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Monday, October 22, 2007

Shocking story of how incompetent bureaucracy led to an innocent young woman being incarcerated for 70 years.

Innocent woman freed after 70 years, dies

Extract from Telegraph report:

"A woman who was locked up for 70 years after being falsely accused of stealing half-a-crown, has died just months after being reunited with her family.

Jean Gambell spent most of her life being passed around various mental institutions after being sectioned as a teenager as a “feeble-minded person”.

Over the years, the 85-year-old lost all contact with her family.

It was by chance that her brother discovered that she was still alive and was able to organise a tearful family reunion at a care home in Macclesfield.

"I couldn't believe it. I suddenly realised that my sister was still alive," said David Gambell, 63, who stumbled across correspondence relating to his sister that was sent to his dead mother.

"I rang the care home straight away and they confirmed that our sister was there."

At the age of 15, in 1937, Jean was falsely accused of stealing 2s 6d (12.5p) from the doctor's surgery where she worked as a cleaner.

She was sectioned under the 1890 Lunacy Act and even though the money was later found, she has been moved from mental institution to mental institution."