Anna Bragga — NeonNettle.com July 25, 2015
Friends and supporters are rallying around Beechwood Children’s Home abuse victim, Melanie Shaw, after she was released from Nottingham police custody last night without charges. She was discovered wandering the streets in a distressed state after police confiscated her money and her mobile phone.
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In an exclusive interview for Neon Nettle, filmed just days before her arrest on Wednesday (July 22, 2015) Melanie Shaw, reveals Cambridgeshire Police had contacted her, making clear their intentions to arrest her on suspicion of harassment.
The charge, she claims, relates to her own investigation into human rights abuses at HMP Peterborough, filming interviews with visiting members of the public and prison staff. She’s adamant that she’s done nothing wrong.
A vulnerable victim of sexual abuse and rapes, physical and emotional abuse, since the age of three, Melanie Shaw is now seeking justice for the abuse she suffered at the prison, in particular, a sexual assault by a member of staff and being kept in solitary confinement throughout most of the 5 month remand period.
She says: “The treatment I received in prison is very similar to the abuse we suffered in the children’s home. It was the worst of the worst that you can imagine, to be kept in solitary confinement.”
Melanie is still engaged in a legal battle to overturn two convictions for arson and false imprisonment of a paramedic respectively, and this latest arrest, though not unexpected, represents a further distraction from the Beechwood police investigation.
“I think they wanted me in prison as a way of punishing me for speaking out andupsetting, just causing trouble by whistleblowing,” she adds.
Listening to Melanie’s detailed accounts of life at Beechwood children’s home as a young teenager, a culture of institutionalised rape, violence and murder emerges.
“When you’re being maltreated, if you put up a fight against it, if you’re not passive, you get it worse,” she says.
She recalls the terrifying moment when a senior care worker (now deceased) assaulted her in the grounds of Beechwood, holding her hostage for an hour, and her lucky escape from death thanks to a passing gardener who confronted the man. She was sixteen years old at the time.
“I was held hostage under the giant rhododendron bush with a leather belt held around my throat, forced to carry out a sex act… I ‘d already been raped at that point. He said: ‘Keep your mouth shut or I’ll kill you like the others.’ ”
During the attack, which lasted an hour, the worker, nicknamed the ‘cellar rapist,’ confessed to killing children at the home, the intelligent ones who talked.
The body of a young boy is allegedly buried under a multi-surface football pitch at The Lindens, one of two residential units within Beechwood’s grounds. Other bodies may lay hidden in other areas of the site, recently demolished by bulldozers.
Operation Daybreak, the police investigation into complaints of sex offences committed at children’s homes in Nottinghamshire between the 1960s and 2000s, has produced 11 arrests but no trials and no convictions to date.
It’s a matter of ongoing frustration for victims and survivors. Former Beechwood resident and spokesperson for the Nottinghamshire Child Sexual Abuse Inquiry Action Group, Mickey Summers, says there is evidence that the abuse goes back asfar as the 1940s.
“New victims are coming forward all the time from other locations,” he said. Police and Council bosses have launched an internal review, but the group, unhappy with this, are set to initiate a legal challenge for a public enquiry with the backing of Michael Mansfield QC.
Melanie Shaw, meanwhile, holds little hope on the police investigation that drew her out of out of the shadows of her former relatively ordinary existence as a single mum and charity worker in 2011.
“If you’re just a member of the public and not a member of the elite and you abuse a child, they’ll sentence you and put you in prison. It makes them look like they’re anti- paedophile. But if you’re a paedophile and you’re a Mason, or you’re very wealthy, or have a lot of influence, it’s as if you’ve got permission to do what you want. It’s like diplomatic immunity.”
“It’s the cover-up that makes me most angry. It’s bad enough what they did to us, bad enough the damage and impact it’s had upon our lives, bad enough that there was a Conspiracy and it was allowed to go on – the police knew, all the departments knew as far away as Leicester. A lot of those people are now dead, but who are the corrupt ones dealing with this investigation protecting people?
“It’s still going on. It’s there, in your face. Let’s not pretend it’s stopped. Young offenders in HMP Peterborough of eighteen years of age, they’ve been in care and they’ve been abused.”
She hopes speaking out will wake people up and offer some self-protection. “I do have a fear I’m going to be found dead,” she says, “either suicided in prison or a drug overdose. But I don’t take drugs, no class A drugs.”
Today, Friday 24th July, campaigners will march from Nottingham’s war memorial on Victoria Embankment to West Bridgeford Police Station, one of the police stations involved in Operation Daybreak, to rally their dissent on the conduct of the investigation.
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