Twelve years ago my friend Jane opened her front door to find her boss standing there. His name is Adam Carruthers and he was a police inspector. Jane still has nightmares about what happened after she let him into her home. She still suffers from physical pain, especially in her back, still has to make regular trips to the hospital for treatment. And she has to have a full time carer. But she is tough of spirit and she pressed charges, and eventually he was convicted and sentenced to a term in prison. Now he is free again, and Jane for her own protection has had to move from her home, and have her new one fitted with an elaborate alarm system. Just before the case went to court her skull was stoved in with a rock from behind as she was out tending her sheep, and as he had phoned and threatened her, she feels rather vulnerable.
On Thursday, the man who did this to her will be in court once more. This time, though, it is at his own behest for he wants his pension reinstated. Because he was convicted of two counts of rape whilst on duty, the council has seen fit to withdraw from his pension what they could of the contributions they had paid into it. This means he only gets 35% of what he would have got if he hadn't gone about abusing his position in such a violent way, which is about six thousand pounds a year. He is claiming family hardship.
It's not that I don't feel sorry for his children, I do. I even feel sorry for his wife, even though she is a grown up and chooses to stay with him. Perhaps she really does believe he didn't commit the crimes for which he was convicted. Perhaps she is so bullied that she feels unable to leave. But whatever it is that keeps her where she is I can't help feeling her husband should not get the money he claims. I can't help feeling that to pay him a pension after what he did whilst he was supposed to be working for public safety would be just so wrong. As Jane says on her blog it would make rape look like a pensionable occupation.
So, on Thursday morning I will take the extremely unusual step of getting up early so I can be outside the court to quietly protest along with a group of other people who feel the same. Ever the feeder I will take coffee and buns to keep everyone going. And, I have a large piece of card on which I would like to write in big bold letters something that will send a message to those who could, if they so wished, do something about this type of thing. But what?