Archive for the ‘Investigations’ Category

Aberfan, Gaynor Madgwick & Greg Lewis

Via Y Lolfa

On the 21st of October 1966, the village of Aberfan in south Wales was shattered by one of the worst disasters in Welsh and British history.

Following days of bad weather, water from a spring had destabilized a huge coal slag tip – one of the black man-made mountains which surrounded the village. Thousands of tonnes of coal tip waste slid down a mountainside and devastated the mining village of Aberfan. The black mass crashed through the local school, where pupils were celebrating the last day of term.

One hundred and forty-four people were killed. One hundred and sixteen were schoolchildren. Gaynor Madgwick was there. She was eight years old and severely injured. Her brother and sister were in  classrooms either side of her. Both died.

Recalling the horrific event in a diary four years later, Gaynor wrote, ‘I heard a terrible, terrible sound, a rumbling sound. It was so loud. I just didn’t know what it was. It seemed like the school went numb, you could hear a pin drop. I was suddenly petrified and glued to the chair. It sounded like the end of the world had come.’

In Aberfan – A Story of Survival, Love and Community in One Of Britain’s Worst Disasters, Gaynor tells her own story and interviews people affected by that day – from the bereaved and the rescuers, to the police and royalty. She explores the nature of courage, grief and faith, to create both a moving personal story of one family’s pain and a definitive account of the events that shook the nation and the world.

‘For the past 50 years I have lived as a sort of prisoner or victim of my past. Now I am trying to break free.’ said Gaynor. ‘I started this book by looking again at the writings of my young self. I’ve tried to explore the determination, courage and resilience which got me through. Then, I set out on a journey, to find those same qualities in my community, to see how it had coped, survived and often thrived.’

The Earl of Snowdon – who was there hours after the disaster – described it as ‘one of the most moving experiences of my life.’

‘Gaynor Madgwick’s book, Aberfan, is a brave, heartbreaking and inspiring journey in which she re-visits the story of what happened to her and to the whole community of Aberfan on that dreadful day.’ he said. ‘It is a book that should be read by all of us in memory of those who died and those who survived.’

Broadcaster Vincent Kane said, ‘Gaynor Madgwick was pulled injured from one of the classrooms where her friends died. She was left behind to live out her life. This is her story, sad, sweet, sentimental, and authentic. I commend it to you.’

‘October 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of that awful day. For 50 years we have been trying to recover from the Aberfan disaster. It’s a long road, and we take it one day at a time.’ said Gaynor.

‘I’ve tried to tell this story in a way in which it has never been told before, beginning by reliving Aberfan through the eyes of a survivor.  As a survivor, now 58 years old, I have been haunted by the memories of the Aberfan disaster.

‘I wanted to create the fullest picture of the disaster and its aftermath while people were still around to tell their story.

‘For me, I can’t start the next chapter of my life if I keep rereading the last one; this book will help me move on. My hope is that it will help others move on too.’

Aberfan – A Story of Survival, Love and Community in One of Britain’s Worst Disasters by Gaynor Madgwick (£9.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

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Described as “explosive” by the Irish Post and an “important” book by the Guardian ‘The Death of Justice’ continues to get five-star reviews on Amazon.

This is the inside story of a brutal murder as revealed by Michael O’Brien, one of the men wrongly jailed for more than a decade. The miscarriage of justice which followed sent shock waves through the British legal system.

The book contains a detailed analysis of the murder and police inquiry, a no-holds-barred view of life in jail and an essential guide for anyone trying to prove their innocence.

“An extraordinary, shocking and moving tale that climaxes in the triumph of the ordinary man against an incompetent and complacent Hydra-headed monster of society.”   Western Mail

‘The Death of Justice’ is now available not only in paperback but as an e-book on Amazon. It is published by Y Lolfa.

'The Death of Justice'

‘The Death of Justice’

A SELECTION OF THE FIVE STAR REVIEWS ON AMAZON:

5.0 out of 5 stars By Christina J. Jenkins
This is a book everyone should read. It tells the story we do not want to really think is possible. How does an innocent person end up in prison? The police behaviour is undefendable. A very readable, unputdownable, book.
*****
5.0 out of 5 stars

By

Dr. Charles Smith
EVERYONE should read Michael’s book. You’ll be appalled at the things the police did, but don’t believe their story about ‘bad apples’. This behaviour was systemic, and recent events indicate that the CPS to this day is ill equipped to cope with it.

 *****
5.0 out of 5 stars By Jo Martin
It is definitely the most informative book I have EVER read about our British Justice System.
The book describes in detail how easy it is for any one of us to be falsely accused by our ‘trusted plod’
Huge eye opener but what a fantastic read, I will never look at the justice system the same ever again.
*****
5.0 out of 5 stars By Sandra Lean
For anyone in doubt about the terrible damage done by a justice system which gets it wrong, this book is a must read.
For anyone fighting a wrongful conviction, Michael’s book offers hope, and the encouragement to never, ever give up.
For anyone who thinks British Justice is the best in the world, this book will open your eyes.
An incredible story, and a remarkable man.
*****
5.0 out of 5 stars 

By

Trish Byrne

I think that the content of the book would be beneficial to anyone who is helping to fight a wrongful conviction, as out of this harrowing story there is hope and encouragement. It would also be an eye opener to law students and those interested in the judicial system in our country. The only way we will learn and gain knowledge of how things can and do go wrong is by listening to and reading the accounts of those who have walked the walk, when the system gets it completely wrong.

A leading GP and writer on medical issues has called on the Attorney General to launch a public inquiry into the death of a 10-year-old boy from Wales.

Dr Phil Hammond said the UK Government had to allow a public inquiry into the death of Robbie Powell, from Ystradgynlais, and into the events which followed it.

Robbie died in April 1990 of a rare but treatable condition called Addison’s Disease.

He had been seen by five different doctors in the fortnight before he died.

Over the years there have been several investigations into the care Robbie Powell received. But none of these has provided the family with satisfaction.

When Carwyn Jones became First Minister, he wrote to the UK government for permission to include the actions of the police and CPS in a public inquiry. It refused.

So Mr Jones set up a non-statutory independent inquiry to be conducted by a leading barrister, Nicholas David Jones. Unlike the public inquiry which the family wanted, it would not be able to force witnesses to give evidence.

When the report was published in July 2012, Carwyn Jones issued an apology on behalf of the Welsh Government for the failures in the system which led to Robbie’s death.

Last month ITV Wales’ Wales This Week programme revealed that the First Minister had overseen a number of redactions to the report.

These included the removal of the inquest verdict.

Carwyn Jones refused to answer questions on individual redactions in the programme but did an interview on the report in general.

In a statement, the Welsh Government said: “When deciding what to redact, it was necessary for the First Minister to take into account the fact that some documentation was held under a duty of confidence, as well as the need for compliance with data protection requirements and the need to present a fair account.

“The First Minister is content that the redactions did not detract from the overall conclusions and issues that were identified.”

Opposition Leader Andrew RT Davies told the Senedd the day after the programme that the First Minister should make a fresh statement to assembly members explaining the reasons behind the removal of parts of the report.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said the Wales This Week investigation had revealed “unusual and questionable” redactions.