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Can Chantal put the past behind her?

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Guy Smith | 08:46 UK time, Friday, 25 June 2010

Chantal McCorkleShe's finally home with her family.

Today, Chantal McCorkle is expected to be released from East Sutton Park prison in Kent.

She's spent the last 12 years in US jails but was transferred to Britain last summer.

Chantal - originally from Slough - and her American husband William - were convicted of fraud and money laundering. In 1999, they were jailed for 24 years without parole.

They ran a company in Florida selling videos about how to get rich quick on the property market. Their crime was to pretend actors were happy customers. That deception landing them in trouble and eventually prison.

Five years ago I visited Orlando to find out more about the case and also gained access to the jail outside San Francisco where she was imprisoned.

William McCorkle was said to have masterminded the infomercials, producing, directing and editing them. He did eventually admit full responsibility and said Chantal's role was minimal.

But the judge didn't release her early.

Some British lawyers say if the offences had been committed in England she would have got little more than a suspended sentence.

Her mother Diane has struggled to come to terms with what's happened.

"I have been in denial," she told me last night. "I never dwelt on where she was. I never faced the truth about where she was. If I did, I would have had a breakdown. I've held it all back. It has been difficult not knowing what was going to happen to her. I need closure on it all."

Chantal was 29 when she was convicted and sentenced. Now she's 42.

"It's surreal that she is coming out forever," said Diane. " I feel really stressed. I'm really nervous. But we'll all have a meal and I'll relax."

She added: "It's an end of one chapter for Chantal and the beginning of another. She doesn't want to dwell on the past. She wants to put it all behind her. I really don't know how she's going to cope after such a long time inside.

"When she was in jail she thought about one day having children but she's not thinking about it now. She has nine nephews and nieces and during the recent home visits she's got to know them. She loves them to bits. We're lucky, we're all a very close family."


  • Comment number 1.

    Im so happy chantal is free. Enjoy dear friend you always be in my heart.

    Hugs and Kiss


    P.S Is your rainbow time

  • Comment number 2.

    Happy to hear that Chantal has been "free". She is a long time friend whom I dearly love and admire. She will be a very productive citizen and her life will touch by many. May God Bless her in her new journey to a new life and beginnings.



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