Huseyin Djemil describes being terrified as a young child after his father had shot and killed someone in their house. Both his father and mother were arrested, and Huseyin and his sisters were looked after by relatives until his mother was released.
Young Huseyin was clearly traumatised at the time and he believes he was in a dissociative state for some years afterwards. It is likely that Huseyin’s later use of heroin helped him deal with the impact of this trauma, as the drug ameliorates psychological pain.
In his interview, Huseyin also describes how he much later learnt a great deal about the shooting and its aftermath when he read public records relating to the events.
Huseyin’s earliest memory, from when he was three or four years old, was being terrified whilst he stood in his pyjamas in a hallway with lots of commotion going on around him. Someone picks him up and whisks him away. Later, he learns that his father had just killed someone in their house. As he grows up, he hears stories of that day, which much later he learns are untrue. Over the years, he carries the young boy’s trauma around with him.
In the mid-2000s, Huseyin’s oldest sister tries to find out more about the killing in their house in the late 1960s by accessing the public records. The Public Record Office in Kew tells her that the records are being kept secure for 70 years. During Covid-lockdown, Huseyin comes up with the idea of trying to see his mother’s records—she had been arrested at the same time as her husband, but was later released. He is told that he can view his mother’s records in the Records Office once the lockdown is over.
Huseyin decides to visit The Public Record Office in Kew to read his mother’s records relating to his father killing someone in their house in the late 1960s. When he arrives at the Record Office, he is told that he can see his mother’s records relating to the killing in his house, but he must view them in a separate room. He can take his phone and computer into the room, but not pens/pencils and paper.
Huseyin reads and photographs his mother’s records, and realises they contain his father’s records as well He is ‘stopped in his tracks’ when he reads that the police interview with his mother had to be paused as ‘the little boy had to be taken to the toilet’. He realises that he was there in the police station, in another room. Huseyin’s mother gave a good account of herself during the interview, but was later charged with murder, along with her husband.
Huseyin also reads his father’s police interview notes within his mother’s records and discovers more about the shooting, his parents’ backstory, and the victim.
After their parents are charged with murder, Huseyin and his sisters are looked after by various relatives. Young Huseyin is traumatised and wetting the bed. Knowing about trauma now, Huseyin realises that he was in a dissociative state at the time—escaping from the reality of what was happening around him—and for some years afterwards.
Eventually, his mum is released, but his dad serves a sentence for manslaughter at Wormwood Scrubs. At the end of each prison visit, young Huseyin would ask his mum, ‘Why can’t dad come home with us?’ Years later, as Huseyin is visiting Wormwood Scrubs for his induction when working in the government prison service, he has a major flashback to one of his prison visits as a child when he saw an ‘uncle’ of his being attacked by a prisoner.
Huseyin relates how after reading the records relating to the killing in his house, he realised that many of stories he had been told about his mother and father from that time were merely innuendo and hearsay. He goes on to describe how he grew up into a rebel, and mentions various events that occurred during the time of his growing up.