Holloway Girl

Introduction: Steve Hogarth wrote: "Years ago when I was part of ‘The Europeans' we sometimes rehearsed around the corner from Holloway Women's Prison. I think prisons are fascinating places, like all alternative societies, and I used to stare up at the walls and watch the gate police. Years later I saw a documentary on TV. A camera crew had been allowed to film inside. A lot of tough girls for sure, but among them, there were women who should have been in mental hospitals - not prison. Victims of an ‘underfunded' society which would lock up the desperate rather than tend to their troubled minds. "

At the start of the track, you can just make out a voice saying "Hold on. Believe on."

Dec ‘Journeyman’ said: "Holloway prison is a maximum security, female only, penitentiary about 1/4 Mile out of Holloway Town on the Camden Road. It is a prison for the most dangerous women in England. (Myra Hindley, and Rose West, Britain's most imfamous murderesses have both done time in Holloway - Psychopathic Ed)

"The Holloway Girl is Judith Ward, and her story is not unlike the stories of the Guildford Four (as seen in Neil Jordan's mostly factually-correct movie, In The Name Of The Father - Ed) or the Birmingham Six, and is a reflection of the inadequacies of the British legal system.

"Whenever there is a terrorist act perpetuated in Britain (which until the recent, hopefully stable ceasefire, was normally due to IRA activity), the public, understandably, clamour for retribution and swift justice. In their zeal to keep the public satiated, the English legal system has been responsible for arresting innocent people who vaguely fit the profile, eliciting illegal confessions under severe duress, and subsequently incarcerating these poor unfortunates whose only crimes may be being in the location at the time of the bombing and/or being Irish Catholic. 

"The Holloway Girl, Judith Ward, was just such a case, though perhaps her case was not as cut and dried a case of the Guildford and Birmingham cases. (both of which were later overturned in the court of appeal as being unreliable convictions - Ed)

Judith Ward was mentally ill and suffered delusions. When an army bus was blown up by the IRA, in 1974, killing 12 people, Ward stepped forward and confessed. The public wanted blood and retribution, Judith had confessed, game over... What was subsequently revealed was that the prosecution had evidence of her mental illness, and in fact had irrefutable proof that she could not possibly have anything to do with the bombing. But, to set the public's mind at ease that justice, swift and sharp, was being delivered, the trial found Ward guilty as charged and sentenced to Holloway for Life or longer. (Life imprisonment in the UK is not for life - I believe it's about thirty years or something -Ed)

When the facts came to light in 1992, Judith Ward was released from H. M. Prison Holloway without so much as an apology. " 

(Special thanks to Steve Mobley, who provided much accuracy to the specifics of the case (dates/ numbers killed etc) in the above - Ed)

Dave McMann added: "Apart from famous violent criminals there, the majority of women are locked away there for being poor. i.e.: can't pay their TV license, petty shop lifting to feed their kids. Holloway is a very bad place, only a few months ago, the prison inspector cut his visit short and walked out in disgust." (For the benefit of those who read this in years to come Dave is talking about an incident in 1996! - Ed)

Unfortunately, in Britain, a woman is more likely to be sent to prison for a long time for a petty crime than a man.

The eastern part of the Camden borough of north London. 

Incidentally, Pete's lovely bass motif at the start of the song is not his. It's nicked. But only from h's former band How We Live. The song is The Rainbow Room from the Dry Land album.

Finally, for a rather odd little story about this website and Holloway Girl, click here...

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