Dear Andrea,

Nothing on earth can prepare you for what you are about to go through, and what you are going through.

Having been there, I thought that I'd prepared myself mentally for the total anguish, but to sit in the Industrial Court and hear all the excuses under the sun......... I had been told that I would probably hear a few 'unpalatable' statements, and was given the option of not attending court. After all, as I was told, it was really 'nothing to do with me', it was just that I was allowed to attend as 'an interested party'. I just sat there most of the time, in silent tears. I know that the General Manager of the company where my husband died at the time was very rattled - he turned up to court on that first day wearing odd socks! He also couldn't even look at me.

Andrea, I was made to feel quite guilty, even though I had done nothing to feel guilty about! How I ever managed to sit through the bulk of the proceedings is still beyond me! I must have gathered up some inner strength from somewhere. I'm so pleased that you were given the opportunity to read your Victim Impact Statement - I can't remember if the Magistrate read ours out in court, or if he just read it himself in Chambers, and referred to it in court. I was unable to be present on the final day of proceedings, as I was in Borneo, but my son was there. He rang me at my hotel to tell me the verdict, and I can remember the total feeling of anger, frustration and disappointment, all mixed in with a feeling of relief that it was finally over.

But it is never really 'over'. Honestly, our lives have changed, and if anyone thinks that once the Industrial Court proceedings are over and done with that life gets back on an even keel, they have another thing coming! I'm still reeling mentally and emotionally from the shock of losing my husband and I don't think I will ever get over the horrible way in which he died. I expected that we would grow old and grey together, and that we would die within a matter of weeks of each other. Obviously, that hasn't happened!

Andrea, sitting in the court room, listening to the evidence, thinking to yourself that all the information you are hearing just couldn't be all makes for total anguish. It just brings back all the bad memories. I was determined to be in that court room, so that the people who had caused this dreadful accident could see what effect it had had on me. I was accused, by family and friends, of being 'morbid', by wanting to see justice done. Just as I was accused of being 'morbid' for wanting to go to where he died, so I could try and picture what he went through. I also thought that the court proceedings would give me some answers, but, unfortunately, that wasn't to be. I am still no closer to finding out exactly what happened, partly I suppose, because he was working alone.

So basically, I am no further forward! Yes, the 'processes' put me back into the abyss, but I had to attend, for my own peace of mind. Maybe if you could point out to everyone that it is such an emotional strain, and that basically the 'cause and effect' are somewhat whitewashed. I can remember the Industrial Magistrate, telling the lawyer for the company that she kept referring to my husband as 'the deceased', and that he had a name, so please use it! I know that it's all technical *BS , but he was a living, breathing human being! Very hurtful in a lot of ways, as though he and his life didn't amount to anything.

Anyway, I digress! This is a very, very painful process you are going through, and please know that I'm with you, every step of the way. Keep your chin up, Andrea, and know that you are thought about, and hopefully being given 'inner strength' to get you through this dreadful time.

Edith Logan