8. Putting a plan in place

9th March 2012

Hey all, I know I’m a bit late with this again, I’ve kinda put myself under a lot of pressure between Mark’s campaign and studying an online course that I have to have completed in two weeks… Panic is setting in a little… Anyway tomorrow I plan to make a bunch of phone calls regarding Mark’s case so hopefully can update on this then.

To continue our story… I returned to Ireland with the plan to spend 3 weeks in Ireland and 1 week in Crete every month. After my first trip in October, while sitting in the airport in floods of tears trying to explain to myself why I was leaving the Island where my husband was stuck, that plan changed. That day I was the last person to get on the plane. I remember crying on the phone to my mother and her begging me to just get on the plane. The anxiety in her voice was the only reason I did eventually get on the plane. Then and there I decided I could not do this again and that I had to move back to Crete again.

I made one more week long trip in December 2010, with my mother before moving to Hersonisos in January 2011. On this last trip we got some of the best news possible. We got the phone call we had been waiting for from the moment the boys had been remanded in custody. We got the news that the DNA report had reached the court and the results were NEGATIVE, ie none of the nearly 100 samples taken from the scenes of the crimes matched any of the eight men’s DNA. The report also stated that 4 unknown DNA samples were found as well as one known persons DNA who was no longer in custody. In simple terms “they arrested ALL THE WRONG MEN”.

I remember so clearly the morning we got the news. I got a message from the lawyer asking me to call him from the payphone as he needed to talk to me about something. At that moment pure panic set in as I raced to the payphone across from the hotel we were staying in, my Mam trailing behind me. My whole body shook as I tried to dial the number, I was doubled over with an overwhelming nausea and sweat began to appear on my forehead and the palms of my hands. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity the phone was answered. The lawyer told me straight away the news and I collapsed to my hunkers and started to cry with relief. I looked up and told Mam who burst into tears and immediately began to call my Dad in Ireland to tell him. I continued to talk to the lawyer for another 20 minutes however the whole conversation was a blur. All I could think about was telling Mark the good news. Mam spoke to the lawyer briefly and we agreed to meet him in Athens airport on the way home to Ireland.

The only thing now was that I couldn’t call Mark. Since Mark has been incarcerated I have not been able to call him. I can only receive calls between 9am – 12.30pm and 3pm and 5.30pm from a card phone in the prison so I had to wait nearly 3 hours before telling him. I told the rest of Mark’s family and then Mam and I celebrated by having a chocolate crepe!! Mark called during this and when he asked if I had any news I said “yes”. I told him about the results to which his response was pure elation, I heard him shouting to his brothers to tell them, then I heard commotion with more men speaking in Albanian. The relief in his voice was something that gave me a new lease of life. This was the moment we had all been waiting for and the moment we thought things would finally start to turn around. THANK GOD… we now saw an end to this nightmare.

I visited Mark the next day before travelling home again in time to help my father with the family business over the busy Christmas period. This month was horrific. Christmas just oozes a time for family and loved ones. Its a horrible time if you are separated from them for whatever reason but my family and the knowledge that I was moving over to Crete in a couple of weeks helped, if only just a little bit, to get me through those days.

Marks Christmas day was celebrated in the prison. They were not sent inside at 12.30 so I could receive calls all day until 4.30pm. They were given a nice dinner of pork, lamb and salad along with a beer and some cake. Mark had agreed to trade his beer for a 10euro phone card as calls to Ireland are so expensive but in the end I think he just gave it away!!! These “celebrations” helped to distract them from what they were missing on the outside however the reality of it hit home once they were locked back inside at 4.30pm. New years eve and day played out much the same way however we lived in hope 2011 would bring a better year and honestly believed this nightmare would be over soon.

Ok thanks again guys for reading and for all the support

Naten e mire x