Published: April 10th 2012April 10th 2012
MY HELL IN UK PRISON
Dedictated to the following people who were all part of something so criminal and sinister I could hardly expect it possible in a country that claims to have freedom, justice and democracy. You were all part of doing something very evil and wrong and I firstly would like to say that I forgive you but secondly say that I shall not forget what you have doen and I hope the world will see what you have doen and you will be held to account for your crimes. Thus, without prejudice( why - because this is written by a 3rd party)... I nominate the following as public enemies: Ewelina Denton,Ela Baran, Ursula Sienczak,DC JP Wedger,Neena Crinion, Laura Brickman,Judge Mervyn Roberts, Dr. P. Parnes, J.Tarchikovski, K.Ruchinski,Marie Parnes-Simmonds,Yvonne Lewers,Martin Behugiar of The Harrow Times, and all the false witnesses that decided prejudice was better than truth. I hope you are able to live with yourself knowing that you have done a very bad thing indeed.It is was what the Nazis did and every fascist since Hitler and Caiphas has done... suppress the truth.
“I was stabbed, tortured and
'raped' by the British INjustice system.”
This was how Paul Denton, a South African released from a UK jail in January, described his three-and-a-half year ordeal behind bars – for a crime he claims he never committed.
In 2008 Denton was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment for raping his ex-wife but after a long battle his convictions were overturned at the Supreme Court of Appeal and he was made a free man again.
In an exclusive interview with The South African, he told us how his world fell apart one February afternoon in 2008.
The Johannesburger had lived to the UK since 1999, working as a landscape gardener and evangelist. He had bought a house in Wembley, where he lived happily with his Polish wife and three children.
“We had planned to return to South Africa. We'd been accepted to join Youth with a Mission, a Christian outreach organisation. Tickets were bought. Then at the last moment my wife changed her mind, she had a nervous breakdown. And because she knew I would not agree to a divorce she decided to plot a way out.
The next thing Denton was arrested on the accusation that he'd raped his seven-year-old daughter.
“I was bailed and thrown onto the pavement. I lost my house, my car, everything. All my possessions were destroyed or confiscated. I had to sort through what little remained in the local ASDA car park. It was the worst moment of my life... she even tore up family photos... in a weird sense I pitied her insanity, wondering how a woman I had so loved could become so crazy.”
After a trial and eight months of investigation, Denton was cleared of all charges, but in the end agreed to the divorce. Angry he didn’t have access to his children or his house, he published a blog about it. When his ex-wife read it, she retaliated by accusing him of raping her seven times in seven days.
“I spent a year and half on remand in Wandsworth Prison before the trial came around in October 2009. The trial was a 12-day farce - they tried to destroy me completely. It was simply a campaign of hate to neutralise me and what I was doing around the world, such as peace work in the Middle East.
“What hurts most is that my ex-wife knows I’ve done a lot for rape victims, kids and vulnerable people. In fact, at the time I was supposed to have raped her I was securing a shelter for orphans in Uganda – but they convicted me anyway. Our domestic affair cost the taxpayer more than £3 million. What the media did to me is in itself another story.
“The problem in this country is the Hearsay Law, where an accusation can destroy your life, with no evidence. In South Africa this wouldn’t even have gone to court without hard evidence. The real victims of rape are not being believed, and the ones making false accusations are undermining the whole justice system,” he said.
Denton was soon transferred to HMP Isle of Wight; nicknamed "Paradise Island" and allegedly the largest concentration of sex offenders in Europe.
“I wasn’t even allowed a photograph or phone call to my children. I alleviated my pain by writing a Christmas Carol to my children every year. We performed them in the chapel.
“I saw a bloody anal rape, and more than 20 suicides and mysterious deaths in custody. Many can't live with the pressure and just give up. I didn’t because I knew I was innocent and believed so strongly in my cause. I also believed my children should one day know the truth. Being accused of a sex offence is a life sentence. It’s with you forever. You have to clear your name.
“I can say more about the horror of my incarceration - the cellmates from hell... the sadists who try to push you over the edge... but you can learn a lot from something like this. I used prison as my muse to write three plays, an autobiography entitled "Stitched Up!", and a poetry anthology called "Poetry shall Prevail".
“This experience was my Mount Everest but I’m not defeated. I earned half a graphic design degree through Open University, learned drama and read many books. I won the governor's art prize in HMP Wandsworth in 2010 and met some interesting people like Julian Assange.”
Denton met many other South Africans in prison and even Ken Clarke Justice Minister.
One of the inmates, believing Denton to be a rapist, stabbed him in the face with a pen and he nearly lost his eye. After suing the prison he got £3,500 compensation, which he used to hire a barrister to take on his case.
Since his release, Denton has been staying in Edinburgh with a friend. His plan is to get access to his children (now aged 11, 12 and 13) whom he hasn’t seen since 2009; and then return to South Africa.
“I felt a bit uncoordinated when I came out, found it difficult to sleep. I was exhausted actually. I don’t know how I’m going to rebuild my life but I’d going to take it one step at a time. Probably what I should do is spend some time on the beach and smoke a lot of dope! I was dreaming about the Transkei, Port St Johns. I’m just enjoying the simple things in life. When I came out of jail I felt like I was on another planet, everybody was on their mobiles and computers. I was so happy just to sit on the train, enjoy the moment, and think, Wow I’m free. We worry about updating facebook etc but are missing what’s right here around us.”
Does he blame his ex-wife? “There were times when I wanted to do unspeakable things to her but I still loved her. Love is not something you can switch off like a tap; you can’t stop loving someone because she’s done something bad to you. If anything I have a lot of bitterness towards the British criminal justice system. I don’t hold her solely responsible - she was just an angry woman. At the end of the day the children are the ones who suffer. All I can say is, be careful who you marry - make sure they love South Africa!”
- Copyright, The South African, 2012. POSTSCRIPT : The story is true but for one point, we didnt buy the house in Wembley; as far as things stand I have been recognised as a victim of a Miscarriage of Justice by the MOJO at the Royal Courts of Justice and will be seeking compensation from the Ministry of Justice for wrongful imprisonment and a malicious prosecution. I intend to devote my energies in future to helping victims of trauma and injustice by raising money to build a retreat in Africa.