It is a rarity for me to talk about my family. I have always tried to protect them from the intrusion that these circumstances have brought. However, I feel I need to say something about my Father.
After a short illness, he died on the 1st September last year. I cannot begin to quantify the loss this has been to the lives that he had touched. He brought so much laughter and love to every ones lives.
I remember in the early days of this, when I was on remand at HMP Belmarsh, my parents had flown down from Scotland; it may have been the first open visit they had with me (I recall an earlier one which was ‘closed’, i.e. behind a perplex screen because they were not yet cleared as visitors); I was in an emotional mess and sobbing; my Father held my hands and told me it was going to be okay and that “we will get through this together.” His support for me remained unchanged over the past 13+ years. For so many reasons he was my hero, an inspiration.
I said to my Mother that if someone had told them that they would have over 50+ years of marriage and my Father would live into his 80’s I am sure he would have taken that but, for me, it was not enough. My great fear was that he wouldn’t live to see me released on appeal and turn my life around. The thought that he died knowing that I was still in prison is heartbreaking. As is not being there at the end and not being there for my Mother.
Graham Coutts, 7th January 2017