No one ever said it was going to be easy. Daniel had spent years getting in and out of trouble. He’d been thrown out of school without taking his exams, he’d fallen out with his parents, he’d started thieving for a living in Brixton, he had been taking drugs and then he’d got shot. So when, last summer, at the age of 18, he decided to change his whole life and go to college instead, he knew it was going to be hard.
Stories from 1994:
When people are hit by a really devastating disaster, it often seems to happen that instead of giving in to sadness, they elect to feel angry, to become almost consumed by a furious determination to uncover all of the causes of the disaster which has struck them and to punish all of those who were responsible.
When Michelle and Lisa Taylor walked free from the High Court one Friday morning in June last year, they left behind them a life sentence which had been torn up by the judges, and a delicate problem which remained to be handled by the Attorney General.
In October last year, the Prime Minister, John Major, stood up in front of the Conservative Party Conference and made a solemn public promise to fight pornography. It was one of the headline elements of his plan to go back to basics. He described it as “a loathsome trade” and he pledged his backing to the police who were dealing with it.
Forty years ago, the pornography industry in Britain consisted of a single London dustman. His name was Ron Davey and he stumbled on to a source of easy money when he discovered the Surrey Nudist Club, where a few of the women members were happy to pose for photographs. Mr Davey copied their blanched breasts and carefully folded thighs on an aging Gestetner and managed to sell several hundred pictures a week.
This is like walking down a very long corridor. At the beginning, it is brightly lit, as bold and brash as neon, but the further you penetrate, the dimmer it gets until you reach a point where it is so dark that it is only just possible to see and only just possible to believe what you are seeing.
Jamie Petrolini sits alone in his prison cell. Last year, he was a schoolboy cramming for his A levels at a sixth form college in Oxford, striding around in baggy purple jeans and a big white tee-shirt with No Fear scrawled across the front. Now, he is a notorious killer, aged 19, serving life for murder in a young offenders institution outside Doncaster.
It was an almost invisible event. Far away from the high-profile politics of Westminster, in the pebble-dash suburbs of north London, in a cramped and over-heated room on the first floor of Barnet magistrates court, Mr Miles Parker, aged 29, was convicted last month (Sept) of two criminal offences. The case was barely reported. Yet it deserved a little more attention.
They were an odd couple. He looked about 20, she seemed a little younger but, although they were adults, they had the look of lost infants, straying together through the streets of Sheffield, clutching each other for safety, wide-eyed and aimless, drifting towards the sound of a Salvation Army band, and when one of the Salvation Army officers got them talking, he heard a story that was just as odd.
West Yorkshire. September 1992. Police report that a quarter of the prostitutes who are arrested in their vice areas are aged 16 or under. They say the figures have soared in the previous 12 months. During 1991, less than four per cent of prostitutes they dealt with were under age.