Tag Archives: rape

30. The Score

The Honourable Patrick Thomas QC started his sentencing speech.  He looked straight at Robinson and said, “you are the most wicked, evil man I have ever had brought before me.”  He went on to tell the court of his findings,“it is not my job here today, but I recommend that there should  be a Public Enquiry into the handling of this priest by The Birmingham Diocese and, in particular, the Catholic Church.”  He spent, I would say, 10 minutes elaborating on the handling of this case not only by the Church, but also the Police.  The failing in 1985 by the Police, when the church got the investigation dropped.

Judge Thomas sentenced Robinson to jail for 21 years and stipulated that he cannot be put forward for parole for 14 years.  Having heard this, I was shocked; such a long time.  He then told the Prison Staff to take him away.  I looked at Robinson for the last time.  Yes he hurt me and the other lads, but I felt sorry.  I took my share of the guilt for putting an old man in prison for such a long time.  But that soon disappeared as the Judge said, “he has never shown any kind of remorse.”

Yes he got what he deserved.  21 years for raping children.  21 years for a lifetime of offences, stretching back over 51 years.  His door opened, he went out, the door closed, and that was that.

Judge Thomas thanked the jury for what he described as a truly horrendous case and then I think he relieved them of jury service for life.  He turned to G and I and thanked us for being so brave to come forward to face our Demons.  He thanked the other victims, who were scared to come to court to hear the conclusion.  He thanked the police, the CPS and the Court Staff.  Upon this the court arose and the Judge walked out of our lives.  But I will never forget that man.

From the moment I first met Patrick Thomas I was put at ease and treated with compassion.  But I had just witnessed the other side of a genuine human being, his controlled anger.  He had, in fact, turned on Robinson.  He left no stone unturned, telling the prisoner of his wicked life, of rape, and betrayal of all he had been ordained to do.

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29. The Verdict

My brothers and I sat outside the courtroom, still waiting.  The jury had been out for 5 hours, over two days.  Today was Friday 22 October 2010.  We were sitting there seemingly waiting, in a state of nervousness, anticipation and dread.

Miss R appeared, and said, “The barristers for both sides have been summoned to the Judge’s chambers for tea.”  I enquired what this meant and I was told that, “it always happens when the jury have reached their verdict.  Soon we will be in court.”  It was 12 noon.  At 12.30 we were ushered into the courtroom.  I sat next to GS, less than 8 feet away from where Robinson would be seated.

A door opened and in came Robinson.  He sat down, having never taken his eyes away from the Judge’s chair.  This was it, Robinson, the former professional boxer, winner of 31 professional fights.  I can now recall thinking, will he be winning his 32nd fight?  The outcome of this fight would be felt by all the victims, their families, the Police and, more importantly, Robinson.  After all, it was given in evidence that he never lost a professional fight.  Would the now grown up lads end his distinguished career record?  We all hoped and prayed we would.

The Judge entered and we all stood up.  I looked at Robinson and I saw an old man, having aged many years over the last few hours.  He looked vulnerable, scared and somewhat “not quite with us” as we all sat down.  The Judge asked the foreman of the jury, “have you reached a verdict?”  The foreman responded “yes.”

The Judge then went on to ask the most important question of the trial:  “On charge No 1, do you find the accused guilty or not guilty?

G and I looked at the foreman.

“Guilty.”

I grasped G’s hand and the Judge asked the foreman for the answers to the other 20 charges.

On each charge James Robinson was found guilty.

I still cannot believe the atmosphere.  There was no sound at all in court, no talking, no rejoicing, no nothing.  Then at the end of the charges the Judge adjourned the court for ten minutes.  The court stood up and the Judge walked out.  I looked at the clock.  It was 12.45 pm.  We all remained seated, not wanting to leave our seats.  Robinson too remained seated.  I watched him, there was a tear in his eyes.  The tear didn’t run down his face, that would have shown weakness.  But his eyes were far from dry.  I thought to myself, now he feels the threat, the pain, and the fact that everything happening is out of his control.

I thought, welcome to how we felt, as young lads, the difference is, you deserve the feeling, we did not.

At five to one, the court arose, and the Judge walked back in, taking his place, Lord of all he surveyed.  He spoke to the barristers for both sides and then, having reviewed some notes, looked up at Robinson.  It was now.  Now was the time that Robinson’s professional career would take a nose dive.  He had lost his 32nd fight, the most important fight of his career.  In fact, the most important fight of his life.  The grown up little lads had won, now it was time for the Official Referee to announce the score.


28. He Had No Defence

I sat there listening to the history of his abuse to the 5 other victims.  He accepted he knew them, as there were photos to prove it.  With me, no photos.  I and my brothers are liars, crooks, conmen trying to get compensation.  He repeatedly said he did not know us and did not know where we lived.  I sat listening, getting angrier, hearing what he had done to the lads, going into detail of the abuse.  I was gutted.  I felt very angry and very guilty that if I had stood up when I was 11, these lads would not be here now.

Lies, lies and even more lies.  That is what was being put forward by this priest, or should I say bastard.  In the end, the prosecution sat down and Miss B, the defence, stood up.  I can only say now, what I said then; I think she was on our side.  She handed him over to the jury.  He had no defence.  His actions over the last 50 years were indefensible.

I could not believe my ears.  We then spent a half day listening to the Judge doing his summing up.  I sat there in the front row, less than 8 feet away from Robinson.  I listened with disbelief that any human being could use, abuse and rape children.  I found it very hard to hear what this man had done for 54 years.  I was truly shocked.  I just sat there shaking my head.

The Judge adjourned till tomorrow Thursday.


20. Good, Sound Advice

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.


13. He Walked Right Back into My Life

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.


10. Shooting Pigeons

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.


9. Leaving School

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.