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Voice at 35: A mother's fear for son on remand

TEENAGE BEAUTY: Allison Williams made the front page after capturing the 1982 Miss Black and Beautiful Teenage title

THE SAD story of 22-year-old Ryan Nedd, who was reportedly beaten up while in detention at the Ashford Remand Centre, became the front page lead story of The Voice newspaper as it brought out its 16th edition on December 18, 1982, to close off its first year of publication, 35 years ago.

Published under the headline, ‘Grave concern for Ryan’, The Voice story was based on an interview with Ryan’s mother, Louisa Nedd, who said she feared for her son’s life as he had lost over four stones in weight and had been assaulted by the authorities in the centre where he was detained following a court appearance.

The article went on to say Ryan’s story was a sad one. He was unemployed for some time and earlier that year his Grenadian-born mother noted that his frustration was get- ting the better of him. She said he would sit in his room with curtains drawn, not talking to her. He couldn’t sleep at nights and would frequently run up and down the stairs of their west London home. She was quoted: “He wouldn’t tell me what was wrong and when I suggested that he go and see a doctor, he said there was nothing wrong with him and he was alright.”

Mrs Nedd went on to say that one evening when she finished her shift work, she noticed that Ryan was not at home and he did not return in the night. When she was about to contact the police to say he was miss- ing, they called and told her he was being held at a police station in Southampton, charged with indecent exposure, burglary and assault. She couldn’t work out how her son, who was penniless, had got there.

REPUTATION

When Ryan came before court in Southend, he was initially granted bail, but because he was in such a bad state of mind and refused to sign the bail form, he was held in custody. Instead of being held at the nearest convenient jail, Ryan was placed in Ashford Remand Centre which had an unenviable reputation as a tough centre and this is why Mrs Nedd was concerned for her son’s safety.

The solicitor who was assigned to the case told The Voice: “We have been very concerned about people in prison showing signs of mental disturbance and we are anxious that they should receive proper help outside of prison if necessary.”

The story concluded that a number of people including Nedd’s local MP, entertain great fears for Ryan’s well-being. Also on the front cover of The Voice was the disturbing image of a KKK sign that an alert reader had torn down from a hoarding in the heart of London just as the newspaper was carrying an exclusive series by Gina Morley on page five of the same issue, giving an in-depth history of the racist group in North America.

The celebratory photo on the front page was of teenage beauty Allison Williams who had captured the 1982 Miss Black and Beautiful Teenage title at the Cora Hotel in London.

Over on page two, the lead story reported on a drugs raid at the popular Finsbury Park Tavern in north London which involved 300 police officers and the arrest of 14 people suspected of drug of- fences. The headline read: ‘Frontline Raid’.
Eye witnesses told The Voice that the operation began at 7.30 pm when a fleet of 20 police vans arrived and parked alongside the pub at the junction of Stroud Green and Seven Sisters Road. Police entered the pub and began escorting suspects out.


ROYAL VISIT: Princess Anne met Hackney Mayor Sam Springer during a trip to Cordwainers Technical College

The Finsbury Park Tavern had only been re-opened just a few months after it was shut down follow- ing similar raids and labelled a centre for drug trafficking. The main picture on the page was of Her Royal Highness Princess Anne meeting with Hackney Mayor Sam Springer when she visited the Cordwainers Technical College in the borough.

The lead story on page three carried the headline: ‘Nationality, these groundless fears’ and spoke of the concerns that citizens from the Caribbean were having about the Government’s new Nationality Act which would come into effect from January 1, 1983.

The Voice said two organisations, The National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux and the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) had written to the Home Office minister Timothy Raison about these concerns. The letter in part had stated that, “It is not satisfactory for the Home Office to depend on the efforts of voluntary organisations to inform people about the impact of the new legislation for which it is responsible.”

Fiona Mactaggart of the JCWI told The Voice: “According to the new Act, many people coming to Britain from the Caribbean had passports entitling them to be residents of the UK and its colonies. However, many of these islands have since become in- dependent and the status of these passport holders might now change. Under the new Act people with these passports have until 1988 to register as British Citizens and in some special cases will have three more years to apply.”

The Voice is celebrating its 35th birthday this year. Share your Voice memories, comments and birthday wishes on social media, using the following hash tag: #Voice35Years. Each week we will be digging into The Voice archive and publish a front cover from its first year of publication as we look back over 35 years.

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