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A life so damaged it's not worth getting dressed

Chris Jackson | 18:01 UK time, Monday, 26 October 2009

Suzanne goes shopping in her pyjamas. Do people stop and stare? The point is - she doesn't care.

Rarely does she get properly dressed. If there is medical name to her condition, she doesn't know it, but it's a symptom of a very deep hurt inflicted on her by society.

In principle, it could happen to any one of us. Wrong place, wrong time, and suddenly you're in the dock for a crime you didn't commit.

Imagine your first night as a convict. You protest your innocence but then who doesn't?

The trial and acquittal is well documented, but I was the first TV reporter to spend time with her since her release and see first hand what a false conviction can do to someone.

Chris Jackson talking to Suzanne Holdsworth and her partner Lee SpencerIt really has been a struggle. A question or two from me and Suzanne can't hold back the tears. Lee is the tower of strength who never doubted her innocence and never seems to lose patience with her reclusive post-prison behaviour.

How are you supposed to carry on after three and a half years are torn from your life? An age apart from your growing children is a torment that drove her to suicidal thoughts.

All that trauma and somehow you're supposed to pick up the pieces all by yourself. Suzanne has not had any counselling or help in coming to terms with such frightening events. But one real asset is fiancé Lee - who's determined to heal their fractured lives.

The couple say a simple ' sorry' for what was inflicted on them wouldn't make up for what has happened but it would be a start. That may come when the report into Cleveland Police's handling of the case is finally published. But for now just getting up each day is a challenge for Suzanne.


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