Don't miss a story sign up to Weston Mercury's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

‘I want to rebuild my life’ says Weston activist cleared of protest camp rape

PUBLISHED: 09:56 13 May 2013

Malcolm Blackman

Malcolm Blackman

Archant

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.

"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. "

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.

"We live in a make-believe world where people are innocent until proven guilty - but I had to prove my innocence.
"

“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.

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.

“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.”

The first step will be for Mr Blackman to return home to the town where he has lived for more than 20 years, and is well known for his work in the security industry and for his street act as a magician.

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?”

Other News Stories

20:01

Weston-super-Mare’s Labour Party hit the streets to protest against the Government’s latest budget, saying people ‘deserve better’ than an ‘underfunded’ NHS.

Read more
19:01

Weston Town Council decided who will be the town’s mayor and deputy mayor for the next year at its meeting on Monday.

Read more
17:00

Weston’s Cancer Research UK committee held its annual knit-in at the town’s football club, with more than 65 keen knitters taking part.

Read more
16:00

A curry night has raised £855 for an animal charity.

Read more
15:00

A Weston hotel worker had his head shaved in aid of one of the town’s most popular charities.

Read more
14:00

A Somerset care home has earned praise from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Read more
13:00

Students from a North Somerset school reinvented a classic story this week for a quirky performance.

Read more
12:00

A sea cadet unit is on the lookout for new members to join its ranks.

Read more
11:00

Supporters of a Weston-super-Mare charity were given a reason to celebrate this week when the winner of a prize worth £500 was chosen.

Read more

The NSPCC has called on parents to check the age limits on social media, with a recent survey revealing 16 per cent of adults in the South West were unaware a restriction existed.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

Image
Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 7°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

Somerset's trusted business finder