Today, Scission Prison Friday, goes to England where a young woman may, I say, may be on the verge of some much needed good news.
Better late, then never.
Stacey Hyde was seventeen when she killed a man. No one disputes that. However, Stacey Hyde does not belong in jail...which is right where she is.
At the time of her arrest Stacey was an adolescent with a history of mental health issues. After she was convicted, a psychiatrist specializing in adolescence diagnosed Hyde as having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The psychiatric reports also suggest she was suffering from emerging borderline personality disorder and depression at the time of the incident, and from post- traumatic stress disorder at the time of the trial. During the summer of 2009, she tried to hang herself from the curtain rail in the shower, and to drown herself in the bath. Two days before Francis was killed, she was seen by a community psychiatric nurse who recorded that she was at risk of serious self-harm or suicide.
Did I mention the man she killed, Vince Francis, was the violent partner of her friend. Did I mention Stacey was scarred to death at the time of the "crime?"
As the Guardian writes:
On the evening of 3 September 2009, when Hyde was 17, she went out drinking with Francis's girlfriend, Holly Banwell. They returned to the flat where Banwell had been living with Francis, 34, and Hyde passed out on the bed.
In the early hours of the morning Hyde says she awoke to hear Banwell calling for help. Hyde doesn't clearly remember what happened next, but she seems to have run to Banwell's aid, and a fight ensued between her and Francis. During the course of the incident, Banwell called 999, and described what was going on, screaming: "My boyfriend is beating my friend," and later adding: "They are fighting."
The tussle spilled into the communal hall; a neighbour who was disturbed by the noise later testified that she saw Francis pull Hyde by the hair. Hyde allegedly kicked out at Francis, broke free and ran back into the flat, reappearing with a knife. Francis suffered 17 knife wounds, including two or three to the back, and was fatally injured in what the police described as a frenzied attack. When the police arrived, Hyde sobbed: "He tried to kill me ... I had to help Holly."
During her trial, where Stacey plead not guilty on the grounds of self defense, the prosecution admitted to 27 separate incidents of domestic violence between Banwell and Francis, and also said there was evidence of previous violence committed by Banwell against other women.
A spokeswoman for Justice for Women said,
“The law at the time meant that Stacey could not use the fear of serious violence as a defence. The law was changed in October 2010, just months after her conviction. If Stacey’s case had been tried under the new law, she may not have been convicted of murder.”
“At the time of her trial Stacey had not been diagnosed with ADHD and borderline personality disorder which make her easily led.
“Before the trial she was housed with offenders who had already been convicted.”
Ms Hyde’s team claim that these convicts “coached” her in how to speak while in the dock – even holding a mock trial.
“Stacey didn’t understand that she shouldn’t talk about her case with other prisoners. They were winding her up and making her behave in a way that made her come across unsympathetically to the jury.
“Had her condition been recognised, she would have had assistance from an intermediary at the trial that could have prevented this.
“Stacey had suffered abuse during her life and everything came to a head that day.
“Stacey shouldn’t be in prison.”
The following is from Justice for Women.