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‘My goal was to be happy with my children’

‘My goal was to be happy with my children’


In just eight weeks, Jolene Charles’ life has been transformed.

The once active mother of two is now paralysed from the waist down and can no longer perform tasks she once took for granted.{{more}}

Charles, however, continues to have faith and declares: “I will walk again.”

When SEARCHLIGHT visited Charles at her Edinboro home earlier this week, she spoke of her independence and starting to work at the age of 15. Today, she can no longer take a bath, or sit upright, without assistance. She must now depend on her mother for her every need.

Charles’ paralysis follows an incident at her home on March 20, 2010, during which her ex-boyfriend beat her in the head with a hammer, and stabbed her in her back with a screwdriver.

On May 11, 2010, Chief Magistrate Sonya Young sentenced Shorn Carlon Craigg to five-and-a-half years in prison after he pleaded guilty to unlawfully and maliciously wounding Charles.

Twenty three-year-old Charles says she had already set goals for her life and for her two children before the incident.

“My goal was to make myself happy along with my children. I like to work, and I am used to being independent. I wanted to work so my children could have a better life when they get older. Not just staring at the ceiling all day,” Charles said as tears filled her eyes.

Surprisingly, Charles’ main concern is not her paralysis, but the fact that she cannot be the mother to her two children ages, six and three, as she would like to.

“I just lie on my bed all day and stare at the ceiling knowing I can’t do nothing to help myself or my two kids,” Charles lamented.

She said that after showing last week’s newspaper to her children about their father’s sentencing, her younger child, Teneke, began lashing out at his picture for “beating up her mommy.”

In a soft tone, Charles said that her children have played a huge role in helping her to build a positive attitude when she slumps into depression.

“Just the other day when they came home from school, they were rubbing my feet and telling them to wake up,” Charles said with a huge grin.

Charles said that she does not think that the sentence handed down to Craigg was enough, but states that he would have to “deal with God for what he has done to me.”

Speaking with anger in her voice, the 23-year-old says although she tries to think positively at all times, she feels as if she’s fighting a losing battle, as she is constantly reminded of her situation.

Meanwhile, Charles’ mother, Claudia Browne, has devoted her life to taking care of Jolene and her two children.

“This is my first child, and when she used to work she used to give me everything, so I can’t turn my back on her now,” Browne assured.

The mother of four said that it is difficult to see her daughter in such a position and admits that no one deserves such a fate. “I just have to leave everything in God’s hands and hope for the best,” Browne said.

Since Craigg was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison, some members of the public have questioned the sentence.

However, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Colin Wlliams, told SEARCHLGIHT on Wednesday that he was of the opinion that the sentence handed down to Craigg was “reasonable and just”.

The DPP explained that there have been instances before where people charged with manslaughter have received lesser penalties.

“They wanted him to kill her and only get three years? People charged with manslaughter getting less than five years. What are they talking about?” the DPP rhetorically asked.

Williams added that the longer Craigg spends in jail, it benefits Charles less.

“When he comes out of prison, she can file a civil suit against him, which would have him working to pay any medical bills that she has,” Williams told SEARCHLIGHT.