I read your article about grief and can relate to it daily. I was an aspiring footballer at the age of 11 when I fell and my knee swelled.
At 23 my knee was all smashed up and worn into small round balls, I knew that pain and lived with it.
It was ‘73 when dad died suddenly, and a light went out for me. That was pain I couldn’t understand; three months later my eldest nephew – 15 years old – was laid to rest beside my father. It was a bad memory but I lived with it.
Two months later my wife said she did not feel well and I wanted to run for a doctor. She asked me to stay with her and I held her in my arms as she closed her eyes for the last time. I must have shut it all out.
Later I remember going to the hospital at the top of Fitzwilliam Street where I had an ECG test, brought on with ‘sympathy’ pains. I was a ship with out a rudder.
I woke up to find myself in the arms of a woman looking for a man who had a house, and with the help of her sister I was coerced into marrying her.
I was found a best man (who hated me). My home was sold under orders from the new wife’s eldest sister and a new four-bed detached was bought.
I was the provider for the two women who stopped work and lived off me. They had told me to get away from my family; sell my home; start again.
I could see nothing of what was happening.
It was 1987 when the first GP told me to get out of the marriage and the second GP told me I had lived a lie for 14 years.
Years later I realised in their eagerness to steal our home the marriage had not been consummated. The two women had conspired to part me from my 13 year old daughter who I lost for 14 years.
I found a lawyer: I was told to get the best in town but they took advantage of my illness and inexperience. In court I was left alone at the mercy of my ex-wife who wanted all she could get from me.
I lost my home, I was threatened with prison and for the following years I felt a different pain – it was anger when Foxhill Advice centre discovered I had been scammed. The solicitor who had signed my Legal Aid forms was not a solicitor nor was he a legal executive, he was an unqualified clerk who could not represent me in court but did a runner when he thought I’d got him.
Pain? Grief? Yes, I suffer. I let them steal my daughter’s inheritance. The woman and her sister parted company when they had the house money, never seeing or talking to each other again.
You say there are people out there [who can help], but who are they, and how do you know you need help? It is not like a broken knee!
I tried to get help from Tony Blair, Jack Straw, The Law Society, solicitors, The Ombudsman, two law companies...
I am now doing a BA Course at Sheffield University and visited their Free Law and told to present my case to the law firm that let me down: which will not be the first or last time, for they had a duty to care and they did not give a damn.
Name and address