Mother of slain victims reacts terribly to cell phone risks

Two mothers initially met last week in an inconspicuous office on a Warrington industrial park. One specialist in restorative justice described the encounter between Emma Sutton and Esther Ghey as “extraordinarily unusual,” the first he had heard of in thirty years.

Ghey’s 16-year-old daughter, Brianna, was killed by two teens in a Warrington park last year; she believed one of them to be a friend. Scarlett Jenkinson, Sutton’s daughter, was that friend and the “driving force” behind organizing and carrying out the “exceptionally brutal” stabbing.

Ghey told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg that she was open to visiting Sutton 48 hours after Jenkinson was given a minimum 22-year prison sentence last month. She said,

“I don’t hold her accountable for her child’s actions.”

Esther Ghey

That was last week. Just Sutton’s brother Rob and Tom Bedworth, a former Warrington Guardian journalist who had collaborated with Ghey on her Peace in Mind campaign, were present; there were no trained mediators.

Ghey remarked thereafter, “It was a positive and respectful meeting.” They talked about “the challenges of parenting,” she added, adding that she would be down to advocate alongside Sutton on the risks that come with cell phones for kids.

One of the foremost authorities on restorative justice in the world, Prof. Lawrence Sherman, described the encounter between Ghey and Sutton as “extraordinarily unusual.” “I’ve never heard of anything like that before,” he remarked. I have not heard of a single victim or survivor of

crime to make a meeting offer through the media and for that offer to be accepted so fast. What’s even more amazing is that they might collaborate on these concerns.

Jo Berry is the closest person to comprehending Ghey’s possible feelings during the interaction. At the age of 27, she lost her father, Anthony Berry MP, to the IRA Brighton bombing during the Tory party conference in 1984. She arranged a covert meeting between Patrick Magee, the bomb-planting former IRA activist, and herself in Dublin in November 2000.

Described by his trial judge as “a man of exceptional cruelty and inhumanity,” Magee was given a 35-year prison sentence but was freed after 13 years thanks to the Good Friday deal.

It is a felony to propose a meeting via the media and have it accepted so quickly. Even more astounding is the possibility that they will work together on these issues.

The only individual who comes close to understanding Ghey’s potential emotions during the exchange is Jo Berry. She lost her father, Anthony Berry MP, at the age of 27, in the 1984 Tory party conference bombing in Brighton, which was carried out by the IRA. In November 2000, she set up a clandestine meeting in Dublin between herself and bomb-planting ex-IRA activist Patrick Magee.

As “a man of exceptional cruelty and inhumanity,” according to his trial judge, Magee received a 35-year prison sentence; nevertheless, after 13 years, he was released from prison as a result of the Good Friday agreement.

Since Magee was still “the most demonized terrorist we had” when they first met, Berry didn’t inform her friends or family where she was going. He wasn’t there to apologize to me. I didn’t come to see him to alter. She remarked, “I merely met him to see him as a human being.

Magee went on the attack. He was standing by his political beliefs. But I reasoned that since I was already here, I may as well tell him a little about my dad and the influence he had on me,” the woman remarked.

Then something changed: “For the first time, he began to see my dad as a human being.” He evolved. There was a noticeable difference in his voice and his sentences.

Berry didn’t tell her friends or family where she was going because, when they first met, Magee was still “the most demonized terrorist we had”. He wasn’t present to offer me an apology. I came not expecting him to change. “I just met him to see him as a human being,” she said.

But I figured that since I was already here, I may as well tell him a little about my dad and the influence he had on me,” the woman said. Magee launched an offensive. He was sticking to his political convictions.

He transformed at that point, saying, “For the first time, he began to see my dad as a human being.” His voice and his phrases had changed significantly.

In a series of restorative justice tests conducted in the UK between 2001 and 2006, Sherman and colleague researcher Heather Strang showed “very strong benefits of reduced repeat offending and reduced post-traumatic stress disorder.” They specifically focused on the crimes of robbery and burglary.

Sherman claimed that those who participated had better sleep, found it easier to go back to work, and would likely live longer in the long run. “Those who have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder—whether they be victims of crime or veterans of combat—have a lower life expectancy because of cardiovascular disease. Given that our clinical experiment has shown that we can lower post-traumatic stress disorder, it is reasonable to conclude that restorative justice should also lower mortality.

The young violent offenders “who were prosecuted rather than being randomly assigned to restorative justice had a 10% suicide death rate by 15 years later, compared with zero among those who did receive restorative justice by random assignment,” the study he cited from Canberra, Australia, revealed.

According to Berry, forgiveness is “not at all important” in the restorative justice process, even though contrition is. Many of our victims express that they are not forgiven. But their apology made me very happy,” Sherman remarked.

Naturally, some victims would like to remain anonymous, according to Kenny Donaldson, the director of the South East Fermanagh Foundation, which provides assistance to over 3,500 distinct victims and survivors impacted by acts of terrorism and violence

connected violence by criminals.

“The innocents of Troubles-related violence have made arrangements to meet with the perpetrators of the violence perpetrated against them and/or their loved ones,” he added, only in “the very rarest of circumstances,” such as Berry and Magee.

According to him, there are a few prerequisites that must be met for these conversations to occur, most notably the perpetrator’s “willingness to confirm that they accept the actions they committed were wrong and unjustified irrespective of grievances they may have felt, whether real or perceived.”

He went on, “Apologizing is not enough.” “What is needed is the perpetrators’ recognition and acknowledgement that their actions—many of which were directed towards their own neighbors—had no justification.”

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