My friend Samantha Baldwin

Campaigning For Justice In Family Court
Campaigning For Justice In Family Court

#Justice4s

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Samantha Baldwin is a very close friend of mine. I have known her for over 20 years and have been by her side throughout this entire ordeal. Firstly I would like to state that Samantha is the kindest, most genuine person you will ever meet. She is a devoted mother to her sons, they  are her life and she would do absolutely anything for them.

 

In 2006, Samantha married David Madge. They had been in a relationship prior to their marriage for around 3-4 years. The following year in 2007, Samantha gave birth to their eldest son. Three and a half years later, in 2011 they had their second child. The boys are now aged 9 and 6.

 

In 2011, Samantha ended their marriage and David moved out of the family home. David was still having regular contact with the boys, however they continued to live with Samantha.

 

When the house was finally sold and the equity divided up, Samantha and the boys moved to a new house and in a new area for a fresh start.

 

Within weeks of living in their new house, in December 2014, Samantha’s eldest son disclosed terrible things to his Grandmother. Not long after that he then disclosed the same to Samantha, at this point the detail of the accounts  included his younger brother. As he felt more safe the disclosures continued. At this stage the eldest boy was aged 7 and his brother was 3.

 

This was unfolding right before Samantha’s eyes. Her beloved son’s whom she cares for unconditionally more than anything in the whole world, beginning to reveal a catalogue of events, a mothers worst nightmare.

 

Samantha and her close family immediately reported this to their local police. They attended Middleton police station, which is under the borough of Rochdale, Greater Manchester Police (GMP).

 

The young boys attended Middleton Police Station. The investigating officers then interviewed the children in order to provide evidence in the form of witness statements which is then sent to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Madge was immediately arrested and questioned by GMP officers. At this point a Detective Constable Inspector was allocated to the case.

 

The boys were questioned in a way that was far from ideal. They were not questioned in a specialist GMP suite, they were questioned by investigating officers in a ‘specialist’ area of the police station which contained a number of dirty looking toys which were strewn in the corner. One said the word ‘Dad’ on it. This, in my opinion is not the place to question a 7 and a 3 year old who are already experiencing signs and symptoms of trauma. The eldest boy, who we must remember was aged 7 at the time was told “I am not here to be your friend” by the interviewing officer. I would suggest it was evident this officer was impatient with him, failing to recognise the horrific level of trauma the boy had been experiencing.

 

Rather than deal with Samantha’s situation sympathetically and understandingly, upon interview of David Madge, the investigating officers would make throwaway comments such as “oh he is a business man, he must be okay” and other related statements to indicate this man,  David Madge was nothing less than an upstanding member of society. These are the type of flippant comments a distraught family experiencing a living hell did not want to hear. From the outset, Samantha and her family were of the view they were not being taken seriously by GMP or by their investigating officers which were assigned to this case. In addition, there appeared to be no degree of empathy and very little in the way of professional conduct exhibited throughout GMP’s alleged ‘investigation’ into such serious matters. It was clear procedures were not being followed.

 

Nevertheless, Samantha and her family fought tirelessly as they understandably hoped to ensure this case reached the necessary outcome whereby justice would prevail in a system they had their confidence invested in.

 

At the time of disclosing these awful things, the eldest boy told his Mother and Grandmother that daddy would inject him. During his police interview, he slumped down on the sofa to demonstrate to investigating officers the effects of being drugged.

 

Also at this time, the boys were sent to St Mary’s hospital in Manchester for examinations. During which, the examining doctor found scars on the elder boys buttocks that were left over from ‘molluscum contagiosum’. During these examinations, hair samples were also taken and infection was found. This took place in January 2015. These were taken at this time in order to be sent to GMP forensics for analysis. However, this was not done.

 

Although samples were taken of the boys hair at the start of the investigation, GMP were yet to have these tests sent away for forensic examination. Samantha continually questioned why this had not happened, as the tests potentially provided sound evidence they needed to ensure the necessary convictions of those involved.

 

While this case was being investigated, David Madge remained on police bail. He was not allowed any contact with Samantha, or the boys while the case and police enquiries remained ongoing. However, the CPS came back to GMP and suggested there was ‘not enough evidence’ to pursue matters further. Immediately all police charges against David Madge were dropped.

 

The hair samples remained untested.

 

In the meantime, Samantha, fearing for her safety, had moved her and the children once again. They moved away from their home area from their friends and loved ones and set up a new life in the area of Newark, Nottinghamshire.

 

The moment all charges against David Madge were ‘dropped’ by GMP, he immediately made an application through the family Court to gain access to the children.

 

Samantha repeatedly requested that the case be re-opened. She made further requests to GMP that the hair sample were taken away for testing, but this failed to happen. In the end, she had to take matters into her own hands in order to explore other avenues. Samantha contacted the Independent Inquiry on Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) for assistance.

 

The IICSA treated Samantha’s concerns as credible and asked GMP to re-open their investigation. There was a new DCI allocated to the case who then agreed to get the hair samples sent off for forensic testing. Finally, after an agonising 16 months of waiting, the lab tests were returned. The results revealed that there were two different types of drugs found in the boys hair. The types of drugs found were consistent with what the eldest boy had been describing to his mother and grandmother as he recalled the catalogue of events.

 

This was the only part of the investigation GMP re-opened. Frustratingly, very soon they closed it again; barely any additional investigating was done.

 

It was deemed by GMP that they were not willing to take the case any further. Although this was extremely frustrating for Samantha in her fight for justice for her boys, the family Court case was looming. Samantha was certain a family Court judge would consider all the evidence presented to him in the detail that was required during this case review. Samantha was in absolutely no doubt that the judge would take one look at this evidence in his deliberations and accept immediately that Samantha’s concerns had been credible throughout and that her boys would remain safe. She was of the view they could all then put this horrific ordeal behind them and move forward with their lives in the safe knowledge they would never ever be at risk of going through anything remotely like it again.

 

A fact finding hearing was due to run in the family court for nine days in February 2017. The presiding judge was to be judge Lea.

 

It was expected that David Madge would be questioned at length and all evidence presented would be examined thoroughly by judge Lea. Instead, what was to follow was a harrowing experience for Samantha and her family.

 

As often happens in similar cases, and has been reported previously. Rather than a clear balanced view of the facts, devastated family members that have already experienced a mass of destruction in their lives are brutally and aggressively cross examined by barristers like they are being convicted of heinous crimes in a criminal trial. Sympathy is reserved and there appears to be little intervention from the judge in considering the effects on emotional well-being and other factors. All this appears to get totally lost.

 

On the day of judgement, Samantha left Court. She feared the worse. She did not return. What followed was a nationwide police hunt for Samantha and her two boys on a grand scale. It was first deemed that Samantha and her boys were missing. This then soon changed from a missing persons inquiry to a hunt by Nottingham police for abduction. Over 100 officers scoured the country in the search for Samantha. The nationwide police hunt resembled something akin to the search for a wanted terrorist.

 

Judge Lea then released a statement whereby he publicly stated that Samantha ‘posed potential risk of harm’ to her sons. He also reported that the boys had been made ‘wards of the Court’. What Samantha was in fact doing was protecting her two boys from any more psychological or emotional harm and damage. All she wanted to do was protect her boys from any further trauma. She did what any loving mother would do.

 

Four days after, Samantha’s mother and sister were taken into police custody. They were kept for 30 hours. They were interrogated by officers as they were of the view they knew where Samantha was and that they were ‘assisting an offender’. Samantha’s mother and sister could tell Nottingham police nothing and they were finally released on police bail, without charge.

 

The following week, Samantha and her boys were found by police, 12 miles away from the Court.  At 12:50 am Samantha was awoken to a to a horrendous noise of drilling and smashing, along with men shouting. Samantha ran into her sons room. Her eldest son was sat up on the bed screaming. She hugged him and told him how much she loved him. She shouted to her youngest son but he didn’t wake. Eight officers barged into the bedroom, one male officer shouted “get off him!” He then proceeded to pull Samantha away from the gripping arms of her son, who carried on screaming. Samantha was then taken outside by two officers; one male one female who were each holding an arm. She walked over broken glass and she wasn’t even allowed to wear her coat even though she was freezing cold.  Samantha has not seen her sons since. When she returned to collect her belongings a few days later, her sons coats were still there too, meaning they would’ve left without them on a cold night.

 

I would like to add these points.

 

  • Seven and three years olds do not lie. They cannot be coerced to tell such a consistent catalogue of information relating to various events involving a number of people.
  • Why would a concerned mother fight tirelessly for justice to be served. Why would she fight tirelessly for independent agencies to re-open a case so drugs test samples could be examined that had been taken over 16 months prior?
  • Why did GMP handle this case so poorly and why were they so dismissive of Samantha and her family?
  • Why did a family court judge not take all the evidence into account and allow the names and the details within a family Court case be spread throughout the media at a nationwide level?
  • Why does the very same judge and the ‘system’ not allow any part of mainstream media to report on Samantha Baldwin’s case?
  • Why is David Madge able to release a statement?
  • Why did the Judge release his take on the case after gagging the whole media?
  • Why were both statements form the Judge & David Madge released on the same day in the same paper?
  • If the family court judge is now suddenly convinced that Samantha Baldwin poses a significant risk to her children, why was there no criminal charges brought three years ago, or why was Samantha Baldwin not questioned via a criminal investigation?

 

I would finally like to end with this. Prior to Samantha moving away from the Manchester area, she had some concerns regarding her eldest son’s development. It was considered that the boy may have been exhibiting signs of ADHD. It is evident now, in light of the circumstances, that he was actually suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I have personally known this boy since birth. He is a beautiful and gentle little boy. In the last two and a half years, I have seen him progress in the most remarkable fashion. He is bright, articulate and a wonderful child. He is like a completely different child. The progress he has made since he has been away from these terrifying experiences is something else.

Please bring justice for Samantha, her sons, and for the many others that have been failed by the ‘system’ in this country before. The truth needs to be spoken, people have a right to know what is happening. Most of all, those two beautiful boys need to be returned, to the loving care of their beautiful and brave mother, Samantha Baldwin.

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