Mistake #7

10 things the Daily Mail got wrong about the trial of Mark Alexander

Mark “resented his father’s meddling, according to his girlfriend”

Mark “had had enough of being bossed around”. Mark was “driven by the knowledge that only with his father out of the way could he live the life he wanted to lead”.

Samuel “made him live with him at his home in Buckinghamshire, even while he was studying in London”.

– Excerpts from the Daily Mail et al

The first mistake is actually an error on the part of the reporter. Nobody actually ever said this. Looking back at the opening speech, for all its flaws, what was actually said on behalf of the prosecution was this:

“The degree of control [Sami] exercised over Mark was disapproved of by others who became aware of it, and resented by some whom it affected, particularly young women”.

This was an oblique reference to an ex-girlfriend who wanted us to start a life together. I don’t think I was ready to settle down like that at that point in my life. I was just entering my first year at university and I had responsibilities at home. Dad was falling ill and I wanted to be there for him.

“Clearly, that relationship with the defendant was some time ago now… You may think that fairly quickly she became very attracted to him and very keen on him. They clearly got on very well together… their relationship got to the stage where she… was really quite keen to make something long term of it and very keen that the defendant should move… and they should live together… But Mark, in effect, was saying well he had his studies and really it was not on for him to move. You will remember that eventually a crunch point came.” – The Honourable Judge Reddihough in his summing-up

“I was frustrated by his father being the root cause of stopping Mark coming to Cambridge. Mark was well aware I regarded his father as ‘that hindrance’” – CY

This is a point probably worth stressing because of course, if I was really living under such unbearable oppression, then there were plenty of opportunities for me to make a clean break. I could have abandoned my father right then. At any moment, all I had to do was walk out of the door. The fact that I chose not to disproves the whole notion of motive.

“Undoubtedly, this defendant, after his father’s serious operation, gave him great care and devotion for many months” – The Honourable Judge Reddihough in his summing-up

“Mark was very concerned about his father’s state of health and I think he just got on with it and helped look after his dad” – CY

Sami often said “what a ‘good boy’ Mark was for looking after him and how good he was with studies, he was complimentary and boastful. Mark was very much the perfect son and the way he used to look after his father was admirable” – JPi, Neighbour

“Sami would tell me how Mark looked after him and did his washing etc. He used to come home every night from university to care for Sami. They got on well and I could see there was a mutual respect and admiration between them” – MP, Neighbour

My childhood may have been difficult and unconventional, but it made me who I am today, and I’m a stronger person for it. I’ve never felt like a victim of my circumstances, and I just don’t buy into the idea that traumatic experiences can only ever have a negative impact on people.

I look back upon my life at that time as a halcyon period. Things were going from strength to strength and I wanted for nothing. I’d come away from an amazing boarding school education with the highest mark in the country for ICT at A level, been head-hunted by IBM, worked at the Wimbledon Championships, and been nominated for the Excellence in Computing Awards. When King’s College London made me an offer to study law everything seemed to be falling into place. There’s no sense that dad was somehow ‘holding me back’. I had set up my own business a few years before my arrest, and my diary was being filled with invitations to deliver talks on entrepreneurship and innovation, attend parties and business functions. I was making new friends and enjoying student life, it was an exciting time. The reality is that I was already living the life I ‘wanted to lead’. Everything was already on track, why would I throw it all away?

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