Greenbelt Festival and the Police made it even worse

This is a blog about what happens when you are mad. How you stop being a person. How you can’t trust anyone. How whatever happens to you, it’s all your own fault. Don’t read it, it won’t make you happy.
Trigger warnings: sexual assault, abusive churches, mental illness, suicide, self-harm, loads of fucked-up-ness.

Background

I had known my best friend Rachel since 2003, when we met at university. I still think about her and miss her almost every day. We shared a house for a year, spoke most days after she left York, and I considered her one of my closest friends. Rachel knows about my mental illness, we’d been through a lot together. She’d reassured me when I thought that everyone hated me for being mad. In particular Rachel knows that when I am distressed I have never done anything dangerous to other people, I just want somewhere quiet to hide, and reassurance.

In 2008, after I finished university, I was living in London for several months, volunteering with Catholic Anarchists on a project for women asylum seekers with no recourse to public funds, living on food out of bins, and wondering every night whether the noises outside were a gang with guns come to take back the woman who they considered their ‘property’. It was challenging and stressful and brilliant. I had one day off a week, and I used that to attend the church where Rachel was a steward, Hinde Street Methodist Church. After I returned to York I visited Rachel in London about once a month, staying with her in a community house attached to Hinde Street church.

Ali Dixon (now Alison Borysiewicz) at this time also lived in the community house with Rachel, and was a church steward. Bryn Monnery lived in Methodist student halls attached to Kings Cross Methodist church, and was a regular at Hinde Street on Sunday evenings. Rachel and Bryn both worked at Imperial College, and when I was in London I’d often meet them together for lunch. Rachel has an un-reciprocated and largely un-admitted romantic attraction to Bryn (this will surprise a lot of people, for reasons it isn’t fair to go into – but if you don’t believe me, ask about the doll Kirk made).

Bryn Monnery sexually assaulted me in December 2009, when I was in London over Christmas helping with a homeless shelter.

People have made a lot of shit up about this. To be clear, I have never accused Bryn of rape.

People who had seen Bryn and I together will know that Bryn had an annoying habit of touching me after I’d told him to stop, and being sexually explicit in ways that made me feel uncomfortable. This is just what he did in social situations, and I put up with it because that’s what women are socialised into doing, because a few times I’d shouted at him or moved place, and I knew that if I got any more visibly angry I’d be a ‘bitch’ with ‘no sense of humour’, and I didn’t want to ‘rock the boat’ because he was Rachel’s friend. Rachel and Ali and others had seen this a lot.

Bryn had a distinctly weird attitude towards other women too. His computer screensaver was a picture of his ex-girlfriend’s face. Not a photo which just happened to have her in, but her face tight-cropped, more than a year after they’d split up. With a different woman, Bryn went out for a meal with her, carried some shopping home, then acted as though he was entitled to sex and a relationship, and threatened violence against the man that woman subsequently dated, for months afterwards. There was also weird stuff going on with Bryn’s past. He always lied about his age. Bryn also admitted that he used to be a school teacher, until he had to leave very suddenly in the middle of a term, in circumstances which meant he could never go back, and was unemployed and signing on the dole for a year or so – Chemistry teachers are in short enough supply that this seems distinctly dodgy.

What Bryn did that evening wasn’t many orders of magnitude worse. At first it was just ‘banter’. Bryn was wearing very brief running shorts when I came round, even though it was the depths of winter. He’d tidied up before a visit, and left a condom deliberately visible on his bedroom floor. He kept telling me to lie on his bed. I said no, and sat in a corner on the floor. Bryn came over and sat with a foot on each wall either side of me and his crotch a couple of inches from my nose. He told me he thought he’d asked the wrong woman out at church. I said ‘Sorry I’m not interested, I’m tired and I just want to go home, back off a bit’. He started stroking my head, then the rest of my body. I shouted ‘FUCK OFF’, pushed his hands away, curled up in a ball, and started shaking. He kept on touching me all over after this, mostly outside my clothes but he tried to put his hand down my top. I didn’t know what to do. I was trapped in his room, in student halls which were empty on December 30th, with no idea of the way out of what doors might be locked. I even thought about jumping out of the window but we were about the third floor. I can’t be sure how long this lasted, maybe ten minutes? Then the alarm on my phone went to tell me in was time to get the train. Bryn let me stand up, and put the condom into my jeans pocket, fumbling with my crotch. Then Bryn walked me over the road to the train as though nothing had happened.

I didn’t tell anyone for the first few weeks. I was terrified it would upset Rachel. I didn’t want it to be true. But I was jumpy and upset, and kept flinching when people came near me. The first person I told was my housemate, because I nearly hit him when he tried to give me a friendly hug, and he was baffled and upset as to why I was acting strangely. I also told the psychiatrist I was then seeing every few months.

Because I had worked with women trafficked into the sex trade in London, I knew about the Havens sexual assault reporting centres. About mid-February 2010 I called one up and made an appointment for the next time I was in London. But I couldn’t live with the damage I knew reporting would do. One evening I walked out alongside the river by my house, to the fields where the water was peaceful and black and still and very cold, with a bottle of vodka and two carrier bags full of pills. The only way I could think of to avoid bringing about all this unhappiness and distress that I was going to cause, of making it all never have happened in the first place, was to get rid of me.

Looking back now, I think maybe I was right. But maybe God wanted me alive, or maybe I’m just too bloody-minded. I sent a text to half a dozen friends late that night, and cried down the phone to the first person who happened to answer, M. I didn’t mean to tell M, but she mentioned Bryn in passing and I started crying uncontrollably. Eventually I went back home.

Rachel was one of the first people I told after that. She said she didn’t know who to believe, me or Bryn, and carried on seeing Bryn as though nothing had happened. Rachel became very upset when I tried to discuss this with her. I was desperate not to lose my friendship with Rachel, but trying to pretend nothing had happened had made me think I had to be dead to hide it properly. Maybe I was right.

I didn’t tell Ali about what Bryn had done. I hadn’t told Ali about having a mental illness, either. Ali contacted me soon after, saying she had heard from Bryn and Rachel. Ali wrote me a letter saying I must have hallucinated the whole thing, saying
‘I know that you believe that what you experienced was real and in a way, the fact that it was real for you is the only thing that matters in terms of understanding the way you feel right now, and you have every right to be just as upset as if it really happened.

But I know enough about Bryn, including several things you probably don’t know, to know that that simply isn’t possible. Please please don’t bring this into real life or everyone involved is going to get horribly horribly hurt. And please look after yourself; we’re all worried about you. With love, xxx’.

I was sure I hadn’t hallucinated what happened with Bryn. It just isn’t the type of thing I hallucinate (mostly I get disembodied voices of supernatural creatures), I’d been doing very well the previous few months, including shift leading at the homeless shelter with no problems, and I have always worked out within hours or days afterwards that my hallucinations aren’t real, never had them carry on for months. But I asked my psychiatrist next time I saw her, and she said I definitely hadn’t hallucinated the assault, and she’d be happy to stand up in court and say so if I wanted to take things that far.

Ali hasn’t had training in mental health. She thinks that because she is an ICU nurse and occasionally sees people with organic toxic delirium she knows all about functional mental illness, and more about mine than my psychiatrist. This is clearly bollocks, as will be very obvious to anyone with real experience of ‘severe and enduring mental illness’.

I felt under a lot of pressure from Rachel and Ali not to report. I eventually made a statement to The Havens (sexual assault referral centre) in March 2010, but wasn’t able to talk to the police at the time. I was shaking so hard I couldn’t speak.

I just avoided anywhere Bryn might be.

Eventually I was told by Rachel that I was no longer allowed to go to Hinde Street, that Ali had demanded that they change the church locks to make sure that I could not get in, and that ‘everyone’ agreed with Ali and ‘didn’t feel safe around you’. I know this bit wasn’t true because I asked David J who I also knew well from York days, and David said he had no idea and this had never been brought up at community meeting as Rachel had lied about. I mind the lies a lot. They sang the hymn ‘all are welcome’, and even took communion with me, even as they were working out how to get me out. Hypocritical liars.

It seemed easier for Ali and Rachel to believe that I must have somehow hallucinated the whole thing than that Bryn could do something bad, or that I could be lying about it (I am known for being very honest). But the psychiatrist and the CPN who I was seeing then both said that this was not possible, and that they would be prepared to back me up in court if necessary. I couldn’t face going to the police though – I am very scared of particularly the Met police in London, having been kettled and hit by them at protests, I didn’t think as a Quaker it would be right for me to hand Bryn over to be hurt by the Met, whatever he’d done.

M told a member of clergy at Hinde Street Church, Sue KvA, what had happened, because M thought she had a Safeguarding responsibility to pass this on. I emailed Sue a bit to explain what had happened, and used the words ‘vulnerable adult’ about myself. The response I got from the church asked me to let them know if I decided to go to the police, because they would need to provide Bryn with ‘pastoral support’. Senior members of the church were supposed to be told what was going on, but I found out when I tried to talk to them about Ali and Rachel bullying me and lying to me, that the senior clergy hadn’t been informed as should have happened – giving more opportunity for Bryn Monnery to be a risk to other people.

I found the whole situation horrible, was signed off with depression, but since I live in York and everyone involved lived in London, I just tried to get on with my life here. I didn’t see Bryn at all after the assault for two and a half years, until Greenbelt festival 2011.

PS I know that people will be thinking of ways to get some comeback on this.
I can go after Ali’s nursing registration, and I could still get Bryn into trouble with the police (will explain in later post).

Also, see Streisand effect. If you find a way to take this down, or even try to put pressure on me to do so, it will mushroom.

Trigger warnings: sexual assault, mental illness, much other badness.

This account is from contemporaneous notes – written on Saturday night at Greenbelt, or on Sunday and Monday after I had been made to leave. I am a trained & experienced Legal Observer.

Note on Greenbelt Festival: it is the ‘liberal’, ‘inclusive’, fluffy end of Christian festivals. They invite famous atheists like Robin Ince, people who are involved in social activism, as well as Christian speakers. I’ve been every year since 2005, volunteered in the children’s disability team for a few years, and used to think that Heaven would be a lot like Greenbelt but with better toilets.

At Greenbelt

I arrived at Greenbelt on the Friday afternoon. I received a text from Rachel Cavill just as I arrived on site, telling me that Bryn Monnery was there. I hadn’t expected that, and was very frightened. I sent a reply saying ‘I’ve got a knife’, hoping that Rachel would tell Bryn to stay away from me. I regretted this very much as soon as I’d sent it. I could not think of a way to keep myself and other people safe from Bryn. I did have with me a kitchen knife as part of my cooking kit, so I could chop veg for curry. I camped as planned with friends from Student Christian Movement, far away from where Rachel (with Bryn) usually camps in Helicopter Field, and as soon as I could I found Rachel and apologised to her for the text.

I know that because I sent that text, some people will blame me for everything that happened. I often do. The text didn’t say I was going to attack Bryn, it wasn’t a threat, I just wanted him to leave me alone. As a Quaker I don’t think that fighting Bryn back if he attacked me again was the right thing to plan for, and anyway Bryn is easily twice my weight, practices several combat sports, and can out-sprint me, so if he had attacked me again I don’t think the knife would have helped much. But all this is making excuses, and I shouldn’t have done it. Maybe you can tell me what else I should have done?

I was scared not only for my own safety, but for other people being around Bryn. I did not know what to do, as trying to tell people (at Hinde Street) had proved so counter-productive. There was no reason for Bryn not to attack me again. Hinde Street had very clearly told him that everything he did was absolutely OK, there would be no consequences, and nobody would believe anything I said. This was the first time I’d knowingly been within hundreds of miles of Bryn since the original attack, he’d come to a place where at night there would only be a fabric tent skin between him and me, and I’d told everyone where I was camping so Bryn would know too. I don’t know for certain whether Bryn planned to attack me again, but he had been given absolutely no reason not to.

I also wrote warnings about Bryn on posters on the back of toilet doors, like ‘Beware of Bryn Monnery, he assaulted me’. Someone said I wrote on the doors, but that is not true, I only wrote on the posters which it is against the rules to put up anyway, so it would not cause any extra trouble for Greenbelt.

Later on Friday evening, I was at Mainstage watching Martyn Joseph, and saw Rachel. I apologised for the knife text, we hugged, and we spent the rest of the evening together with our mutual friend S, until the rain persuaded us back to tents.

I was very frightened that night. I was too scared to sleep, frightened that everyone who walked past my tent was Bryn coming to hurt me. The stress and sleeplessness made my voices kick off, and they were telling me that I had to use the knife to hurt myself (I used to self-harm, but haven’t since 2005). I wrapped the knife thickly in green duct tape, using most of a roll, so that it wasn’t sharp and couldn’t be used to hurt anyone – would have taken maybe half an hour to get all the tape off, so it really wasn’t any use as a weapon any more. Hearing voices isn’t unusual for when I get stressed, and I have ways to cope with it – it’s just like the way some people get migraines from stress. Hearing voices doesn’t mean I’m ‘out of control’ or ‘in crisis’, it is something that happens most days, and usually no-one notices unless I tell them about it.

In the morning, I was still very stressed, but decided to try to carry on as usual, going to see some music and a talk. Somewhere around noon, I saw Rachel and Bryn eating lunch sat on a bench near G-source. I only saw the back of their heads, they did not see me. I froze, fell over, and started hyperventilating and shaking with fear. Eventually I managed to stand up, ran back to my tent, and tried to calm down, but the campsite was too noisy.

I tried to work out how to keep myself safe. I was so scared it was hard to think, and there were a lot of voices. I thought that the best thing would be to talk to the people at Greenbelt counselling, as it would be quiet and safe there, they would know about the Greenbelt Safeguarding procedures & might be able to think of something to keep me safe from Bryn, and I would take them the knife to get rid of it, so the voices couldn’t tell me to hurt myself with it any more. I knew that the knife wasn’t any use to keep me safe, I’m a Quaker and just thinking about using it to protect myself from Bryn was a really really horrible idea, not to mention that Bryn is about twice my size, ex-Army, and would easily win a fight. I thought that if anyone can think of a non-violent way to keep me safe and resolve a nightmare situation, it would be Greenbelt.

I went to the counselling service and told them that, and tried to hand over the knife. The counselling woman leaned back and looked frightened when I started talking about voices. This worried me, I am used to being able to talk about them openly. She told me that there was a psychiatrist in the first aid centre who she wanted me to talk to. I said I didn’t think I needed a psychiatrist, but agreed to, because psychiatrists tend to be used to people who hear voices and not panic about it.

A man from the first aid centre came and walked me over there. At the first aid centre, I was told to sit on a bed in a busy room with lots of people coming in and out all the time and getting things out of a cupboard. Lots of different people asked me lots of different questions. I was getting more and more confused by the busyness and the questions, and it was hard to hear with the voices talking to me too, so I just said ‘I don’t know’ a lot. I have dyspraxia, tactile defensiveness and sensory hypersensitivity, so I am easily overwhelmed by noisy busy environments, and it’s also well known that people struggling with voices need low stimulation environments. I tried to tell the first aid centre people this but they didn’t seem to listen.

A woman with short blonde hair who said she was a police officer (but didn’t show any ID when I asked her to) and a ‘Greenbelt site manager’ said she was going to search me. I didn’t like that, I am scared of the police because of previous bad experiences with being kettled on protests. She and an Asian man (psych nurse?) backed me into a corner of the busy room, and made me turn my pockets out and empty my bag onto the bed. I now know the woman to be Inspector Jo Beecroft of West Yorkshire police, but at the time she didn’t even tell me her name. Jo Beecroft kept asking me lots of intrusive personal questions about the voices, and I didn’t understand why. I now know that Jo Beecroft confused ‘things the voices are saying’ with ‘things I am ‘threatening’ / planning to do’, which is just stupid because anyone who knows anything about voices knows it doesn’t work like that. Voices tell me to self-harm every day, but I haven’t since 2005. Voices often tell you to do the opposite of what you want to do, and going to see a counsellor to talk about being distressed is the opposite of planning to act on them. I’ll discuss risk and voices in a later post, but it’s an utter tabloid myth that hearing voices makes someone dangerous. Anyone who doesn’t know this has no business anywhere near a risk assessment.

After some time, Sophie arrived, I was allowed out of the busy room into a less busy place, and I chatted to Sophie and a woman (A&E nurse?) about shoes & felt a lot calmer.

The blonde police woman Jo Beecroft came back, and said I needed to go to hospital. I said I didn’t want to, she said if I didn’t then she would put me on a Section 136 and take me there. This is appallingly bad practice, you should NEVER use a section coercively – if someone needs to be sectioned you should section them properly because then they have corresponding extra rights and protections, not threaten. I said that I didn’t mind being assessed, I’d go straight to a hospital ward to be assessed there if I had to, but I really didn’t want to go through A&E because I know from previous experience that A&E is very bad at mental illness, and it is a busy, noisy, stressful environment. Jo Beecroft told me that I had to get in the Greenbelt ‘ambulance’ or be on a 136, so I got in the ‘ambulance’. The police woman also took my wristband off me, but she didn’t say why, or what that meant.

Sophie and I sat down with the Inspector Jo Beecroft before we left for A&E, and explained about Bryn, and I said that this was the first time I had told the police that Bryn had assaulted me. Jo Beecroft didn’t even take notes.

When I arrived at A&E, the Greenbelt people left me in a noisy busy corridor. They didn’t stay around to support me. I told a nurse and then a doctor that I did not consent to being assessed, because I didn’t consent to being there in the first place, didn’t feel that assessment was warranted, and didn’t want to go through the rigamarole of being assessed again by lots of people with no MH training as usually happens in A&E, especially after having already been through lots of questions and prodding at Greenbelt. The doctor seemed OK with this. Then I left, and walked back to the festival site.

In the festival car park, I met Sophie, her boyfriend A, and Rachel Cavill, who Sophie seemed to have phoned. I had a big argument with Rachel. I can’t remember the last time before that I shouted at someone. We argued about Rachel saying she didn’t know who to believe, but always acting as though what Bryn said was true and never acting as though she believed me. The last thing I said to Rachel was ‘why don’t you tell Bryn to fuck off yourself, since he clearly doesn’t understand it coming from me’. I am very sure that I didn’t threaten to hurt Bryn, Rachel, or anyone else.

By now it was about 8pm Saturday. I was very tired and stressed, so I walked back onto site through an open and unattended gate, and straight back to my tent, where I started writing down what had happened. After a while Sophie and A came to my tent, we chatted a bit, I took a prescribed sleeping tablet (zopiclone) to help me calm down, ate a cereal bar, and went to sleep, because this is what my Crisis Plan, agreed with my mental health team, says I should do when I’m very stressed. Sophie and A left my tent some time between half eight and nine pm. I woke up when Mainstage started playing, was too drowsy to leave my tent, so I just listened to the music, exchanged a few text messages with a friend, and finished writing down what had happened to me that day. I didn’t leave my tent, except once briefly to a nearby Portaloo, after half past eight Saturday night. Several people from SCM were around the area and could confirm that. It would be trivially easy to prove that I did not ‘wave a knife in Bryn Monnery’s face’ at 9pm as I was accused of having done.

TRIGGER WARNING: This is a very explicit account of violence, by police and other authority figures, with references to sexual assault, mental illness, psychosis, ‘hearing voices’, victim-blaming, and lots of Bad Things.

Please think carefully about whether you want to read it, it is disturbing.

I was woken up muddle-headed from my medication at about two in the morning, to feel a pair of hands grabbing my ankles through my sleeping bag. A few seconds later my friend S landed in my tent, grabbed me in a hug, and started shouting. There was a lot of shouting going on outside. I felt myself sliding out of my tent and more hands grabbing me through my sleeping bag, then my sleeping bag was unzipped. I was dropped from a few feet onto the cold wet grass, wearing just my thin Lycra thermals. I did not understand what was happening. I could only see lots of black Army boots, and thought this must be to do with Bryn Monnery, who was ex-Army. I screamed and screamed, but it was hard to breathe with so many people grabbing me and holding me down. I was being dragged across the wet grass towards a white van with the back door open, and what looked like an upright glass coffin in the back. I tried to wriggle away from the people holding me, screamed for help, and tried to crawl under the van so I could hide. My arms were twisted round very painfully, so that my hands were back to back level with my shoulder blades, and I was lifted off the ground, then I felt someone putting handcuffs on me. I could see the people who were grabbing me, about twelve or so, wearing dark clothes. There was a circle of maybe a hundred or two hundred people from the festival standing around in a circle watching what was happening, some shouting, some crying, and a small boy at the front looking straight at me absolutely terrified, clutching his father’s hand. I was dropped and picked up several more times, once with someone just grabbing my handcuffs and lifting me right off the ground without supporting my weight at all, which was incredibly painful. After what might have been ten or fifteen minutes of my struggling and them pushing my body through strange painful contortions, I was shut in the glass coffin thing and the van doors slammed.

I was terrified, and kept screaming and trying to break the coffin apart. Now I was in the van I could see that the people there were wearing police uniforms, which did not reassure me at all. Some of them were shouting at me but I could not hear anything. Twice in the journey the handcuffs came off my slim wrists, they were much too big for me. The first time, the police opened part of the coffin, and jumped on me again, eventually forcing me down with my nose on the floor of the van, my arms pulled back behind me so they were vertical over my head, my shoulder blades feeling as though they were about to separate, and screaming from pain instead of fear now. I wasn’t even trying to fight then, I just went floppy and dropped to the floor when the coffin was opened, but I was getting so jerked around that I must have looked as if I was trying to get away.

At the end of the van trip, I was dragged out of the van and slammed down on a concrete floor, again with my arms twisted back and above my head, but this time there were even more police and some of them were leaning their weight on my back so I could not draw breath. The police were talking to each other for some time.

I was dragged along the concrete floor to a corridor lined with doors. Through one of the doors there was a cell, with a thin blue mat on the floor. I was pushed face down onto the mat, cuffed with my arms twisted painfully up again, my head held down with my face pushed hard into the mat so I could not see anything or breathe. First people felt me up, touching me all over through the thin lycra thermals I was wearing. Then they started to strip me. First they took out my hair elastics, and my socks. Then they flipped my body onto my back, and reached down the front of my thermals to cut the elastic waist tie. I screamed for them to stop, and shouted that I was only there because the bastard who assaulted me had made up a lot of lies. Then I could not scream because one person was holding my throat and choking me and another was leaning on my stomach. One policewoman paused briefly, I know she heard me, then carried on. They pulled off my leggings first, pulled my legs apart, ran their hands up my inner thighs to look inside my vagina. After about a minute the policewoman said ‘We’ve seen enough now’. Next they felt around under my top, groped my breasts, and pulled the top off too. I was picked up and slammed face down again, they twisted my arms up again, put handcuffs on, then put ties around my ankles and knees, things like seatbelts covered in velcro which wrapped round and round.

As I was so tied up that I could barely move, fewer people were holding me now. It was cold in the concrete cell now I couldn’t wriggle any more, and smelt of shit, piss and vomit – my face was a foot from a metal toilet pan. I was too exhausted to scream any more, and was gasping for breath as I was still being held face into the mat, with someone twisting my arms up and leaning on my back. I was shaking uncontrollably and my muscles kept cramping and going into spasm, but I couldn’t move to ease them. I waited. After some time I started crying, and then I couldn’t stop, even though I couldn’t breathe for choking on my own snot. I was covered in icy cold sweat and shivering.

Eventually they stopped holding me, though I could barely move and kept shaking and twitching. My arms didn’t want to co-operate with being by my sides, my shoulders wouldn’t move properly, I felt like one big bruise, especially my forearms from being dragged by handcuffs.

After some time they took the handcuffs off, and just one police officer was left, sitting in the cell doorway. More time passed, and they took the ties off my knees, then after more waiting from my ankles. The police officer at the doorway changed, and I was given a plastic cup of the worst tea I have ever had, but it helped my throat so I drank it anyway.

Eventually someone else came. He said that he was the Custody Sargent, and that I was being held under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act, and that I could be held for up to 72 hours – three days. He said I could have someone told where I was, but I could not remember any phone numbers, and of course I did not have my mobile because I had come in with just my thermals. I told him that I would need medication urgently, which I usually took at nine every morning – without it I get a very bad headache and physical symptoms, then I start hallucinating. I also said I would need vegan food, and that I would like to see a doctor because lots of me hurt after being pulled around. He wrote these down then went away.

I waited. More police officers came and went from my cell door. I was very frightened. The one thing that definitely makes my voices bad is stress, and they were very very bad in that cell. I had no way of getting away, no access to most of my usual coping strategies, no distractions, no emergency medication, too cold and scared to sleep or even stay still for long. I knew that the only way I could get out was by staying calm and pretending everything was fine, but I also knew that a normal reaction to being dragged out of bed and locked in a police cell would be to panic. I tried to do yoga and stretching, sang hymns, prayed, and did mindfulness exercises. Some of the police were friendly and would chat to me, some of them would just stare or look away or fiddle with a mobile phone. I waited and I waited. Eventually light started coming through the glass bricks in the cell wall. Someone in a ‘Reliance security’ uniform brought me a little plastic tub of cornflakes and milk – I don’t eat animal products, but I’d not had food for more than a day so I tried to eat dry cornflakes, but they hurt my throat too much. I waited some more. More horrible tea. I asked one of the friendlier police officers if he’d turn around so I could use the smelly cell toilet in some privacy. He did, but I wasn’t allowed toilet paper. I waited some more. One of the hardest things was how disorientated I was – in a strange part of the country, without knowing anything about the building or town I was in, completely detached and unreal.

My voices were almost unbearable, at home I’d have called the crisis team at this point, but now I couldn’t even talk back to them because I knew I had to convince people I was ‘sane’, and I knew if I started to panic I wouldn’t be able to stop. There were none of the distractions that I use to block the voices out. I didn’t get my meds, and started to get the headache. I was feeling more and more panicky and claustrophobic and disorientated. I waited. After a while, I started shouting and banging my head on the concrete wall because I desperately needed to get out and get away. Some more police came in, and the custody sergeant came. He kept telling me the mental health team would be there ‘soon’. I asked him for a Bible, and he found me a Gideon’s Bible with the cover torn off. I tried to stop panicking, and practiced mindful walking around the cell, then read the psalms and prayed.

I waited fourteen hours for the mental health team to arrive. NHS guidance says it should take less than 30 minutes.

The mental health team decided that I was understandably upset and distressed by the situation, which was aggravating symptoms of my long-term mental illness, and agreed with me that the best treatment would be a proper meal and a sleep. I wasn’t having a ‘mental health crisis’, and they were very clear that I didn’t need to be sectioned in the first place. I was immediately discharged with no follow-up other than my usual GP appointments. The Section 136 will show up on enhanced CRB checks for the rest of my life, and might well stop me following the healthcare profession which I am training for.

 

These are excerpts from the mental health team report, which I obtained from Gloucestershire Foundation Trust:

‘Plan:

  • Client to be escorted to festival by police to locate belongings
  • Discharge from Section 136
  • Client to return home if she finds the festival too distressing

Client currently assessed in the context of severe mental illness as:

Risk to self: low

Risk to others: low

The client was discharged at 13:34 hours without mental health follow-up’.

 

The police notes say I was detained because of the lie about my ‘waving a knife in Bryn’s face and threatening to gouge his eyes out’. If someone at Greenbelt had not told them that lie, I could have been not sectioned at all, or at least woken up gently, and gone in an ambulance to a hospital 136 suite, where I could have been minded by nurses until assessment, instead of the traumatic police arrest, strip-search and detention.

 

I blame Greenbelt for what the police did to me – I didn’t need to be on a Section 136 at all, as the mental health team report makes very clear, and I did not need to be treated as though I had just tried to attack someone with a knife. Gloucestershire police had no opportunity at all to assess me before the 136, they were relying entirely on inaccurate information from Greenbelt. The lie about my ‘waving a knife in Bryn’s face and threatening to gouge his eyes out’ must have come from somewhere. Bryn Monnery, Ali Borysiewicz, Rachel Cavill? They’ve all shown themselves amply prepared to lie to get me to stop being ‘inconvenient’.

 

When the mental health team discharged me, since I had only pyjamas on, and no shoes or other possessions, two police officers gave me a lift back to the festival. When we arrived, they asked if I could have my wristband back so I could go back in. The blonde woman police officer (Inspector Jo Beecroft) who I’d seen the day before was called by gate staff. She was very rude. She and the Gloucestershire police talked for a while, and eventually agreed that both she in one landrover and the Gloucestershire police in another would escort me back to my tent, where I’d have to pack my belongings and leave immediately, even though the Gloucestershire police said I was fine, and told her that the mental health team had assessed me as being fine to return to the festival. All I wanted to do was have some pie and mash and a nap in my tent, then spend the evening listening to bands with friends, and the mental health team and Gloucestershire police had agreed that this was a good plan.

Taking my tent down in front of friends and strangers with the police and site security very obviously watching from two landrovers was another round of un-necessary humiliation.

I tried to talk to Jo Beecroft, to ask why I wasn’t being allowed back to Greenbelt festival, but she kept on refusing to tell me, was very rude, said it was ‘something that happened yesterday’ and when I tried asking about all the things that had happened yesterday (going to see the counsellors, being sectioned) she said it was none of them and seemed to be angry that I didn’t know, repeated my words to mock me, and walked away refusing to talk to me. She didn’t need to be that horrible. I don’t know what she thought I had done, because she wouldn’t tell me – did she believe I’d ‘waved a knife in Bryn’s face and threatened to gouge his eyes out’? Why?

The Gloucestershire police helped me to take my tent down, and drove me to the station, where I had to buy an expensive walk-up ticket (about a week’s Employment and Support Allowance – so lot of money for me) to get home.

When I was on the train, something strange happened. A message was left on my answer phone, the voice of Jo Beecroft, and it showed up as her number on my phone – it sounded like she’d left a phone on in her pocket and it had somehow called my number, I could only hear her part of the conversation. Jo Beecroft said a lot of very insulting things about me, such as ‘she just has no insight’ – this is very clearly not true, as the mental health team report from a few hours before said ‘The client displays insight into her illness and does not appear to display acute symptoms’. That was a vile and disablist thing to say, and shows that the Jo Beecroft had not thought about the assessment of the team of four mental health professionals at all. A lot of people heard this message on my answering machine.

When I got home, I was covered in bruises, with my arms being an almost continuous bruise from wrist to shoulder. One finger would not bend at all. I could not move my fingers and wrists to write or type properly for about a fortnight afterwards, nor could I pick up heavy objects due to shoulder injuries, and one knee was badly wrenched so it hurt to walk or run. I was desperately frightened of going to sleep in case the police came in the night and dragged me off by the ankles again, and sometimes I still am, two years later. I’ve been experiencing intrusive and distressing memories which significantly impact my daily life, almost every day of the two years since it happened.

I found that Rachel Cavill had made phone calls to several mutual friends. These phone calls contained things that I’d told Greenbelt staff as confidential medical information, for example when I’d told the counsellor exactly what the voices were saying to me. There’s no way that Rachel could have found this out about me without Greenbelt staff ‘leaking’ it. Ali Borysiewicz had also posted things on Facebook with similar confidential medical information about me in.

I’d told the same Greenbelt staff I’d given this information to that Ali, Rachel and Bryn had previously used my illness to discredit me and manipulate people into disbelieving me – yet Greenbelt still shared this information with them?

The content of voices and unusual beliefs is very, very personal – telling it to the man who assaulted me is at least as disturbing as if Greenbelt had taken naked photos of me, claiming they were for medical reasons, but handed them straight to Bryn.

A friend who knew what had happened to me mentioned that she was going to have a meeting about disabled access with Karen Stafford at Greenbelt, and suggested I contact her myself. I did so, and received a downright horrible and un-informative email in response, saying that I was a ‘real threat to the public’ (yes, exactly those words), and not replying to any of my requests for information.

I tried another email a few months later, and received a similarly unhelpful response from Paul Northrup, Director of Greenbelt. Then another email some months later, and finally they agreed to an ‘investigation’, which was a mere exercise in whitewashing. I pushed and pushed over months, with the support of my CPN, and a friend who is a medical doctor, and had to threaten Greenbelt with complaints to various professional bodies, before they finally agreed to mediation. The mediation on the day seemed to go reasonably well, but Paul Northrup went back on the things he had agreed in mediation to do, and continued insisting that Greenbelt had done everything correctly, in the face of objective evidence that they hadn’t – for example, he said that Greenbelt had called the local mental health crisis team, when the crisis team and ambulance service records were clear that such a call had never taken place. Paul Northrup also kept defending the policewoman Jo Beecroft’s ignorant and disablist behaviour towards me – for example, he said that the disability hate speech recorded on my answering machine was ‘understandable’, and refused to condemn it.

I am particularly concerned about the consistent refusal of Greenbelt to disclose the identity of the blonde police woman who I have had to work out for myself is Jo Beecroft. Having police on site working as private security for Greenbelt, in plain clothes and refusing to show ID so they can’t be held accountable, but using police powers such as threatening me with a 136, isn’t right at all. Police should be accountable for their powers and open about what they do, especially at Greenbelt.

Inspector Jo Beecroft was clearly practising beyond her competence and needs retraining in mental health. About 2% of section 136 detentions end as mine did in complete discharge with no follow-up, so Jo Beecroft is at least two standard deviations worse than most police officers at assessing mental health crises.

No-one at Greenbelt seemed to have any idea about mental health and violence. Having a severe mental illness is a risk factor for being a victim of violence and sexual abuse, not a perpetrator. Any extra risk of violence in mental illness is around the statistical noise level, and likely to be a result of not regressing for enough socio-demographic factors. The same risk factors apply as for everyone else, primarily age and gender (being a young man) and use of drugs and alcohol, within mental health there’s a ‘maybe’ about a particular type of hallucination which I don’t get. As a teetotal Quaker woman who engages with treatment, I’m at lower risk for committing violence than most of the population. Greenbelt should be throwing out any men under 30 seen drinking in the Jesus Arms pub rather than me if they are worried about risk of violence – anything else is as ignorant and discriminatory as throwing out Muslims based on tabloid scaremongering about suicide bombers. The assessment of risk in mental illness is very complex, but I’ve two relevant degrees (Psychology and Public Health / Epidemiology), I’m quite prepared to go through multiple regression analyses etc. It isn’t just my opinion that I wasn’t at risk of violence, though as the most experienced and qualified person in the room I should have been listened to on that – it is also the professional judgement of the mental health team who carried out a formal assessment at the police station.

The Section 136 will show up on enhanced CRB checks for the rest of my life. There’s no court hearing, no chance for me to show that I was sectioned because of appallingly bad practice and a lie. All my work so far has needed a clean CRB check, and I’m training as a health professional.

I was concerned that after the festival, no-one tried to contact me. I’ve worked with vulnerable children and adults for years (including volunteering at Greenbelt since 2006), so I am aware of the usual Safeguarding procedures after a vulnerable person discloses abuse. If someone at Greenbelt thought I was so severely unwell as to need sectioning, I would definitely be a ‘vulnerable adult’. Greenbelt should automatically have followed up on my disclosure, including discussing with me about reporting Bryn to the police (if I were a child rather than a ‘vulnerable adult’, it would be a criminal offence not to report to the police).

I was hospitalised for only the second time in my life in November 2011, the previous hospitalisation being twelve years ago, as a direct result of Greenbelt. I was sectioned for the first time, and became very seriously unwell, as a direct result of Greenbelt’s actions. Two years on, and I still get intrusive thoughts about it most days, reminders like tents frighten me, what happened and how people responded still affects me badly on a daily basis.

Greenbelt has hugely damaged me. I went thinking that I was an equal human being. I was sent away knowing that Bryn could do anything he wanted, use other people to hurt me, and get away with it, that anything can be done to me and no-one will care because I’m mad.

Police corruption when I report Bryn Monnery for sexual assault

After Greenbelt festival, I was very frightened that now Bryn Monnery knew that he could get me taken away by the police by telling lies about me, then he might do it again. I was very confused and scared and not sure what to do for the best. At the time I didn’t have much contact with mental health services because I’d been doing so well for the previous year or two, and I felt as though I couldn’t trust any friends because I had trusted Rachel Cavill completely and she had turned against me. I thought that maybe if I told the police about Bryn, they would be less likely to believe him if he told lies about me again.

It was complicated to find out how to report because I was not living in the area where the attack happened. I phoned and told four different police teams that I’d been sexually assaulted and just got told that it wasn’t their problem and I should go somewhere else, and then the fifth time it happened I just kept phoning them back and crying until someone agreed that they would find out for me who I should be speaking to.

I finally arranged that I would report in York and they would pass my report on to the relevant London team. The policewoman Kate seemed kind, and offered to come to my house, but I didn’t want to have a police car outside, so I made an appointment at the local police station instead. The interview was in a room very like the cell I had been in for the Section 136, except that it had fixed tables and chairs. The room was giving me flashbacks of the strip search, and I had to sit trapped in the corner away from the door. Policewoman Kate asked me lots of questions, and I told her about the report I had already made to The Havens in London. Then I had to wait a few weeks to hear back, they couldn’t tell me exactly how long.

Eventually the police called me back during the third lecture of the MSc course I’d just started, a London officer who I’d never talked to before. They said that they had interviewed Bryn and he had denied everything. Then Kate the York policewoman asked me to come back to the interview cell to talk to her again. She said that the Camden & Islington police had decided that because I’d left it too late to report (less than two years) they weren’t going to do anything, even though they had the interview recorded at The Havens a few weeks after the attack. Policewoman Kate kept saying things like ‘I’m really worried about you’ and ‘I want to know that you’ll be okay’, but she couldn’t offer me any further help. Even Victim Support wouldn’t see me because they decided they couldn’t cope with a voice hearer. I think it would have been really sensible at this point if, with my consent, policewoman Kate could have referred me straight to the mental health crisis team. It was bloody obvious I wasn’t coping in the aftermath of Greenbelt and knowing that I wasn’t believed, I had a shouting row with my voices in the police station car park.

Things got worse and worse for the next couple of weeks. I was the cause of all the bad things that had ever happened, and I had to make things so that I had never existed in the first place. Everything was confusing and scary and weird, and eventually I was sat in a room with a mucky purple carpet with a red-haired doctor telling me in a very gentle voice that I was sectioned so I had to go to hospital even though I didn’t want to.

Hospital was shit. It always is. I ran away a few times, including so I could go to lectures at uni whilst I was sectioned. I was in there November to January, and took my January exams. Everybody at uni told me to take time off ’till I got well, but the thing about living with a ‘severe and enduring mental illness’ is that you can’t wait ’till you get ‘well’, or until the meds ‘work’, because there’s no such thing for you any more, just more or less ability and support to cope. Two years later and I’ve cut down on the heavy antipsychotic medication they started me on when I was admitted, but it’ll be a few years before I can trial stopping it. Schizophrenia is cumulative, every episode leaves you more damaged, you never quite get back to where you were before, the more times you tip over into a psychotic episode the more likely it is to happen again. The crap with Bryn and Greenbelt pushed me into possibly the worst episode I’ve had, and some of the damage to that can’t ever be repaired, at a neurological and psychological level.

I got out of hospital and tried to put everything behind me, then I found out that the police who had investigated my report of the assault had been found to be institutionally corrupt, to have falsely dropped ‘difficult’ claims, to have refused to investigate reports which should have been investigated. http://www.ipcc.gov.uk/news/Pages/PR_200612_Sapphireindependent.aspx

So the first time I tell the police about Bryn I get sectioned and strip searched by force, the second time they are corrupt and didn’t do it properly, and the whole experience is so traumatic I get sectioned. Should I try again?

I had already written a letter to Jo Beecroft via Greenbelt, and they had said that she was not going to respond, so I had to go through police complaints procedure. I put in formal complaints about the plain clothes police woman at Greenbelt (Inspector Jo Beecroft of West Yorkshire Police), and the Gloucestershire police team who sectioned me.

West Yorkshire police ‘lost’ my first complaint against Jo Beecroft, didn’t investigate my second one as a complaint, and then my third complaint was ruled to be ‘out of time’ by the IPCC – not taking into account that they’d already screwed up two complaints, and that I could not have reported straight away because I was sectioned.

Gloucestershire police were somewhat more helpful. They carried out a decent investigation, and sent me a report above 20 pages with interviews and records. They agreed that they had got some bits of law and procedures wrong, although they said that once I was in custody, the forced strip search was still legal.

I have no confidence in the police any more. I don’t know what I can do to stop Bryn attacking me again. Fortunately he now lives in another country, but what when he comes back? I am scared because anyone can do what they like to me with no comeback, and if I try to talk about it, I will be the one who gets in trouble. Help?

Progress?

It seems Bryn Monnery’s old church, Hinde Street church, found this blog. They decided to send it to the communications department at Church House (Methodist HQ) – because clearly, the big problem here is to make me shut up and stop embarrassing them, not to deal with the issues. Fortunately, the communications department took one look at it, and passed it on to the central Methodist Safeguarding team, who are experienced social workers. Safeguarding got in touch with me, I’ve been interviewed by them for two and a half hours, and sent them all my related correspondence, around Hinde Street and Greenbelt.

It seems as though shit is hitting fan, for Hinde St Church in particular. Surprisingly, it turns out that changing the locks to keep the survivor out is not a recommended response to a report of abuse by a vulnerable person.

Methodist Safeguarding have strongly recommended that I go back to the police over Bryn’s original assault, since the police team who investigated him were found to be institutionally corrupt, and to have wrongly dropped a lot of cases which should have been prosecuted. Even though Bryn Monnery is now in Ghent in Belgium, the Safeguarding team seemed confident that with European arrest warrants this would not be a problem. Personally I’m not very confident in the police, but Safeguarding tell me that at least this will always show up when he has a CRB check, even if the case is dropped.

Methodist Safeguarding don’t have direct power over other agencies, like Greenbelt, the various Police forces, or the Nursing & Midwifery Council – but they are going to do a full Safeguarding review with outside people getting involved. An independent team of social workers will be more listened to than I was, and hopefully able to kick some arse. The social workers seemed shocked and angry at the way Greenbelt in particular had behaved – words like ‘Kafkaesque’ and ‘Discrimination’ were used.

I am upset that it has taken so long – Bryn assaulted me three and a half years ago. I am upset that it all has to be so formal and institutional and punitive – I really believe that if people at Hinde Street had just been clear with Bryn at the time that his behaviour was way out of order, he really needed to change the way he interacts with women, and stay well away from me, then there wouldn’t be any need for all this destructive crap. I believe in ideas like mediation and restorative justice – but I have tried bloody hard to have those happen, and now I suppose I have to accept that police and safeguarding reviews are the way that Bryn’s community want to deal with this.

For the rest of it – Greenbelt, there’s still time to deal with the institutional abuse you perpetrated. Is it really okay that when I report abuse, you ignore the report and throw me offsite for being distressed, and do nothing about the abuser? Is it okay that your ‘risk assessments’ are based on tabloid headlines, that very senior staff and volunteers have repeatedly said ignorant and bigoted things to and about me – like that I’m ‘very dangerous’ and ‘she’s got no insight’ – which are directly contradicted by the team of mental health professionals who assessed me at the time? When I complained about all this, why did it take three complaints and threats of legal action for anything to happen, and then none of the investigation was carried out by people with any mental health or safeguarding training? Why was I told that I’d be banned from the festival if I followed your own complaints procedures?
This is all going to come out – I won’t shut up and go away, as Hinde Street are finding to their cost. Now is too late, but it will be better now than when you are forced to.

I know Bryn and his friends are reading this. Tell the truth. The truth is the only thing which can make things better for you.

I still miss Rachel. Every day.

If pressure is brought upon you to lower your standard of integrity, are you prepared to resist it? Our responsibilities to God and our neighbour may involve us in taking unpopular stands. Do not let the desire to be sociable, or the fear of seeming peculiar, determine your decisions.

Quaker Faith and Practice, 1:38.

[Ignore dates, it’s the only way I could make the blog start at the beginning].

I’m banned from Greenbelt. Last year, Paul Northup said he would ban me if I used Greenbelt’s own complaints procedure and took my complaint to the Trustees – so I didn’t. This year I’m being banned after sending an email politely asking what I should do if I was threatened by Bryn Monnery or his friends.

My email to access@greenbelt.org.uk, 11th August

Hello,

In 2011 I reported a man for sexual assault, at Greenbelt. Because I
hear voices, a lot of lies were told about me, and I was told to leave
even after a full mental health team had assessed me as low risk to
myself and low risk to others. Nothing happened to the man. The full
story is here: https://brynmonnery.wordpress.com/

Bryn is likely to turn up again this year. Last year even though Bryn
was not there, I was attacked* by two of his friends.

The central Methodist Safeguarding team are doing an investigation
into how I was treated, they are calling it abuse by Greenbelt. But
their investigation has only just started.

What are your plans to keep me safe this Greenbelt? What should I do
if I am threatened?

Thank you,
Ceri.

*To clarify: Ali Dixon stood in the doorway of the room I was in so I couldn’t get out, and shouted very loudly lots about me being a ‘dangerous schizophrenic’ and that ‘I will get the police to come and take you away like they did last year’ and so on, in front of about twenty people who looked scared. Rachel Cavill supported Ali.

Greenbelt sent me a holding response, then on the 20th August, three days before the festival:

Thank you for your email regarding coming to Greenbelt this year.

We have considered the situation very carefully and have made a difficult decision to ask you not to attend the festival this year, for several reasons.

In the first place, we would like to underline what was communicated to you at the end of the complaints procedure you underwent with us. Greenbelt is not and will not be engaging in any further communication with you about your complaint, having already engaged fully with you to address the incident.  It was our understanding that you accepted the outcome of that process. We are aware of your attempts to engage in continued communication about it with staff, trustees, volunteers, partners and others and need to be very clear with you that this is not acceptable. Given the fact that you continue to communicate via social media about Greenbelt in a way that is potentially damaging to our reputation, we consider it reasonable to ask you not to attend.

Secondly, we would point out that Greenbelt makes every effort to ensure the protection and enjoyment of everyone at the event. We have a particular duty of care towards all of our volunteers and would wish to protect them from any adverse communication, including the accusations made in your blog and Twitter feeds. Under these circumstances, we consider that your presence at the festival could be upsetting and disruptive to our volunteers and we are therefore unable to allow you to attend this year.

The situation can of course be reviewed after the festival this year. We hope that you will stop the inappropriate communication you have been engaging in about Greenbelt so that such a review might be possible and so that in future we will be able to consider welcoming you back to the festival.

Greenbelt’s email was signed by someone who I won’t name as they seem to mostly do admin, and won’t have been the person making the decision.

 

I am reminded of Quaker Advices and Queries 38:

If pressure is brought upon you to lower your standard of integrity, are you prepared to resist it? Our responsibilities to God and our neighbour may involve us in taking unpopular stands. Do not let the desire to be sociable, or the fear of seeming peculiar, determine your decisions.

I haven’t communicated directly with anyone from Greenbelt. I think what they are referring to is writing this blog, and talking about it on Twitter. I am not sorry for talking about what happened, it has had really positive effects when people from the Methodist Church Safeguarding Team found this blog, and I can only hope that someone similarly useful from Greenbelt will find it.

I certainly didn’t ‘accept’ the results of Greenbelt’s nonsense ‘investigation’, carried out by Paul Northup who has so little idea about disability & access issues that he didn’t know what a Reasonable Adjustment is, and no expertise in Safeguarding Adults. I thought we had made at least some progress in mediation, but then Paul Northup ignored everything we had discussed at any time during the investigation, with his final email saying everything was ‘handled… in an appropriate manner’.
I’m still ‘engaging’, if talking about what happened on the Internet is what they mean, because Greenbelt haven’t ‘engaged’ with me properly – last year they said they would ban me if I carried on with their complaints procedure to Trustee level. Greenbelt still haven’t had me talk to anyone with expertise in Safeguarding, mental health, or disability.

‘Damaging to their reputation’? Greenbelt have told so many lies that have destroyed my reputation – they know they are lies, they have had lots of chances to apologise, and they haven’t. Someone at Greenbelt told the local police that I was ‘waving a knife in Bryn’s face and threatening to gouge his eyes out’, when what actually happened is I saw the back of Bryn’s head and ran away. This lie led directly to my being dragged away by police in the middle of the night in front of hundreds of people on the campsite. Greenbelt told the man who assaulted me a half-truth version of what my voices were saying, after I’d told them that Bryn and Ali used lies about my mental illness to discredit me – and then this was broadcast all over social media as far as they could spread it. Jo Beecroft, the off-duty police officer acting as Greenbelt’s site manager, said I was ‘a dangerous schizophrenic’ and ‘lacked insight’ and a lot of other bigoted lies (not just my opinion that she is wrong, but the mental health crisis team who assessed me). My reputation has been dragged through the mud with their lies, and they aren’t at all sorry. I am telling the truth.

‘Duty of care’ is a joke. Greenbelt had a ‘duty of care’ to me as a vulnerable adult reporting sexual assault. If Greenbelt took ‘duty of care’ seriously, they’d have brought in Safeguarding as soon as I reported Bryn for assault, and ever since. They haven’t prevented or apologised for the ‘adverse communication’ disability hate speech from Jo Beecroft which she recorded onto my answering machine – indeed they have added to it with more hate speech, like Karen Stafford calling me ‘a real threat to public safety’, when the mental health team assessed me as low risk to self or others and fine to be at the festival.

I am angry that my politely asking what I should do if threatened by Bryn has led to my being banned. I have kept up this blog and talked on Twitter about this for months. Banning me in an email responding to asking what I should do if threatened by Bryn is really, really wrong. If I’d just shut up and not said anything about Bryn they wouldn’t have bothered banning me.

I am not sorry for talking about what has been done to me by Greenbelt. I am not going back to feeling that I should shut up and be ashamed. I am going to keep on telling the truth, as loudly as I can. I am grateful to Greenbelt for giving me more opportunity to do this, since I will now spend the festival with a laptop and Wifi, rather than in a field.

If you’d like to help, please link to this blog everywhere Greenbelt people might be reading. In Facebook groups, on Twitter using #GB40 and @greenbelt, and anywhere else you can think of. I will not be shut up. Thank you.

Note: ignore the WordPress dates, it’s the only way I can make the entries go from start to finish. Please does anyone know a way of making WordPress show posts starting with the oldest, instead of the newest, please?

So, a run-down of what happened when I complained to West Yorkshire Police about Sgt Jo Beecroft, the blonde police woman / Greenbelt Site Manager mentioned in several previous blogs.

I made my first police complaint in August 2012. It took this long (11 and a bit months) to get round to it because I was in hospital, and then too traumatised to talk about it, then Greenbelt wouldn’t tell me Jo Beecroft’s name and force (and she refused to show me any police ID when I’d asked for it at the time), and I wanted to wait until after the mediation with Greenbelt, and after I had written a letter via Greenbelt to Jo Beecroft suggesting alternative ways of dealing with this (e.g. her doing a Mental Health First Aid course).

So in August 2012 I filled in the official police complaints form on the website on West Yorkshire Police. They didn’t at the time have any alternative means given of making a complaint, and when I clicked the button on the form, the website seemed to accept it, so I waited to hear back from them. I never did, and West Yorkshire police claim to have no record of this, and despite circumstantial evidence like a copy of my statement which I emailed to a friend for proofreading in August 2012, won’t accept that this complaint ever existed. How very convenient for them.

By November 2012, I hadn’t heard back from West Yorkshire police, so I put another complaint in. The outcome of this was a laughably bad record of an interview by Police Sergeant 1870 Al Perry with Sgt Jo Beecroft, where everything was presented as ‘You claim… but Sgt Beecroft states that…’. Lots of things that Jo Beecroft said which were provably untrue were accepted as fact, for example ‘I would not have used terminology such as “has no insight”‘, when this was recorded on my mobile phone, and saying she’d called the mental health crisis team as I’d asked, when the NHS records have no record of such a call ever being made (and I asked them to check three times). There were very many of these discrepancies, but when I replied to the letter pointing this out, it was ignored.

In February 2013, I made another complaint to Sgt Al Perry, politely pointing out that his ‘investigation’ was pants, and nothing like the very good investigation done by Gloucestershire police complaints (which ended in September 2012 with a 20 page report containing an ‘unconditional apology’ for my ‘wrongful arrest’). I listed the most glaring lies by Jo Beecroft, highlighted the biased nature of Al Perry’s writing, and asked for another police officer (not Al Perry) to conduct a ‘local investigation’ like the one by Gloucestershire police. There was some back-and-forth, and in March 2013 I wrote the following to Al Perry:

My second complaint should not have been treated as ‘a dissatisfaction issue’, because it was about a police officer discriminating against a vulnerable person from a minority group, to an extent which may be hate crime. I was given no information nor choices about the procedure, and there was no clear mechanism for me to challenge the unacceptable response.

Sgt Al Perry (still, despite my request that it not be him) started off by asking me for contact details of people named in my statement, then said that he wasn’t going to investigate it because more than a year had passed between the event and my complaint. This was sent off to the IPCC, and despite my telling the IPCC that I had reported inside the time limit but West Yorkshire had ‘lost’ my initial report, and that I could not have reported any earlier because of being sectioned, trauma, and Jo Beecroft refusing to show ID / Greenbelt not telling me who she was, the IPCC ruled that my complaint was ‘out of time’. Police complaints have to be made within a year of the incident to ‘count’, apparently. I was very upset by this, and it was the catalyst to setting up this blog, because I felt that I’d tried everything else and there was never going to be any accountability.

In July 2013, I was thinking about it and remembered that I’d said before the initial IPCC decision that what Jo Beecroft said and did might count as a hate crime / hate incident, which don’t ‘run out of time’ in the way that police complaints do. I went back to West Yorkshire police complaints, and despite my request, I had to deal with Sgt Al Perry again. I asked why it hadn’t been investigated as a hate incident / crime. I reproduce the resulting email exchange below.

Sgt Al Perry 1870:

What you have described in your complaint letter is not a hate crime and Inspector Beecroft is not going to be investigated regarding this matter. Your complaint has been discontinued by the IPCC and City and Holbeck police will not be taking any further action in your case.

Me:

From the Association of Chief Police Officers:

‘What is disability hate crime?

Hate crimes and incidents are any crime or incident which is targeted at a victim because of the offender’s hostility or prejudice against an identifiable group of people.

So any incident or crime, which is perceived by the victim or any
other person to be motivated because of a person’s disability or
perceived disability will be recorded as such.’

So at the very least, it is a disability hate incident, because Jo
Beecroft used disability-related slurs (which were not true) about me.

So: are you going to act on my report of disability hate by a serving police officer? Is this report going to be attached to Jo Beecroft’s
police record? Remember, what she said was recorded.

If not, how do I put in a formal complaint?

Sgt Al Perry 1870:

My understanding was that you have already put in a formal complaint and the IPCC have discontinued it. That is the end of the process I am afraid. Unless you have any new information or evidence other than you have already presented then I feel that any further communication would not be useful.

Me:

I have put in a complaint, and under your rules the IPCC said it was out of time for recording complaints against a police officer.

However, there is not a time limit on recording hate crime / hate
incidents, so it is not too late to have it investigated and put on
police records that Sgt Beecroft committed a hate crime / hate
incident.

Are you going to record the hate crime / hate incident by Sgt Beecroft?

If not, how do I put in a complaint to the IPCC about your failure to record hate crime?

Sgt Al Perry 1870

There is insufficient evidence to record a hate crime against Insp Beecroft.

Me:

That is ridiculous. There are many witnesses, and she recorded hate speech onto my phone.

Please tell me how to complain to the IPCC, about Insp Beecroft’s hate speech, and about your failure to investigate her.

Sgt Al Perry 1870:

I think you know how to complain to the IPCC as you have done it before. However  here is there website address www.ipcc.gov.uk .

I would remind you that you have already done this and they did not allow your complaint. I must tell you that I do not intend to continue this conversation as I as do not believe it is constructive to do so. I realise that you are upset about this matter but the IPCC have made their decision.

Me:

It is simply not true that I have complained to the IPCC before. As you well know, you referred the case to them yourself, because you did not want to investigate Sgt Beecroft. The IPCC then found that your initial response to my complaint was not adequate. You did not say sorry for this.

I have now put in two separate complaints to the IPCC, one about you, one about Sgt Beecroft.

I am going to be taking part in national campaign in the autumn about how people with mental health problems are treated by the police, with a major mental health charity. I shall make sure to name you and Sgt Beecroft specifically, and West Yorkshire police generally, for their appallingly bad practice, which stands in such contrast to Gloucestershire police where a thorough investigation offered me an ‘unconditional apology’ for my ‘wrongful arrest’. My recording of Sgt Beecroft using disablist abusive hate speech towards me may even get played on national radio and TV.

Thank you for your supportive and helpful attitude throughout, which has certainly contributed to re-establishing my faith in the Police.

Sgt Al Perry 1870:

This is the last communication I will have with you over this matter unless directed by my supervisors otherwise. I have to warn you that if you name me publicly and accuse me of wrong doing I will personally seek legal advice with regard to defamation of character. Please do not expose yourself to legal action by saying something you may later regret.

So, I hereby name Police Sergeant Al Perry 1870 of West Yorkshire Police. I believe that he has carried out an appallingly poor and biased investigation into my second complaint, and has messed up any accountability of Sgt Jo Beecroft by not launching a proper investigation at that point when he very clearly should have. I believe that Sgt Perry has not taken responsibility for his own poor practice, by refusing to provide information about the IPCC alongside his clearly unsatisfactory reports. I believe Sgt Al Perry to be a rubbish police officer, and unpleasant person.

I will not speculate on Sgt Al Perry’s state of mind, or the health of the complaints department of West Yorkshire Police – the motivation behind losing my first complaint, making a mess of the second, refusing to investigate the third, and ignoring a clear report of a hate incident by one of their own officers, I leave as an exercise to the reader.

I would remind Sgt Perry and anyone else who would like to take legal action against me that it would be counterproductive to do so. I would suggest they familiarise themselves with the Streisand effect, whereby trying to suppress information on the Internet has the paradoxical effect of making it more widely known. I would also remind them that it would cost them a considerable amount in legal fees, to no purpose, since I live mostly on disability benefits with negligible savings, so they would have no prospects of even getting their costs back, and I have nothing they can take away anyway.

I am angry that no-one, not Greenbelt, and not the police complaints department, will hold Sgt Jo Beecroft accountable for what she did. Suggestions as to how to take this further are extremely welcome. Thank you for reading.

Published 24th August 2013, as usual ignore the dates on WordPress.

The specialist Sexual Assault Referral Centre which I reported the assault by Bryn Monnery to was at the time in a state of ‘Total systems failure’, with ‘“multiple deficiencies” in the unit’s dealings with children and vulnerable adults’. Newspaper story here, full NHS report can be viewed here, with some redactions.

Problems with Safeguarding (protecting children and ‘vulnerable adults’, including people like me with severe and enduring mental illness) were the first sign of the ‘Multiple deficiencies’ found at Whitechapel Haven. Staff received no specialist training and no clinical supervision in working with vulnerable adults. I particular problem with referrals is mentioned – I wasn’t referred for any sort of follow-up or ongoing support after my one appointment, probably should have been.

So, four years yesterday since the attack, The Havens NHS sexual assault referral centre fucked up, Met Police specialist sexual assault team fucked up, Gloucestershire Police fucked up, Greenbelt fucked up, Hinde Street Methodist Church fucked up, every organisation involved has been officially epically fucked up, and I’m still the ‘bad guy’, I’m still locked out and banned and crazy, and Bryn Monnery is doing rather nicely thank you, and regularly going on holidays with Rachel Cavill.

I only told someone what Bryn had done when I was literally sat on a tree branch over a flooded river wondering if the vodka and carrier bag full of pills in my backpack would keep me unconscious while I fell in and drowned. If I could go back and talk to me then, I’d tell me that yes, talking about what happened will make your life not worth living, it will destroy things most important to you, and that as far as the next couple of years are concerned I would be better off washing all the pills down with all the vodka and letting go of the branch, it’d hurt less than trying to stay alive.

I still have bad days. It’s 8pm on New Year’s Eve and I still haven’t got dressed or eaten sensible food, and I’m on heavy-duty medication for the foreseeable future which I didn’t need before the attack and fall-out, because you don’t get back all of what a bad psychotic episode takes away. But I’m alive, and finishing an MSc, and doing interesting work, and engaged to be married. I’m glad I’m alive now, but I’m still not sure if the bad times were worth it.

Note while I’m here on the Methodist Safeguarding investigation: my hopes for progress were misplaced. They said in August it would be over by Christmas, but they haven’t even started yet because Sue KvA is on sabbatical. A big part of the problem was that Sue KvA went on sabbatical and didn’t pass the information about Bryn and I on. If Hinde Street doesn’t have a safeguarding system without one person, it doesn’t have a safeguarding system. Methodist Safeguarding have rowed right back on the investigation they originally told me. I’m not getting what they originally said, a published report on what happened to me, naming names. They are doing a ‘review’ of Safeguarding in West London Mission, nothing about what happened to me.

Meanwhile Ken Howcroft is going to be President of the Methodist Church next year. Methodist Safeguarding have seen the ‘smoking gun’ email where I tell Ken Howcroft what happened, and he does nothing about it, but their investigation will all be procedures in West London Mission and nothing about the real people who were told ‘abuse of a vulnerable adult by a Minister’s son’ and chose to ignore it, and are happily going on to run the entire Church. Stinks. What do I have to do, nail this blog to the church doors?

[Date: December 21st, 2013]

So, today (28th June 2014) then Rev Ken Howcroft has been made Methodist Chair of Conference, which basically means Big Boss Methodist.

At the time of Bryn Monnery’s assault and during a lot of the fallout, Ken Howcroft had pastoral responsibility for the residential communities at Hinde Street. I told Ken Howcroft several times what was happening with Bryn Monnery, and the bullying from the church stewards Ali Dixon & Rachel Cavill who lived at the 16a Hinde Street community. I also know that Rachel Cavill separately talked to Ken Howcroft in person about what was going on.

As detailed in this post, I first talked to the minister Sue Keegan van Allmen. Sue KvA was about to go on sabbatical, so she told me that she would tell Ken Howcroft what I’d told her, so that Ken could keep an eye on things and I could talk to Ken if necessary without having to explain everything from the start again.

In April 2010, I was extremely distressed by the church stewards Ali Dixon & Rachel Cavill bullying me to make me stop talking about what Bryn had done. On April 4th I emailed Ken Howcroft, on two email addresses that I had been given (howcroftk (at) methodistchurch.org.uk & k-m.howcroft (at) tiscali.co.uk), but received no reply. At my suggestion, then on April 30th MM emailed Ken Howcroft to tell him what was going on and ask him for help, since my emails had been ignored. Ken Howcroft replied to MM, saying ‘I do not know what “incident” is alleged to have occurred’ and making it clear that he had not been told what Sue KvA has said she would pass on before her sabbatical. I replied telling Ken Howcroft that I’d been sexually assaulted by Bryn Monnery at Methodist Chaplaincy House, telling him about the problems I was having because of subsequent bullying by the 16a community / church stewards Ali & Rachel, explaining that this was coming close to causing a relapse of my schizophrenia, and asking if I could talk to Ken Howcroft about what was going on. I sent several further emails to the address from which Ken Howcroft had previously replied asking to talk, during May and June 2010, but Ken Howcroft never replied to a single email sent by me, only to the original email from MM. This was a missed opportunity, if he had talked to me when I repeatedly asked for it in 2010, then maybe the nightmare of Greenbelt 2011 wouldn’t have happened. My emails made it very clear that I was a vulnerable adult disclosing sexual and emotional abuse by people Ken Howcroft had pastoral responsibility for. He should have listened and passed this on where appropriate, not ignored everything.

When I first talked to Methodist Safeguarding in June 2013, they said they would do a full investigation into what happened to me. They lied. The only outcome of my talking to them has been that there is now a leaflet on the kitchen noticeboard at 16a Hinde Street, which according to someone who has read it is ‘irrelevant and nothing to do with what happened to you’. Methodist Safeguarding decided to drop the ‘full investigation’ immediately after I forwarded them the email correspondence with Ken Howcroft, proving that Ken Howcroft knew about the assault and abuse, did nothing, and refused to communicate with me at all.

I’m not happy that the new Chair of Methodist Conference is someone who would ignore sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult in a community he had pastoral responsibility for. I’m not happy that Methodist Safeguarding are covering up and avoiding an investigation because it would embarrass the new Chair of Conference. I asked Brendan Stephens, the Methodist Safeguarding officer, who I could talk to about this, but he would not tell me anyone. In February 2014, I tried to contact Ken Howcroft directly to discuss this (same email addresses as previously, and also howcroft.rome (at) methodistchurch.org.uk), and also copied in Gill Dascombe, the incoming Methodist vice-president (gilldascombe (at) hotmail.com), summarising what had happened and saying:

I asked for help. Nothing happened. You knew that a vulnerable adult
was being sexually and emotionally abused by a community you had
pastoral responsibility for, you knew there was a cover up of sexual
assault on WLM premises by the son of a Methodist minister, and you
did nothing.

I heard that you are going to be President of the Methodist Church next year.

Have you changed?

Are you going to keep the Methodists being a church where it is okay
to break vulnerable people to cover up abuse?

Did the people who selected you as President know about this?

Please tell me that something has changed. Please.

I can’t go in a church any more. You all made it so clear that I
wasn’t welcome and didn’t matter. This happened on your watch.

If you don’t care about abuse, you shouldn’t be in charge of the
Methodists next year. Please tell me that something has changed.
Please tell me how you’d do things differently now. Please tell me you
aren’t just going to let more and more people get hurt like I was,
across the whole Methodist church, without doing anything even when
you are told about it. Please tell me how you’ve changed.

Nothing’s changed, except that now it’s the whole of the Methodist church who have made it vary clear that they are happy for a man who ignores abuse to be the head of their church.

I think that Ken Howcroft needs re-training on Safeguarding and on mental health, and I think that there should be a full and open investigation into the way the assault against me and subsequent fallout was dealt with by the Methodist Church. I would like to see Ken Howcroft step down until this has happened, and then see if the Methodists still want him in their highest office after the investigation reports. I know that none of this is at all likely to happen.

I’ve been doing a lot better now. Graduated an MSc, about to start work in epidemiology, planning my wedding. But I still spent today in bed feeling that most of the world would be much happier if I didn’t exist. Dreading Greenbelt coming round this year, but I have a plan for that.