Tag Archives: shelfield

21. Not Allowed To Return Home

Less than 7 days to go till the trial starts and the phone goes.  L.E. on the phone asking me to go to Lichfield as soon as possible to sign my statement.  It has to be signed before 9am, 4 October 2009, the day of the trial.  It was explained to me that I had to go without delay.  So after waiting 14 months it was at this point that the Police wanted me to sign it.  Talk about waiting till the last minute.

I got on the overnight ferry to Fishgard on Friday night at 10.00 pm, arriving in Wales at 2 am Saturday morning.  I then drove on through the mountains to the Midlands.  On the way I was very nervous, scared, full of fear of the next few weeks.  I think it is the fear of the unknown that is what I was scared of.  On the drive there I decided to go to the house, in Shelfield, where the abuse occurred.

I arrived there at the house at 5.30 am.  I stopped the car, and got out to look around me.  In front of me was the house that held all the secrets.  As I stood there I looked around and I noticed the area was different to when I last was there 49 years ago.  For instance, I vividly remember the road being a lot wider, a lot longer.  Also, there were no cars in the road back in those bad old days.  I then suddenly realised that my perspective had altered, as I had grown up.  The road now is very narrow, not at all long, and that day there were, I would say, 200 cars parked in it.  The house was still there.  I told the police that I could show them the house down to one of three, as they are semi-detached, they all looked the same to me when I was 11.

I then carried on to K’s house, where I planned to stay.  I got there at 6.30am and we were having tea and toast at 7.30 am when the front door bell went.  K went to the door and two police officers walked in.  I spoke to LE.  He explained that I had to sit down and read my statement.   I found this very, very difficult, as he was loitering next to me.  So I asked K to give him tea and toast whilst I did the job.  It took me at least 45 minutes and when I was satisfied, I signed it in his presence.  It was then that he asked me what I was doing now, as I was not wanted at the trial for another 14 days.  I said that I would return to Ireland.  He then told me that I would not be allowed to go home, under no circumstances. He explained that after the trial I could claim my loss of wages for the two weeks, off the church, as they would be compensating me.

This I believed.

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2. Triumph Bonneville

Whilst I was standing looking at the bike a man came out of the shop, dressed in a white butcher’s coat, covered in blood.  He asked me if I would like to have a go on the bike.  I said I would.  Even now, so many years later, I remember I was so excited.  I went home and told my mother about the motor bike.  I asked if I could go for a ride and she said yes.

A few days later this man, Jimmy Robinson, came to my home on his bike, and introduced himself to mother.  I remember him having a cup of tea and explaining to my mother that he was a trainee priest, working his summer holidays in the butchers shop. We were also told that he had been a professional boxer, before going to training college.

Jimmy Robinson was about 23 years old.  He had the looks of a boxer:  very short cropped hair, he had swollen eyebrows, broken nose, and swollen ears.  He looked just like Henry Cooper, but was slightly smaller.  I use Henry as an example.  We all know Henry Cooper was a pure gentleman, unlike the man I was about to get to know.  Robinson had the walk of a fighter; the way he held his arms, his hands.  His posture was very threatening.  As far as my mother was concerned, he was a very respectable young man.

I think we children were sent to the Methodist chapel in Aldridge because our aunty Mabel was the head of the Girl Guides in Aldridge, and they met at that chapel.  Mabel’s husband, our Uncle Jack, was in the Aldridge Band.  He played the big drum, carrying it on straps on his belly. Those thoughts bring back my innocence, and such happy memories.

I remember when he had drunk his tea, Robinson said, “Come on Geoff.”  He told my mother we would be gone for a ½ hour ride.  We walked down the entry, between our house and next doors, out to the road to the bike.  Robinson got on, and told me to hang on, my arms around his waist.  No crash helmets then.  We shot off up the road.  I kept putting my head out around his body to see where we were going, not as I knew many areas other than my local area.

It is now 51 years later.  I realize that me being on the back of his bike, holding on for  grim death, my arms around his waist, was not the thing to be doing.  But I was 11, innocent, very vulnerable, and yes, somewhat scared.

We drove for 6 or 7 minutes, and suddenly stopped outside what I now know was a semi detached house in Leigh’s Road, Shelfield .  When the bike stopped, he switched it off, and we got off.  Robinson told me this was his mother’s house.  We walked up the path.  He unlocked the door and pushed me in.  At this point I had no way of knowing what was going to happen, I stood there waiting.

Jimmy Robinson told me to go upstairs.