Skip to comments.Woman Jailed For Trying To Protect Neglected Dog From Its Cruel Owner
Posted on 05/11/2014 11:05:42 AM PDT by nickcarraway
Linda Reynolds was traumatised by her time in the jail sleeping on a hard, rubberised mattress and being woken by drug addict prisoners' screams for help
When her cell door banged shut for the first time, Linda Reynolds could barely believe she was in one of Britains most notorious jails all because she cared for an animal.
The kind-hearted grandmother had taken in a badly neglected dog and helped him back to health, reports the Sunday People.
Then she was accused of stealing the animal, a greyhound cross called Hess.
His owner demanded him back but Linda, 60, feared he would suffer renewed abuse and said no.
She was sentenced to six months and put in a prison which, at one point, held evil serial killer Rose West.
Shockingly, Linda discovered she was only one of many women doing time in Category A HMP Bronzefield for trivial offences.
The retired teacher was traumatised by her time in the jail sleeping on a hard, rubberised mattress and being woken by drug addict prisoners screams for help in the night.
Now Linda has written a book about her two-year fight to protect Hess and how the authorities spent fortunes prosecuting her and keeping her in the prison in Ashford, Surrey.
She said: I knew what I had done was wrong but I still cant understand why so much time, effort and money was spent on getting me locked up.
When it all started and I was arrested I talked to a retired Metropolitan officer I knew.
"He said the police wouldnt have spent as much money tracking down paedophiles, which shows how ridiculous it was.
Even the prisoners couldnt believe I had been jailed. The prison officers thought I would be out sooner than the six months I had been given.
I was in a Cat A prison with women who hadnt paid their council tax, women who had been terribly abused as children and turned to drugs, foreign over-stayers and young women fleeing from war zones.
Matt SprakeRetired teacher Linda ReynoldsFree: With her pet pooch Bob "Yes we had broken the law but is this really what we, the nation, need to spend our money on?
Is this really who the police and the public want locked away in the highest security prison that we have?
I want my children and grandchildren to be protected from violence, not from the poor Chinese woman caught selling illegal DVDs on the street who, by the way, was robbed and badly bitten by the dog that the robber was using as a weapon.
She was too scared to go to hospital and the robber is still on our streets.
Lindas own problems began in the summer of 2007 after she tried to be a good neighbour at the marina where she lived in Medway, Kent.
While looking after Hess for a woman on a nearby boat, she discovered he had been badly abused. He was so dehydrated that Linda had to call a vet, which she paid for herself.
When Hesss alcoholic owner returned after several months away and demanded the dog back, Linda refused.
She didnt want the animal she had nursed back to health to suffer again.
So the neighbour called the police which sparked an absurd manhunt with Kent officers trying to track down Linda.
She had gone to visit friends and left Hess there for safe-keeping.
She said: The police were calling me on my mobile, trying to find out where I was but I was determined to make sure this animal wasnt returned because he had been so badly abused.
I found a safe place for him to stay out of the county and returned to Medway and handed myself in to police. I was charged with theft.
Linda insists that if officers had done a few simple checks they would have found that Hess had been abused and the case would have ended there.
But magistrates pressed ahead against the mum-of-two in the summer of 2008.
Despite testimony from an animal behaviourist, she was found guilty and given an 18-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs and return Hess.
Neglected: Hess But she said: I just couldnt give him back. My barristers tried to tell me how bad prison would be.
"One came to my cell to plead with me, telling me I could get a two year sentence.
Judge Jeremy Carey , at Maidstone Crown Court, described Linda, who has seven grandchildren, as having a previously unblemished character but also branded her obstinate and irrational.
He sentenced her in March 2009 to six months for contempt of court with half that time on licence on a tag.
Linda went on to spend two and a half months behind bars.
She said: I was then handcuffed, put in a prison van and sent to HMP Bronzefield on the understanding that I would be released if I told them where Hess was.
My barrister had said I could be looking at two years so I was feeling an odd combination of relief and fear of the unknown.
"I think everyones fear, in going to prison, is fear of the other prisoners. Would I be sharing a cell? Who with?
"I believed other prisoners might see me as someone to bully, as I was obviously someone who wasnt prison material.
"I remembered those awful prison dramas and books. Do things really happen in showers?
So apart from the relief it wasnt two years, I was very scared. It was abject fear but not enough to tell them where Hess was.
My need to keep him safe was outweiging my fear of prison .
My son Chriss smile in court when I was sentenced was one of relief as I hadnt got two years. But I was confused.
"Why was he smiling when his mum had just been sentenced to six months in prison?
"Later I learned my barrister had told him I could be sentenced to two years. He was relieved it was six months instead.
She arrived at the jail late in the day and was put in the hospital wing. I was in a large room with a few iron beds.
"One woman was sitting on a bed with another woman.
It was full of cigarette smoke and they both stopped speaking when I walked in the room.
Matt SprakeRetired teacher Linda ReynoldsJailed: Linda was thrown in a category A jail I was scared to speak and didnt know which bed was mine. I placed my plastic bag with my belongings on a spare bed next to the bed the women were on.
"I didnt know what to do. I just sat there looking around but trying not to make eye contact.
I was scared to tell them why I was there in case they thought I was stupid for being in jail over something like that. But they didnt.
I then found out one of them was also in for contempt of court, over grazing her horses on her land.
The other one was in for benefit fraud, which she called a mistake on her form.
Linda said she was actually able to help some inmates with forms and writing skills and teaching them English.
Eventually Hess was found by the police and returned to the original owner just a few months after Linda was released from prison in May 2009.
Today she has a dog called Bob.
She said: Apart from the way my old neighbour treated Hess I dont bear her any grudges or ill-will. It was the courts and the system.
Sadly, that woman has since died. I dont name her in my book because she cant defend herself, so I dont think that would be fair.
Linda, who tells what happened to Hess in her book, said: I still cant work out why I was sent to jail.
"But it gave me the strength to write this book.
Lindas book The Warrior on the Wall, written under the pen name Lin Tidy, is available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle.
Acts of kindness will be punished!
Lived in Britain two and a half years long ago. Gotta say that if visiting now and I saw a PC getting stomped by a gang of yobs I’d just chuckle and cross the street-—— maybe go buy me a sandwich and drink.
Happily, it was a small town and my mom and that cop knew each other from high school. He told the owner she'd have to file a lot of paperwork to get the kitten back. Naturally she didn't bother, and Tigger lived a long and happy life with us.
I've been to the UK three times, the last time some 20 years ago when there was some whiff of sanity about that country. I would not even entertain the thought of going back there now.
Way too long, especially since they didn't answer what is easily the most important question: Did the cops who arrested her get home safe and sound that evening?
And where’s the dog now?
What dog? :)
The statute of limitations has run out on that theft. :)
HA HA...... What dog? :)
This woman committed the ultimate crime—she did not bow to the authority of the state (same crime Cliven Bundy committed). For this she must be severely punished.
Whatever is not forbidden is compulsory! What a utopian paradise!