A week before the trial I phoned a friend of mine, he is in the legal profession in Ireland. We spoke on the phone and I told him that I had a problem. I had to go to court. He told me he could not talk about the trial. Then I told him it was in UK, not Ireland, and he asked what it was about. I told him in less than 60 seconds; at which he said to me, “Geoff, I’ve known you for many years and I know you can stick up for yourself, but be warned by me, do not tell one lie in court or you will be found out.” “One lie and your evidence will be rubbished.” With this advice I was asked to go see him, upon my return, to report on the proceedings and to arrange to do a lot of interior decorating for him. It’s nice to have a friend. I got good, sound advice and I got work for three weeks. Great.
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For the twelve months prior to the trial I had been speaking to a Lawyer in London. I spent many calls to him requesting help; help with my problems for the trial, and afterwards the compensation claim. He kept telling me that he could not help me till after the trial was over and I got a conviction. I kept saying to him that this trial is so important, not only for the victims, but for cover up that the church undertook. I made the point that there should be Lawyers in court getting details. But no, he refused, so I dropped it.
I then sent an email to a man who was in the “Deliver Us from Evil” film. He phoned me one night. He had a conference call with other Lawyers with him. I was on with the group for about an hour and he was telling me that he had arranged for 3 attorneys to travel to Ireland to interview me before the trial. Of course I believed it. He phoned me 3 or 4 times always saying he was going to help me, but no. He told me he had arranged for his Lawyers in London to be at the trial for the 3 weeks, but no. Why didn’t he just come out and tell me. I cannot stand lying. Not only did he raise my expectations, he made me look a bloody fool to J. She always told me not to believe them. She was right. When I met Jeff Anderson the first thing I told him was it was a pleasure to meet him and the second was “I can’t stand bullshit.” I emailed the other man three weeks after the trial to see what the outcome would be. He told me he could not help me, but he had arranged his lawyers in London to attend the trial. Yes, 15 day trial, someone attended for 2 days.
All my life I’ve never cried. But now, I’m an emotional freak.
It was mid December and the police came to Ireland to interview J and my Doctor. When the officers arrived, I insisted that they come to the house in an unmarked car, so that the neighbours would have no reason to talk about a police car on my property. The Irish are wonderful people but they are, to say the least, nosy. The officers were accompanied by an Irish police sergeant who legally had to take my wife’s statement and physically hand it over to the UK police. It was quite surreal.
Whilst J was being interviewed, HM sat in the front room answering my questions. I asked to see the video of Paul Kenyon Confronts. He took it out of his pocket and asked me to think. If I did not see the video my testimony would be my recollections and not the info gleaned from a TV programme. I agreed with him. HM said he would let me have the video after the trial and this he did do.
During that time I was assured that I would be meeting the Prosecution Barrister, but this did not work out. Whilst all this was going on work dropped off, owing to the state of the financial crisis. This was another stick to beat myself with, a lot less work, less cash and more time to think about my dire situation. For weeks and months my head was all courts, abuse, Robinson, nightmares, no sleep and too much time to spare. It was a terrible time. The only thing that really kept me going was J and my two brothers. They phoned once a week to see how I was. C always says to me that he sends all his love. This I find very strange, not a bad feeling, but I can’t get used to it. It took a paedophile 50 years ago to bring us all together.
The statement went on and on. For 5 ½ hours, with a ten minute tea break in the middle. For as many questions that they asked me, I had questions for them. But they could not answerer them. The interview went over my childhood, my abuse; over and over the same subjects, but from different angles. I realize now they were probing me to reveal everything that I knew. From what had happened, to any witnesses, to the time of year, the make of the motor bike, to my brothers, to my dad, to my mom, to Robinson’s mom (no I never met her, did she even exist?), to my marital status, to my step children.
Before the interview I made certain requests to which LE agreed. First that I get a copy of my video interview after the trial; second that my mother is not to be interviewed, as she was 86; and thirdly, my brother C is not to be interviewed, as me and C have never got on. Since our childhood we could not be in the same room. I did get on with B and they were going to interview him at some stage.
I cannot go into anymore of the interview, it went on for far too long. All I can say is that, with my hand on my heart, I cried the whole time. They kept asking me if I wanted to break. But no, I was there, I was going to finish. Of this I was certain. I didn’t ask for this, but I certainly wasn’t going to back away. After all, when I was 11, I was scared, now I’m 60. I’m not scared any more, of Robinson or his church. After the interview I drove back to K’s house, where I’d been staying, and cried and cried and cried.
I hope you never know how I and the other victims must have felt. But the important thing was, I had done my duty. I am so sorry it took me 49 years to do it. Many other victims would have been spared what I went through and am still going through. Yes I was ashamed that I hadn’t got the courage to shout out when I was 11. I had no excuse, but fear.
On the next day, a Tuesday, I was leaving Lichfield at about 7 pm to catch Wednesday morning’s 2:30am ferry back to Ireland. So on the Tuesday morning I decided that I had to go and visit B, to explain why the police wanted to interview him. I go to his house and stopped around the corner. It took me almost an hour to pluck up the courage needed to explain my situation. I rang the door bell and his wife opened the door. I asked where B was and then went down the garden to see him. At this time I was crying. He asked me what was the matter. I explained that the police were going to call to interview him. He asked why and that was when I told him. He just stood there saying nothing. Silence. We had a few words as best as I could and I remember saying to him that mom and C are not to get involved. We had a cup of tea and I left his home. I told him I was going to see mom before I went home.
I got to the nursing home and was with my mother when C came walking in. After a few minutes I asked C to come downstairs to the car as I wanted to show him something. After a couple of tries he agreed and we went downstairs to the car. As I opened the car door I burst out crying. He sat next to me and said nothing, that’s the training our parents gave us. Be quiet and say nothing. I said to him that I had been abused by Robinson when I was 11and that I had been to the police to give an interview.
I arrived in Lichfield the following day and I went to see my mother in her old folk’s home. The first thing mother asked me was, are you all right? No I said, I’m suicidal.
I arrived at Sutton Coldfield police Station about 15 minutes early. I was so nervous. I was dying for a pee, so I went across the road to the Technical College and found the toilet. When I returned to the road outside the Police Station I saw a Police officer in a suit waiting for someone. That someone was me. I plucked up courage and went over to the officer. I said, you are probably waiting for me. He introduced himself as LM, one of the men I had spoken on the phone to. I met another Officer, a younger man, I would say in his early thirties. I am so sorry, I have mislaid his name. I then went on to explain about the trip to the toilet in the Tech. I had to go there as I was originally told not to enter the Police station. They were going to use a building at the rear which is just like a house, with kitchen etc. We entered the interview room and I was asked where I would like to sit, as there were maybe 6 cameras around the room. I sat and the officers agreed that the younger man would do the interview whilst LM went upstairs, to keep an eye on the video recorder.
When we were given the go ahead I remember the first thing that came out of my mouth was the fact that I am 60 years of age, but during that interview I would be answering the questions of as an 11 year old boy.
It was Saturday August 8th, 2009. I arrived home from work and J was cooking the tea in the kitchen. I went into my lounge, sat down and, just as I had done hundreds of times before, put Sky news on the TV. It was a Saturday night the same as any other Saturday night; probably have curry and a glass of Port. As the news came on, I pressed the red button and up came the news stories of the day. My eye caught the story about the “priest extradited from LA.”
So many times in my life I have done the same thing, to find out that some old priest, has been prosecuted for abusing children. But I noticed this was not the usual story, for I recognized the name of the priest, Richard John James Robinson. Then it hit me, this was THE priest who abused me. I don’t really remember, but I think I called out to J to come quickly, to read about the man that abused me when I was 11 years old. I sat in horror as J came running in. I had witnessed the man who abused me, his story, walking right into my home. What happened to me 49 years ago was here, now in colour in my home.
I phoned K to get the phone number of the West Midlands Police, at Lloyd House, Birmingham. I dialled only for some computer to tell me they were shut. So I again phoned K to get me Walsall Police Station’s number. This she did and I phoned them to report my abuse. I was told that there were no Officers about and that they would phone me on Monday morning. I phoned my middle brother B, telling him to get onto Sky TV and press the red button. I put the phone down.
This night was the start of months and months of sleepless nights, of nightmares and being totally distraught. I was awake all night. At 5am, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I got up and went to my golf club to play. I have always been a good golfer, always playing once or twice a week. I managed to play 2 holes, taking about 12 shots on each hole. I can now say that I could not concentrate on the ball. So I gave up and went home.
I had been home half an hour when the phone rang. I picked it up. It was Detective Sgt HM. He asked me if I recognized Robinson. I told him that I would, as Robinson was a former pro boxer, beat up forehead broken nose, cauliflower ears. Then HM asked me if I had been an altar boy. No I explained, I went to his butcher’s shop in Station Road, Aldridge, to collect meat for my mother.
Over the course of the next few days I went on the Internet to see if I could find anything about Robinson and there it all was. I found the news reports because for the first time I had Robinson’s full name. For 49 years I had never heard his real name. We all knew him as Jimmy Robinson. Later on my brothers and I called him Pope John. Robinson was the first Catholic me and my brothers had ever met, as we all went to a Church of England school. Over these days, I walked around like a zombie. I could not concentrate. I could not do anything. All I thought about was Robinson. He was in my head. Only this time Jimmy Robinson was running around in the open, smashing up all of my life. I am now at a point that I can see what I was like. I feel sorry for J. She, like me, did not ask for this. But we got it.
It was arranged that I go to the UK to give my statement. I packed my bags, leaving J behind. I set off with all the feelings of anger, rage, guilt, shame, and exhaustion.
In April 2009 I was in Lichfield working at a Health Centre, doing some painting. When I had finished and before coming home I called to see a friend of mine, M.H. We have been friends for 40 years. M.H. makes false teeth in his Dental workshop. Whilst he was working I was sitting next to him and we were talking.
I mentioned a friend of ours P, and I asked M how is he? M replied that P and his wife were having a rough patch with one of their two sons. I asked why and M told me that one of the lads had come out, i.e. he’s gay. Straight away, without thinking, I said to M, “could be worse, he could be a paedophile.” M looked at me with tears in his eyes and said words to the effect, what are you trying to tell me? In tears I explained what had happened to me when I was 11. M told me that I should go to the police and that he would go with me. I said no, James Robinson is gone out of my life, he’s dead and rotting in hell.
Little did M or I realize, the boot was about to be delivered. I thanked M, gave him a hug and left for K’s. A couple of days later I returned to Ireland.
In 1999, J and I sold our cottage in Ireland, and went travelling through France, Andorra, Portugal and Spain. We spent 5 ½ months on the road staying in some of the best Hotels, taking many videos for the kids. We had a great time. But one day I said to J, I must return to Ireland. I needed to get back to work, too much play.
So we returned. We were looking for a bungalow with a workshop and couldn’t find one. Instead we fell in love with Marybrook and bought it. We have been here since 2000. We both feel at home. We belong here, the people in Ireland are fabulous. I have built up a very good reputation as a painter and decorator. I have many customers, ranging from Dentists to Solicitors, to Doctors to Judges, to Farmers.
J works for the A. Society, calling to homes to give relatives time away from the patient. Giving a touch of freedom for the people at the frontline of the disease. J has been so lucky, meeting with and making friends with so many families. She is very well thought of. Life for us has been very good, we are very proud of our children. J and I are the proud grandparents to T, B and J.
Life could not be better. But life has a particular habit of sneaking up, and kicking you up the arse.
We didn’t know it but, the boot was on the way.
To be continued. . .
I was working with a mate of mine, C. This one day he asked me if I would take out his nephew, an 11 year old lad, called G. G wanted to go shooting pigeons. It was one of my favourite pastimes. I said that I would, and so I met G and his mother J.
J was married and had three children, G 11, L, 6, and K,1. I took the lad shooting many times. In fact, I gave G a shotgun when he was, I think, 14 years old. This was the friendship we made. As much as I met G, I met J. Despite the fact that we were both married to other people, J and I spent much time together over the next few years. At that point I have to say that I started treating the three children as my own. To this day, 32 years later, they are still my children. I would die to protect them. I am very proud of them. And yes I do moan about them, but I love them all.
When G was 16, and about to leave school, I asked what he wanted to do. He replied that he wanted to be a gamekeeper. So I advertised in the Shooting Times magazine, and got him a job in Anglesey, North Wales. We went up to Anglesey many times, me J and G. They had become my family, or should I say the family I never had.
Just prior to G leaving for his job I told G and J that I had been abused by a priest in 1961. I didn’t go into details , but I had to tell them. They deserved to know. We are after all, subjects of our history. They deserved to know who and what I am.
After leaving school I was thrown into a world I didn’t know. A world that probably didn’t care what had happened to an 11 year old schoolboy. I left school at a time that today seems far away. I had many jobs after leaving school, as employment was easy to come by. In those days you could have a new job every day of the week, such was the norm.
I flitted from job to job. You name it, I’ve probably done it. One of my jobs was as a van driver. I drove all over the country, delivering bone china mugs. The hours were long but I enjoyed the excitement of being my own boss, calculating my route. Learning so many things as I went. I spent many years doing these various jobs, finally getting a job as a postman with Royal Mail. I was at the Post for 18 years. It was a good job and I was both punctual (4am start) and a valued member of a team. I found this on occasions very difficult.
For all these years I was haunted by my past and the encounters with Robinson. Jimmy Robinson never really went very far away. He was always close at hand to give me the self doubt, the feelings of revulsion, pain, shame, guilt, and above all anger.
On one particular day, I was in my van, waiting at a set of traffic lights. Parked in front of me was a car and in the back seat was a lad, 12 or 13 years old. He was facing the rear of the car, looking at me through the window. As is my nature, I put my thumb up to him to say hello and he smiled at me. Then out of the blue I was overcome by fear. Fear that the lad would tell his dad, the driver, that there was a man behind him saying hello. I was in a cold sweat. I was afraid that my friendly thumb up may have been seen as something quite different. I drove away and never would I wave to kids again.
I have, looking back, been scared of kids, nervous. I was always feeling ill at ease, and it’s very hard to explain to someone who has not been abused. For the same reason, I have always been very nervous of being touched. I feel it is quite alien. I cannot stand anyone who is touchy feely.
You see all my life I have read newspaper reports of priests being prosecuted for being paedophiles. In nearly all cases they state in court that they were abused in their childhood. I believe this is an excuse, not the reason they did it. After all, we are all taught to know right from wrong. I do believe that all men are capable of rape. But 99.99999999% of men, do not rape, because they know right from wrong. The people abusing children in my early years, just like the men today on the internet grooming children, know it’s wrong. They know it is illegal. But that doesn’t stop them.
I have spent a lifetime in Robinson’s shadow.
I decided at an early age he wasn’t going to ruin my life. After all, he left my life in 1961. But yes I do have to suffer the after-effects. I am still suffering.