THE GIRL FROM
THE KILLING STREETS
She needed help.
Instead, she was sent to gaol.
A brief extract
A journalist has been given permission to interview the girl – Sorcha Mulveny - in Armagh Gaol
I set my notebook on the table between us and took out my pen. “You don’t mind if I start taking notes?”
“Fill yer boots.” She drew a deep breath, and then both eyes grew moist again. “They will hate me, won’t they? The people who read yer book… they will hate me for what I did?”
I shook my head. “I hope not. From the little I learned at your trial I’d guess that you were a victim of your environment. I suspect you were a victim long before the events of Bloody Friday.”
“A victim? Youse mean what the nuns did to me, after the baby…?” She looked away and the lingering dampness in her eyes turned to a trickle of tears. The previous air of determination was gone in an instant. I allowed a moment of silence for her to compose herself. The revelation about a baby surprised me, but this was not the time for me to question the matter.
When she seemed recovered, I told her, “I suspect that your story goes a lot deeper than most people realise.” I injected as much of a tone of compassion as I could muster. She needed compassion like a starving man needed food, probably more, and she’d had precious little of it so far.
“Youse think so?” she mumbled.
“Sure of it. Look, we can delve into the more painful parts of your past some other time, if you prefer. Why don’t you start this interview by telling me about what happened that night, the night before the bombing? Tell me what actually happened when you came across that policeman, the one who….”
"No!” She suddenly shook her head fiercely and shouted at me. “No! Not that!” Her air of cooperation vanished in an instant, leaving me nonplussed. “I don’t wanna talk about that bit yet. Not yet. Why can’t you leave it for the time bein’?”
“But you said you’d tell me…”
“Not yet! I ain’t ready for that yet!”
I struggled to control my frustration. We hadn’t even begun and already I had come upon a brick wall, and I didn’t know why. I tried to keep my voice calm. And then that suspicion came back to my mind; the suspicion that told me something about her confession wasn’t right. There was far more to her story than anyone had guessed. However, this wasn’t the time to force the issue. Patience was going to be important here. Patience and persistence.