Having spent the weekend doing as many nice things to reduce stress and keep me grounded, the moment of truth arrived, Tuesday 18th January. I’m not sure what I thought all those years before, when I walked into York Police Station to make my statement and start the process. That was all irrelevant now.
The day started really early, I woke up at about 5 o’clock that morning following a disturbed and uncomfortable night’s sleep. Fortunately my girlfriend was blissfully asleep. Not wanting to disturb her I got up, went to the sofa and watched some TV on my tablet. After almost an hour I was still feeling jittery so I picked up my swimming trunks, my robe and went down to the pool and swam, jacuzzi’d and steam roomed for an hour. By 07:20 I was showered, shaved and back in the room. I’m pretty sure that if I’d not had just been to the pool that the stress and anxiety would have beaten my appetite but I was ravenous. I woke my girlfriend up and we hit the restaurant for a good old fashioned healthy full English. After breakfast we returned to our room so I could suit up, after all don’t all superheroes need a suit? Well I may not be a superhero but I do believe in dressing appropriately; something I’d later discover was not something Baulch subscribed to.
We were to meet DC John outside the hotel for 09:00 so he could pick us up and get us to the court centre. We made our way down for about ten-to-nine and promptly chain smoked at least three cigarettes without even thinking about it. DC John was caught up in the Brighton morning rush hour traffic, he was about fifteen minutes late and I was pushing halfway through a new pack of 20 cigarettes as my anxiety levels increased. We got into DC John’s car, it was small especially for three, two of whom were big blokes. Whilst I don’t remember the route we took, or how long we took one thing I do remember was his sat navigation. His daughter had reprogrammed it to speak like an Australian beach bum. Thinking about it now I do think it wasn’t the most professional thing, but it was amusing and we shared the odd chuckle. In retrospect it probably was just what we needed to break the tension. We eventually arrived at the court complex, ready to have my day in court.
DC John led my girlfriend and I round the side to the witness room entrance, at this point despite the minor annoyances of the day things were going smoothly, in felt like if what had happened already was the worst things to happen then I would be able to cope. After all I had already had my fair share of clusterfucks over the years, before even setting foot in Brighton. Like most people, I don’t like to admit that I am wrong, but things could only and were only going to get worse. We were let into the building, but couldn’t go anywhere until security had searched us and scanned us with a metal detector. When we finally got through we were led upto the witness room area. Prior to coming down to Brighton I found out, from my dad, that my sister was due to give evidence straight after me. Now she and I historically have not got on, in the same room together was never going to be good. I’d got Sam my ISVA to make arrangements to keep us in separate rooms, an arrangement they agreed to. We got into the tiny room to discover a barrister from another case had decided he was going to use it. I went absolutely ballistic, the thought of my needs, and ultimately the need for the quality and integrity of evidence to be preserved seemed to me, to be flying out the window. So what did I do? I did my best roadrunner, flying down the stairs and out the window. My girlfriend caught up with me and I told her I wasn’t giving evidence if they weren’t going to ensure I was separated from my sister. There was no way we could coexist in the same room without antagonising the other one to a point where one or the other refused to give evidence, or at least gave bad evidence.
Eventually the situation was resolved and my girlfriend had talked me down after several more cigarettes and we went through security search again and sat in a small room. An hour and a half went by and still no idea of when I’d be called in to give evidence. As the time passed the anxiety increased. Eventually DC John returned with a copy of my statement and told I’d be called within the next half hour or so. During that time I had to read my statement to refresh myself with what I’d said. Bearing in mind I hadn’t forgotten what had happened to me, I had almost 9 years elapse since making my statement and therefore couldn’t remember word for word the 20 pages of statement. Like a mad thing I tried to get every word onto my lips, it was hard not just the sheer volume of hand written words scribed by DC Alec and transcribed into a typed format, but reliving not just the memories of the abuse, but the memories of sat in my former lounge making the statement. I don’t know, even now, whether I am relieved that it was a handwritten statement and not a video statement like the other two victims. I say that because I think it was easier reading the cold words and not having to see my distress on film. However, as I was reading through my statement the court was having it read out to them, by whom I’m not sure. If it had been a video statement the video would have been played to the court and the jury would have seen the tears, the pain and distress. Just before midday the court usher came to the witness room and led me to the courtroom and my fate.