Important Update on Melanie Shaw Beechwood Abuse Survivor

Like many of you I have been very worried for Melanie's safety and health and it was a relief to be able to sit and talk with her in relaxed surroundings for just over two hours.

After a very brief report on Melanie Shaw was made on UKColumn news Friday 19th July 2019 I have been contacted by several people asking for more information about Melanie and her present circumstances.

I am very very pleased to say that I was able to visit Melanie in Rampton Hospital on Thursday 18th July last week. This was a very welcome and emotional reunion as I have not seen her in person for over three years, and we have not been able to communicate by letter or phone for over two years due to unexplained restrictions imposed by senior prison staff.  Like many of you I have been very worried for Melanie's safety and health, and it was a relief to be able to sit and talk with her in relaxed surroundings for just over two hours.

After no communication for those two years, it was a wonderful surprise to receive a letter from her a few weeks ago, and this was then followed by telephone calls. The renewed contact subsequently led to the opportunity to visit at Melanie's request, and with the help and cooperation from Rampton staff.

Melanie looks well and I understand she now looks considerably better than when she first arrived at Rampton from prison, where she endured some 19 months in solitary confinement and was very badly treated in a number of ways.

I was very encouraged by the positive and caring attitude of the Rampton staff who attended my visit, and I would like to say that I am sure they have Melanie's best interests at heart, and are doing their best for her. Melanie is taking medication, but was upbeat, chatty and clearly knew what her situation was, and what she wanted to achieve to improve her situation.

Her position is very delicate at the moment as Rampton is a high security hospital and progress towards a more relaxed environment, and ultimately release, will be involved and will take time. Appropriate matters in a medical and legal sense are also proceeding, but I am not at liberty to mention details.

Having said that, Melanie's conditions in Rampton are steadily improving and she is now able to participate in more social activities that are available, including time working in the garden growing area outside. This is a hugely positive change for her after her protracted time in prison.

Please can I gently remind people that although Melanie is much better and making progress, she cannot answer all letters and requests, and has to do things in her own way at her own pace. She thanks everyone who has written and supported her, and clearly this support has made a huge difference to her and kept her going in very dark times. All letters in and out are vetted by hospital staff and this is normal procedure for all patients.

Aside from cheerful letters and cards, the best support we can give Melanie at the moment is to also be reasonable and measured in all our online reports and posts. This encourages and helps those good people in the system who are working hard to help, and helps Melanie as well.

Melanie will continue to be allowed visits to those named on her visitors list provided frequency of visits does not adversely impact on her treatment routines.

I will be happy to provide further updates as and when I can. 

Thank you all again for your kind support for Melanie.  I am sure we have all made a big difference in her circumstances by keeping both Melanie and her case visible to the wider public.

Brian Gerrish