The Narcissist’s Fan Club (aka Flying Monkeys)

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

Isn’t it enough that victims have to deal with the hurt and frustration caused merely by loving a narcissist? To add insult to injury, narcissists in their lives have their own personal minions, appropriately labeled as “flying monkeys,” who side with them and join their “team” and set out to participate in their damaging agenda to destroy the targets’ lives.

Flying monkeys are the narcissist’s enablers. They come in all shapes and sizes. They may be friends, family members, pastors, and counselors. In reality, I don’t think the flying monkeys realize what they are doing. I trust that these people actually believe in the righteousness and the “cause” of the narcissist.

Here’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about: There is a couple I know who sought pastoral counseling from their local church. The pastor was helping them keep their marriage together. The man was a typical narcissistic, emotional abuser. The wife was a typical codependent, enabler. She went to the church for spiritual counseling and accountability for her husband’s poor treatment of her. The wife recounted to her pastor that during an argument with her husband one day he had threatened to “kill her if she didn’t get out of the car!”

The pastor had two comments for the woman, “Why didn’t you get out of the car?” and, “You know he didn’t mean he was REALLY going to kill you.”

To make matters even worse, the woman thought, perhaps, her mother-in-law would be supportive and talk some sense into her son. When she told her mother-in-law what happened, the only response she got was, “Well, you know things are said in marriage…”

Did I hear that correctly? No, I don’t think these are the types of things that are typically said in marriages. At least, I hope not.

These are two examples of flying monkeys – the pastor and the mother.

Narcissists are master manipulators. They have limited insight, so they actually hold to the opinion that their behaviors toward you are justified. They are on the spectrum of delusion, and adhere to their pathological opinions. They believe, as they abuse you, that they are, in fact, the true victims. When you do anything, either real or imagined, that upsets the narcissist, he will target you as a scapegoat, and will align himself with flying monkeys. As his target lies on the ground emotionally bleeding, his belief and response is (expressed as outrage,) “Look what you made me do!” This adds fuel to the fire, as he hurts you in the first place and then blames you for it, all the while believing he’s the victim!

He will slander your good name and paint a terrible picture 0f how you have abandoned him, hurt him, and abused him. He will even call you a narcissistic. The projection is unbelievable!

His allies will believe him and will make comments to further encourage his delusions of victim-hood. The real you will be unrecognizable in the story he tells. It is hard to believe, as the target of this type of “mobbing” that occurs, that so many people are believing such ugly things about you.

You begin to wonder, “Maybe it is me,” or “Am I the abusive one?” “No, I know I’m not…or am I?” “Am I a narcissist?” “Maybe I shouldn’t have said what I said…then we wouldn’t be having this problem.” We question our good hearts and our realities. It is crazy making. Even the strongest of targets has a hard time detaching and not personalizing the attacks and rumors.

The narcissist’s enablers, are masters at overlooking red flags, blatant abuse, and the fact that the narcissist is causing and not resolving any of the problems, stating, “There are two sides to every story.”

It truly is amazing. And a victim needs to be stand even stronger still, as she takes on more nightmares in this narcissist’s drama. The target needs to be armed with defenses because she not only has to fight the narcissist and her own inner codependency issues; she also has to fight a myriad of other people whom she may have originally thought would be her allies or support system. The target ends up feeling like she has to climb a mountain with no tools, while those around her are gossiping about her and throwing rocks her way!

I found a great quote that describes the victim’s dilemma when dealing with a narcissist, from a woman named, Cherilyn Clough: “They invite you to play a game you can never win.”

As long as targets remember this “truism,” they can stop trying to defend themselves and even learn not to care what other people think.


Living in Denial

Denial is listed as an immature developmental defense along with delusion, distortion and projection in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV of the American Psychiatric Association. People who are not open to hearing information and criticism about themselves can become Masters of Denial. There is no end to what they can make themselves believe for their own benefit.Denial and Other Common Narcissistic Defenses


There is an immutable fact about denial: it does not work—long term. Reality always wins. And when it does, the next step in the process is blame, which shifts responsibility onto someone or something else. “I only did it because of you! If you hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have done this.” So where there’s denial, blame is always available to ease the pain when reality bites. How does denial actually work


For neurotics, behavior such as denial is an unconscious defense mechanism that protects against the experience of unbearable pain. With disordered characters, what we commonly perceive as unconscious defenses (e.g., denial) are more often deliberate tactics of impression-management, manipulation, and responsibility-avoidance.Understanding denial as a defense mechanism


In the psychological sense, denial is a defense mechanism in which a person, faced with a painful fact, rejects the reality of that fact. They will insist that the fact is not true despite what may be overwhelming and irrefutable evidence.

There are three forms of denial. Simple denial is when the painful fact is denied altogether. Minimisational denial is when the painful fact is admitted but its seriousness is downplayed. Transference denial is when the painful fact is admitted, the seriousness also admitted, but one’s moral responsibility in the situation involving the painful fact is downplayed.Why are people so often in denial


Simon Hall letters

Excerpts from letter dated August 2013

“I knew I was guilty of an horrific murder.

“I knew I’d lied and more and more people were getting on board to help who appeared to be an innocent man.

(Referring to end of November 2012 & time leading up to OD in February 2013)
“At the time I was increasingly confused about my sexuality, having relived events from my past that I’d suppressed for so long. I also had other secrets I couldn’t deal with, like the bedwetting and other stuff.

“I hate being alone. I hate the thought of having no-one to love and no-one to love me. To admit what I’ve done, I believed I would be forever lonely. Who could love someone who murdered a defenceless old lady? No-one could. Fifteen minutes of my life, but in that time I destroyed it all.

Excerpt from another letter dated August 2013

One of the books I’m reading is called Breaking Free and it’s really helpful. It explains a lot of the things I’ve been going through and panicking about. There’s some good advice about dealing with some of my problems…

Book- Breaking Free

“It’s painful knowing I’ve killed another person. Someone fragile and vulnerable. Completely innocent and nothing to do with my anger, my emotions, or my childhood….

Excerpts from letter dated 22nd September 2013

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Excerpts from letter dated 5th October 2013

“I didn’t want anyone to find out that I killed Joan Albert. When I was arrested, I denied it because I didn’t want anyone to know what I had done..

“In the months between December and July, I was so afraid but I put on this act that I was okay and just living my life as normal. But I wasn’t okay. I was still doing similar things to what I was doing before the murder, but I was trying to live better. It didn’t work though because I didn’t really try to change. I spent more time doing what I wanted to do, constantly fearing that knock on the door. I told myself that I would commit suicide if I went to prison, and created this ideology that allowed me to carry on doing the same things. In this idealised state, I became more selfish, but at the same time my self loathing got worse, so I sought more escape, more alcohol, more drugs, more sex. Any gratification I could get…

Excerpt from letter dated 17th October 2013

“I spoke to Pauline and Karen on the phone. I asked them if people still believed I was innocent. I told them that I was innocent and that I confessed because I’d given up. I blamed it on drugs..
I wrote to Ray, Ian (B) and Phoebe because I thought those people would feed into my lies and want to support me. I would have written to Stef B too, but I lost the letter, or threw it away. I asked all 3 of them if they would like to visit me and bring someone with them. I was in ‘desperate’ mode and was reaching out to anyone I thought might believe me, so I could pretend to be innocent again. More lies, more disrespect and shame to add to my increasing list of wrong doings…”

Excerpt from letter following confession 2013

“I’ve done nothing but hurt you. I know that comes from my childhood. Not wanting to hurt Lynne from a young age because of how she would pile on the guilt and feelings of shame. The usual “I’ve done this and gone without that for you and look how you’ve repaid me.” The sad thing about that statement is that it carried on through my actions. You did sound like Lynne at times, but I know your tears weren’t fake. You weren’t saying things to make me feel guilty as she was. You were saying these things to me so I realised I was doing wrong. I see the difference, but I might not have explained it very well. 

“You love me. Lynne didn’t. It’s taken me so long to get to the point because of the covert incest. Who wants to believe that their ‘family’ don’t actually love them? Especially someone with my rejection, abandonment and attachment issues.”

Excerpts from letter dated 11th January 2014

“I’ve always admired people who can just be themselves, not worrying about what other people thought, or if people didn’t like them. My skin has always been so thin and I think my upbringing and my childhood experiences have played a part in that. I’m going off subject a bit, but what I’m trying to say is that I hated who I was and what I was doing. When I talk about comparing myself to others, I’d look at them and think okay so he’s a bit of an idiot but at least he’s comfortable in his own skin and knows who and what he is. Those sorts of thoughts. I’d see others as ‘real men’ and I’ve never seen myself that way.

Excerpts from letter dated 28th January 2014

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Letter dated 7th February 2014

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Excerpts from Letter dated 9th February 2014

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Excerpts from letters dated 14th & 17th February 2014

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Excerpts from letter 2014

“Its’s going to take a long time to get to where I want to be but I’m determined to get there and I know that I will. I am researching and thinking about my past and I’ve got an understanding psychology book and a book called “they f**k you up” – How to survive family life by Oliver James. I’m reading them both at the same time and cross referencing different bits. It’s slow going and there’s a lot to take in but I’m understanding things a bit clearer.

Book – They F**k You Up

“I panic because of shame and because the truth is destroying me. Living in denial gave me no reason to panic and if you remember, I only started to panic like that when I was being found out lying. I panic through fear of judgement and rejection.

“Am I like my biological father? He put himself before the children that he had.

“I am worried about genetics. All of the Walton kids are damaged. I believe that both nature and nurture f**ked me up, I do hate Lynne I do hate Shaun, but I hate myself more. If they were in this cell, I’d punch their lights out. That’s true, but I’d want to hurt myself too.

I don’t think it’s genetics. I remember my conscience as a kid, before Shaun got hold of me. I think nurture is so important from both to adulthood. If I’d been in loving households, I’d be different.

“You gave me strength and the stability that I’ve never had before.






Playing the blame game as a manipulation tactic

By habitually blaming others for his own indiscretions, the disturbed character resists modifying his problematic attitudes and behavior patterns.
I’ve been publishing a series of articles on the habitual behaviors that not only keep persons with disturbed characters from developing a sense of accountability and responsibility but which also serve as effective tactics of manipulation.

(See “Understanding the Dysfunctional Tactics of Disturbed Characters”, which kicked off the series.)

Perhaps no behavior which disordered characters are prone to displaying is more common than their tendency to blame others when they do something wrong. Confront them on something they did that was insensitive, inappropriate, hurtful, or even harmful, and you’ll find them playing the blame game — pinning the fault on someone or something else. You’ll often hear them claim that some person or circumstance made them do what they did instead of acknowledging that they had a choice about how to respond to the situation and failed to choose wisely.

The tactic of blaming has sometimes been called projecting the blame. The term projection stems from psychodynamic psychology and refers to one of the automatic mental behaviors conceptualized by traditional theorists as ego defense mechanisms. The rationale behind that notion is that sometimes individuals unconsciously “project” onto others motivations, intentions, or actions that they actually harbor themselves but which they would feel far too unnerved or guilty about to acknowledge as their own.

Neurotic individuals do indeed unknowingly engage in projection defenses. But disordered characters know what they are doing.

Neurotic individuals do indeed unknowingly engage in projection defenses. But disordered characters know what they are doing. They are fully conscious about what they know others would see as the wrongfulness of their behavior, despite the fact that they might be perfectly comfortable with their course of action themselves. They don’t have enough guilt or shame about what they’re doing to change course. Nor are they so consumed with emotional pain that they must ascribe to others the motivations they can’t tolerate in themselves. Rather, when they blame others for their wrongful acts, it’s simply an attempt to justify their stance by casting themselves as being in a position where they simply had no choice but to respond the way they did. In this way, they simultaneously evade responsibility as well as manipulate and manage the impressions of others. The tactic goes hand in hand with the tactic of portraying oneself as a victim. It’s typically an effective tactic that gets others to pay attention to everyone or everything else except the disordered character and his wrongful behavior as the source of a problem.

Sometimes the tactic of blaming can be quite subtle. By calling attention to a wide variety of contributing circumstances, a manipulator can effectively obscure his or her role in the creation of a problem. This “it wasn’t me” tactic is hard to detect when your attention is drawn to other “culprits” through this diversionary sleight of hand.

Holding manipulators and other disturbed characters accountable for their choices and actions is a must. A person who won’t acknowledge his or her bad choices and bad habits and repeatedly blames others for his shortcomings will never correct his erroneous thinking or behavior. Whenever he plays the blame game, you know the disturbed character has no intentions of changing his ways. Habitually blaming others for his own indiscretions is a principal way the disturbed character resists modifying his problematic attitudes and behavior patterns.

Passive aggressive behaviour

Passive aggressive behaviour takes many forms but can generally be described as a non-verbal aggression that manifests in negative behavior. It is where you are angry with someone but do not or cannot tell them. Instead of communicating honestly when you feel upset, annoyed, irritated or disappointed you may instead bottle the feelings up, shut off verbally, give angry looks, make obvious changes in behaviour, be obstructive, sulky or put up a stone wall. It may also involve indirectly resisting requests from others by evading or creating confusion around the issue. Not going along with things. It can either be covert (concealed and hidden) or overt (blatant and obvious).

A passive aggressive might not always show that they are angry or resentful. They might appear in agreement, polite, friendly, down-to-earth, kind and well-meaning. However, underneath there may be manipulation going on – hence the term “Passive-Aggressive”.

Passive aggression is a destructive pattern of behaviour that can be seen as a form of emotional abuse in relationships that bites away at trust between people. It is a creation of negative energy in the ether which is clear to those involved and can create immense hurt and pain to all parties.

It happens when negative emotions and feelings build up and are then held in on a self-imposed need for either acceptance by another, dependence on others or to avoid even further arguments or conflict.

If some of this is sounding familiar don’t worry – we all do some of the above from time to time. It doesn’t make us passive aggressive necessarily nor does it mean your partner is.

Passive aggression is when the behaviour is more persistent and repeats periodically, where there are ongoing patterns of negative attitudes and passive resistance in personal relationships or work situations.

Some examples of passive aggression might be:

Non-Communication when there is clearly something problematic to discuss

Avoiding/Ignoring when you are so angry that you feel you cannot speak calmly

Evading problems and issues, burying an angry head in the sand

Procrastinating intentionally putting off important tasks for less important ones

Obstructing deliberately stalling or preventing an event or process of change

Fear of Competition Avoiding situations where one party will be seen as better at something

Ambiguity Being cryptic, unclear, not fully engaging in conversations

Sulking Being silent, morose, sullen and resentful in order to get attention or sympathy.

Chronic Lateness A way to put you in control over others and their expectations

Chronic Forgetting Shows a blatant disrespect and disregard for others to punish in some way

Fear of Intimacy Often there can be trust issues with passive aggressive people and guarding against becoming too intimately involved or attached will be a way for them to feel in control of the relationship

Making Excuses Always coming up with reasons for not doing things

Victimisation Unable to look at their own part in a situation will turn the tables to become the victim and will behave like one

Self-Pity the poor me scenario

Blaming others for situations rather than being able to take responsibility for your own actions or being able to take an objective view of the situation as a whole.

Withholding usual behaviours or roles for example sex, cooking and cleaning or making cups of tea, running a bath etc. all to reinforce an already unclear message to the other party

Learned Helplessness where a person continually acts like they can’t help themselves – deliberately doing a poor job of something for which they are often explicitly responsible

Passive aggression might be seen as a defence mechanism that people use to protect themselves. It might be automatic and might stem from early experiences. What they are protecting themselves from will be unique and individual to each person; although might include underlying feelings of rejection, fear, mistrust, insecurity and/or low self-esteem.

Patterns of unassertive and passive behavior may have been learnt in childhood as a coping strategy possibly as a response to parents who may have been too controlling or not allowing their child to express their thoughts and feelings freely. To cope, a child might adopt a passive-aggressive behavior pattern.??For example if a child was ridiculed, put-down or punished for openly expressing their feelings or disagreeing with their parents the child would learn to substitute open expression for passive resistance – agreeing with what mum or dad said in order to be a “good child” or not speaking out honestly or at all. If there was a consistent pattern within the family of punishment or rejection for asserting themselves the child would learn to become highly skilled at passively rebelling. An example of a child rebelling might be around toilet training, withdrawing from family conversation, choosing subjects at school to please parents and then not working hard, around eating and mealtimes – all causing worry and upset to the parents who may have no idea their behaviour is a contributory cause to the problem.

Passive Aggression in the Workplace

In the workplace a passive-aggressive employee or employer may use these techniques as a form of control and/or intimidation. The worker might sulk, make faces, scowl inwardly when given jobs to do or may agree politely and then take ages to do them. By doing so, he they are showing annoyance in the hope they will not be asked to do those tasks again. Employers can also use passive aggression when confronted with employee problems, turning a blind eye, not facing facts or dealing with genuine cases of bullying and intimidation. This avoidant behaviour can be very damaging to individuals and teams of individuals within organisations.

Consequences of Passive Aggressive Behaviour

In being passive aggressive you are not giving yourself or others an opportunity to listen to what you think or feel

When on the receiving end of passive aggression, you can feel confused, upset, offended, guilty and frustrated. You may think you’ve done something wrong, but have no clear idea what it was

It avoids communication in a very negative way

It creates insecurity in all parties

It creates a bad atmosphere between people

It is a form of conflict where either both or one party cannot engage sensibly in the issues

It avoids the real issues

It creates negative feelings and resentments in an unassertive way

Tips to help you overcome the effects of passive aggressive behaviour

If you have got this far in the article then passive aggression is an area of interest to you and possibly a problem in your life or the life of someone close to you.

Five tips for overcoming your own passive-aggressive behaviours:

Become aware of the underlying feelings causing your behaviour

Become aware of the impacts of your behaviour and how your desire to defeat others, get back at them or annoy them creates yet further uncomfortable feelings for yourself

Take responsibility for your actions and reactions

Try to not feel attacked when faced with a problem but instead take an overall objective view of the situation

Learn to be assertive in expressing yourself. You have a right to your thoughts and feelings so communicate them with honesty and truth and strengthen your relationships

Five tips for coping with the passive-aggressive behaviour of others:

Become aware of how passive aggression operates and try to be understanding towards your partner

Explain to your partner how their behaviour towards you is affecting you. Communicate calmly without blaming – i.e. talk about how you feel and what you think without using language that will enflame the situation more. For example you might say “I feel upset by your behaviour” rather than “you’ve done this or that”.

Be aware of your responses to others and yourself– do not blame yourself for the behaviour and reaction of others

Be honest about your part in the situation

If the aggressive behaviour of others continues to affect you in a negative way, set clear boundaries around yourself – rules for what you will and won’t accept. Stay strong and focused and get on with your life in a positive way.

Simon Hall’s Fight For Freedom By Scott Lomax

Simon Hall’s Fight For Freedom
By Scott Lomax
During the spring and summer of 2002 detectives in Suffolk were involved in a difficult criminal investigation. Despite several public appeals and studies of CCTV footage showing the front of the home of the elderly murder victim, no evidence identifying the killer was forthcoming. The possibility the murder, which had taken place in December the previous year, was linked to a crime in Anglesey, Wales, had to be looked into. The perpetrator of the horrific Welsh murder, in which an elderly woman had been stabbed and her heart removed, was also at large. At a much later stage this individual would be identified as a vampire fanatic but despite massive inquiries Suffolk Police were no closer to finding their own killer.
However, on 25 July police officers made what they believed to be a major breakthrough when they arrested a local man in what he describes as an ‘SAS style home invasion.’
Writing from his jail cell recently, Simon Hall, who is serving a life sentence for the murder, described his arrest: ‘I can still remember the day when the officers came crashing through my front door, sending glass and wood splinters everywhere. That itself was a shock but not as much as when they told me I was under arrest for murder. The moment is still as surreal now as it was then …’
After being arrested, Hall was taken into custody to be questioned in connection with the murder of Joan Albert, an elderly woman who had been repeatedly stabbed in her own home at the village of Capel St Mary, Suffolk. Three days later he was charged with Joan’s murder and remanded into custody to await trial. He was later found guilty by a majority of 11 to 1 and sentenced to life imprisonment. He has attempted to appeal against his conviction, but was not granted leave to appeal. With the assistance of his campaign, named Justice 4 Simon, he is hoping to launch a successful appeal in the future that will lead to his freedom.
By the time the police charged Simon Hall they had become outwardly convinced that Joan Albert was murdered during a burglary that had gone wrong. There was a forced entry, with a rear window being smashed, but nothing had seemingly been taken despite the killer curiously having stayed at the scene for some time. Medical examination of the body revealed that Joan’s murderer had bizarrely inflicted wounds upon her after a significant period of time had elapsed following her death. An estimate suggested the unnecessary wounds had been inflicted up to half an hour after the crime, showing the killer had spent some time around the body. This, in addition to the location and nature of wounds on the body, has suggested the possibility the murder was in some way sexually motivated, with the murderer gaining sexual gratification from spending time with the corpse. The crime certainly appears to have a far more sinister element than a simple burglary where the perpetrator was disturbed, panicked and killed as a direct result of that panic.
The police have argued the fact nothing was stolen is not particularly important because burglaries can often go wrong, with the criminal having left empty handed after killing a resident. Hall’s supporters argue that the crime could not have been burglary because it was carried out, according to the prosecution, at 06:00; a time at which papers were being delivered, milk rounds were taking place, people walking their dogs and so on. They therefore suggest it would be foolish for someone to carry out a burglary at a time when there was a real prospect of being seen. Although burglaries do occur during the day these are usually ‘sneak in’, opportunistic burglaries where a window or door is left open and a small amount of valuables that are in easy reach are taken, often in order for drugs to be bought. Most burglaries do indeed take place in the early hours of the morning when there is little chance of a resident being awake.
There is no evidence to suggest Hall had reason to commit a burglary. He had a small debt, but in today’s society debts are commonplace and Hall’s debt was only small. It was not, it was argued at trial, a cause for any concern because it could be repaid. There were other options available to him, such as borrowing money from friends or family. He would not have needed to break into the home of someone he had no grudge against. If he could spend time around the body, in order to inflict the final wound after death, he had plenty of time to search for Joan’s valuables.
Hall did know the victim, but only because Joan was of a friend of his mother’s.. He did not know her well enough to necessarily recognise her if he passed her in the street but claims that if he had seen her near her home, walking her dog, he might have realised who she was. She was a friend of his mother’s rather than a friend of the family. He did know where she lived, but there is no known reason that Hall would wish to harm his mother’s friend. He also would not want to hurt his mother, whom he had (and still has) a good relationship with, by killing her friend. Hall knew that his mother occasionally visited Joan’s house at night because the victim has been having problems with youths. This, his campaign claims, is an important point. It is important, they believe, because Hall would not have broken into his mother’s friend’s home knowing that it was possible his own mother could be in the building.
There was no evidence to show when the crime took place. Neither a doctor nor a pathologist was ever able to estimate a time of death or, if an estimate was determined, this information has never been disclosed to Hall’s defence team. It seems remarkable that in the modern age of medical knowledge the time of death could not be estimated at all, even within a number of hours. In the mid nineteenth century, Doctor Harry Rainy of the University of Glasgow wrote, ‘Though we cannot calculate exactly the period which has elapsed since death, we can almost always determine a maximum and minimum of time within which that period will be included.’ If it was almost always possible to achieve a rough estimate so long ago, why was it not possible to make even a rough estimate in the early twenty first century?
The prosecution claimed the murder had taken place after 06:00. There was no medical reason to believe this to be the case. The pathologist who performed the post mortem examination, and who has subsequently been shown to have made errors in another case, did not follow Home Office guidelines. Although Joan’s body was found in the morning he did not examine her until the evening by which time natural changes to the body, which can prevent an accurate time of death from being established occur. The argument that the crime was committed after 06:00 was so Hall could be considered guilty ; he had an indisputable alibi prior to 06:00, therefore the crime must have been committed after this time.
All that is necessary to argue Hall’s innocence is to determine the crime was carried out prior to 06:00 or that he could not have been present at any time.
The prosecution’s case was that Hall had a “window of opportunity” to carry out the crime. They argued he left Ipswich, where he had been drinking with friends, at 05:30, committed the murder and arrived at his parents’ home after 06:15 (Hall did not live with his parents but he was staying there that night because the following day the family was going for a Christmas meal). They also argued that after leaving his car at an unknown location, Hall had ran across two gardens before breaking a window to enter Joan’s house. Ipswich and Capel St Mary are seven miles apart.
Forgetting, for one moment, the arguments, and focussing upon the facts, there would not be a lot of time available for Hall to commit this offence. It is known that Joan’s killer carried out the murder, then afterward, when Joan was dead, he cut her again. It was believed this unnecessary wound was inflicted up to half an hour after the time of death. This would mean that if the murder was committed after 06:00, Hall was at the scene of the crime close to 06:30.
Let us use even an estimate of ten minutes for Hall to have travelled from Ipswich to Capel St Mary, which is seven miles from Ipswich, for him to arrive at 05:40. In order for the journey to take ten minutes Hall would have needed to travel at approximately sixty miles per hour because he had to walk to his car, start the engine, drive away and stop at traffic lights. There are eights sets of traffic lights before one can leave Ipswich centre, and a witness in the car with Simon, named Jamie Barker, claimed they had been stopped several times. Jamie Barker claimed that, because Hall had been drinking, they walked around Ipswich to get him more sober, before driving very slow. Whilst it would be necessary for Hall to travel at 60 miles per hour, Barker maintains he drove below 30 miles per hour.
Hall had to drop Jamie Barker off, at Barker’s home in Ipswich. If Hall had travelled at less than 30 miles per hour, as the witness claimed, then he would have still been in Ipswich after 05:45, if indeed he had left the centre of Ipswich at 05:30. Barker’s mother was unsure as to the time her son had arrived home. She had no particular reason to remember the exact time but she believed it was around 05:30. The first time she was asked she did not have the slightest idea of the time. Hall and Barker believed the time was closer to 06:00. If this is the case then Hall could not possibly have arrived back at his mother’s home in Capel, having committed the murder, around fifteen minutes later.
If Barker’s mother was correct the earliest realistic time Hall could have arrived at the scene of the crime was between 05:45 and 05:50. If Hall and Barker were correct then the earliest time would be after 06:00. Either way there was little time to carry out a murder and return to his mother’s, which would take a few minutes in the car, all before 06:15.
Whilst the prosecution believed Hall had arrived home after 06:15 and therefore he did have time to commit the crime, there was not a lot of evidence to substantiate this belief. Hall did say that he had seen the figures 6:28 on a microwave soon after entering his parents’ house and therefore it would have been around this that he arrived. His supporters argue the microwave time might not have been accurate or that 6:28 might have been the display of six minutes and twenty-eight seconds, which might have been the time it had taken to microwave a meal. Hall’s mother is known to have frequently not cleared the timer. However, even if Hall did arrive home at 06:28 this is not necessarily indicative of guilt. If Hall inflicted wounds on Joan’s body up to half an hour after her death then if Hall committed the murder at or after 06:00 he could not realistically arrive home by 06:28 could he? Also, when he looked at the microwave it could have been a few minutes after arrival (one cannot always remember their actions accurately if they do not have reason to remember).
Hall’s mother, Lynne, is adamant she saw Hall arrive at around 06:00. She had woken up and had been unable to sleep. At around 06:00 she had given up trying to sleep and had gone to make a drink. Whilst she was still making the drink, Hall entered. Of course, one could argue she was mistaken or she had reason to protect her son, but would she lie to protect someone who had killed a close friend? Lynne noticed nothing unusual in her son’s manner or appearance. He chatted with his mother and later that day he was ‘his usual smiley entertaining self’ according to friends. This is hardly the demeanour of a man who had killed as a result of a burglary that had gone wrong and who had just killed his mother’s friend.
If Hall had been intending to commit a burglary would he have got drunk so much so that he had to spend time walking around Ipswich and drive more slowly than if he had been sober? If the crime was committed after 06:00, as the prosecution allege, then he would have exposed himself to the possibility of being seen in the vicinity of the crime scene. Someone intending to commit a crime would be unlikely to take a risk, especially when there was no reason for Hall to commit that crime on that specific day. He could have waited until another occasion to break in. Of course, it can be argued he did not plan the crime, with it being a spontaneous action or one only thought of during the journey from Ipswich to Capel, but this seems difficult to believe. Why would someone with no history of burglary suddenly decide to take a detour on his way home to commit a burglary or murder? Yes, he had been under the influence of alcohol, but he was sobering up by the time he allegedly committed the murder.
It is possible, though only remotely so, that Hall did have a “window of opportunity” to commit this murder but taking other evidence into account it would seem that the murder was committed at a time when Hall had a perfect alibi, vindicating him of all responsibility if the defence’s interpretation of the evidence is correct.
A number of Joan’s neighbours reported hearing loud noises in the early hours of the morning on which Joan was killed, at a time when Simon hall was certainly in Ipswich drinking with friends. Multiple individuals heard the noises at around 02:00, with one of the neighbours being hard of hearing. The noise would have to be very loud indeed for that individual to be woken up and for them to be aware of the noise. Whilst the cause of the noise has never been determined with certainty, the smashing of a window does make a loud noise. Is it possible that Joan’s killer was responsible for the noise? If so this would suggest the crime was committed at around 02:00. No other loud noises were reported, yet if the crime was committed at 06:00 one would expect more people to hear the glass being smashed at this time. The judge, in her summing-up, said clumsy cats could have created these noises. Indeed clumsy cats could have created the noises although it is significant that these noises have not been reported on other occasions, only having been noticed on the morning Joan was killed.
When her body was found, Joan was wearing her watch. Joan never wore her watch in bed. Her friends and family said she was a habitual behaving woman who always removed her watch. This introduces the possibility Joan was killed before she retired to bed, which in turn suggests she could have been killed much earlier than 06:00. However, it does also suggest she could have died after having got up early in the morning or that she had been in bed, had heard noises downstairs and so had got dressed, habitually putting her watch on, before investigating what was happening.
Joan’s watch had stopped at 05:40; a time when all of the evidence points to Hall being either in Ipswich or on his way to Capel St Mary’s. At 05:40 he could not have been at the scene of the crime. The time 05:40 does not necessarily mean Joan was only killed at this moment in time (the watch could have been stopped after death and it is known Joan’s murderer caused injuries after death) but it does suggest her killer was present at 05:40.
Evidence relating to the contents of Joan’s stomach can be used to argue Joan died much earlier than the prosecution led the jury to believe. Examination of stomach contents can assist in providing an estimate of how long before death a meal was consumed, because food is digested at a rate known to experts. Joan’s stomach contents revealed that she had last eaten at a maximum of three hours before her death. Her family confirmed that the habitual behaving woman often had a snack, usually a small sandwich, at midnight. If Joan ate at midnight then she must have been killed around 03:00, which is consistent with the noises at around 02:00. If she had died at 06:00 or thereabouts, and had been killed by Hall, then she must have eaten at around 03:00.
If Joan had eaten only an evening meal, at around 18:00 to 19:00 (the approximate time she had this meal is known, because she had spoken to someone afterwards to comment on how she had not enjoyed her meal) then she would have been killed before 23:00, which along with her not having removed her watch would suggest she never went to bed that night. Of course, it is possible that she could not sleep that night and had eaten a snack. However, it was inconsistent with her character for her to have done so. The evidence relating to analysis of Joan’s stomach contents was heard by the jury but the defence had only become aware of the tests half way through the trial and so they were not fully able to use this crucial piece of information.
At trial, to counter the defence’s fairly compelling alibi argument, the prosecution counsel presented their forensic ‘proof’ of guilt in the form of textile fibres. Joan Albert’s killer would have needed to be very close to his victim in order to inflict the type of wounds which led to Joan’s death. Consequently fibres from his clothing would have been transferred on to Joan’s clothing and vice versa. At trial the prosecution were able to show that a number of fibres were found at places where Hall had been (including his home, which he never went to until many hours after the murder). None of the fibres allegedly from Joan’s clothing were found on Hall’s clothing, which is unusual because if Hall had travelled straight to his parents’ home after committed the murder and he had managed to leave fibres in houses, then why were no fibres present on any of his clothing? In order to transfer to surfaces in his home they must first have been on his clothing, if they originated from the scene of the crime.
The prosecution explained this by claiming Hall disposed of the clothing he wore at the time of the murder and even claimed he had bought the clothing from Tesco’s earlier in the day, even though CCTV footage of the supermarket shows Hall was not at the supermarket at any time. It seems strange they would introduce such a theory when there is no evidence at all to substantiate it. There is no evidence to suggest Hall disposed of any clothing. It is simply a convenient explanation from the prosecution who would otherwise have been unable to explain the flaws in their argument.
Any garment is produced in massive numbers. Even garments that do not look the same often have fibres that are, to use the correct term, ‘microscopically indistinguishable’ from one another. For example, in the Case of Derek Christian it was shown a green sweatshirt had fibres that appeared to be identical to fibres from a rugby shirt. So the fact fibres identical to those found at places where Hall had been were identical to those found at Joan’s home is far from satisfactory proof of guilt because countless numbers of people would have owned clothing that had such fibres. Interestingly a number of houses in Capel also had fibres in them that were ‘microscopically indistinguishable’ to these fibres. Hall had no links with any of these houses.
Hall’s mother had run a clothes business from home. It is therefore likely she would have millions of microscopic fibres from hundreds of garments, with some of the fibres having quite conceivably originated from garments identical or similar to those owned by Joan. Maybe even Joan had bought clothes from Lynne Hall. Even if she had not, there is that possibility that fibres allegedly from the victim’s clothing might in fact have originated from clothes Hall’s mother had sold.
Also consider the fact that Hall’s mother was a friend of the victim. Fibres get transferred easily so it is a possibility Hall’s mother could have left fibres at Joan’s home that could have been transferred from her home. Following Joan’s death, Hall’s mother had entered the property with the police to see what was missing. Contamination of the scene could have taken place. It is not outside the realms of possibility. The fibre evidence is purely circumstantial. Unlike fingerprints or DNA, fibres are not unique and therefore they cannot be shown to link with any degree of certainty, a suspect to a crime. Textile fibre evidence must always be subjected to great scrutiny but all too often it is portrayed as compelling proof. For example, in the case of Derek Christian, cited above, textile fibre evidence was described as “solid proof” despite it being shown the evidence was indeed highly questionable.
Juries can be misled by a prosecuting counsel’s rhetoric, especially when they are told forensic evidence proves their case. In an age where we are wrongly led to believe forensic evidence equals the truth, it is difficult to argue against such fanciful claims. In many criminal trials where forensic evidence, such as textile fibre evidence, is presented there are experts for the defence and prosecution. If the experts cannot agree then what hope have the jury got of being sure about the integrity of the evidence?
In a criminal investigation the scene of the crime should be secured and treated in the best possible way to ensure that forensic evidence is preserved. In a murder case, where the scene of the crime is indoors and where the crime was committed during the night, forensic evidence is usually the main source of evidence that links a suspect to the offence. Officers investigating the murder of Joan Albert did not follow the correct procedures and consequently they potentially destroyed evidence which could have been instrumental in determining the truth of the killer’s identity. When Hall’s mother entered the house to check, to see if anything was missing, she did so accompanied by two officers. However, none of them were wearing forensic clothing. Items belonging to Joan had been touched, with Hall’s mother looking through the belongings. This could have destroyed fingerprint evidence and it could have resulted in textile fibres being transferred to the scene of the crime. The police seemed to place so little care on the forensic side of the case that one of the investigating officers even used the bathroom. A lot of manpower was wasted on determining the identity of the individual who left a number of hairs in the bathroom before it was discovered they were the result of malpractice on the part of the police.
In another display of sheer incompetence the police told a helpful member of the public to destroy what could potentially have been a vital piece of evidence. In the days following Joan’s murder, one of her neighbours contacted the local police station to report having found a knife in their garden. Whilst the police believed they had found the murder weapon, despite it not having traces of blood upon it, the presence of a knife in close proximity of the scene of the crime, which was only discovered following that crime, could have been of significance. However, the police were not interested, claiming they did not have sufficient manpower to follow what could very well have been an important line of enquiry.
Taking the errors into consideration, which further included leaving exhibits at the home of Hall’s brother, it begs belief at how the Senior Investigating Officer on the case was rewarded, with a commendation, following Hall’s conviction. Some who have stood trial, only to be acquitted, as a result of this detective’s work have alleged his mistakes have not been confined to the Joan Albert investigation.
The lack of care at the scene of the crime could, on first sight, be used to explain why none of Hall’s fingerprints were found around the body, around the window he allegedly smashed and climbed through, or indeed anywhere in Joan’s home. One would, nonetheless, expect some physical, irrefutable trace of his presence to have been found. There were no such traces found. There were no fingerprints belonging to Hall and none of his footprints were found, yet the killer is known to have run across two gardens in the dark and so his shoes would not have been clean.
Interestingly there were footprints in Joan’s garden, where the killer entered the house. Furthermore there were two fingerprints, one of which was very near to Joan’s body, from someone other than Hall. Who did these belong to? Were they created by the murderer or is their presence unrelated to the crime? Whilst ever there are unanswered questions such as these, doubt must surely exist over the safety of the conviction. Consider the fact footprints do not last for very long in outdoor locations. This would prove that some unidentified individual was around the scene of the crime at around the time of the crime. The unidentified fingerprints increases the likelihood that the footprints were associated with the crime by showing an unidentified individual was present inside the building (Joan had few visitors). Consider further that this unidentified individual left physical evidence of their presence yet the man serving a life sentence for this heinous crime left no evidence of his presence yet the authorities would have you believe he was certainly there. How could an unidentified individual, allegedly unconnected to the murder, leave a trace of his or her presence and yet Simon Hall could enter and leave the scene of the crime without leaving any prints of any form?
If the individual(s) responsible for the unidentified footprints and fingerprints cannot be eliminated then there are insufficient grounds to be certain that the police apprehended Joan Albert’s killer. Once you have eliminated the impossible whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be truth. But conversely if you cannot eliminate all the possibilities how can you be sure you have found the truth?
Whilst DNA is not always present at a crime scene it is important to stress none of Hall’s DNA was found. Similarly none of his hairs were present. Also, none of Joan’s DNA was found on clothing belonging to Hall, with no traces being found in his car either. The authorities would have you believe Hall drove to his mother’s home shortly after the murder. It is indisputable the killer would have had blood upon his clothing and possibly his hands, unless he washed in Joan’s house. Consequently, if Hall was responsible, blood would have transferred from his clothing to his car upholstery. There are a range of scientific techniques to locate and identity blood. If blood is present on any surface, even if it is not visible under close examination, it will be detected. An examination of Hall’s car found no blood present. Upon his arrival at his mother’s home, where his mother immediately saw him upon arrival, Hall had no blood upon his clothing. He spoke with his mother for a substantial period of time and she would certainly have noticed blood upon him. Whilst it is not known whether Joan scratched or hit her attacker, Hall did not have any visible marks upon his body.
He also did not have any torn clothing or scratches upon him consistent with him having climbed through a smashed window. An important point was that the largest gap in the window was just fourteen inches in size. It would be hard for a 6’1″ man, of average build, such as Hall, to have climbed through the window, especially if he had been drinking just a couple of hours earlier. When someone smashes a window, microscopic glass fragments are created. No fragments were found on Hall’s clothing, shoes, in his car, at his mother’s home or at his own home.
One could argue that a murder can be well planned in order to take into account forensic evidence. Many criminals are, to use a police term, ‘forensically aware.’ However, if the crime had been a spontaneous action, which is the only real explanation when one considers that Hall had been drunk and made no effort to rush away from Ipswich, then some direct trace of him would have been left rather than circumstantial fibres which could, very realistically, have belonged to anyone.
Hall has consistently protested his innocence and has never provided incriminating statements of any sort. He is determined to clear his name so that he can regain his freedom and be reunited with his loved ones. His website ( contains a message from Hall where he speaks of the hope that keeps him fighting against this miscarriage of justice: ‘I am not the man responsible for this crime and that gives me the unfortunate task of telling you that there is still a loony out there! … I am filled with hope that I can soon be reunited with my family and friends. Many things are starting to happen and I am confident that I can be back into court sometimes in the not too distant future. I am fully aware that it isn’t going to be an overnight thing and it may take years but I will not give up my fight, so I invite you all to join me as I make my way home.”