Searching for Daddy - Christine Joanna Hart - 29/12/09
Updated on the 29 December
Published 20/12/2009 16:37
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Imagine being so lonely, so mixed up and so desperate that you turn to jailed Moors Murderer Ian Brady for friendship?
Christine Hart, or Lucy as she was named in her early years, was dumped on the steps of the Sacred Heart Children's Rescue Home by her mother when she was just a few months old.
Her loveless childhood had a catastrophic effect on the adult Christine and the story she tells in this heart-rending book is just a part of the therapy that has helped her to overcome adversity and face the future with new-found optimism.
During her disastrous spell in the Catholic-run convent, Christine was desperately lonely. Everything in her little world was cold and grey – the building, the food and the nuns' 'vinegary faces.'
In charge of the children was former nun Valerie, a noble and tireless woman to her colleagues, but to her charges a cool, remote and briskly efficient figurehead.
She referred to the young orphans as 'devil-spawn,' born of sinners, the children of unmarried and underage parents and beyond redemption.
Despite praying every day for 'a mummy and daddy who want me,'Christine knew that the chances of being chosen by prospective foster parents was slim.
When she was finally selected for fostering, her happiness was shortlived because her new parents were brutal and unloving, and they returned her to the children's home when she was still only 13.
Understandably emotionally damaged by her experiences, she began a desperate search for her real father and piecing together the few fragments of information she had, she learned that her mother had lived in Hull.
She also discovered that after she was born, her father was sent to prison to serve a long sentence.
And when she also found that the serial killer Ian Brady had been in borstal in Hull when he was 17, she felt an immediate and totally misplaced connection to him.
Despite knowing that it was most unlikely that he was her father, she began writing to him and even visited him in prison.
But when a newspaper put her story on the front page, Christine moved to America to escape the unwanted attention and embarked on a tough course of therapy which ended her contact with Brady.
On her return to the UK, she took up a career as a journalist and undercover investigative agent and worked for the News of the World.
In 2003, she decided to try to track down her birth parents and what she discovered opened up a new and very emotional chapter in her life...
Christine's tale is full of disturbing realities, shocking cruelty and unimaginable loneliness but it is also a moving testament to her courage, resilience and determination to seek out the truth wherever it may lead.
(Hodder, paperback, 6.99)
Interview with Christine Hart
by Tom Folland
Tom Folland Hey-it's Tom.
Christine Hart Hi.. .
TF Are you sleeping?
CH Yeah.. .it's alright though.
TF I called you earlier but you weren't in. I always forget how many
hours ahead London is. Are you awake enough to talk?
CH Yeah, kind of. . .
TF Where should we start-when did I first meet you?
CH At the Primal Institute in Judy's group.
TF Right, that was '93?
CH No, '94.
TF Oh, right. I started in '92. Had you already written your book The
Devil's Daughter at that point, when I met you?
CH Yes, it was already published.
TF What would you say the book is about?
CH Um, my life.
TF But it's also about Ian Brady, the infamous Moors murderer of the
CH It's not really about him, it doesn't go into the murders. I dislike the
fact that the publishers gave my manuscript that title, The Devil's Daughter,
because I am an orphan who had a relationship with a murderer;
there was no way I was related. They did this to try and make money.
TF What prompted you to write the book?
CH Urn, people were saying in the press that I was related to Brady and I
wanted to tell the story of how I came to be involved with someone like
that. I mean, someone in the orphanage had once told me I was born the
same year that Brady had apparently had a child and that I might be his
daughter. I wanted someone to read it and explain to me why I had done
something like that.
TF Something like that-you mean visit Ian Brady?
TF Had you written anything before?
TF Really, that was your first writing?
TF What were you doing before you wrote the book?
CH Working as an investigator.
TF A private investigator?
TF That's interesting. Were you nervous about The Devil's Daughter coming
CH No, not really, I think I was too neurotic at the time.
TF Really. 'Cause you'd kind of been through the mill with all the tabloids
in England doing stories on you and I remember how you told me once
that people were spitting at you on the tube. Is that true?
TF And calling you.. .what were they calling you?
CH I don't know, I can't remember.
TF I also remember when I first met you, you were staying at the St.
James Club in West Hollywood because you were being interviewed.
CH Oh yeah, for the book, I sold the rights to an English paper.
TF Oh, like a tabloid paper?
CH Uh huh.
TF I also remember you telling me that Ralph Fiennes had tried to pick
you up in the bar at the St. James and I was jealous-I never got that
close to stardom in LA.
CH (laughing) And I saw Rod Stewart in the bar as well, oh, and Anthony
Quinn; I used to see him at breakfast because he was living there at the
TF I saw Sally Struthers once at Helen's Bike Shop in Santa Monica. That
was my first big brush with stardom. Oh, and I sat next to Morgan Fairchild
at the Abbey in West Hollywood, the coffee shop. You have a very
interesting relationship to tabloids and gossip because you were caught up
in this whole thing in England because of the book.
CH Oh a lot of that happened before the book.. .
TF Your involvement with Brady.
CH Well because I was writing to and visiting a serial killer they [tabloid
journalists] wanted to know why.
TF How did they find out about it before the book?
CH Someone at the prison told them I was visiting Ian Brady.
TF Did they talk to you before they ran the story?
Interview with Christine Hart
TF What did they ask you?
CH Why are you writing to a serial killer?
TF And what did you say?
CH Because I thought he was my Dad.
TF And then when it hit the newstands, were you surprised at the reaction?
CH Ah, not really, no. I was surprised they believed it.
TF Oh, because half of it was fabrications.
CH All of it was fabrications.
TF I remember you once told me that there was a point at which you no
longer believed that Ian Brady was your father but the tabloids still kept
TF That was part of the reason you left London, right?
CH Yeah. But also to do Primal Therapy in California.
TF You went to New York for a while before you went to LA. I remember
that from the book-that whole trip to New York. It's funny because
it was a really sad story, not so much about Ian Brady but more about
loneliness to me, a real existential loneliness.
CH You're kidding?
TF No, it really struck me. I remember when I first moved to New York
how lonely and excited I was at the same time. I think it's the same for a
lot of young people who move there from smaller places. There are all
these great expectations, wanting to escape. It's classic. But yeah, I mean,
the Ian Brady stuff was part of the book but more, to me, it was a really
moving story about aloneness and alienation.
CH Really? Hmm.. .that's interesting. I've re-written it, as you know,
and I've re-written that part and put it in one big book that includes my
time in therapy and uh, it's written more from the point of view of an
outsider.. . not concentrating on a serial killer. It a story about, you know,
not relating to others, and childhood stuff.. .it's more strongly about that.
TF About your time in the orphanage.
CH Yeah, and you know, being abused and shit like that. And how it
causes you to feel alienated from others.
TF You essentially re-wrote the first book?
CH And the second one. An agent has read it and accepted it, and a publisher
has read it and accepted it. It's called A Few People Murdered by
Their Parents, because I include others in it. I think they will probably
change the title.
TF That's interesting, I mean, you've reclaimed your identity from the
first book and the tabloids by rewriting it.
CH Yeah, and my writing has matured, you know.
TF How would you describe your experience with Primal Therapy in Los
CH Uh, I would say that it has gotten me out of a lot of darkness; it
cleared my head of a lot of darkness. It's made me relate to others more.
It's made me see things more clearly. It's gotten rid of a lot of neuroses,
actually. I'm sure I've got a lot left but it cleared up a lot, it did, you
TF It took me awhile, I felt very fucked-up for the first two years. I mean
I felt really bad before I started, of course, and then felt bad in a different
way throughout the course of therapy. Then you get to this point where
you realize you can't do this therapy without feeling bad. I had this fantasy
that I would be "cured" in six months.
CH Yeah, so did I. Because of what Janov says in the book (Arthur Janov,
The Primal Scream).
TF Yeah, because of what Art Janov said.
CH I like how it has helped me deal with life. I don't like the fact that I
am older and wanting a relationship and how hard it is.
TF Well, I'm still not sure why I am attracted to the people I am, and
when it doesn't work out, I have a hard time getting over it. Weren't you
in love with an IRA Terrorist?
CH Which one?
TF Which one? (laughing). Maybe I'm thinking of the Irish farmer you
told me about.
CH Oh he's down in Crossmaglen, which is kind of, well, I think they are
all in the IRA. It's IRA territory.
TF Oh, so he's not active in the IRA.
CH Well, since he's down there, one can assume that he is active. He's
Sinn Fein, which is the political wing of the IRA. Right.
TF You know, it's weird, I was reading this thing about Ted Kaczynskiyou
know the unabomber in America -
CH Right, yeah.. .
TF It was an interesting case because his defense team, his lawyers,
wanted him to plead insanity to avoid the death penalty and he absolutely
refused, because he saw himself as a political radical and an insanity plea
would undermine his politics. You know, he had written this manifesto
about the dangers of science and technology and how they were destroy113
Interview with Christine Hart
ing the earth. And it was these political views he feared people would see
as insanity and here his lawyers were doing that very thing. Oddly enough
the prosecution was claiming he was sane and that this was a rational
political program-exactly how Koysiznki saw himself and so he essentially
agreed with the prosecution's view of him and not his own lawyers.
CH That's interesting. TF But, well, this was an interesting article because it was talking about
his family's attempts to come to terms with his insanity, and I was thinking
about this in relation to that whole thing you went through with Ian
Brady, wanting to see some sort of humanity in him, through all those
horrendous things he had done, wanting to redeem him.
CH Yeah.. .
TF They interviewed his mother on Sixty Minutes and she described this
incident when he was six-months-old and had hives and was hospitalized.
Now, apparently in those days babies weren't allowed to be touched in
the hospital, so Ted Kaczynski was strapped to a table, naked, screaming,
for a whole week and his mother has said that when she got him back, he
was all limp and unresponsive. And so his mother thinks that a lot of his
later troubles stem from this early trauma and you know I think that's
CH How did you relate that to me trying to see humanity in Brady?
TF Well, everyone is always trying to figure out what makes someone
crazy, right, or what makes people become killers or if killers are insane,
and of course I think they are, but I think they are because of a reason, or
reasons, and it's that kind of trauma that does it to people.
CH Oh yeah, when I wrote about it again in the book and during therapy,
I-as I was having therapy-I was, in the book, flashing back to the
serial killer's childhood and doing his memories and seeing his memories.
I mean, I'm doing it using my imagination, from what he told me, and
I've got some scenes from when he was a child and stuff, um, you know,
how he would come to kill. It turned out pretty well, actually.
TF But he never told you about his childhood did he?
CH Well, he told me different bits, yeah.. .about his mother leaving his
rabbits to die when he went away and stuff.
TF It's a weird debate, that whole debate about what makes someone kill
someone. I think it's insane to believe a sane person could kill someone
under normal circumstances.. .
CH I think he's the same as Fred West, it's the same type of killing. Fred
West, uh, he uh, his mother introduced him to sex when he was eight and
his father buggered him and beat him and then he started keeping people
in the cellar. Interesting thing was he used to bandage them all up and put
straw in their nose and stuff and uh, yeah, well the only thing left of them
was the straws in the nose, and I think it was kind of symbolic -that he
wasn't seen as a person, but as an orifice.
TF By his parents?
CH Yeah, yeah.. . and he kind of re-created it. It's not facing it that
causes all the, you know, the mental instabilities. I mean, it's bound to
have some kind of effect, isn't it?
TF Oh yeah, it has to. I mean, I had an abusive childhood, not like that,
but it was bad and it has taken me a long time to get over it. I know that
lying to yourself about it doesn't help. I mean, I did that and it didn't
CH I was talking to this little twenty-two-year-old that I know who read
the Primal Scream and he said, "I don't like this, you know, I don't like
the way it's like 'Oh, you're neurotic, you're neurotic.' I don't like the way
I am supposed to be neurotic all the time," and I was like, Well, you are,
you are, you are.. .
TF You are neurotic!
CH Face it baby - you're neurotic! I mean, oh.. . and he said, "I don't
think it's a good thing to dwell on your past."
TF Oh, so many people say that, I'm sick of hearing it. My family said
that when I went into therapy.
CH It's so annoying. And so, well, all he was saying to me-I had a drink
with him in the pub-and he said, "I am really out of touch with myself,
I'm out of touch: and I said, "well, look-let me do a diagram, and I got
a lighter, an ashtray and a cigarette package and I said, "There's you;
there's your real self, right, here's the ashtray, that's your real self," and I
put the lighter in the middle and said, "There's all your old feelings and
it's the old feelings that are preventing you from being your real self. Get
in touch with your old self (your self as a child) and you can start to feel."
And he said, "No, no, I don't think you have to do that. It's just a question
of me getting in touch with myself." And I said, "You can't understand
me, there's something blocking it."
TF People have a lot of difficulty with the concept of feeling pain in order
to feel better.
CH Oh, really?
TF Oh, I think so. I do sometimes myself, when I'm feeling really bad, I
think it hasn't worked for me.
Interview with Christine Hart
CH Hang on a sec, Tom, there's someone at the door, which is unusual.
Can you wait a sec. . .
TF Are you going to be in LA this summer?
CH I want to, yeah. If you're there we could share a place.
TF Yeah we could. I want to meet your friend Brent.
CH I want to see him. He sent me his address a while ago and I lost it.
I'm going to have to write to Judy to get it.
TF Judy will give you his address?
CH Well she gave me Mike's, or she passed on a letter he had written me;
this absurd letter; I didn't reply. But yeah, she passes letters on, she's okay
TF I've thought about her recently. You know, she was my primary therapist
there. I miss her.
CH Yeah, yeah.. .I thought about Barry the other day; I had this weird
dream about this really aggressive guy with this Brooklyn accent who
was, like, really awful and I thought, God I had a real connection with
him, and then it was Barry.
TF Hey, did you know that Gretchen and Nick went out for a while?
CH Yeah I did.
TF I was talking to Gretchen about stuff, relationship stuff-you know,
can you be friends with someone you're interested in-and she said,
"Well you know I went out with Nick for years and now we're best
friends." Although she had been telling me it's not a good idea.
CH I should go because someone's here.
TF Oh, okay, I might have.. .
CH Sorry I wasn't in earlier but someone phoned me and the sun was
shining and I was like, yeah, I'll go.. .it's so rare for the sun to shine.
TF Okay, bye, I'll see you later.
CH Bye, Tom, 1'11 talk to you later.
THIS STINKS TO ME OF ONE GIGANTIC PUTRID COVER UP OF ORGANISED INSTITUTIONAL CHILD ABUSE TO ME!