Riots: Violence simmers on the streets

A bus ride through London takes in some of the areas which were devastated by the riots – and highlights the city’s stark racial divide and disparity in wealth

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No hope of meeting her girl’s killer

Scotland on Sunday
Audrey Gillan, Chief Reporter

THE governor of Cornton Vale women’s prison has vetoed what would have been a highly-emotional meeting between a murderer and her victim’s mother.
Barbara Glover, who killed her 16-year-old schoolmate Diane Watson in the playground of their secondary school in Glasgow’s Dennistoun, had requested the unprecedented meeting with Margaret Watson.
Margaret and husband Jim, whose son Alan committed suicide less than two years after Diane’s death because of depression, thought the meeting might be cathartic and help them to finally come to terms with what happened.
The couple, who have attempted to take their own lives on a number of occasions, saw it as an opportunity to confront Glover and be able to tell her personally just how much the loss of their daughter and their son had devastated their lives.
But Kate Donegan, Cornton Vale’s governor, has decided not to allow the meeting to go ahead, on the grounds that Glover was making good progress within the prison system and she did not feel it would be of any benefit to her.
But psycho-therapist Sue Ramona said that the meeting may well have been beneficial to Glover. “It would depend on Barbara’s motive,” she said. “I would imagine having been in prison for seven years she’s probably matured and has come to understand what she has done. If the family was willing to meet with her it all sounds healthy. I cannot think she would want to meet the mother and give her a rollicking. Perhaps the governor has said no because she knows something we don’t.”
Glover, who is serving a life sentence and is now aged 21, stabbed Diane Watson with a kitchen knife in the school playground in 1991 in the culmination of a jealous dispute between the girls.
Alan Watson became severely depressed following his sister’s death. When his mother discovered his body – after he took a drugs overdose – he was clutching a magazine article and two newspaper columns which portrayed Glover as the victim and his sister Diane as a bully who had had a more privileged upbringing. Scotland on Sunday revealed last May that an internal prison investigation had identified Glover as the author of letters sent to outsiders saying she felt no remorse over the killing of Diane.
In one letter she wrote: “You asked me if I regretted what I had done. No I didn’t a cos if it hadn’t been her, it would have been me.”
Horrified by the contents of the letters, the Watsons had hoped Glover would attempt to explain herself at the face-to-face meeting.
They are certain that she would not say sorry and realise she may well have been manipulating the situation to enhance her prospects for parole.
Last night Margaret Watson said she was disappointed to learn that permission for the meeting had been refused by the prison governor. “It might not have been to Barbara Glover’s benefit, but I might have got some benefit out of telling her what she has done to two beautiful children.
“Their lives are gone and our lives are empty now – I mean we are just existing. She’s wiped out a generation and I wanted to tell her that. This meeting gave us a wee bit hope, but it’s been taken away again.”
Since she learned about the possibility of meeting Glover face-to-face, Margaret Watson says she has been thinking carefully about what she “wanted to say and how to get it across properly”.
She now believes the governor is “afraid” that Glover might say something more embarrassing about the series of letters she wrote or about a telephone call the Watsons allege Glover made to them from inside the prison.
Several other countries encourage meetings between criminals and their victims as part of the rehabilitation process. It is a procedure which is, according to one psychologist, ‘not particularly effective’.
“The lady in jail is a murderess with no remorse. It makes you wonder if she is trying to work a ticket,” he said.
Glover was convicted of murder and because of her age “detained without limit of time.” Though she has served just seven years, she could reasonably expect to be released in the not too distant future if she causes no problems within the prison system.
Her category has already been downgraded from B to C and there is a possibility she may have her first parole board hearing next year.

Foreign Affairs… Monica Lewinsky

BILL Clinton, Newt Gingrich and Dan Quayle are out on the campaign trail in Kansas when they come across the Wizard of Oz. The Wiz asks each of them if he could give them one thing, what would it be? Thinking for a minute, Gingrich replies “a heart”. For Quayle, no question, he wants “a brain”. And for Clinton, well he just looks at the wizard and asks: “Where’s Dorothy?”

The jokes have been getting funnier by the day. The president of the United States has been brought almost to his knees (if you’ll pardon the pun) by a sex scandal and the country is joking about it. “Now we know why Clinton’s eyes always seem so puffy and red,” declares television talk show host Jay Leno. Playing on first lady Hillary Clinton’s recent book It Takes A Village, he jokes it should instead be titled: It Takes a Village – to keep an eye on my husband.

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