Double Trauma! A Mother's Tears as Accused 'Walks Free!'...by Ann Oakes-Odger
On Wednesday 4th April, 2007 - 21 year old Jamie Turpin walked free from the Old Bailey despite his admission to delivering the single fatal stab wound to 16 year old Tommy Jones. Turpin had denied the Murder charge, claiming he had no recollection of striking out with the 10-inch bladed Kitchen Knife.
Melanie Hopwood, Tommy's destraught Mother told me of the double devastation at hearing Judge Elgan Edwards order the release of Mr. Turpin following the 'shock acquital'. It took the Jury just over 4 hours to reach the "Not Guilty" verdicts to Murder and Manslaughter! During the Trial Tommy's family, along with his girlfriend Charlotte Hall indured the terrible details of events along with the injuries that took Tommy's life in the early hours of the 1st September, 2006 in spite of all efforts by the medical staff of the Newham General Hospital.
The Court heard that Danny Turpin (the Defendant's cousin) had told Jamie he had hidden a 'knife' behind a radiator and Jamie Turpin picked it up to remove it from the pub, in case his cousin got into trouble. As Jamie Turpin was leaving the pub he and another man called 'Biggs' squared up to each other. The Jury heard that Mr. Biggs had told him to go outside and around the corner. Turpin stated that Mr. Jones had struck him on his right side and grabbed him...he could not remember taking the knife, but accepted having it in his hand.
He said he felt sick when he saw the blood later and after telling his family what happened they panicked and one of his uncles drove him into hiding near Kent. He later handed himself in to Police.
Having come to know Tommy's family, and having suffered the loss of a child to an act of violence...'a death from a single stab wound'...I can only empathise their added pain that this 'acquittal' brings. For others too who have experienced the 'double trauma' of the murder of our children then an 'Acquittal after Trial...the sense of injustice must simply be...intollerable!
Two members of SAMM (Support after Murder & Manslaughter) who have also experienced this situation have set up a Campaigning Group called Justice After Acquittal (JAA) which has the following short and long term aims:-
* For there to be national minimal standard of support from Police and Crown.
* Provide support to Murder Victims' Families after an Acquittal.
* To pursue the idea of changing Government thinking so that verdicts are entered after
murder Trials which accurately reflect what has happened in the Courtroom, for example - 'not decided' instead of 'not guilty'.
If you have experienced a murder trial and acquittal and are interested in joining please write to:-
Justice After Acquittal (JAA)
PO Box 72
E. & O.E.