One of Simon's important contributions to Justice was his part coverage of the Carl Beech trial held in Newcastle Crown Court last summer. You could see by some of his tweets in May, that he was disappointed by the lack of media coverage the case attracted. He must have been chomping at the bit to get up North ! But ever the professional - he acknowledged the few decent journalist's who were there, especially those that were doing a bloody good job of it !
Certainly one or two were there, almost everyday. But where were the rest ? This was one of the most important trials for decades, yet the media didn't seem that interested !
Now, let me take a short detour from Simon's journey North, in order to acquaint you with my experiences of Simon on twitter prior to either of us, hearing of the name Carl Beech !!!
I'll assume that most of you know Simon's story. For those that don't, maybe consider buying his book. To say this man went through hell, is an understatement. This piece in the Mail is a good summary of the injustice meted out to him !
I think I'd been 'following' Simon and he'd been following me, since not long after he opened his account in 2016. By March 2017, it was clear that he wasn't exactly, what one might describe as - sympathetic with the Savile cause. But who could blame him ?
I wasn't happy with the reference to Jimmy Savile, and I let him know, respectfully ! I had respect for what Simon had been through, and I certainly wasn't going to have a go at him. Had I been through what he had, I'd probably have felt the same way. In short - I cut him some slack and let it go !
I knew that Simon and I were singing from the same hymn sheet. We both wanted the same thing at the end of the day, and part of that same thing, was to see those, who falsely accused others, get what they deserved ! He might not have agreed with half of what I'd written and/or tweeted, but - unlike some, he wasn't afraid to retweet someone whose Twitter profile picture was Jimmy Savile in a hospital corridor ! For those not in the know, a retweet now, is akin to a mention in dispatches at Verdun ! Most people merely like tweets. I personally, don't see much point in that, but there you are !
Anyways, back to Newcastle, and by July 5th Simon had obviously bought his train ticket !
And by the 16th July he was live tweeting ! So now, we had a reliable source to take us through the closing stages of the trial. I will link the individual day's thread's so you can read ALL of his them !
You see, it's those little details : the Prosecutor on his feet that makes for interesting reporting. Of course, he'd be on his feet to say anything, but that detail, almost allows those following, to feel part of the - drama, if you will !
What follows is what I think is the first of Simon's thread's that morning. The hearing started at 10am but the Jury were sent out for 17 minutes while legal arguments were discussed.
Tony Bradenoch QC speaks to the Jury
There's a short break around 11am until 11.17 when this was tweeted
Continuing the thread
The Court rises for lunch at 12.07. As an aside - at 5.01 pm Matthew Scott requested a thread unroll, whatever that is ? I guess it's an unroll of all the tweets that day ? Whatever it is, it wasn't available ! Thank God for people like me eh ?
Actually to be fair, I don't think it's possible to fully unroll people's tweets chronologically. It takes perseverance to make sense of them retrospectively. But I guess that's where people like me come in ! Go me !!!
The following thread covers the PM session on the 16th July. The case did not restart until 2.55 pm and there was a short break about ten minutes later, hence this begins at 3.16pm
Simon's tweets were appreciated. He was fulfilling what he'd set out to do. If the media wouldn't report lucidly on the case, he would. And he did so - splendidly !
The next day Carl Beech's defence barrister began his summing up. He didn't have much to work with, so he wasn't 'on his feet' too long ! Just two members of the press were in court that day. TWO !
The Jury didn't look remotely convinced by Thompson's meanderings into potential innocent reason's why anyone would flee the country, rather than speak to the Police
The Jury didn't look remotely convinced by Thompson's meanderings into potential innocent reason's why his client would flee the country, rather than speak to the Police. Why his client would write a book called 'Nurse Nurse' under a pseudonym etc etc
Naturally, people on the outside replied to Simon's tweets. He would not respond, but they're there, on his timeline. I have to say the following did make me smile !
Collingwood Thompson QC defending
Meanwhile, slightly closer to the building, his adversary Tony Bradenoch QC
It seems surreal that anyone, let alone two Police Forces, wasted valuable resources on Carl Beech. As you read the these tweets. I pick out just a few in case the reader cannot see the threads I've linked.
An hour after the afternoon session begins, there's a short break for some reason. I add the following, including the time, because twitter's time zone is Pacific time, so you must always add seven hours, as you trawl through the threads.
So that 7.11 am is actually 2.11pm in Newcastle. I just think Simon would like me to be as forensic, and as helpful to the reader, as possible !
They are out for eleven minutes
At 2.27 the Judge references Beech's contact with Exaro News
By 3.25 pm it's close of play. 'Someone is lying' says the Judge.
19th July 2019
According to the twitter clock, Simon's day started at 9.24 am, not 10.15.
Another break at 10.39
Back at 10.56
Lunch at 12.37
Looks like that lunch break only lasted about 30 minutes !
Twitter threads can be difficult to follow. They can appear incomplete as they veer off in another direction, for example when someone responds. For completeness - here's the same thread (different reference number) where folks show their appreciation for Simon's hard work !
'Rather exhausting but well worth it'
The Jury didn't take too long, announcing their verdict the following sitting day - Monday 22nd July. Simon obviously couldn't attend that day, but he followed the excellent press reporting by Jordan Milne. Her tweets start at 8.37 am, and the Jury returns with a verdict at 1.36pm !
Naturally, Simon had plenty to say following Beech's conviction. Of the latter's motivations
And he wasn't about to suffer any fool who might challenge the verdict
As for Beech's enabler's
And what a journey he had ! The rail network was in chaos it was so hot !
Simon had told me his train left London at 4.40. The above was tweeted at 9.21pm.
Simon was quite rightly outraged by the whole Carl Beech saga. Five years earlier, he had been cleared by a Jury after less than 40 minutes, yet he still hadn't had an apology, let alone Justice !
Imagine how he must have felt writing this, en-route to witness the FIRST ever sentencing of someone who'd lied about others, almost destroying their lives ?
But he made it
I'm confused with the twitter timings now. Simon says that it's 11am, so that means it's GMT + 8 hours because this is twitter timed 3.07 am. There are different Pacific time zones, and I'm not going to say anymore about it because I'm done with trying to work it out. Sorry !
Carl Beech's victims or their representatives, got to read individual impact statements prior to sentencing.
A ten minute break was needed an hour later, after which
" Take him down"
I'm glad Simon came to Newcastle. It was exhausting but you could tell he loved being there, reporting on the action, in person, and meeting fellow victims. It must have been so cathartic for him !
He didn't hang around though. He had a radio show to do in London later that day !
Simon felt he had a 'moral duty' to attend the Beech trial. I'll let him tell you about it.
Indeed, check out his other posts that month. I like how he includes a relatively nice photo of - Sir Jimmy Savile
I could go on, but I think that's enough for now. I hope I've done Simon proud with my little appreciation of him and his work. I was privileged to know him for just a short while, and I'm glad I let him know !