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John's prison sentence


“About three months after I met John he didn’t go to work one morning and I was in the hotel trade, I didn’t have to go in until ten, and he said, ‘I need to talk to you. Before I met you I met this boy and I had sex with him and because he was sixteen, I’ve got to go to court today’.  I said, ‘Why haven’t you told me? We’ve been living together for three months.  What happens if you go to jail, I can’t afford to keep six pounds a week for rent’.  It was a bad time for us but he went off to court and the solicitor phoned me at the pub where I was working, the Royal George, because we couldn’t afford a phone at our flat and said he’d got nine months and lucky because he could have got nine years, that was what the argument was because it was such a young lad.  But this young lad had been picked up cottaging and in his wallet was John’s telephone number.  He didn’t come back for six months, because of good behaviour he got off, he only did six months.  So when he came back he lost his job because in those days you are gay, you’re ostracised, your job’s gone, you’ve gone off for six months, you’ve gone to jail for being queer and you lost your job.  Nobody protected us at all.  Can you imagine it happening now?” 

Contributed by: Robin McGarry, 66

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