By Simon Angear
A political activist who says his life has been ‘shattered’ by false rape claims is returning to Weston to begin a fight for new laws to protect people from malicious allegations.
Malcolm Blackman made national headlines two weeks ago when he went on trial at the Old Bailey accused of raping a woman at the Occupy London demonstration at St Paul’s Cathedral.
Jurors have since cleared the 46-year-old of any wrong-doing – and now Mr Blackman says he wants to return home ‘with his head up high’ and campaign to save others from having their lives ‘ruined’ in the same way.
Formal ‘not guilty’ verdicts were recorded on both charges against Mr Blackman on May 3, and now he faces the task of piecing together a life which has been on hold for more than a year.
Mr Blackman – the co-founder of activist movement Anonymous UK – told the Mercury: “The whole situation has been horrendous.”
“All year, people have been told I am a rapist. Life will never be the same again.”
“There will always be that stigma attached to me. There will always be people who are wondering ‘I wonder if he just got away with it’.”
“The worst thing was knowing that I would either be going to prison as an innocent man, or walking away with my life in ruins.”
“Completely vindicated as I was, it’s not going to change the fact that my life is shattered.”
Key video evidence and witness testimonies put Mr Blackman elsewhere at the time the woman – who cannot be named – claimed she was attacked.
- Why can't the woman be named?
And he now wants the law to do more to protect the identity of people accused of rape until their guilt is established.
Mr Blackman said: “We live in a make-believe world where people are innocent until proven guilty - but I had to prove my innocence.”
- Welcome to the real world where you are guilty and must prove your innocence. Like we've said before, people have no clue, until it happens to them.
“I expected British justice to do its thing. The CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) should have looked at this and seen it had no legs. They said they have to be sympathetic to the victim – but now I am the victim.”
“I am 100 per cent behind anonymity for alleged victims of rape, as real victims must not be deterred from coming forward.”
“But what I am going to be stamping my feet about and campaigning for is the need for anonymity for both parties.”
“The law needs to be reviewed as a matter of urgency. The accused gets his life torn apart. It has cost me my career, my home.”
“I had to go and see everyone in my life that matters to me. I told them ‘the first thing I need to say is I didn’t do it – the second is, you’d better sit down’.”
“It’s a very difficult thing to try to explain something which is so alien to you.”
“Even my sisters, like everyone else, just didn’t know. They were forced to question their faith in me.”
“I’ve not slept, I’ve not eaten. I’ve lived with untold pressure. I have lost a lot of faith in humanity. I now have only a very few friends. And I have an absolute fear of women – I don’t intend to date ever again.”
He said: “What I really want to do is get back to Weston and rebuild my life. I want to be able to walk around with my head up high. I want people to know the truth.”
“I consider myself a decent citizen of Weston, and an asset to the town. I love it as home.”
“I want to sit on the beach and watch the sun go down. Little things like that mean a lot now.”
“But I will have to take it one day at a time because there have been no plans for me. How can you make plans when your life is in limbo?”