Daniel Holmes, the Welshman sentenced to over a decade in prison in Malta for growing cannabis in Gozo in 2006, has opened up about how hard coping with free life has been.
Speaking to Lovin Malta, Daniel explained that since being re-united with his wife and two daughters, who are the centre of his world, it’s been difficult being around people so openly. After being locked up with hardened criminals in a foreign country for eight years after committing a non-violent crime, his time inside has taken its toll on him.
“Well, where do I start, life has been so very full,” Holmes told Lovin Malta. “It’s so hard to find a place back in the world, most of living is beyond me and I still get very panicked being around people. It’s been hard finding ourselves together as a family, but we’re getting there.”
“Time flies by so fast when one’s not watching the clocks”
Aside from being with his family again, some of the little things we take for granted have really made a difference in Daniel’s life – even things like having access to a washing machine, which he calls “a dream come true”.
Working on his debut novel detailing everything he saw inside Corradino Correctional Facility in Paola, Holmes is slowly coming to terms with balancing work life with his personal life – something he didn’t need to do inside jail.
“Writing has gone slower than I imagined, I guess it was so easy in
prison when there was nothing else to do. But, the book is coming together, I suppose I’m halfway there,” he said. “Time flies by so fast when one’s not watching the clocks.”
Holmes was jailed before Facebook was even a thing, and having joined social media after being released, he quickly became overwhelmed
“I’ve not been on Facebook for so long, there were just so many old
friends wanting to meet up and I can’t face them,” he said. “I suppose just time with my girls is all I need. I’ve done little else.”
Unfortunately, Daniel and his wife Marzena experienced a terrible personal loss during the holidays, just months after being reunited
“We did have some unfortunate news,” he said. “November we became pregnant again, but unfortunately a week before Christmas we had a miscarriage and that meant a lot of pain for the Mrs and us all. Just another thing life throws at us and we have to get on with it. It’s a new year though, loads to do, and wonders to enjoy.”
Apologising for being so “dark”, he said his family were really missing the island, even after all the pain and hardship Maltese authorities put him through
“It’s strange how much I, Mrs and kids miss Malta,” he said.
“One day I’ll be back, that’s guaranteed. And please tell anyone that asks that I’m always thinking about your islands and wish everyone the very best for this and every new year.”
Pictured above: A recent photo of Daniel Holmes and his daughter Rainbow, holding a book featuring a poem of Daniel’s, at the Koestler Trust Exhibition in London.
Daniel expressed some of his anxieties following prison life in a poem, published exclusively below
The Ghost Inside
Within a shroud of stone and steel
When keys are turned and doorways sealed
When light it leaves and darkness comes
And silence beats as loud as drums
When living are kept from their dreams
That’s when the Ghost Inside is seen.
Upon the air an icy chill
Where fear sweeps and time stands still
A phantom shimmers into sight
Unnerving terror fills the night
A vision screams in silent pose
That’s when the Ghost Inside is close.
A flickered spectre to the eye
In scenes that haunt and terrify
One lasting memory of a death
When rope was strung to stop a breath
From pale features panic spreads
That’s where the Ghost Inside hanged dead.
And every night upon that cell
That ghost is trapped within that hell
And those who stay awake too late
Are witness to that life forsake
To suffer damned forever bound
That’s where the Ghost Inside is found.
Within that prison chamber tomb
Where life was ended far too soon
Where hope had left and sorrow stayed
And to a soul the price was paid
There’s no escape – there cannot be
For I am dead – That Ghost is me.
Daniel has been banned from returning to the island for five years. He is currently working on his debut novel which will be released in Malta.
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