So sayeth Publilius Syrus, Roman author:
Neighbour Adele Butterworth, 23, said: ‘I know there are other people besides those in the dock who should be feeling guiltyfor the way they treated Gemma.‘She just wanted to be accepted so badly that she would put up with anything and often she didn’t realise people were just taking the mick.
‘Gemma told me about this boyfriend she had who was in prison. I don’t think he even existed but she would tell me that she’d had to give money to him so they could set up a home together.
These so-called friends tattooed the words, “Simon STD X” on her wrist. She said it was her boyfriend’s name. She had no idea that STD [sexually transmitted disease] was an insult.’
Care in the community. This is the end result of that well-meaning, yet flawed policy.
You see, while they were setting in motion the cornerstones, others were ensuring that there’d be no ‘community’ into which to release them:
They were all arrested on the Tuesday after Daniel told a receptionist at the local social servicesthat he had been present at the killing.During the seven-week trial that ended on Thursday, the young defendants’ behaviour caused utter dismay to their expensively assembled legal teams.They changed their stories several times but finally the two couples – Jessica and Joe, and Chantelle and Daniel – decided Duncan was solely responsible, while he blamed Daniel.
Their inconsistencies were easily exposed under cross-examination. At one point, when cornered, Chantelle swore at a barrister while Joe who, in a police interview had casually referred to Gemma as ‘that thing’, claimed to have been too intoxicated to remember anything.
In the dock, they simply larked about – laughing, passing one another notes and betraying not the slightest hint of concern.
At one point, the judge, the Right Honourable Lady Justice Rafferty, was forced to separate them like schoolchildren and warn them that they would be sent to the cells if they continued to misbehave.
No doubt something they’d heard many, many times before. Empty threats.
Lady Justice Rafferty called the case, ‘a tragedy for six young people’– Gemma, and, ‘the five hapless, undirected, unsupported individuals in the dock’.It was an acknowledgment that of the defendants, only one, Duncan Edwards, had a parent present at the end of the trial. The others, it seemed, had been abandoned.
Just as Gemma was. She, at least, was abandoned only with the best of intentions.