Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Times Article

There is a brilliant article in the Times today, the newspaper and online. Here is an extract: "When John “Ben” Gunn was a child he killed a boy. A troubled 14-year-old living in a children’s home, he got into a fight with a friend and hit him over the head with a piece of wood. Gunn called 999, was arrested and accused of GBH as the other boy was taken to hospital.

Four days later the boy died. Gunn was charged with murder. If someone had told him what manslaughter was this story might have ended decades ago. But he took his barrister’s advice to plead guilty to murder and was ordered to be detained during Her Majesty’s Pleasure with the tariff (the length of time he had to serve for retribution and deterrence before he could be considered for release) set at ten years."

Here is the link:


  1. Just read the whole thing on John Hurst's blog. Thanks for saving us a quid!

  2. Just read your story on the times. You should have been freed a long time ago!

    Here's hoping.

  3. I have only recently started following this blog so do not know as much of your history as many people here, but since I have started following it I have found it interesting reading.

    It seems like there are several injusticies here, starting with a murder conviction for an act that apparently was not premeditated or a deliberate attempt to kill and sounds a lot more like manslaughter. I also find it inexcusable that somebody who has done everything that should be expected of a rehabilitated prisoner is denied parol just because he makes a nuisance of himself.

    Obviously I hope that your move to open prison will finaly lead to your release, many years late.

  4. A Query for the Editor: Would playboy be allowed in to the prison or does that sort of thing get blocked? There's a great article written by an American in a similar situation to Ben in December's edition. It's by Kenneth E. Hartman who I expect Ben is aware of. I'll post it in if you think it's worth it.

  5. Eddytheb, you could send it in and see what happens! I am sure Ben would appreciate a copy of Playboy but usually that sort of thing is banned.

  6. I've mentioned this before Ben, but to my shame, I used to be part of the Michael Howard, 'Prison Works' school of thought. But reading your blog over the last year or so has caused me to think rather more deeply about it. I've never been exposed to the view from the prison landings before. And I've certainly not heard the prisoner's perspective articulated as clearly as it is in your blog. Do you know, I reckon Ken Clarke's a fan as well!
    Hang in there buddy.

  7. Your position seems to be only slightly better than those prisoners like Michael Stone who are also serving life sentences - but for no reason at all.

    I wonder how they must be feeling?

  8. Brilliant article, and for once, well done to The Times. No one reading Ben's story should be unmoved by the injustice of it.

    Unfortunately what is really needed is a complete overhaul of the prison and CJS system. A recognition that prisons in themselves do not work. Can we dare hope that in Ken Clarke we really have a Minister for Justice fit for purpose? I for one hope so.

  9. I remember this case well. A 14 year old boy beat an 11 year-old repeatedly over the head with a table leg, crushing the child's skull. The 14 year-old claimed it was a 'fight'. The 11 year-old had numerous defensive bruises, showing that the attack was a 'rage' attack and had nothing to do with a 'fight'. As child-killers go, the 14 year-old has made an alternative persona for himself. His name was John Gunn. He likes to be called 'Benn Gunn' and styles himself as a 'Lifer on the Loose'.

    1. You have said this once on a previous thread and I gave a considered comment. Repeating it verges upon a personal attack and therefore trolling - which I will in future delete.

      To say you remember the case well is interesting. It was hardly national news. Due to my age it had a little piece in the local paper...that was it. And so can I assume you were local to the crime? And why not post your name?

      Murder is, by definition, a brutal affair. And I never talk of the detail because that would be to throw it in the face of my victim's family. I ask you to give that consideration.

      As a matter of straight fact, it was not a "rage attack" and has never been characterised as such by anyone who knows the details. You clearly do not and such speculation is hardly helpful or pertinent.

      I havent made an alternative persona for myself in any way. The man I am today is shaped and guided by the boy who killed. But I am no longer 14. I have grown, developed, into today's man.

      I cannot turn back time. And so I ask you - what is it you want from me?