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Woman Locked Up and "Lost" for 70 Years

In 1937, when Jean Gambell was a mere 15 years old, she was wrongly accused of stealing 13 pence. Even though the money was later found, she was, nonetheless, locked up and moved from care home to care home for 70 years. It seems her family lost track of her and thought she had died - until now:

She was "found" when brothers Alan, 66, and David, 63 -- who thought she was dead -- read a letter sent by a care home to their mother, who died 25 years ago.

David said: "I was about to throw it in the bin when I saw a name in the corner -- Jean Gambell. I rang and they said our sister was there."

The two brothers travelled from their homes in Liverpool to see Jean at the home in Macclesfield, Cheshire. Staff warned them she was deaf and may not remember them.

David said: "We were very nervous. We wrote on a piece of card 'Hello Jean, we're your brothers'. But she took one look at us and said, 'Hello Alan, hello David' -- and flung her arms around us."

He added: "Nowadays there are appeals -- but back then a doctor could sign away a life with the stroke of a pen.

"They basically locked her up and threw away the key and she was stuck in the system.

"She just got moved from one institution to another.

"What a waste of a poor, innocent girl's life."

Jean had a stroke after meeting her brothers, believed to have been sparked by the shock of the reunion. She is said to be recovering.

That this was a waste of an innocent girl's life is the understatement of the year. Her life was taken from her. So, what happens now? How is the UK government going to make up for 70 lost years? I'd say this woman's Constitutional rights were violated, but the UK doesn't have a written Constitution that limits the government's power or protects individual rights. Consequently, the overbearing UK government can and does intrude all over the British people just as it did in this case.

Hat tip: Freepers

More from the UK Telegraph:

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. More recently, she went into a care home and has been lost to her family, who thought she was dead.


"I am sure that what has kept her going all these years was the challenge of proving to the authorities that she had a family. The trouble was, nobody would listen to her."

The brothers spent much of their childhood in orphanages because their parents were so poor. They said that they had later discovered that their father had tried for years to get Jean freed after she was put in Cranage Hall mental hospital in Macclesfield for being "of feeble mind", but was unsuccessful because her records had been mislaid.

She spent years, lost in a maze of instutitons and care homes, trying to convince people in authority that she had a family. But nobody would believe her.

Macclesfield Social Services are now conducting an inquiry into Miss Gambell's incarceration.

This is just unforgivable.


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Comments (12)

This is such an immensely s... (Below threshold)

This is such an immensely sad story that I have a feeling that it will be in my thoughts for a long time to come.

Ah, boohoohoohooTh... (Below threshold)
ChildrenS Do Learn:

Ah, boohoohoohoo

That GD UK government w/o a Constitution....

Course over here, had it been her 3rd 13 pence offense, she might have been locked up forever.

Far worse, are the innocent who have been executed, especially in the blood-sucking state of Texas where capitol punishment is worshipped as a divine-right ritual. Hell, Gov. Chimp signed death warrants as fast as they came across his desk. One never hears a Republican lament for the wrongfully executed.

And as for a Constitution, look at what President Chimp & his constitution-loving Republican flying monkeys have done to Habeas Corpus.

Psychiatrists in this count... (Below threshold)

Psychiatrists in this country possess an unreviewable power of commitment, too. In legal terms, "committed to psychiatric care" is a valid answer to a writ of habeas corpus.

There are some requirements. It takes two psychiatrists in agreement on the necessity, plus the consent of a close family member. But that's a far cry from "due process" or the "jury of one's peers" that's supposed to stand between an American and involuntary incarceration.

And one never hears the lef... (Below threshold)

And one never hears the left in the US or Europe lament the poor victims of murderers. For them, it's only the poor killers who need sympathy. No wonder Islam is steadily conquering Europe -- it's elites have already sold themselves to evil.

It was also common in Engla... (Below threshold)

It was also common in England in the early part of the Twentieth Century to to institutionalize women who had illegitimate children. Had to be crazy to do something so immoral, I guess.

Phyllis Chesler commented on a few cases in "Women and Madness in which women were discovered to have spent their entire adult lives in asylums because of this. They, too, got lost in the system because no one cared to check on why they were there in the first place.

This is just unforgivabl... (Below threshold)
Master Shake:

This is just unforgivable.

And yet, ChildrenS Do Learn is still allowed to spread its own form of insanity....

Not any longer, Master Shak... (Below threshold)

Not any longer, Master Shake... at least, not around here.

(Putting Olaf The Troll God's Hammer back on its hook...)


Smells better already....</... (Below threshold)

Smells better already....

Hey "Childrens Do Learn " .... (Below threshold)

Hey "Childrens Do Learn " ...you ignorant fool, why don't you enlighten us with a link or two about what "President Chimp & his constitution-loving Republican flying monkeys have done to Habeas Corpus."

Your comparison of this case with Texas capital cases is simply amazing. One might wonder if the "Lunacy Act" would do some good with you.

Locked up for 70 years for ... (Below threshold)
Spurwing Plover:

Locked up for 70 years for such a small crime and will any of our liberal directors from hollywerid make a movie about this?

Jay,It appears you... (Below threshold)
Dave A.:


It appears you have created your own BDS parallel to Godwin's Law. Bravo.

ONE FLEW OVER THE SPURWING ... (Below threshold)
Spurwing Plover:







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