Update 6 April 2021 – I am retiring this petition. The reason for this is that I do not have a plan for how to move forward with this campaign. While there are certainly deep issues that need dealing with, I do not believe Melanie Shaw’s experiences are going to be the events that expose these.
No news that I am aware of about Melanie has been reported since 2019, and I believe she is still being looked after in Rampton. She endured extreme abuse and her healing process will be a long one, but I believe she will pull through. It will then be her decision of whether to fight for justice. The wider fight against coercive abuses, including child abuse, will continue and there are certainly people all around the world who are engaged in that battle. I am going to be focusing on local politics for the foreseeable future.
Melanie Shaw came forward in 2010 or 2011, making allegations about abuse inflicted on her and others at Beechwood Community Home, Nottingham. She claims that the young boys were put on a bus and taken to London. She alleges that one man, now deceased, would put a Freddie Kruger mask on and rape the boys in the basement of Beechwood. She claims to have been raped by him also.
Her allegations were some of the first to arise regarding the abuse that had taken place at Beechwood Community Home. Other allegations from different people later surfaced regarding other locations with links to Beechwood. Nottinghamshire Police initiated Operation Daybreak in 2011 to investigate the allegations. They say:
As the common link to these allegations was Beechwood Community House, the decision was taken in 2011 to co-ordinate all investigations of abuse under one operational structure – Operation Daybreak – with a dedicated team of officers and staff.
For Melanie Shaw the story became very dark after coming forward. She has been arrested and imprisoned numerous times since coming forward, in what appears to be a campaign of intimidation and abuse by the justice system. Melanie has been charged with the possibly fabricated crimes of setting her neighbour’s shed on fire and writing graffiti on their wall.
Current reported status:
- On 19 July 2019 Brian Gerrish at the UK Column said that he had a visit with Melanie Shaw, who is doing well in Rampton. He said that there are staff around her who are concerned with how she has come to be in her present situation.
- On 17 May 2019 the UK Column reported that Melanie Shaw is in a good state in Rampton Secure Hospital. They said that they are in communication with her.
- On 2 April 2019 Melanie Shaw was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court. She was not present at the hearing either in person or by video link. She was sentenced under Section 37 and 41 of the Mental Health Act. A section 37 is a hospital order, meaning she will be held in a psychiatric hospital, Rampton in this case. A section 41 is a restriction order. This has been added because Melanie is deemed to pose a threat to the public. It removes any time limit to her being held. Judge Belcher justified the section 41 restriction order with the comment, “It is clear when she does not receive what she wants she is liable to be threatening.” Only with the consent of the Secretary of State for Justice can Melanie now be released.
- As reported by Nottinghamshire Live, on 11 Feb 2019 the hearing went ahead but was adjourned until 2 April 2019. This was because the doctor’s reports that Judge Belcher had requested in the previous hearing were not presented.
- There was no report from Nottinghamshire Live about the sentencing that was supposed to happen on 13 November 2018. Instead there was a hearing on 14 January 2019, in which Melanie was supposed to be sentenced. However, the Judge dismissed the case until 11 February 2019 because she was not happy with a doctor’s report on Melanie.
- On 16 October 2018 Melanie Shaw was found guilty by a jury of setting fire to her cell 3 times. She was absent at the hearing, which was conducted as a finding of fact. Sentencing has been scheduled for 13 November 2019 while Melanie’s mental state is determined. Melanie had said she set fire to her cell as a protest because her human rights were being violated. Nobody was injured.
- At a hearing on 5 September 2018 Melanie was ruled unfit to plead and the judge said she may need to be transferred to a hospital. Her next hearing is due on the 4 October 2019, with a possible interim hearing on 28 September 2019.
- At Melanie Shaw’s hearing on 7 August 2018 she was reported as being incoherent. The judge eventually concluded during the hearing that Melanie Shaw was not fit to stand trial. A new hearing will go ahead. The date is not yet confirmed. How she came to be in such a state is as yet unknown.
- Nottinghamshire Live reports that at a hearing at Derby Magistrates Court on 22 July 2018 three charges of criminal damage and one count of sexual assault dating from February 2017 were all withdrawn.
- Nottinghamshire Live reports that on 10 March 2018 Melanie Shaw appeared at Derby Crown Court and the arson charges from 10 January 2018 were transferred to Leeds Crown Court.
- Nottinghamshire Live reports that on 10 January 2018 Melanie Shaw appeared at Derby Magistrates Court charged with two counts of arson on February 8 and February 10, 2017, and one count of sexual assault on February 15, 2017.
Please sign this petition to support achieving these markers of justice for Melanie Shaw:
- Investigation of all public bodies that have allegedly mistreated her since she whistleblew about child sexual abuse.
- Securing of her right to a fair trial in which justice is seen to be done.
Melanie Shaw’s Full Story
Melanie Shaw’s story is available primarily from the UK Column alternative news site in the form of an interview and a number of articles.
This is a chronological description of Melanie Shaw’s journey, as garnered from the UK Column’s reporting on her case and the articles by Nottinghamshire Live. There are discrepancies between the two sources, and Nottinghamshire Live says in their article that in their communications with various courts, discrepancies sometimes arose between them. Supporting facts have also been sourced from Nottinghamshire Police’s website.
Blowing the Whistle
In 2010 or 2011 Melanie Shaw made allegations about abuse she claims to have endured as a youth at Beechwood Community Home, Nottingham. This contributed to the impetus for the creation of Operation Daybreak, which is still ongoing.
The Burnt Shed
Melanie Shaw’s first arrest came in 2014. She was charged with ‘arson reckless’ and ‘criminal damage’ relating to her neighbour’s shed being burnt and graffiti being painted on their wall. She denied the charge. This arrest occured on the 10 July 2014. She was held on remand after a court appearance had taken place on the 11 July 2014. It is not known whether she had legal representation, or if the public and press were allowed access to the hearing. This hearing is not included in Nottinghamshire Live’s list of Melanie’s court appearances.
On the 25 July 2014 she had another hearing. The CPS, who were prosecuting, were not able to provide evidence but promised that they would provide it at a later date. In the meantime Melanie was held on remand. Nottinghamshire Live also did not include this court appearance in their article.
During her time on remand she was held at HMP Peterborough, a prison run by private company Sodexo. She had a leg ulcer at the time that required treatment with manuka honey. Melanie claims that the staff at HMP Peterborough hid her dressings and manuka honey, so she was forced to use honey off the food trolley and old dish cloths to dress her ulcer. Consequently, her ulcer went from nearly healed to rotting again.
Melanie further claims that members of the public were sending her items such as manuka honey and a magnetic leg brace, with return postage in case the items could not be given to her. She says the staff threw these things in the bin.
As reported by the UK Column, on October 28, 29 and 30 2014 Melanie Shaw had a trial by jury. On 30 October 2014 she was charged with arson reckless and criminal damage. Nottinghamshire Live reports that this conviction took place on 11 December 2014.
The UK Column reported that the judge steered the jury by referring to Melanie Shaw as ‘strange’ and Operation Daybreak as a ‘conspiracy theory’. Futhermore, the UK Column reported that Nottinghamshire Police’s handwriting expert could not confirm that the graffiti was done by Melanie Shaw. They also reported that numerous fingerprints on a bin bag containing the pot of paint used to do the graffiti were not investigated. There was one perfect fingerprint of Melanie’s on the bin bag.
Nottinghamshire Live reports that she was given a community order for three years with supervision from the probation service and a five-year restraining order banning her from contacting the victims of the arson attack or going to their home.
The next time Melanie Shaw was arrested was in February 2015. Its reporting here is sourced from Melanie Shaw’s description of events in an interview with the UK Column.
This arrest occurred following an incident with a paramedic. She claims that she phoned the NHS when she got a cotton bud stuck in her ear. She further claims that the paramedic who came to her house refused to treat her. She then locked her front door while she went to get her camcorder to document his refusal. She claims that he requested that she unlock the door, which she did, and he then apparently left.
Subsequent to this incident Melanie Shaw claims that Nottinghamshire Police harassed her non-stop for 7 days. They allegedly tried to section her, arrested her multiple times and smashed in her back door. This culminated in her being held on remand for about 6 months, again in HMP Peterborough.
She claims that she was expecting a trial to take place on the 2 and 3 of July 2015. But instead, she claims to have been put in contact with unspecified officials via video link. Apparently her lawyer was not present and she was told she had pled guilty, which she claims to not have done, and that she was now free to go home.
During this stint in HMP Peterborough Melanie Shaw claims to have been punched in the face, sexually molested, denied food, had her medicine withheld, been denied visitors, been denied access to her doctor, had her mail withheld, and had her water turned off so she had to drink from the toilet. All this while being kept in virtual solitary confinement, locked in her cell.
No element of this episode is in the article by Nottinghamshire Live.
Running from Nottinghamshire Police
Soon after her release from HMP Peterborough in June 2015, Melanie claims that Nottinghamshire Police phoned her, asking where she was and saying that they were going to pick her up. They would not tell her why, giving ‘data protection laws’ as the reason.
Following this, she fled to Plymouth, where the UK Column is based. This was 30 June 2015. It was then that her interview with Brian Gerrish of the UK Column was filmed.
Soon after her arrival in Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall Police took her in for questioning. She was released soon after.
Melanie then moved in with a friend in Peterborough. Four police officers from Cambridgeshire Police turned up at that address looking for her, but she had already moved again.
Ultimately she ended up arrested again by Nottinghamshire Police on 22 July 2015 and held for 27 hours without charge, which included 3 hours intense questioning. The charge was harassment. The 27 hours she was held for was illegal, since in the UK the police can not hold someone without charge for more than 24 hours under normal circumstances. Furthermore, when she was arrested she claims the police broke into her house to do so and then assaulted her in the police van. She was subsequently released without charge
The fact that different police forces across the UK were able to mobilise against Melanie Shaw was due to her reportedly being designated a Multi Agency Public Protection (MAPPA) Category 3 target. This designation was created to protect the public from sexual and violent offenders.
No element of this episode is included in any of Nottinghamshire Live’s reporting.
Nottinghamshire Live reports that on August 26 2015 Melanie Shaw pleaded not guilty to charges put against her in court. The charges were:
…[pursuing] a course of conduct which amounted to the harassment of [a named person] and which she knew or ought to have known amounted to the harassment of her in that sending flowers, gifts and card[s] to HMP Peterborough, telephoning and camping outside HMP Peterborough, harassing members of staff on their way in and out of work, contrary to section 2(1) and (2) of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
She was held on remand following this court appearance. In her next court appearance on 11 November 2015 she pleaded guilty to the above charges. She then had court appearances for sentencing on 4 December 2015 and 20 January 2016 before she was actually sentenced on 17 February 2016.
She is reportd by Nottinghamshire Live as having been:
Given three restraining orders, as well as other penalties, after being convicted on three counts.
(1) Pleaded guilty to displaying threatening, abusive, insulting words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour to cause another harassment, alarm, or distress on July 21, 2015 in Nottingham. She was also fined £200 for this offence.
(2) Pursuing a course of conduct which amounted to harassment from June 21 to July 6 in Nottingham. She was also given and a three-month prison sentence (suspended for two years) for this offence.
(3) Pursuing a course of conduct which amounted to harassment from June 26 to July 13 in Nottingham. She was also given and a three-month prison sentence (suspended for two years) for this offence, concurrent.
The UK Column appears to have no record of this episode.
Some more Convictions
Both the UK Column and Nottinghamshire Live have reported on Melanie Shaw’s next convictions, which took place on 3 June 2016 and were 2 counts of breach of a restraining order and 1 count of breach of a suspended sentence order. These came about partly because she visited HMP Peterborough, where she was previously held and was banned from visiting. She was held on remand until sentencing, which occured on 11 January 2017. She was given 2 years.
The UK Column reports that she took part in the trial via video link and that it is ‘very confident’ that the public did not have access to the court.
Nottinghamshire Live reports that on 8 February 2017 she was in court again,
charged with one count of criminal damage on August 25, 2016, one count of making a threat to kill on August 20, 2016, and one charge of assault by beating on September 24, 2016. All sent to Derby Crown Court for March 8, 2017.
It says that she was given 8 months for these crimes in a court appearance on 8 March 2017. It is not clear whether or not this 8 months was concurrent with the 2 year sentence she had already been given.
While serving these sentences she was moved between prisons multiple times.
She sent a letter to Brian Gerrish of the UK Column dated 12 June 2017 while being held in HMP New Hall, Wakefield. She instructed him to make it public. An excerpt from that letter reads:
I’m in a mess here. I’ve been kept in a locked cell for four weeks, 24/7. I’m not allowed toilet paper or able to wash my hair. My Tourette’s are back this morning.
Brian, please can you help me? I don’t even know if you will get this letter. Please. I’ve got nothing to do, no smokes or anything.
It hurts me that I’m being treated in such a disgusting way. I don’t know who’s authorised it or why. I’m not strong, as I’ve let myself down alone here in this cell. The odd staff utter a few words at you. At least in Foston they would speak to me and treat me decently. I’ve no mental health support here, nothing. I’m just locked permanently in a cell like a Romanian circus bear. They want me to suffer and have cabin fever.
My MP, David Drew (Lab), told me that he tried to visit Melanie Shaw while she was serving these sentences, but was not allowed in to the prison to see her. He suggested that the refusal might have been to do with underfunding of prisons.
Before she was released, Melanie Shaw was charged with more crimes and held on remand. As the current situation is ongoing, it is broken down at the top of the page and updated as things progress.
If the treatment Melanie Shaw claims to have received from the various branches of the legal system is even partly true, we are facing a very serious situation. The established statutes covering her situation criminalise the kind of treatment Melanie claims to have endured.
Since those whom we trust to deliver justice are those allegedly responsible for Melanie’s treatment, it looks like it is going to be a tough battle to restore justice to the British establishment.