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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' sent an account from which the following is edited: "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 female murderers have both done time in Holloway - Ed)

"The Holloway Girl is Judith Ward, and her story is not unlike the stories of the Guildford Four 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 at the time the song was written, was most likely to be due to IRA activity), the public, understandably, clamour for retribution and swift justice. In their zeal to keep the public satiated, there is a regretably high number of incidents of people being fitted up for the crimes on the basis of spurious evidence and forced confessions.

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

"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, Ward had confessed, game over... What was subsequently revealed was that the prosecution had evidence of her mental illness, and indeed irrefutable proof that she couldn't possibly have carried out the acts she claimed. 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 to a minimum of thirty years before she could be considered for parole.

"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 added some specifics of the case (dates/ numbers killed etc) in the above account - 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 was talking about an incident in 1996! - Ed)

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

The eastern part of the Camden borough of north London.

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

Songs with a link have explanations.

Click to access album
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