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Vicar forgives daughter’s killers

November 19, 2009

….Roger Smart, prosecuting, said: “Rosi fell to her death having, in fear of further violence… clambered out of a third floor window.

“Rosi leapt to her death from the kitchen window of Kemi’s flat to escape from a prolonged period of physical and verbal abuse.”

….At first police thought Rosi may have been pushed, and arrested the girls on suspicion of murder, but later reduced the charge to manslaughter.

No-one will ever know exactly how Rosi felt when she leapt, or her wider state of mind.

She had threatened to jump out of a window a few months earlier after an argument with her boyfriend, although she told doctors she would not have gone through with it.

But just three days before her death, Rev Boxall said she sounded “upbeat”, “hopeful” and “positive” when she called for clothes and bedding because the council had given her and some friends a flat.

In a family statement soon after the death, Rev Boxall and his wife said: “She was a loving, caring person who brought frequently-remembered times of fun and laughter to the family.

“More than just a daughter and sister, she was also a great friend who will always be missed.”

As has been noted before on RJOB, forgiveness is a big topic and a controversial one in restorative justice. This tragic story raises important questions: Can someone other than the direct victim forgive an offender? Is forgiveness primarily for the benefit of the offender or of the victim/survivor? Does forgiveness require the forgiver to waive all accountability that might otherwise be demanded of the offender? Should the justice system take official notice of an act of forgiveness?

But the story is not an interesting hypothetical to prompt debate. It is first of all the terrible account of a young person whose life ended too soon because she was afraid of being maimed or killed, and it is the story of a grief-stricken family coming to terms with their loss.


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