus' jacket and to a belt which Titus helped him put on. He hung the knife he had threatened Titus with from the belt, leaving his hands free.

He then took Titus' plastic cards. He demanded to know the number. Titus wrote it down for him. Kalib said menacingly, ''You know what's going to happen if it's the wrong number!''

According to one account, Philomena screeched rather touchingly, ''Leave him alone! He's disabled!'' Philomena said that Titus was upset.

The barrister asked how he showed it. Was he crying? Apparently, he showed it by telling them to bugger off. Even Philomena thought that Kalib had outstayed his welcome.

The barrister asked Philomena why she didn't just leave when things became difficult. Why didn't she call the police? She said abruptly that she was scared of Kalib, and she was vulnerable.

The barrister found it interesting that whenever anything interesting happened, Philomena was either out of the room or so off her face on hard drugs that she didn't notice what was happening.

Although, they had allegedly come by taxi, they went away on an orange bike which appears to have been stolen. Philomena could be seen either balancing on the handle bars or flopped over them on CCTV images. She and Kalib could also be seen on foot, crossing the black bridge.

Then they were on their way to Oakfield Street in Roath, to meet the drug runner,Damian Hill. Philomena said that she and Damian went back a long way. Damian's brother Craig Hill had been the boyfriend of Kalib's mother. Kalib said the relationship was just about drugs.

They didn't expect Damian to give them drugs without being paid in advance. They went to the cashpoint with Titus' card. Titus really is vulnerable as was obvious, but he wasn't as daft as they thought. He'd given them the wrong number.

The barrister said that it was clear from the CCTV that Philomena was 'seething'. The movements of her head and arms made it evident. They tried to extract money five times. Five times, the machine rejected the card. The barrister thought it a wonder the hole in the wall hadn't retained the card.

They didn't bother to try the second card. They seemed to know there was no money in that account. They discussed going back to Titus for the correct number, but dismissed the idea.

The prosecution said that they then had to decide how to get the drugs from Damian without any money. Philomena says that she did have enough money. She had had a very successful day's shoplifting! She had gone into a supermarket and come out with a thousand pounds' worth of goods in a trolley, which she then sold for £250.


Be that as it may, Philomena and Kalib forged ahead to meet Damian. They rode the orange bike up and down Elm Street.

It was now the early hours of 27 May. It was Damian's last day in his 30s. He may have been looking forward to celebrating his 40th birthday with his two kids the following day.

He came towards Philomena near the YMCA building. He could only see her, not Kalib. He was carrying the sachets of drugs in his mouth, but managed to say audibly:''I'm packing.'' He meant he had hard drugs for sale.

According to Philomena she gave him the money, took the drugs, and went to squat down between two cars to be unseen as she put them somewhere internal. I thought she meant she was injecting them.

But what she meant was that she was inserting them in her vagina. Not that anyone specifically said so. A barrister later used the euphemism 'a cavity below her waist'. In this version, she disappeared from view on the CCTV out of modesty.

She then says that Kalib squirted liquid in her face and robbed her of the drugs, which was why she was later seen scrabbling round on her hands and knees, trying to retrieve them. She was aware that Kalib was now involved in what she thought was a fist fight with Damian. She said she had no idea that Kalib had a knife.

She had totally forgotten that he had earlier attacked Titus with a knife and had then taken it with him. Kalib said he acted in self defence. Damian attacked him, and had him in a bear hug.

The barrister asked Philomena if she could be of any assistance about how another knife, a bread knife which belonged to Titus, had come to be found down a drain in Oakfield Street, with her DNA on the blade - not the haft.

She had no idea. She usually resorted to the words:''I wouldn't like to say.''

The prosecution's case is that Kalib had been sitting on a low wall, waiting to be given a signal. He was waiting for Philomena to tip him off when to jump Damian, for they had no money at all. When she disappeared between two silver coloured vehicles, it was not to put drugs in her vagina, but to indicate to Kalib that now he could make his attack.


Other people could hear Damian screaming for help, but Philomena says she couldn't hear anything. Damian had been able to phone for an ambulance before he lost too much blood to function. He said he had been stabbed with a ten inch blade. He was screaming ''Oh fucking hell!'' as he lay on the pavement. I'm sure I would have done the same.

A Mr Jones looked out of the window of the YMCA and said he saw Philomena draw back her leg, bent at the knee, to kick Damian as he lay screaming for help on the ground. Apparently, Damian crawled into a front garden.

Damian's blood was later found on Philomena' jeans. It was not that his blood had been passively lying in a pool on the ground, and she brushed past it. As the knife struck, blood spurted from the wound, and fell in a predictable pattern of spattering on Philomena's jeans. She must have been very close to him when he was stabbed.

Somebody heard Kalib harangue Damian in a loud 'stern' voice. Philomena was searching for the drugs on the ground. She was heard to say:''They fell out of his mouth.'' It doesn't sound as if she had bought them then, let alone put them in her vagina. No money was ever found on Damian.

To a passerby, she said:''I've just lost £200'.' He gave her a mobile phone to illuminate the ground or maybe it was a torch or a lighter.

Kalib was saying to Philomena that they should make a sharp exit. She said:''And?...And?'' She hadn't stabbed anyone, and wasn't as scared as he was. But when she gave the illuminated thing- torch, phone, lighter - back to the donor, her pupils were wide with fear.

An ambulance had come for Damian. Kalib had blabbed:''I've cut one of the monkey line's runners''. Craig Hill was now on the scene, demanding to know that it hadn't been his brother. Kalib then said it wasn't Damian he had cut but a black man from a rival drug outlet, the banks line.

It shows what he was like. He might have been giving some cruelly false reassurance to Craig, but it would be just as immoral if he had cut a black man from a rival drug provider! Kalib was beginning to see what a liability Philomena was.

I don't know if Kalib was arrested just about on the spot. But Philomena wiped her hands on a car's bonnet, and 'ran away into the night'.

She went back to Titus' flat,and called through the letter box that she was on her own. Titus's story was that two people broke into the flat the next day,and he ran away until he knew the coast was clear. Later, some villain came and returned the plastic cards to him! A barrister commented that some of the testimony was laughable.

Damian had died in the Heath Hospital. He would have been aware for forty minutes that he was dying.

Philomena wanted to put her blood splashed jeans in the washing machine. Titus said:''No, wait till there's a full load.'' The jeans were still sitting on top of the washing machine, unwashed, when the police came round three days later.

In the police interview, Philomena was shocked into telling what the prosecution accepted was the truth, as it agreed with the forensics. Kalib had stabbed Damian fiercely and rapidly in the lung and the heart. They could not say in which order.

There had been another lunge with the knife which pierced his jacket and shirt but not his skin. For good measure, Kalib had stabbed him twice in the back.

Damian's relatives say he would have walked away from trouble, not looked for it. Kalib can't tell a convincing story about anything.

There is no reason to think that Damian attacked him first. It was Kalib being Kalib. If there was a rational motive, it was to take the heroin or cocaine without having to pay for it.

The barrister waved around the jacket Kalib had been wearing. At first he called it Kalib Facey's jacket. Then he corrected himself. It was Titus Dutt's jacket.

The prosecutor said that the jury should distinguish between good and reliable witnesses, witnesses who were trying to be helpful but got things wrong, and those who were deliberately lying. Kalib and Philomena were in the third category, but in the gaps between their contradictory narratives, it might he possible to discern the truth.

People might be cocaine addicts of many years' standing, and still be good witnesses. Titus Dutt, although a good person, was not entirely to be relied on.
His story about how he had first met Philomena differed from her own account.

He had said he had found her homeless, living on the streets. He had given her a place to stay.

She said that he had met her when she was walking the streets. He had had to pay a thousand pounds for a night with her.

The prosecutor thought she was just exploiting Titus. Titus said he cared deeply for her, and had asked her to marry him.

Philomena said that as he was disabled, she did his cooking and cleaning. The barrister for Kalib showed the jury a picture of the flat after she had cleaned it,and asked if they would have ever guessed that it had just been cleaned.

Titus agreed that he would do anything for Philomena.He believed she had saved his life by enticing Kalib away to do his devilment elsewhere. Most people might have taken the view that he would never have been in that fix if it wasn't for Philomena, but that's not how he saw it.

Even from prison, Philomena gave Titus phone messages like:''Oh Titus baby, I love you. Send me money for trainers.'' She also warned him:'Titus, stay away from drugs.''

I'm not sure in what way Titus is disabled. I thought I caught the words that he wa a bit lame in one leg. But I may have misheard, influenced by my own bad leg. That is the disability that always first springs to mind for me.

I don't think that's what Robert Evans meant when he asked me', '' Is there something wrong with Titus?'' This was immediately after hearing that he had asked Philomena to marry him. I suggested he had bad taste in women. ''Bad taste!'', exclaimed Robert, ''I would question his sanity.''

Titus is a nice person who's been ripped off from here to eternity. He's also had his character impugned. The amount of human DNA on his kitchen knives has been interpreted as indicating that he kept open house for prostitutes and drug addicts. This is a bit unfair as no traces of drugs have been detected. The people who left their DNA, may have been there for any reason.

He might have had a party. They might have come round to eat jelly babies.

It is true about Philomena having a byline as a shoplifter. She had 189 former convictions, mainly for crimes of dishonesty such as shoplifting. There is a court snippet on the net about how she was fined aged 23, for being a common prostitute in Windsor Road, Cardiff.

Then there was the time she threw a chair across her doctor's surgery because he would not prescribe her the medication she wanted. As he escorted her from the premises, she shouted to the people in the waiting room that he had tried to force her to perform a sex act on him. Her guy had said in mitigation:''She was off her face on hard drugs, Your Honour.''

While warning the jury not to be swayed by emotion, the prosecutor had said it might be possible to feel sorry for Philomena. Her life was spiralling out of control. Her benefits had been stopped. She needed heroin just to feel normal.

But he didn't agree that she was vulnerable. He said:''We say she's not vulnerable. We say she's streetwise and she's manipulative.''

She may well have been manipulating Kalib who was 16 years her junior. He must have been born in circa 1999. We had major trouble with the Mcdonaghs and their gang, and they were notorious locally, before Kalib was even born.

He had an interesting history himself, with some previous convictions. He had himself sold drugs, which was the obvious thing to do in the milieu in which he lived. He said he had himself been attacked when working as a drug runner.

The prosecutor warned against emotion, but said that some might feel sorry for Kalib. He had cognitive difficulties and ADHD. He had been thrown out of his mother's house, and was now of no fixed abode. His benefits had presumably been stopped. Our awful government's austerity policies are a factor.

At one time, homeless people were housed as a priority. Now, people are living on the streets.

Kalib's father was in prison when he was growing up. His mother was on heroin, and had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. It may be that he had picked up the paranoia through genes or osmosis. He may genuinely have convinced himself that Damian had it in for him and was going to attack him, although he had no rational reason to think this.

Kalib confirmed that he had been to three schools and had been expelled from all of them, including nursery school and 'naughty' school. His barrister said that he would like to say sorry if he could. This was a bit of mind reading. She also thought it significant that he said he was not nervous about appearing in court, charged with murder.

She spun this as symptomatic of whatever was wrong with him. He had been on heroin from the age of ten. It was impossible to say how much brain damage he had incurred from skunk which he had also been taking regularly since a young age.

She mentioned, very truly, I think that disabled people in our society, especially those with hidden disabilities, carry on , ignoring or disguising the disability, hoping somehow that it will go away. You might see someone in a waiting room, holding a newspaper open before them. You later find out they can't read at all. Sometimes, they are holding the newspaper upside down.

While this is true, how does it relate to Kalib? I'd heard two barristers in the refectory say how a colleague had successfully argued that his clients were unfit to plead. They had scores in the 50s in the IQ test. The barristers said this in admiration. He had got them off. There were no flies on this guy.

Kalib's barrister would have liked to pull the same trick. She couldn't say Kalib was unfit to plead as he had scored 77 in the IQ test. It is not unfit to plead level but it is low. The average is always 100. It is adjusted constantly so that it remains 100. I've heard someone say how thick people in general must be that the average IQ is only 100!

I spluttered in amusement. It is mandatory that the average is 100. That was decided in advance. If it sounds arbitrary and artificial, maybe that's because it is.

I've known people to deny the validity of IQ tests on the grounds that they only measure your ability to do IQ tests. They don't measure anything else.

I have a totally open mind on the subject. I don't think I'm qualified to make a judgement. The same goes for ADHD, a fairly recent diagnosis. It's been criticised as a way of medicalising boyhood, an excuse to drug a kid with ritalin because he's a pain in the arse.

Again, I'm not qualified to express an opinion, but Kalib probably is volatile and impulsive. I'll say no more. The barrister said:''He's only 19. He doesn't know what's going on. He's this. He's that.'' Dafydd paraphrased it:''He's just a poor boy from a poor family!''

His name really is Kalib, not Khalib with a silent 'k' as you might expect. Martin in Abergavenny Library noticed that he appeared to be of mixed race, European and Asian or Middle Eastern, as one would imagine Titus Dutt is. This would not be remarked on in Cardiff.

Kalib was not a well travelled youth. He had lived all his life in Cardiff, and may hardly have left the city. There may have been some Islamic culture in his background. I saw a young woman in a hijab in the public gallery. I don't know if she knew him personally.

Kalib had at least one supporter in the public gallery. He waved each day as he was taken down.

It's a pity Damian's name has been dragged through the mud as well, just by association with the drugs scene. He became involved in it when he was depressed after the deaths of his parents.

He still had relatives who cared for him. Two of them sat in the public gallery. They had to sit through the evidence about how he was stabbed six times by someone he had done no harm.

Kalib's barrister suggested that for all we know, Titus gave his cards to Philomena and Kalib voluntarily. Perhaps he had a three way stake in the drugs deal. In that case, the correct verdict was not guilty of robbery. She suggested manslaughter instead of murder for Kalib, as she knew she couldn't get him off altogether.

The jury, who were mostly young people, agreed about robbery. Although I think that Philomena and Kalib probably did rob Titus, that doesn't mean the jury were mistaken in acquitting, just that they were being careful. They couldn't be sure beyond reasonable doubt. So they acquitted them both of robbery.

There couldn't be any doubt about murder though. They brought in a conviction for that. The judge praised them for the care they had taken.

Considering the fear and depression that the Mcdonaghs caused in Splott, and how callous they were, some of her former neighbours would have enjoyed some schadenfreude, if they could have heard Philomena's voice in the witness box. She couldn't put forward a convincing alternative narrative, nor could she sway or charm the jury.

This may have been partly cultural. The McDonaghs were an Irish traveller family that had stopped travelling. They typically don't know how to appeal to outsiders who perceive them as lacking manners. They come across as chancers, totally unsocialised.

She had not the skills to win anyone over. But she wanted to persuade them to let her off.

You could tell from her voice that she knew she was guilty. Not that she felt guilty; she didn't at all. But she knew she was in big trouble this time. You could hear the fear and panic in her voice.

All she could say was that it might look from the evidence as if she was guilty ''but that's not the case!''

In a double photo shoot online, Kalib looks a bit dazzled by the camera flash, but not otherwise unusual. Philomena looks absolutely awful.

I don't mean she is ugly, although Dafydd might think she is. She was a comparatively young woman with a strong, jutting chin, rather long brown hair and freckles. In other circumstances, she might have looked quite appealing.

But she had a heavy eyed, wretched expression which might have been caused by extreme fatigue or chronic pain, but which we know was, in this case, caused by drug dependency, or possibly forced withdrawal from drug dependency. Her hair was even more ungroomed than my own has traditionally been. She looked as if the light was hurting her eyes, as if she had been in a dark cave for a year.

In the dock, she wore an ugly, fierce expression as if she was a member of a savage tribe. What do I mean 'as if'? There is a Lee Mcdonagh from Splott who has escaped from a prison in the north of England. He had been serving a sentence for attempted murder. I would be surprised if he was not related to Philomena.


I told Dafydd:''Because Kalib is under 21 and subnormal, he's going to be given a community service and supervision order, but Philomena's going to be hanged!'' It was a joke. ''If only!'', groaned Dafydd.

In reality, because Kalib is under 21 but over 18, he was given custody for life. Philomena who is 35 was given a life sentence. Is there any difference in practice? His tariff - it's now called the minimum term - is at least 25 years,and hers is at least 20 years.

It's a good thing they've been taken off the streets, but this is not just a case of individual depravity and inadequacy. It also highlights much that is broken in our society.
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