Dani Garavelli

Dani Garavelli writes a column for the Herald on Sunday, and recently researched and presented the Radio 4 documentary Prosecuting Polmont.

On the sideboard​ in my dining room stands a model ship, approximately 85 cm long and 70 cm high, its hull lined with square portholes through which the barrels of tiny cannon protrude. There are intricately carved staircases, a ship’s wheel, a lattice hatchway cover and a windlass for pulling up the anchor. The words ‘BON’ and ‘HOMME’ are clearly legible on the...

Sharon and I are the same age – we were both 25 when her seven-year-old daughter daughter, Nikki, was killed – but born into different worlds. She had been in care, and was a single mother with four girls: Stacey, eight, Zara, three, and Niomi, nearly two, as well as Nikki. I had gone to university and was recklessly ambitious. I had hesitated before knocking on her door that first time. But I took to Sharon, whose prickly exterior is a defence mechanism and whose refusal to be cowed into silence I came to admire. I got to know her better the following year when I covered the trial of George Heron, which was moved away from the North-East to Leeds and lasted six weeks. Courts are intense, hermetic places where relationships form quickly; I spent most lunchtimes with her family in a nearby pub. The prosecution case was doomed from the start. Heron, an ‘oddball’ and Dr Who fan, who wore a baseball cap and oversized glasses, had denied killing Nikki more than 120 times before he finally confessed.

Diary: Salmond v. Sturgeon

Dani Garavelli, 1 April 2021

In her appearance before the committee, on 3 March, Nicola Sturgeon presented her memory lapses and the discrepancies in her testimony as the result of her distress over Salmond’s behaviour; he was ‘somebody that was a really close friend of mine, that I cared about’. Murdo Fraser, a Conservative MSP, asked her whether she owed the Scottish people an apology for asking them to trust Salmond. She replied that it was unreasonable to expect her to be responsible for his behaviour. Sturgeon was right to highlight the fact that women are often held accountable for men’s bad behaviour, but there is a thin line between pointing out Salmond’s flaws, and the use of them as a shield against criticisms of her own administration’s shortcomings. 

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