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Forget You Had a Daughter: Doing Time in the Bangkok Hilton - Sandra Gregory's Story Paperback – 12 Jun 2003
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Sandra Gregory was living a life in Bangkok that many only dream of - until illness, unemployment and political unrest turned it into a nightmare. Desperate to get home, she agreed to smuggle an addict's personal supply of heroin. She didn't even make it onto the plane. In this remarkably candid memoir, Sandra Gregory tells of the events leading up to her arrest, the horrific conditions in Lard Yao prison, her trial in a language she didn't understand and how it feels to be sentenced to death. Her journey to the UK resumed some four and a half years later when she was transferred to the British prison system, where she had to adapt to a new yet equally harsh regime. Following relentless campaigning by her parents, who refused to forget they had a daughter, she was pardoned by the King of Thailand and released in 2000. "Forget You Had A Daughter" is the extraordinary story of a good woman who made a mistake that changed the rest of her life.
About the Author
Sandra Gregory spent more than 20 years in a British jail after her time in Lard Yao. She was released in 2000 following a pardon from the king of Thailand and now tours schools to warn children of the dangers of drug smuggling. Michael Tierney is a journalist for The Herald.
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Having read many books on the less than salubrious side of Thailand's Tourist Showpiece. Especially the sex, drugs and rock n roll, I enjoyed the well written and detailed harrowing account of Sandra's experience. Highlighting the ease and 'no worries' attitude of the smugglers, Sandra pinpoints the pitfalls of befriending strangers, who in turn target the young and naive, but most importantly, uninformed.
It seems to be a very honest account of her crime - she faces up to her imprisonment even though many elements of her treatment and sentencing seem to be unfair. The writing is straight forward and she comes across as a person who genuinely found a way of coping with situation which is to be admired. I would recommend this book to others in prison.
I spend time in prisons helping out and felt that Sandra's experiences in the UK system were worse than I have observed but her range of experience is much greater than mine. It's great to see anyone coming out of a long period in jail managing to get back on their feet and move on in life. It is particularly interesting to see the differences between the two countries and how diversely prisoners are dealt with - Sandra Gregory seemed to have accepted the Thai conditions which made the transfer to the UK so hard and she never really got used to the UK system which can be insensitive as best!!
The title of the book is rather sensational - it is a quote from a letter but there seems to have been no point that her parents would ever have abandoned her completely.
The book gripped me for the first quarter but after that it seemed to go round in circles and was in part repetitive. However, this is not a professional writer here and she was sending the message loud and clear - don't carry drugs for yourself or anyone else, EVER. It's not worth the risk. I was impressed that the author was involved in educating others of the dangers, particularly aimed at GAP year students who might need a bit of cash to keep them going on their travels.
The author was depressed a lot of the time in jail, understandably, but at no time self pitying. Worth a read.
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