Hackney Stages Victoria Climbie Trespass CaseDate: 19 March 2002
The Hackney Empire will premiere a new court-to-stage play based on the recent case of Victoria Climbie (pictured), the eight-year-old immigrant girl who died in February 2000 as a result of some of worst child abuse this country has ever seen. Those Who Trespass Against Us will have a limited run from 14 to 18 May, then resuming from 21 to 26 May 2002.
Originally from the Ivory Coast in Africa, Victoria was in the care of her great aunt Marie-Therese Kouao, who was awarded custody by Victoria's birth parents in Africa, believing that she'd have a better life in Europe. Instead, she was ritually abused by Kouao and her boyfriend Carl Manning. At the time of her death, Victoria's body was covered by more than 120 separate injuries.
In January 2002, Kouao and Manning were jailed for life for Victoria's murder. But the actions of public agencies, which had failed to halt the tragedy despite at least a dozen opportunities, were also brought under intense scrutiny.
Those Who Trespass Against Us highlights what went wrong, examining the role played by the four Social Service Agencies, two Police Child Protection Teams and two hospitals that would see Victoria's life slip through their fingers. The play - by Lance Nielsen for The Gutted Film and Theatre Company - is based on the testimony provided by 15 key witnesses, including evidence not included in the court trial.
Other recent court-to-stage offerings, frequently originating at north London's Tricycle Theatre, have covered enquiries into Nuremberg, the Stephen Lawrence murder trial, the arms to Iraq scandal and Srebrenica. The Tricycle is also currently considering a staging of the enquiry into "Bloody Sunday", the 1972 milestone in the history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, in which 13 people on a banned protest march in Derry were shot to death by the British army. The official court investigation into that incident is ongoing.
- by Terri Paddock