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Gemma: Murdered By Friends | BBC Three Documentary

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May 08, 2019

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Gemma: Murdered By Friends | BBC Three Documentary
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Transcription

  • Three people jailed for life at the Old Bailey today for the vile
  • torture and murder of a disabled woman.
  • For her to die in such a...
  • It's just...
  • Everything about it's horrible.
  • Her body was found in August last year, on a disused railway
  • line in Rugby.
  • Shouted, "Goodbye and bye, love you. Love you, Mum," and she was gone.
  • That's the last time I saw her alive.
  • You never expect it to happen to you, and then when it does,
  • that's kind of shattered. You can expect anything to happen to you.
  • The judge described the way she met her fate
  • as a chronicle of heartlessness.
  • She was so innocent in her outlook on people.
  • She really could not judge a bad person,
  • if you put them in front of her.
  • It was so easy for her to be befriended by the wrong people.
  • A body has been found on the disused railway line this morning in Rugby.
  • The female victim hasn't been identified yet,
  • but she was spotted in the grass by a passing jogger.
  • I got a call around 5am on Monday the 9th of August,
  • 2010, to the fact that a female body had been found on the disused
  • railway line in Rugby.
  • And we quickly identified that it was Gemma.
  • She was subjected to quite a prolonged assault in various
  • locations at the house.
  • She was beaten with a mop, locked in the en-suite toilet,
  • masking tape wrapped around her face, got some cans
  • of beer and urinated into one of them,
  • and made Gemma drink from the can.
  • They pretty much tortured her for several hours.
  • Her head was bounced off a big industrial-style radiator,
  • because all of her blood was up the radiator and up the wall.
  • They walked her all the way through Rugby town,
  • told her they were walking her home, and she believed them.
  • Her nose was actually broken in the flat, which is why,
  • in the CCTV footage, when she is walking towards the camera
  • you can see her with a tissue blotting her nose.
  • Gemma would have been, like, breathing a sigh of relief,
  • you know. "Only got to get around the corner,
  • "only got to get around the corner."
  • And then said that they would take her down the railway bank to cut
  • across to her house, which would be correct
  • if when they got down onto the railway bank they turned left.
  • But they got down on the railway bank, and turned right.
  • A black bin liner was put over Gemma's head and then, again,
  • she got beaten up badly.
  • She got stabbed once in the back and somebody stamped on her head.
  • There were a footprint on her head.
  • They stripped her naked and left her lying there,
  • face down, and took her clothes and put them in a black plastic bag,
  • and took it a bit further down that way,
  • and tried to set light to it.
  • The cause of death was she drowned on blood from her nose.
  • I don't know... I don't want to...
  • I don't know what she could have been thinking.
  • She was probably thinking, "What on Earth is going on?
  • "I've done nothing to these people."
  • She was probably in a hell of a lot of pain.
  • She was already bleeding.
  • I mean, I don't know...
  • The whole thing is just so sad.
  • Her life was just so shit all along,
  • so for her to die in such a... It's just...
  • Everything about it is horrible.
  • This is where Gemma died, here.
  • A horrible place to lose your life in the middle of the night.
  • It broke my heart.
  • All I could think was why, why would you do something
  • like that?
  • She had learning difficulties, she was very vulnerable.
  • Even though they did that to her, I'm quite sure that if she survived
  • it, she'd have forgiven them.
  • The first day I went to court, sat up in the gallery
  • and they started reeling off what had happened to her.
  • One of the worst days of my life.
  • Horrendous.
  • Horrendous.
  • The defendants treated the whole process, really, as a bit of a joke,
  • probably just thought, "Well, give it a few more hours
  • "and we'll be out and carry on with our chaotic lifestyles."
  • They thought everything was fine, what they did was fine.
  • It didn't matter, it was only Gemma.
  • Gemma meant absolutely nothing.
  • This murder did shock Rugby, you know, it's a lovely place
  • to live and this really shocked people, and especially with Gemma
  • having learning difficulties, it was really, you know,
  • even more impactive to the community.
  • That's you when you were born, so Gemma would have been about,
  • well, 11. I was 21, yeah, I was 21...
  • Looks like she's very small.
  • She looks really happy there, doesn't she?
  • I don't know what she's looking at you like there for.
  • She's probably thinking that I didn't get a cake. Yeah, yeah.
  • That's exactly what she's thinking. It's your first birthday.
  • You couldn't even walk then.
  • I think I had to stop Gemma from blowing the candle out.
  • She really, I think, in fact I think we had to relight
  • it so Gemma could do it. You wouldn't remember her then,
  • at that age, would you?
  • I was so tiny that it's hard to kind of remember Gemma that much,
  • when I was small. But it's almost like having the proof.
  • Yeah, whenever she was in the house she was around you.
  • Yeah, exactly. In all the photos I'm always either on her lap or playing
  • games with her. We're always in close proximity.
  • Um, which is really sweet. Yeah, she did love you.
  • When I was a child it would feel more like we were much
  • closer in age. It was almost like visiting a cousin that was my age
  • rather than an auntie.
  • Gemma.
  • She was such a character from the minute she was born.
  • She was very, very loving.
  • Very.
  • She was always wanting cuddles.
  • She used to just do things that were completely random,
  • like empty all of the food in the cupboard across the kitchen
  • floor or she just, you didn't know what she was going to do next,
  • she was a lot of fun.
  • She was a handful but to have this little child bouncing around,
  • just doing crazy stuff, I suppose, as kids we found it amusing.
  • I knew from a very early age that there was something not right.
  • Gemma was completely, completely different
  • to my other two children.
  • Completely different to any other child I had ever met.
  • And that was obvious from a very early age.
  • The specialists needed her to go for chromosome tests.
  • When we went back for the results, they were negative.
  • During her life she had every test imaginable,
  • and they all came back negative.
  • Oh, here's a picture of Gemma on the beach in Majorca.
  • Yeah, I couldn't tell you how old she was there.
  • In the pool with Taylor, and Taylor's her niece.
  • I think that's Gemma coming down the slide.
  • Oh, there is Gemma with another little girl on a Lilo.
  • Somebody she got talking, obviously, because she liked little ones.
  • Love you, Gem.
  • She went to normal, mainstream, first school and middle school.
  • According to the school she was fine.
  • She was coping.
  • I think that was the word, she was coping.
  • Now, what that meant, I don't know. But she was coping.
  • It's one of the most maddening parts of my time with Gemma was the fact
  • that we knew she couldn't do anything the other kids could do,
  • and yet nobody took her out of that school and put her somewhere else.
  • I don't know how she kept slipping through the net,
  • because she was quite obviously struggling.
  • Gemma was my friend since when we were at school.
  • We listened to CDs, watched films.
  • CREW MEMBER: What kind of music did you listen to?
  • Boyzone, Take That, Spice Girls.
  • Me and Gemma used to dance to the music.
  • Normal teenagers, when children get to teenage years they get really,
  • really fussy about their appearance, can't walk past a mirror
  • without looking in it, you know, very, very clean
  • and everything else.
  • With Gemma it was a fight to get her to clean her teeth.
  • A fight to get her anywhere near water,
  • and soap was out of the question.
  • I do remember her, kind of, her being advised to, like, shower
  • and wash and things like that by the family quite often,
  • and I think it just wasn't something that came as naturally
  • as it did to everyone else.
  • As a family we've asked for help ever since Gemma was little.
  • You know, social services, or teachers, or the hospital,
  • or the doctor, or whoever.
  • For a long time she didn't fit any criteria, so the answer
  • was just she's not this or she might be this,
  • she might be on this spectrum, she might be on that spectrum.
  • But then somebody else would come a long that would say no,
  • she doesn't tick that box, so she can't be.
  • The amount of fight and effort and resilience that my nan,
  • especially, but also my mum had.
  • They really fought for Gemma and they wanted her to have the best
  • care and that, actually, it just wasn't there.
  • The council said that they'd like to assess Gemma because they felt
  • that she wasn't capable of living by herself and possibly needed
  • supported living and we were like, "Great, this is brilliant,"
  • and then when the assessment came back, it said that
  • in his opinion, this person that did the assessment,
  • she was more than capable of living by herself.
  • The guy that supposedly done the assessment at our house
  • consisted of him being in my house for 10 or 15 minutes,
  • and during that time Gemma actually went outside into the garden
  • to have a cigarette, so he hadn't seen Gemma in all that time.
  • And that was the end.
  • When Gemma was probably about 24 she was signed out of the system.
  • Never to be given any support again.
  • When Gemma was 25 she was put in council housing, like anybody.
  • She was put into a flat in Rugby, in Biart Place,
  • much to our absolute distress and disgust.
  • She never really let us enter the property.
  • She would always, like, get us to meet her outside.
  • I think, if she'd had assisted living, obviously, they can't keep
  • her prisoner, but they would have possibly escorted her wherever
  • she wanted to go, and assisted her in daily life.
  • And, as a family, we would have known more
  • about what she was actually doing,
  • and who she was spending her time with.
  • And I certainly don't think she would have been out
  • and about at that time of night.
  • These are the flats that she lived before she died.
  • It was actually the last time I saw her,
  • I would have been parked right there.
  • I picked her up, well, me and a friend had picked
  • up from Warwick, because she got stuck in Warwick,
  • she'd missed the last train.
  • And, unfortunately, my last words weren't nice
  • to her, because it had really annoyed me that she put herself
  • in that situation, where she was stuck.
  • And like, I did have a complete go at her, and told her to sort herself
  • out, that it was out of order, and that was the last time I saw her.
  • I didn't come here very often, because I didn't like the idea
  • of knocking on the door and perhaps going,
  • "Well, you're not coming in,"
  • and I really didn't want to know what state the flat was in.
  • She just didn't keep that tidy. Clean or tidy.
  • It started smelling, it was horrendous. Really bad.
  • When she first moved in I cleaned it from top to bottom, and my mum
  • gave her a three-piece suite,
  • and she had a beautiful old pine wardrobe that was given to her.
  • She had everything, she had a television and stereo,
  • all her CDs, her DVDs, and everything, full DVD
  • player and that.
  • And when she died, and I saw it. She'd got hardly anything.
  • Probably got taken or somebody said, "Oh, I like that,"
  • and she just gave it to them.
  • Even though she'd never admit it I don't think
  • she could have been very happy here.
  • The only thing she was glad about was the fact she got
  • her independence, and she could do what she wanted to do,
  • when she wanted to do it.
  • I know I wouldn't have wanted to live here,
  • under any circumstances.
  • Rumour has it, that particular block, where Gemma lived,
  • the council put drug dealers in there and ex-prisoners in there.
  • It was so easy for her to be befriended by the wrong people.
  • You'd got the undesirables who had been placed in the flats.
  • And they soon join up and create problems with other tenants.
  • I got told that she'd got caught up with a group of people
  • and they were using her flat to store drugs.
  • And when I asked her about it and she kept saying, "No.
  • "They're presents, I'm looking after them."
  • And it was heavy drugs. It was heroin, it was crack cocaine.
  • And I said to her, "Why have you got involved with this, then?"
  • "Because they're my friends, they like me."
  • But to her, they were presents, and that's what they told her.
  • They were presents for people and they wanted to keep them
  • as a surprise, and she believed them.
  • I think Gemma could have been so desperately looking for friendship
  • and community, I think she was quite vulnerable.
  • I remember her being quite impulsive.
  • She'd want to just do, you know, whatever she was feeling
  • and actually just having that guidance,
  • I think, would be imperative, actually.
  • Chantelle was her friend. I met her once.
  • She wasn't somebody that I would probably choose to be my sister
  • or daughter's friend, if you'd like,
  • but the fact that she wanted to spend time with Gemma,
  • being Gemma, I thought that she must be a really nice girl.
  • I didn't quite understand the relationship, because Chantelle
  • was perfectly articulate, whereas Gemma wasn't,
  • so it stuck out a bit.
  • Jess, I remember from school.
  • It was just a certain group of girls, I didn't really know them,
  • that you just didn't want to get in trouble with on the playground.
  • Or you could see them maybe getting a little bit of a telling
  • off from a teacher that you just think,
  • "Oh, they're the ones to watch out for.
  • And I remember meeting Joe, who seemed fine.
  • Was a fun guy, just kind of cool, just chatting like anyone else.
  • I actually remember sharing some chocolate buttons with him,
  • and my friend who I was with, and some other people.
  • They were like two couples. There was Chantelle and Daniel.
  • In the middle, Duncan. And then Joe Boyer and Jessica.
  • People like that are not friends with people like Gemma
  • and if they are, it's often for some sort of personal gain.
  • The day before she got murdered, I went over to the garage to get
  • a paper and Gemma was outside the garage,
  • and I said to her, "What are you doing around here again?"
  • "I'm going to Coventry with Daniel and Chantelle."
  • I said, "Who are they?" And they were standing at the bus stop.
  • So I said to Gemma, "Come with me into the shop,
  • "while I get my paper."
  • I said, "Why are you going to Coventry?"
  • "Well, they tell me what they want, and I get it for them."
  • I said, "Oh." So I said, "You're stealing for them?"
  • "Mmm."
  • "Why?" "Because they're my friends."
  • And she couldn't seem to comprehend that stealing was wrong,
  • because she was doing it for her friends.
  • She came into the shop regularly to collect whatever benefits
  • she was receiving.
  • Generally she pulled out all the money in one go,
  • and there was generally somebody hanging about waiting for Gemma.
  • Did you recognise any of the killers?
  • Yes, I recognised all of them.
  • They'd all been into the shop.
  • They hung around when Gemma was in the shop.
  • They came with her while she got her money,
  • so that she would spend it on things they wanted,
  • and she would buy them things because she wanted a friend.
  • She didn't see that as being used.
  • She was naive, like a child.
  • You know, "I'll give you something, you'll be my friend."
  • If she had a social worker or somebody like that who'd been in,
  • in that case, we can pass on worries, but we never had that with Gemma.
  • So, this is some CCTV footage of the previous night.
  • So this is Saturday the 7th of August, 2010,
  • and this is where the group of five were out with Gemma
  • in Rugby town centre,
  • and you got some footage there of Chantelle sort of pushing her away
  • from the group, and being quite violent towards Gemma,
  • and obviously, the others are just standing there laughing and joking.
  • Apparently at some pub door they asked Chantelle for identity
  • and Gemma, like Gemma would,
  • because she did have a sense of humour turned around and said,
  • "Oh, she's only 16."
  • Chantelle went for her, and shoved her down the road,
  • and everything else.
  • I was told that Jessica Lynas had hit her in the face that night.
  • On the Sunday, Gemma must have got in touch and said,
  • "I want to collect my bag," and Chantelle must have told
  • her that Jessica was at her house, because they were there for dinner.
  • And Gemma didn't want to go round there and Chantelle talked
  • round into going to pick up her bag from there.
  • And then it all kicked off.
  • In relation to the investigation, Chantelle Booth had come
  • to our notice as being someone who was a friend of Gemma's,
  • and we noticed there had been 200, 250 contacts between
  • Chantelle Booth's phone and Gemma's phone,
  • so she was somebody we would want to speak to.
  • I had a gut feeling that she was one of them, but we didn't have it
  • confirmed until they were actually charged.
  • Daniel Newstead and Chantelle Booth were arrested quite quickly
  • on Tuesday, which led to further arrests of the other three,
  • Joseph Boyer, Jessica Lynas and Duncan Edwards.
  • There were five perpetrators involved.
  • They were all young people.
  • Chantelle and the other young women who were involved,
  • they had both been through the care system, and they both had children
  • that had been removed from them by children social services.
  • The young men were all, I think pretty well,
  • had been known to the probation service.
  • When Gemma died and I realised that people I had known
  • or had been aware of, would be capable of something
  • like that and that it had really happened to my family
  • and to Gemma, I just got this overwhelming,
  • almost like a fear, thinking you can't trust anyone.
  • I think they picked on Gemma because of her disability.
  • Think they probably, think they asked, like pretend
  • to be Gemma's friends, and they weren't.
  • When I heard, it made me scared.
  • What did it make you scared about?
  • Hope it doesn't happen to anyone else with disabilities.
  • Mate crime is where people are abused, or bullied, or harassed,
  • by people who they consider to be their friends.
  • And it's not unusual in cases like Gemma's,
  • where people are living in the community, may be quite isolated
  • and not necessarily receiving services,
  • who become involved in relationships with people
  • who don't have their best interests at heart.
  • Gemma would put up with any level of abuse as long as the person
  • acknowledged that she was a friend.
  • "I can't wait to get sentenced now and go to a proper jail for lifers.
  • "This sounds sick, bro.
  • "Key to my door, bare shit to do, PlayStation and DVD,
  • "I get to go to town with a screw in normal clothes.
  • "I get to go to McDonald's, and cinema, and Nando's,
  • "or whatever I want."
  • The judge made an example when she sentenced those five,
  • because hate crime, the courts are allowed to get
  • bigger, longer sentences and I think that was a surprise
  • to a lot of people. And the ones that got done for murder,
  • the three of them, they are on licence for the rest of their life.
  • The review identified there had been 23 missed
  • opportunities between 2001 and the time of Gemma's death,
  • and nine opportunities in the year before she died.
  • We are sorry and, you know, the whole authority is sorry
  • for what happened.
  • Could we have prevented it?
  • I don't think so, but what we are far more certain now
  • is that the arrangements we have in place will help prevent
  • such a thing happening again.
  • I miss seeing Gemma around in town.
  • I miss our company, like going out, shopping.
  • Meeting up for a chat.
  • If you could say anything to Gemma now, what would it be?
  • That I'm sorry.
  • I didn't stop it, I wasn't there. I couldn't save her this time.
  • I'd say sorry.
  • I think I'd just say, "Do you want to come around for dinner?"
  • And just, just...
  • Just have her around for dinner and that's it, really.
  • OK, this is a letter signed by Gemma Hayter.
  • "This is what I need and want in my life..."
  • "To have my own flat and for people to stop telling me what I need,
  • "it is my life. I am an adult of 25 years old."
  • "For someone to help me with personal hygiene,
  • "cleaning and laundry, when I need help."
  • "I would like a job. I need my independence."
  • "I'd like someone to help me when I ask for it."
  • "I would like a flat with a warden control."
  • "I do have some friends and I am losing my hearing."
  • "And I have problems with my pelvis which can affect my walking,
  • "and sleeping, etc."
  • That's all we wanted.
  • We wanted her to be independent, but we wanted somebody there,
  • to help her with everything that's she saying here.
  • If she had got it at 25, she wouldn't have died.
  • Didn't help.

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Description

The shocking story of Gemma, a young woman with a learning disability who was abandoned by the system and brutally murdered by people she thought of as friends.

If you, or someone you know, have been affected by the issues raised in this documentary, the following organisations may be able to help:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/k55ZPkN0GzMLHfCL0lpJPk/information-and-support-gemma-my-murder

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