My Lord, my client pleads guilty to all the charges against her on the grounds of diminished responsibility.’
I was too shocked to speak as my barrister, resplendent in his white wig and black gown, gave my plea to the judge. That was nonsense. Nonsense! I was totally and utterly innocent, and had plenty of evidence and witnesses to prove it. What was the idiot doing, admitting my guilt? And in what way did I have diminished responsibility? My mind was awhirl, and I was almost unaware of the judge, in his even sillier wig and gown, banging his hammer down and the two burly guards grabbing my arms and escorting me back down the stairs to my claustrophobic cell.
My senses returned with a jolt as the door banged shut behind me and I heard the click of the lock. Where´s that stupid barrister?’ I yelled, as loud as I could.
He´ll have gone home now,’ came the emotionless warder´s answer through the door. I expect he´ll be back to see you tomorrow.’
I collapsed onto the hard, narrow bed and put my head in my hands, tears welling up in my eyes. What was I to do? Here I was, 21 and just out of university with my whole life ahead of me. A silly misunderstanding had ended me up in court, but I wasn´t guilty of anything. I´d been certain that I´d be acquitted without a stain on my character. Yet that ghastly barrister had just wrecked it all. Why? What could I do about it?
The door swung open with a soft creak, interrupting my reverie. Two men in white coats, one carrying a white object, came in and closed the door quietly behind them. Hello, Jane,’ said the older one. I was startled, as everyone else had been calling me Miss Smith since I'd been here. I rose to my feet, and as I did so, he flung the white object over my head. I was blinded; I panicked and my arms flailed as I frantically tried to remove it. With practised moves, they grabbed me and forced my arms into sleeves that ended in stiff leather bags. My head emerged through a hole and suddenly I realised what they were doing. They were putting me into a straitjacket!
I opened my mouth and began to scream. Before more than a peep or two could emerge, my mouth was completely filled by a huge rubber bung, silencing me, and the younger man was holding me gently but firmly while the older one buckled a strap behind my head, forcing in the bung even further. There, there,’ he said soothingly in a pleasant baritone voice, no need to panic, Jane. Nothing at all to worry about. You´re going to be looked after very well.’ Soon, he had the strap fastened tightly behind my head. Then all went dark. He had slipped a blindfold over my eyes, and again he fastened it tight.
They were preparing to take me to a mental hospital! As that shocking thought hit me like a bolt of lightning, I began to struggle frantically, but blindfolded and partly restrained by the straitjacket, I was no match for the two of them. Soon, the straitjacket had been tightened and clung to my body. My arms were folded across my chest, and I was hugging myself tightly as they fastened the sleeves behind me and secured a strap that held them firmly against my chest. They fastened a chain between my ankles that stopped me kicking or trying to run away not that I could run very far blindfolded and I knew that the door was locked. While they were at it, they removed my shoes.
I felt a fumble at my waist. They were undoing my skirt. Why? The zip opened and the skirt fell to round my ankles, and then I felt something being passed between my legs. A strap pressed against my crotch. I realised that this was an extra security strap. It would make it even harder for me to slip out of the straitjacket, as if there were any way that I could. They pulled the strap as tight as they could through my crotch and buckled it behind me.
Once they had me trussed up securely, each of them took hold of one of my pinioned arms. Come with us, Jane,’ said the older man in the same soothing tone. There wasn´t much that I could do about it. They held me firmly as I walked forward slowly and hesitantly, blindfolded and hobbled. I realised that the straitjacket reached only just below my waist, so without my skirt, anyone could see my panties. The thought unsettled me, but of course I could do nothing at all about it.
It seemed to take forever to walk out of the cell, along the corridor, up some stairs and through a door. From the sudden chill and the roughness beneath my bare feet, I was obviously outside the court building. We climbed up a ladder, the chain between my legs making this quite difficult, and they sat me in a seat. They fastened some straps round me, holding me immovably to the seat, and they fixed the chain between my ankles to something so my legs were immobilised. Once they were satisfied that I could not possibly leave the seat, they moved away. I heard the sound of an engine starting, and realised that we were in a van. We were off.
I had no idea, blindfolded as I was, where we went or how long the journey took. It was a very effective blindfold, heavily padded, allowing not a glimmer of light to reach my eyes. Much as I wanted to, I could not reach it or the gag to remove them. Eventually, I heard the sound of the wheels change to the scrunch of gravel. Shortly after that, we stopped. Here we are, Jane. All´s well,’ said the older man reassuringly, as they released me from the seat and helped me to my feet. All was not well! I was trussed up and helpless, and about to be incarcerated in a lunatic asylum, and there was not a single thing that I could do about it.
Again, they each took an arm and helped me to walk. I climbed out of the van, wincing as my bare feet stepped onto the sharp gravel. Fortunately, I only had to endure that for a few steps. After climbing three stairs, I felt carpet beneath my feet and was indoors again. The place smelt of something medical, though I could not identify it exactly. We walked along a carpeted corridor, and then turned left and stopped. In a little while, a bell rang; we went forward a few steps, and stopped again. I realised that we were in a lift. We went up, then it stopped, I was turned round and we walked out.
Once again, we walked along a carpeted corridor. The vague medical smell was even stronger. We turned left and suddenly it was very soft beneath my feet. Was this a padded cell? I heard the door close with a click. No doubt we were locked in the cell so I could not flee not that I could get very far blindfolded and hobbled.
Thanks, boys,’ came a high-pitched and very nasal male voice. Now with this one, we're trying the new simplified restraint, so you can take off the jacket.’ I liked the sound of simplified restraint’, as the straitjacket was very restrictive. My escorts got the jacket off with remarkable speed, and I stretched my arms in relief. As I did so, I felt the buttons of my blouse being undone. I tried to resist, but the men were persistent; one held my arms while the other gently but irresistibly removed my blouse. I was equally unable to stop them removing my bra too, and I stood before them naked except for my panties.
I instinctively put my hands up to cover my breasts, but they grabbed them and with expert moves twisted them round behind my back and handcuffed my wrists. The handcuffs seemed to be padded, because they gripped my wrists tightly but comfortably. A second pair of handcuffs was added just above my elbows.
Next, they put something over my hands and started working it up my arms. It seemed to be a sleeve, like the ones on the straitjacket but wide enough to hold both arms. They worked it up until it pressed firmly into my armpits, and I realised that like the straitjacket sleeves it ended in a stiff leather bag. My hands were pressed together and my fingers were useless. Twist and turn though I might, the men held me firmly and my resistance was in vain.
Straps from the sleeve that buckled over and under my breasts were pulled tight, holding the sleeve on securely. Then they started tightening a series of straps round the sleeve, forcing my arms closer together. This took some time, as my arms could not easily be pressed so close, but eventually my forearms were touching from wrist to elbow and my shoulders were forced back as far as they could go. This was much worse than the straitjacket. I repeatedly tried to protest, but the large bung filling my mouth rendered me quite incoherent. Struggling was totally futile. A strap round the sleeve and my torso pressed my arms against my back; the men pulled it so tight that it dug into my stomach.
Finally, this restraint was on to their satisfaction and my hands and arms were trapped, quite immobile, behind me. I was laid on my face on the padded floor and strong hands gripped my ankles. My legs were bent over and the chain between my ankles was fixed to the tip of the sleeve, securely hogtying me. I was rolled onto my back and they forced my knees as wide apart as they could go and placed a pole between them to keep them apart. A strap from each end of the pole went round each thigh just above the knee and was buckled very tight.
I heard the door swing open, the men walked out and the door clanged shut. I was alone and helpless, nearly naked, blindfolded, gagged and trussed up so thoroughly that I was hardly able to move. I tried to roll round on the floor, but it was too difficult, bound as I was, to turn over. Who knows how long I lay there? It seemed like untold hours, while my shoulders grew cramped from the strain of being forced back, my thighs grew cramped due to their contorted position and my jaw grew cramped from the gag. When would this torment end?
Suddenly, I was started back into awareness by the sound of the door opening and shutting again. Despite the agonies of my situation, I had somehow gone to sleep. Hands caressed and kneaded my breasts. The great thing about forcing you to have your elbows touching is how it makes your breasts stand out,’ came a voice. It was my barrister! I tried to sit up, to speak to him, but it was impossible. The silly people didn´t finish the job,’ he sighed as he cut off my panties and then continued to play with my breasts. I came to tell you that the judge has made an order committing you here for your own and the public´s safety. I´d say you´ll be here for about two years, but the judge will be along tomorrow to assess you himself.’