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'I was once the most famous child in the British Isles.Three weeks before my third birthday I was the only witness to my mother's murder.It was reported that I would never speak again. After twenty years, I have found my voice.'
In July 1992, three weeks before his third birthday, Alex Hanscombe watched the frenzied and brutal attack by a complete stranger that left his mother, Rachel Nickell, dead. They had been walking their dog on Wimbledon Common, in broad daylight. The story stunned the nation. Within hours it dominated news bulletins, even before family and friends had time to be informed. Alex's family took every step to protect him as they were laid siege by the media. Meanwhile his father and a child psychologist worked painstakingly to coax vital clues from Alex. The investigation expanded into one of the largest and most controversial in police history, but the case remained unresolved for almost two decades. Forced to flee the UK to escape the intrusive and damaging scrutiny of the media, Alex grew up in rural France, and found himself accepted by local children as simply an interesting stranger to play with. Nevertheless, isolated with a father struggling with his own grief, he continued to be affected secondarily, as family and friends were unable to avoid the emotional roller coaster of Old Bailey trials and police errors. Peace proved temporary. Hunted down by the media they were forced to move once again. However, the healing routines of everyday life eventually allowed Alex to complete his childhood. Twenty years later, he is now able to reflect upon his personal journey with maturity and insight.
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‘Surprisingly free of bitterness’ (Sunday Times)
‘A remarkable bond’ (The Guardian)
‘A remarkable journey to forgiveness’ (Mail on Sunday)
‘Inspirational...what a man’ (BBC Radio 2, Jeremy Vine)
‘Beautifully written’ (BBC Radio London, Vanessa Feltz)
‘Remarkably uplifting’ (BBC Breakfast TV, Charlie Stayt)
‘A remarkable capacity for forgiveness. The key to it is in the title of his book, Letting Go.’ (Good
‘A story symbolised by photos that are so seeped in love that they’ve stayed with us all these years’ (New!
Alexander Hanscombe was born in London in 1989, but spent the greater part of his childhood in a small village in France to avoid media intrusion after his mother Rachel Nickell's murder. He is now a certified hypnotist and speaks four languages. After discovering yoga several years ago he travelled to India and has been a dedicated practitioner ever since.
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