There are some things we can never assign to oblivion…
15 February 2014 is the seventeenth anniversary of a brutal murder, a crime that has never been solved. The case of Billie-Jo Jenkins dominated the headlines at the time of the murder in 1997. Her foster father was wrongly convicted of her murder, and a desperate miscarriage of justice was only overturned with his eventual acquittal in 2006.
Ever since this website went online in 1999 it has continued to call for the real killer to be found and for the truth of what took place to be revealed. Until that happens there can be no real resolution. In a case where so much damage has needlessly resulted,it is not enough to have a blank response that there are no plans to re-open it. Every line of enquiry was far from exhausted - the priority at that point was to have a quick result.
Many things have changed since 1997. Public credulity has been reshaped by unexpected disclosures, and received wisdom has been reconfigured. Now everyone knows that
- police officers do not always tells the truth
- some elements of the media observe no boundaries
- in certain circumstances expediency has been allowed to override integrity
Today there are still those who know what really happened on 15 February 1997. At the time a torrent of sensational media coverage produced a fast-moving storyline fit for a soap opera, with the two-dimensional characters and over-simplified motivation which soon fade from memory. In real life, though, memory is more enduring. Loyalties change or cease to exist. Facts that were once secret have a habit over time of working their way into the open as the fabric of untruth that covered them gradually disintegrates. Like waters seeping slowly upwards from far below the surface, they can still undermine and submerge an edifice that may for years have dominated the landscape.
The culture that prevailed in the 1990s can now be viewed through the prism of history. We cannot justify what was wrong in the past by pointing out that times have changed for the better.
This anniversary brings a call for truthful reflection, for an honest re-evaluation of events after Billie-Jo Jenkins was murdered on 15 February 1997, and a narrative of unimaginable sadness began to take shape.
Seventeen years may have passed, but the truth has no expiry date. it is never too late to try to do the right thing. If there is a will to make it happen there can still be justice for Billie-Jo.
Resolution — and reconciliation — are still possible even now.
The rigorous pursuit of error
As a society we are finally learning that it is less damaging to admit mistakes than to pretend that they never happened. Nothing enhances justice more than the rigorous pursuit of error.The Guardian: Justice on Trial