Why this blog has been quiet…

This is a motor racing blog – at least, most of the time. Now and then, I decide that there Jill -The Times.jpgare things more important than Formula 1. Today is one of those days. Sadly, not all such days are happy ones, but I am going to tell the story nonetheless, because I want the international motor racing community to know about Jill Saward.

My little sister.

Blog readers who live in the UK will probably know the name already, given the coverage there has been about her in the last week. She was the lead item on most TV news bulletins last Thursday and on most of the newspaper front pages on Friday morning. There were two reasons for this: she was a remarkable person; and she died suddenly at the age of just 51. The family knew that there might be some media interest, but none of us imagined it would be front page news.

You may well ask, why is it? And for those who don’t know the story, I would suggest you read this link, but in very simple terms, Jill was “a rape campaigner”. It is not really the kind of job you want to have, because the primary qualification is to be someone who has been raped. Jill was. She was raped physically by a bunch of depraved thugs, but also metaphorically by the British media – although you won’t read that second part in many of this week’s news stories. You will read instead that she was the first rape victim ever to waive her right to anonymity. The reason she did that was because she wanted to make a difference, and because the media had already destroyed every shred of privacy. Headlines about “the vicar’s daughter” were simply too good for the loathsome creatures who sat on the news desks in Fleet Street, and for the low-lifes who chased the story.

At the time I was a young reporter at Autosport and I suddenly found myself in the middle of a terrible drama, at the hands of people who were supposed to be my colleagues. My sister was in hospital. Her then boyfriend was in intensive care, having been beaten unconscious with a cricket bat. My father was in a similar state. Ironically, he was a big fan of cricket and the cricket bat, signed by the great Donald Bradman, was one of his prize possessions. It was a surreal time, which has been described very well by my brother-in-law Chris Hudson in the recent days. It taught me a lot about what not to do as a journalist.

The case created fierce criticism about press coverage of rape cases because it was clear from the stories published who the victim had been. The Sun, edited by Kelvin MacKenzie, even published a photograph of Jill, with only her eyes blacked out. They were shameless. They argued, cynically, that media identification of victims was only banned after a defendant had been charged. As far as I am concerned, the name Murdoch will forever be tainted by that contemptible defence. The law was changed. The Press Council published new guidelines on how rape cases should be reported to prevent anonymity being breached.

The judicial process after the assailants were caught was utterly appalling: the ringleader, who was not one of the rapists and was there simply to steal, was sentenced to 14 years in prison. The two rapists were each given five years for burglary, one got another five years for rape, the other got three years. The message was clear: goods had more value than the female body. The judge, Mr Justice Leonard, made the extraordinary statement when he justified the light sentences saying that Jill had not suffered any great trauma because of her controlled and dignified demeanour in court. The truth was very different, as Jill would later reveal in a book she wrote in 1990.

There was uproar after that and the case would play an important role in changing the law so that today the prosecution in any case can ask the Attorney General to increase a sentence, if it is felt the judge has failed in his duties. Jill campaigned for changes to the law and over the time these would include making rape within marriage a criminal offence, getting other sexual acts classified as rape, tougher sentencing for rapists, a ban on alleged rapists being allowed to cross-examine victims in court and restrictions on the evidence that can be given about a victim’s sexual history.

Jill went on to campaign for the rights of sexual assault victims and to improve the support they receive. She became a sexual assault case worker, trained police forces all over the country and most recently launched a new campaign called JURIES, arguing in favour of mandatory briefings for juries about the myths and stereotypes of sexual violence in rape, sexual assault and abuse trials. She also spoke out against those who in recent times have been seeking to change the law so that people accused of sex crimes can claim anonymity.

Despite all her work, in 2013-2014 around 16,000 rapes were reported, only a third were sent to the Crown Prosecution Service and only 15 percent resulted in charges being made. Only around six percent resulted in a conviction. And none of this takes into account the fact that the rapes reported were probably only a fraction of the number actually committed. I know quite a few women who have told me about being raped but never reported it, because they feared what would happen. For them, Jill was a beacon of strength, someone who was fighting their fight, challenging judges, politicians and anyone else who needed educating on the subject.

On another level, Jill made a huge impact by expressing her belief that forgiveness provides victims with the freedom to move on, without being trapped by the past. The concept that one could forgive such awful acts sent out a powerful message about her Christianity.

In short, Jill’s life and her campaigns touched tens of thousands of people and made significant impacts in British legislation. At the same time she spent a large amount of time meeting, talking to or texting with rape victims, trying to help them come to terms with what has happened on a personal basis.

As a family, we have received thousands of messages in recent days, and I’d like to quote a couple of the ones that came to me, just to help you understand the kind of impact.

“The fact that the passing of Jill was the main item on last night’s BBC news speaks so clearly of the significant difference she made in the lives of so many,” one person wrote.

Another, from the motor racing world, wrote: “Jill was an incredible woman. Her support got me through an utterly terrible time and helped me to define myself, without reference to the wickedness that touched my life. Without wishing to sound trite, the difference between seeing oneself as a victim and defining oneself as a survivor is profound and without Jill I don’t think I could have made the step from one to another… I hope that the knowledge that there are people like me in the world for who Jill helped from the darkness back into the light offers a tiny bit of comfort to you all. I suspect her devotion to her cause means that she has touched 100s of lives and has left the world in a better place than she found it.”

And is there a better epitaph than that?

The Saward children were taught and shared the belief that we could – and indeed should – strive to make the world a better place. Motor racing may seem an odd place to do that, but while it is a ruthless but efficient money-making machine, it is also a place where normal people go to escape; a world of dreams that make life more bearable for many people. I’ve sometimes described myself as “a dream salesman” and I have always felt that in this way I could make a difference. This blog is all about inviting people into the sport and letting them understand.

Twins 1969.jpgWhen we were young, the family was not complicated. We had one “big sister”, then “the only boy” and finally the two “little sisters”. The latter were identical twins (left). I’m not really sure why but the only boy and the little sisters formed a little gang, in the Swallows and Amazons sense of the word. We did kid stuff. We had adventures. Our parents always seemed to be too busy to tell stories and the twins wanted them and so I, the scruffy schoolboy, became the family storyteller. I remember only too well those two, almost identical, little faces spellbound by some daft story about elephants with tail lights or whatever else came to mind. They were my first audience – and ultimately the way I learned how to tell stories and transport people to exciting places.

And then, all of a sudden, we were adults and our paths went off in different directions. We were outward-looking and independent, but bound together by this thing called love. We were never held back by the family and that meant that we could have big dreams and wide horizons. Often we got lost from one another in the forests of life, but then we would be together again, for weddings and funerals, and we would remember that families can draw strength from one another.

Motor racing took me into a world in which there are some amazing intellects and an Jill Aquileia 1973.jpegunderlying requirement for constant improvement. If you do not move forward in racing, you fall behind. No-one is ever cruising along. And brilliant minds create fantastic ways in which to apply racing technology to the real world. Yes, there are safer and more efficient cars as a result of the sport, but there is so much else as well, including such things as medical telemetry, more efficient trauma teams (based on pit stop techniques) and many other things. I am proud to be part of Formula 1 and to sing its praises.

Formula 1 is really only a village which moves from place to place. One of the things which one learns about during a career as a journalist in F1 is the science of brain injury. We’ve seen a lot of it. My sister suffered a devastating subarachnoid haemorrhage, caused by an aneurysm. My first reaction when I heard the news was to ring Gary Hartstein, who was F1’s village doctor after the great Sid Watkins. Gary knows an amazing amount about trauma medicine and I knew he would help me understand. I told him all I knew, and he answered all my questions, explained the procedures and things which I should look out for, which would signal how things were. He didn’t sugar-coat anything – and added that he was available 24/7. He went the extra mile, as so many F1 people do. Gary was also brave enough to raise the subject of the worst case scenario and how we should be prepared to allow organ donation, in order to save other people. People who die young from brain injuries are among the best sources of healthy organs, which can transform the lives of others.

Thanks to Gary, I had no illusions. It may be comforting to think that people with cataclysmic brain injuries are “fighting”, but the reality is often very different. Most are quickly gone and they know nothing of what has happened. In Jill’s case, she was kept alive simply to allow surgical teams and organ recipients to be gathered. That in itself is quite a process. And then, when all was ready, the machines were turned off.

There are always positives, even at the worst moments, and the knowledge that others were going to benefit from Jill’s organs provided something. It was good too that our parents (both already gone) were not there to endure the loss of one of their children. After that, the flood of messages began, highlighting Jill’s achievements. The experience drew the family together and healed rifts and it reminded us all that we should never take people for granted. If you feel something important, you should say it, because you never know.

This blog post is not about raising money. It is about me saying what I want to say, but at the same time, I am well aware that the motor racing world is filled with wealthy people, who have enough money to buy expensive toys. Perhaps this story will convince them to donate to the “Remembering Jill Saward Fund”, which has been set up by the charity Rape & Sexual Abuse (RASA) Centre Limited. This will help to make sure that her work for survivors of sexual violence will continue. If you would like to help then please click here.

280 thoughts on “Why this blog has been quiet…

    1. The words courage and brave are bandied about so casually nowadays that they mask the true courage of those like your sister who made her life about helping others overcome their personal traumas. My condolences Joe. My wife also died of a ruptured aneurism so I know the feeling of helplessness when seeing one so stricken.

    2. Joe – a very brave piece to write. I remember reading of your family’s ordeal at the time and being amazed later at your sister’s courage. Having lost my elder brother unexpectedly at a young age, I know how difficult it can be. You will probably find that writing this will help you enormously later – I wish I could have done something similar.

      My sincere condolences to you and your family.

  1. I was aware of Jill as a truly inspirational Christian woman, living-out publicly what must have been incredibly difficult for her personally and then becoming an effective and respected campaigner.

    I hadn’t made the connection that she was you sister – my deep condolences.

  2. ah, Joe, I’m so sorry.
    & thank you for sharing this story.

    I lost my wife at 53 to a subarachnoid hemorrhage, so know the shock of sudden loss – of seeing a light turned off.
    My deepest sympathies to you and your sisters.

    Your sister made a huge difference to many lives, now and in the future.

    May she rest in peace.


    1. Joe, like many others, I had not realised the connection and offer my condolences to your family and you.

      Below are the lyrics of a 1994 song by Queen Drummer Roger Taylor called Dear Mr Murdoch which illustrates his thoughts on Rupert Murdoch and his empire. Unfortunately all the mainstream press seems to have descended to the same gutter in the last 23 years.

      Dear Mr. Murdoch, what have you done
      With your news of the screws and your soar away sun?
      You sharpen our hatred
      You’ve blunted our minds
      We’re drowning in nipples and bingo and sex crimes
      How many time must they poke and they pry
      Must they twist and lie?
      Just to add to the grime they even screwed up the times
      Love to kick their arse goodbye oh wouldn’t i!
      Dear Mr. Murdoch you play hard to see
      But with your bare-arsed cheek you should be on page three
      And dear Mr. Murdoch you’re really the pits
      Bad news is good business, you’re the king of the tits
      They stain all they touch, they’re real woman haters
      But we’re on their trail
      They go straight for the lowest common denominators
      How could they fail? go straight to jail – (no bail)!
      Dear Mr. Murdoch you’re a powerful man
      You control half our media whose values don’t scan
      And dear Mr. Murdoch we’re not so amused
      Just line up the people whose lives they’ve abused
      Dear Mr. Murdoch what do you know
      With your minions like vultures and carrion crow
      They’ve sunk just as low as humans can sink
      For profit they tell us how mass murderers think
      And dear Mr. Murdoch you come down from on high
      You even bought up the air waves, you control all our sky
      Dear Mr. Murdoch you’re a dangerous chap
      With your jingoist lingo we’re drowning in crap
      Dear Mr. Murdoch where are you coming from?
      Getting so hard to tell if you’re a yank, oz or pom
      Dear Mr. Murdoch you’re really the pits
      Bad news is good business, you’re the king of the tits
      Dear Mr. Murdoch you do it with zing
      At lowering the standards you’re really the king
      And dear Mr. Murdoch what have you done?
      You’re not quite as nice as attila the hun

    1. Heartfelt condolences Joe. Had no idea about this connection, but read about Jill Saward as a brave and determined woman.

  3. Joe, deeply moving and as someone who lived in the UK during that terrible event I remember it well. I know of one woman who found the courage to report a rape because she read your sister’s web page and drew strength from it. In a world where many contribute little to the world your sister was at the other end of the spectrum, she has left the world a better place by her existence and work. I hope you, her husband and your family take some small solace from knowing how respected and admired she was by so many people.

  4. Thrust into a role she didn’t choose she clearly made the best of it. To do so much good again on her death, she truly was part of a remarkable family.

  5. Hi Joe, my very good friend, Lynden Swainston, told me you were coming to England and why. I wasn’t brave enough to to contact you at that time to offer my heartfelt condolences but your article has given me the impetus now.
    Your words about your sister and family made me realise what a special family you have!
    Long may you continue to enlighten me and the rest of the world about F1 in particular but also anything else that seems pertinent to you.
    I thank you for the many enjoyable and enlightening hours you have given me.
    Again I offer my condolences on your loss.
    Vernon Wheeler

  6. I’m sorry Joe, I didn’t make the connection. Sadly I can remember the case very well and I was appalled at the time at both the crime and your sisters treatment by the courts and the media afterwards.
    Please accept my most sincere condolences and best wishes to yourself, family and friends.

  7. So sorry to hear Joe. Can’t imagine how it’s been for the family. I hope the F1 luminaries do dip into their pockets a little.
    So, here’s to you and your family, a fantastic 2017 filled with love and a cracking f1 season which I look forward to hearing about from you!

  8. Sorry for your loss, Joe – I’m thankful you wrote this though, really an eye-opening article.

    I never realised how much the law, and perception of rape has changed, thanks to Jill.

    She gave strength, hope and help to many victims, and the world no doubt is forever in her debt.

  9. You remain a great story teller Joe, and what a story it is. Emotional stuff, life, death, family, society, business, hope, dreams. Thanks for wearing your heart on your sleeve in every aspect of your writing. Looking forward to the future whilst remembering and celebrating the past.

  10. My condolences Joe. I did see the story and noted the same surname, but never realised the relationship. She was an incredibly brave lady and a great loss to the world.

  11. Very deep codolences on your loss Joe, I remember the story well but had not made the connection to yourself. Your sister made the very best of a terrible situation and lived a life of service to others which has continued after her death. A lady any of us should have been proud to know, her legacy is fantastic.

  12. Thank you for the detail, Joe, it must have been awful for the family to have to go through this, but it was also a positive thing for us to be able to contribute through the Justgiving link in her memory.

    Peter & Rita

  13. Condolences on your loss. I hope her courage and work up until her passing continues making changes in others’ lives for the better. I can’t think any better legacy for a person to leave.

  14. Sincerest condolences Joe
    Your Sister was a brave human being who fought back and educated and empowered women. A beacon for all . She will not be forgotten. 🌹

  15. Joe so very sorry for your loss my condolences to you and your sisters. Early in my dating life I met a woman who had been raped, I felt honoured that she had the courage to share her story with me and I learnt that she had gone on to be actively involved in running a rape crisis centre in New Jersey where she lived. It brought to me at an early age how terrible a crime this is and how badly services and legal systems dealt with it. Your sister was a victim twice: once of the crime and once of the system, and I include media here. She was clearly a truly remarkable woman and we owe her and your family a debt for the good work she has done. Our thoughts are with you.

  16. I listened to a tribute about her with James O Brien on LBC and was touched then hearing about what she’d done. Now doubly so hearing it was your sister.
    My very deep condolences.

  17. My deepest condolences to you and your family. Just reading her story brings tears to my eyes. She was so strong in the face of sin and depravity let alone cluelessness (and stupidity). She in her Father’s arms now and we pray for those left behind, her family, the victims she won’t be able to interact with and our society which has lost a beacon of strength and forgiveness.

  18. All my sympathy Joe, to you and the family. It’s every doctor’s nightmare to have to give bad news to families, made vastly worse when the person we’re talking with is someone we know, respect, and love.

    As I’ve gotten older (note I’m not saying mature, that has yet to happen) I’ve held to three principles when talking about bad stuff. The first is never ever remove all hope. Even when there is none, some glimmer of positivity must be transmitted. There is always, ALWAYS something positive to leave a family with, even if that’s a frightfully relative concept in some circumstances.

    The second principle is that people don’t want euphemisms, and must never be condescended to. Although we must modulate our words as a function of our interlocutor’s vocabulary, background etc, the days of doctors patronisingly tut-tutting away essential information are long gone.

    The third is honesty. When the situation is bad, we have to find the words to make that clear, without shocking, without seeming callous, without violating principle number one.

    It is an honour to be the person you called for medical background. Every time i talk with a patient, or a patient’s family, I am staggered by the trust and confidence people place in me. That is the greatest privilege of being a doctor.

    I am proud to call you a friend, Joe. Once again, deepest condolences to all of you.

    1. International motor racing has been fortunate in being served by some extraordinarily talented medical practitioners, among whom Gary Hartstein ranks highly. It wasn’t just the high-profile incidents to which he was called, either. He will have forgotten a lowly case at Hockenheim involving a kidney stone, but I haven’t.

      How right Gary is in his resolve to be sympathetic with loved ones while at the same time not shielding them from the true situation. A similarly level-headed surgeon prepared my family for the worst when my father went down with a brain tumour at the age of 58. I haven’t forgotten his gentleness, and that was 47 years ago. Your patients are lucky to have you, Gary.

  19. What a story. One of which I was totally unaware, and told by you, Joe, with exceptional courage and sensitivity. I am appalled of course, but ultimately I am enormously touched… humbled. My sincere best wishes to you and all your family.

  20. I’m so sorry to read this Joe and my condolences to you and the rest of your family. It’s clear the initial attack of your sister and her boyfriend was only extended by the media and court system, a complete absurdity. Jill deserves huge respect and thanks for finding a way to help others that suffered as she. I’m very sorry for your loss.

  21. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My sincere condolences to you and your family. Living in Canada I was not aware of the attack on your sister or the consequent assault by the media piranhas, but your writing, as always, provided a insightful story and a fitting tribute to her memory.

  22. My condolences to you and your family. It is evident that Jill’s death was not just your family’s loss but all of ours.

  23. Sometimes, when something awful like this loss happens, people fall into a kind of “I don’t know what to say” paralysis.

    From one who lost their own sister, too early and unexpectedly, my opinion is: say something…something kind, simple, anything. Even the smallest word of sympathy was a huge comfort to me and my family.

    I’m sorry for you and your family at this loss, which must be heartbreaking to you all. I hope the knowledge that Jill was such a great woman who did so much to help and benefit so many is of some comfort to you – and I hope all the messages of support and sympathy do the same.

    My deepest condolences.

    1. Thanks Tim,
      I’m one of those who “don’t know what to say” but it’s not paralysis it’s a fear of foot in mouth, of saying the wrong thing at an awkward time. You have eloquently expressed approximately what I would have liked to say. So thanks again.

      I’ll add to Joe that the above is a beautiful piece of communication and please accept my condolences.

      Warm regards,

  24. Beautifully done, bro. Proud of you. In a few parts of the world right now, the Tremaynes are thinking of the Sawards.

  25. Like many here I had not made the connection that Jill was your sister. What a remarkable and inspirational lady she was. As your blog post made clear – thanks for sharing those thoughts Joe.

    Deepest condolences to you and the family.

    1. As with many another avid reader of your reports, Joe, I was totally unaware
      of any part of the harrowing account you have just written about your dear sister’s experiences, both of monstrous crime and even more monstrous injustice. There are no words of appropriate reply, Joe. The day is totally blackened by the things you had to tell us.

      And now…..I have a decision to make. Do I continue to watch the wonderful sport I am totally devoted to, by the only complete televisual means available to me in UK. That offered by one Murdoch. Murdoch…born under a dark star to blacken beyond repatration the already extremely grubby world of ‘popular journalism’.

      How can I continue to watch the Sky coverage of F1 when it’s proprietor is
      more than happy to have built his vast empire on the human misery he is
      guilty of promoting ?

      A pretty evil dilemma.

      1. No dilemma at all. I have never and will never give the Murdoch Empire a single penny and have been an avid follower of F1 for 60 years. There are great alternatives.

  26. Condolences to you and your family Joe.
    The article has reminded me to double check that I am registered for organ donation and hopefully your sister and what you have written will prompt others to do the same. I hope that the fact some good comes from your loss will help you.
    All the best,

  27. I am very sorry for your loss Joe and I send you my deepest condoleances. Your essays does Jill justice and helps me understand both her life and the problem of rape in a deep and personal manner. Thank you.

  28. Dear Joe,
    My heartfelt condolences on the loss of your sister. I note that she allowed the donation of her organs after death. Another selfless!

  29. Thank you for your beautiful words about your sister. I have a big sister not much younger than Jill was, and could not fathom losing her. I can only start to imagine how it must feel. And still, her legacy lives on. It would seem that through her work, she truly made a difference, both to the world and to individuals. In the end, that is all anyone of us can hope for.

  30. As one of your overseas readers, I thank you for sharing this personal recollection of a story that was not known to me. There is quite a bit to reflect on in these events, but perhaps what really stands out is the principle that through character and communication people can help make a difference to others, despite the most difficult personal challenges. Along with many others, I’ll not forget Jill Saward. Condolences to you and your family.

  31. I am very sorry to hear of your loss. I remember you mentioning your sister in a previous post and learning of her bravery and resilience. She was clearly a very special person and I hope you will be comforted knowing her story will live on as an inspiration to all.

    My deepest sympathies to you and your family.

  32. What a brave and heartfelt article . I hope it helps your grieving process to express, so eloquently, your feelings.

    At least the “i” newspaper obituary was clear enough about the appaling comments by Leonard. Your sister will be remembered long after he is forgotten.

    I hope that you draw strength from the faith that you sister manifested through her life. She proved that each of us can make a difference if are we are determined enough.

    Sincere condolences to you and your family.

  33. Your sister was my age. So sorry to hear about your loss. For me, being harrassed by a colleague at work meant feeling angry and powerless. So I can imagine how strong your sister was to turn her situation around to help others. Rita

  34. Jill made such a large difference in the short time she had and your tribute was beautifully done sir.

    Our thoughts are with you and your extra-ordinary family.

    Kevin & Mary-Anne

  35. A powerful column. Thank you for writing it and doing it so well. I’m very sorry and sad for you loss. – Mike Harris, formerly of AP.

    1. Professional recognition is a thing that counts. To have the Mike Harris seal of approval is really something. Tough times require tough people…

  36. Oh my gosh, I had no idea. I was reading about her last week as I live in Ealing and the local news was full of her story. Amazing devotion to the cause and courage she had. God rest her soul.

  37. Joe, I don’t know you in real life, but if I may, I present you my deep condoleances. Your sister was a very brave woman and you wrote a profound hommage to her very person. Thank you for reminding us life is a struggle.

  38. So sorry for your loss Joe and sharing that about your little sister.

    My deepest condolences.

    Kind regards

  39. My condolences Joe, your story is appalling but equally uplifting in showing that light can come from such tragic events. My best wishes to you and your family.

  40. My condolences, Joe. Your sister was an amazing human. A loss for us all. Stacy Bearse, Lexington, KY (USA)

  41. My daughter came within a hairsbreath of being abused when her drink was spiked in a pub. Fortunately a friend noticed the affect the drug was having on her and took her home. It has affected her social life ever since, because she constantly has on her mind “what if”.

    I was appalled when that bastard footballer’s barrister was allowed to bring up the victims past history when during his appeal. I don’t know how he got away with it, especially given the claimed changes in the law.

    I wasn’t aware Jill Saward campaigned for many years in her efforts to protect and help victims of rape, and never received public recognition for her work. I imagine the recent discussion of UK honours must have been difficult for you.

    My deepest condolences.

    1. My sister also had a narrow escape. Drink spiked in a club in central London; she wasn’t raped but suffered seizures for several months afterwards. The harms of these substances should be more widely known of and possession of them without reason should be an offence, if it’s not already.

  42. Joe, I remember the case all too well growing up in London and having friends in Ealing. Your sister was remarkably brave and made a difference to countless people. Like many I hadn’t made the connection Jill was your sister. My sincere condolences.

  43. Rarely does so much good come out of something so terrible. Jill was an inspirational woman who had remarkable courage and determination.

    Sincere condolences to you and your family, Joe, for your sad loss. And to the many people whose lives she touched.

  44. Your sister has made an incredible difference to the world. Your story above is deeply touching. My sincerest condolences to you and your family.

  45. What a wonderful legacy your sister leaves, matched by wonderful words. Very best wishes to you and your loved ones. All we can ever hope to do is to leave this world having contributed positively to our lives and those of others. It is quite clear that this is the case, both through deeds and words. A time for peaceful reflection. Thank you for sharing this, it is a source of wisdom to us all.

  46. My deepest condolences Joe.
    Thank you for the tribute, a story about a very brave woman that needs to be told to those unaware of the story and of your sister.

  47. Joe, my friend, I am so sorry to hear of this grievous loss to you, your family, and all those that benefitted from your sister’s bravery, honesty, integrity, and commitment to helping those who had suffered her kind of pain. Those same personal qualities are evident in your own work, and this column in particular. I will be proud to make a contribution to the continuation of her work.

  48. Joe, I read everything you post, but rarely comment, but I just wanted to say that I’m sorry I wasn’t aware of your sister’s incredibly moving story until her death.

    Please accept my deepest sympathies and I hope all of those that knew her and the many more that her life helped may remember her as a true hero of our times. What a courageous little sister you had, my friend, and what a truly remarkable family your parents raised. I’m sure they are mighty proud of you both.

    Best wishes to you and your family and friends in this difficult time from Brazil.

    1. Also, if your family’s goal was to leave the world a little bit better than it was before you, your dedication to our beloved sport and your sister’s amazing and incredible dedication to her cause most definitely achieve that goal.

  49. Dear Joe,
    My deep condolences for the loss and thank you for letting us know about your very brave sister achievements, hoping that her work will endure beyond her lifetime.
    Kind regards,

  50. My condolences,

    Your sister is an amazing human being! After going through such an awful situation. She spoke out to the woman who didn’t have a voice.

    Truelly amazing woman you should be so proud to call her your sister.

  51. So sorry for your loss – she was a remarkable woman. I am a similar age and remember the case vividly, her courage and ability to not only move forward but to show such compassion to help others is a legacy that few can match. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  52. Can’t appreciate enough the privilege of you sharing your intimate thoughts with us. As I have told you earlier, I feel so sorry, but I am sure people – even though they can hardly imagine – they are able to recognize your sister’s achievements. Not only her life was not wasted, but her life eventually became a great life, true inspiration for so many people. Very few people have achieved that.

    My words are not pathetic attempt to comfort you. That’s how I truly feel. Humble respect to your sister, your family and yourself.

  53. Mes plus sincères condoléances, Joe. Perdre un membre de sa famille immédiate représente la plus grande épreuve que l’être humain puisse traverser. J’espère sincèrement que tous ceux, celles autour de toi ainsi que nous tous, arriverons à te réchauffer le coeur un tant soit peu.

    Que ta brave soeur repose en paix.



  54. my condolences Joe. i dunno what much to say but my hat off to You Joe – despite You still find that Spark inside you to enlighten us here with daily FF1Fs. Thank You

  55. Joe: Beautiful words about your sister. Please accept my sincerest condolences, and I pray the Lord’s warmth wraps you and your family in a blanket of solace and comfort.

  56. Condolences to you and the family Joe. I can remember Jill from all those years back and the behaviour of the press. What a brave and courageous woman she was. Although she has gone too soon what an incredible impact she made upon the world whilst she was here, more than most of us will do with more time.

  57. I’m sorry for your loss Joe. Thanks for bringing us the story. Beautiful how your sister helped so many people in her life.

  58. A very moving and heartfelt blog, Joe. Thank you for sharing your story and your views. I have been a big fan of your F1 journalism since you were F1 Editor at Autosport but didn’t know about your sister’s life or achievements. It is so sad that she died so young, after all she had been through, but she was truly inspiring. Sincere condolences to you and your family.

  59. Jill has always been in my thoughts because like so many women, i was profoundly affected by her stellar courage and subsequent campaigning work.

    I refuse to see Jill as a victim. She was, and always will be a warrior woman.

    My deepest condolences to you all.

  60. A very thoughtful and moving tribute to your sister, my condolences for your loss. She sounds like she was a special lady.

  61. Thoughts are with you Joe and the rest of the Saward family. I hope Jill’s and other rape campaigners legacies live on and grows. I am too young to remember the event but through learning about the story through you it sickens the disgusts me what she went through. My condolences.

  62. Joe, I have nothing to add which has not already been said save for sincere condolences for the loss of a courageous sister. I am also grateful for the reminder that by and large motor racing folk are decent and above all a family who will give of their time an expertise in times of need.

    Godspeed Jill.

  63. To turn the most horrible of personal affronts into affirmation and dedication to helping others is the truest and most noble humanity. My sincerest condolences and I hope your sorrow passes to be replaced with unmitigated pride.

  64. My condolences on your loss. It sounds like your sister lived a life for which you can always be proud: she deeply touched the lives of many, left the world a better place, and will be fondly remembered by all who knew her.

  65. Hi Joe,

    Thank you for sharing your perspective and my deepest condolences for your loss. As an Australian and an American, my partner and I were not aware of Jill’s experience and work. When I did learn of this (after some googling prompted by a comment in a post a few days ago) I related the story to my partner and we had a long conversation on the issues Jill brought to public awareness. We will both continue to talk of her story and these issue with people in our lives as a small gesture to her significant contribution.

    You and your family are in our thoughts.

  66. Joe,
    I am so sorry for your loss. My deepest condolences to you and your family. I heard about Jill’s passing from a couple of posters on your blog last week, so I went to the BBC to read the report. Living in the US, I had no idea of Jill and what happened, but, again, through your blog, I was prompted to research. Thank you for the insight you have provided in this post, which you have written so very well. Jill is a hero, especially to those that she has given hope to in their time of greatest vulnerability, in her short life, and to those she has given hope to at the end of her life.

  67. Your family has endured more tragedy and distress than any family should have to, and it is heartbreaking to read. I can only offer my deepest sympathies to you all on the loss of your sister, and wish for you all to continue to draw strength from the manner in which she has encouraged and enriched the lives of so many others over the years.

  68. Joe, I do not usually comment on your articles, but I had to come here to offer my condolences for your loss, and thank you for sharing it with us. I was moved to tears (and rage) by what you’ve told us about what happened to your sister and your family. Not being a Brit, I had NO IDEA. Jill’s courage should be an example to us all.
    Heartfelt hugs, Joe. Thank you. Hang in there.

  69. Joe, I’ve been reading your work for years without ever making the connection.
    What a powerful piece about a remarkable woman.
    I recall the original coversge of the attack, because that is what it was, very clearly. Similarly the shameful behaviour displayed by the Judge….

    Thank You for applying your fine, insightful writing talents to what must be your most difficult subject matter ever.

    Thanks too to my old mate and your colleague Gordon Henderson for sharing.

  70. Hi Joe,

    I’ve been reading your blog for years, but this is the first time I’ve commented. My mum passed away suddenly in 2007 in almost identical circumstances when I was still a teenager, she had also suffered a rape in her youth which I only found out about after her passing.

    I suppose all I wanted to say/do is extend my condolences and best wishes and love to you and your family. I have happily donated to the Fund, and I look forward to joining you in your adventures as the year progresses.

    All the best,


  71. As another one of those lost in the fog and paralysis of ‘not knowing what to say’, I’ll repeat my previous and inadequate expression of condolences to you and your family.

    And simply express my astonishment not that you can write so beautifully – because that is no surprise – but that you can write so beautifully even in such times as these. Your dignity and craftsmanship shine through even more than usual. I hope you can find comfort in knowing that you have done your sister’s memory justice,

  72. My heart goes out to you and your family. Words seem meaningless after losing someone so special, but Jill will always live on in your heart. Her bravery has touched many lives.

    I’m not rich, but I made a small donation from one survivor to help others

  73. my friend sent me this article to read as I was blessed enough to know Jill and she was such a remarkable woman and more than that. She will be so missed but reading all the tributes to her has just been so moving and inspiring. Thinking of you and thank you for writing such a beautiful tribute to your sister

  74. My sincere condolences to you and the family. A great loss at such a young age. Clearly she made a difference and it’s likely not even one person in 100,000 really does.

    It seems to me that journalism has decended a dark path where only news, or what can be made to appear as news, that affects the bottom line is reported. We see it here in the US where it has affected our Presidency.

    Thank you for writing this for without it I would have never known. I do know that your writing is the top and look forward to reading your blog.

    With sincere sympathy,
    Dennis Painter

  75. Your name came to mind when I read the articles about her but I didn’t assume you were related. Now that I know I want offer my condolences. As others have said she was inspirational. Social media has been full of praise and rightly so… and toleman fan is spot on.

  76. Would be nice if an F1 team took this charity up and put something on one of its cars to publicise it – I am not religious but some how it seems right to say God bless to you and yours

  77. Such a tribute to your sister, she must have been made of amazing stuff to have lived such a life, may she rest in peace. My condolences to you and your family.

  78. Such a sad moment in your life Joe. Her life added value and her death sad as it is also added value with the donations to others so that they might live. She live on in that sense.
    Agree totally with your comments about the press and their inherent ability to tell half the story and still get that wrong/slant etc for “public interest” Tony

  79. Very sorry for your loss Joe. Sadly, not being from Britain, this is the first time I heard your sister’s story. She clearly was an amazing person, stronger and braver than I can imagine. May she rest in peace, but she will live forever through the people, whose lives were, are and will be affected in a positive way by her brave activism. There’s no higher praise than that and no higher honor.

    I would also like to thank you, Joe, not only for this amazing piece of writing at such a difficult time for you, but for this blog and for all you do for F1 fans like me. Most people I know, who are not motorsport fans, don’t understand this, but I’ve called F1(and motorsport in general) a “beautiful escapism” for many years. Just reading your blog, another interesting F1 fact or whatever, makes such a big difference, a respite from the world of gloom outside. You’re a true artist, Joe and you do make my life better. So again thank you very much

  80. A beautiful and moving piece Joe.

    I don’t know what to say other than to again offer my sincerest condolences to you and your family and repeat what I posted previously that very few people manage to make the world a better place but your sister was most certainly one of them. A true light amongst the darkness.

  81. A few years ago, I was a law student. We were asked, as many law students in the past, to write a critique of Balfour v Balfour, a case that, in comparison to that of your brave sister, seems almost irrelevant. Your sister’s case provides a more recent view into the arcane way in which women, as victims, continue to be perceived by the judiciary in this country. Hopefully her case will become a matter of study of wrong precedent, an example of judicial impropriety.

    Sorry for your family’s loss Joe.

  82. May I repeat the earlier expressions of condolences to you and your family. Thanks also for the donation link and I pray the target sum will soon be reached.

  83. Your sister was,and remains, a remarkable, passionate, dignified and forgiving lady. She has made an horrendous situation slightly more bearable for others with her compassion , insight and constant and ongoing reminder to both the public , media and legal professions that it is the crime and abuse that needs to be judged and punished, not the victims past or perceived ability to “cope” with crime.
    She found the strength to forgive , which many of us would find almost impossible to do in her and your family’s situation.
    Her forgiveness and passion to make the system easier to take on for other victims only grew stronger over time, and wasn’t born of her personal anger or pain.
    That makes her more amazing and worthy of admiration and respect.
    My condolences to your family and Jill’s friends.

  84. Dear Joe,

    I had not read the paper, but somehow knew immediately from your words, which hung solemnly in my mind, excluding all else as I read, almost in a trance, but truly read your profound and devoted words. From our language I can find nothing, other than possibly the truth and also lament, that those who do utmost and attain holiness, give entirely of themselves. I do not know why now i am tear’d, i cannot discount my own sins of omission may salt them, but I believe it is for the recognition of a truly selfless spirit, that the world is now less, as we all are diminished by your loss. For her unselfish love of others your Sister was on earth and is still in who remember her, and yet far beyond, a remarkable example of a fundamental faith in conquering what has no name but evil. Untold may owe her much that shall never be known. She transcended -transcends – the direct force which is against all life and usurps human rejection of good, disobedience of guidance. I am without words humble enough. I read some years ago, enough to know this, but it has taken your sadness and loss to make me realise how rare a life is so positive in the face of unspeakable adversity. It’s not for politic or obsequiousness, that I must say the similar strength comes clearly through your words, I sensed this long ago, not merely here and now. I was tenuously aware of your Sister’s influence on law, but therein, separately, found so much lacking, and yet to be addressed in imbalances I have seen do direct harm to my own family in the past three years, I have dreamed even of adding to that score of creating even a vestigial influence for better. Your remembrance today, your sister’s lesson, has made it clear to me I do not try in the slightest hard enough. I pray that my reflection will give rise to yet another positive worthy to honour of her good life. If I could say, it would be clear that my family suffers indirectly due to a response adverse to your sister’s legal campaigning. It will be inadequate, but it must suffice to say, that pause and reflection upon a concern, is nothing until a life is integral to that concern; something formerly nigh academic as observation of law relating to a affair that dashed my family, I only know now just gained a insight from which I am this moment grateful. Insight which would not have come otherwise, which may have no effect or affect at all, but brings me a modicum of much needed peace I had not before. If only more among us, of who, thinks they are without, before life offers their course no more pause save they may regret or yet repent, could be mindful of John Donne’s Meditation no. 17, from which the verse, “because I am Involved In Mankind” is both the warning if only the miscreant would perceive, and our true sadness today. Today is a day for which prayers are for. My sincere and heartfelt sympathy is with your family, Joe.

  85. I was aware of your sister from your previous posts and I’m very sorry to hear of her passing. My condolences.

  86. If I may disentangle a line I wish had been clearer: when i wrote -sic- a concern is nothing until a life is integral to that concern, my meaning was that the of sacrifice of one’s self to a purpose which is of good to others, is, regardless of denomination or even appreciation for faith, the ultimate sacrifice, for it causes others to regard anew, to consider deeper, to reflect the longer… The gesture your sister made is almost as unspeakable as that which caused it, because nobody can describe her action save by following her example. Her total lack of self regard as others might have it, instead sustains forever her self regard and that of others. Were lives and souls payable unto Caesar, there is a poor parallel maybe there, to willingly, completely, “gesture” is denigration and pejorative – this is why self sacrifice is the highest holy act for it may change others for the better. One needs no Scripture to understand the power and remark of that. That I need circumnavigate in sentences unable to capture the clarity of spirit required, only belittles my effort in so doing, despite I must try. My intention was to clarify only that I did not equate a selfless life devoted to good, as merely sufficient that I may gain some somambulant petty insight into life from my unmeretricious meanderings. The opposite: howsoever slight the onward effect may first be, how little one’s head turned or course altered, if once one’s course is altered by a Holy deed, it is altered by the sheer strength of that person’s soul, and guided forever by it, even ifn as a needle in a compass. I have sought in the past few years, a greater appreciation for my own faith, and of all faith I can attempt to understand. Sometimes there is no longer need of learning, for one is simple shown, and the message is clear. May God protect her soul, and give solace as only He can, to her family, for a loss incalculable. What you have lost, I suspect is not lost one iota to this world, such a power of spirit does not merely vanish. There is one other reason which is only trivial in my history, why I sought to know my faith again, but having acceded to that search, all my prevarication and prognostication is nothing now: i thought all day during which a sad count was taken of events that took my life out of my hands, and my hands out of reach of my family needing my help, and causing sorrow because of a crime that mocked every kind of decency one might imagine, but as the hours turn to morning, I know I will wake again knowing that faith exists, and is strong unto itself, and good. I’ll omit the prayer that suddenly fell as if from my lips, rose in my mind as spoken, just no longer rote, but it was simple thanks, and i’ve not uttered that in 35 years. I wish my mode and address was simpler, Joe, forgive me my long speech but im just sat here, thankful for a life and awed how I am affected, and inspired that there is not despair, which is a realisation never before come tome as it has now. Not Damascene should inquiry be necessary, but I hope my heart is now aligned well, for it yearns for the direction it found. Peace be with you, Joe. I see how your sister gave peace to so many, and if I am not worthy, nor anyhow a intended recipient, let me record I see in which way peace lies, and i think even i have been guided to help me through great pain. God be with you, and all your family. || j

  87. My sincere condolences to you and your entire family. Though I personally have not suffered what your sister went through, as a physician I have heard many stories unfortunately very similar to what happened to your sister. Her life should be a beacon of hope to others who have gone through this horrible act. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

    Richard M Poniarski, MD

  88. Wonderful tribute to an amazing woman. My age too. Had no idea Jill was your sister. Been reading your stuff for donkey’s years and was always impressed by the work Jill did. Thank you Joe that in your pain you can still inspire us and remind us that every single day, and every hour of every day counts. Thinking of you and your family from here in NZ.

  89. Thoughts re with you and your family Joe – your efamily i’m sure will be thinking of you and saying a prayer.

  90. Thank you for all that you do for us.
    This is clearly a rough time for you and your family and, I trust that your work will help keep your life on focus this year. Tough start no doubt.

  91. I am so sorry.

    Grief is such a hard emotion. Thank you for writing about it and sharing it with us.

    Every time we have to grieve, there is a reason to celebrate life. Your sister’s life and work was extraordinary, one which gave hope and courage to many.

  92. That’s a wondeful piece Joe. I’m not sure we’ve met (unless it was many years ago) but I’m a friend of Will’s. He posted this and I’ve shared it myself too. It’s a lovely, heartfelt post, for an incredible woman that did so much to turn round that terrible night into something so positive and powerful, and causing real change that’s benefited so many women.

    I’m so very sorry for your loss, and I hope that the positive reaction to this tragedy has somehow been a tonic for the family. I’ve donated, because this is an ongoing issue that is far from solved. But because of Jill, so many advances have been made. That’s a great epitaph to a great woman.

  93. Please accept my condolences. I too had not made the connection, but the world is a poorer place for Jill’s passing, and a woman who gave strength to many, and found her own strength in circumstances I cannot begin to imagine, will I am sure be missed by many.

  94. Very moving piece, Joe. I can hardly see through my tears to type this note to congratulate you and your family for having such a fine human being, such a survivor, someone who rose above the injustices she suffered to turn it into a positive for so many people, someone so caring in your family. You were lucky to know her and we are lucky for having her help. My condolences for your great loss.

  95. Last night I went to see Rufus Wainwright. In an intimate setting, he sang right into my heart. I wish I could transfer some of the comfort I felt to you…

  96. Your sister sounds like she was a truly wonderful and inspirational woman and I offer my condolences to you and your family.

    I try to treasure each moment I have with my family and loved ones and this piece of writing touched me immensely, since it hit so close to home:

    “And then, all of a sudden, we were adults and our paths went off in different directions. We were outward-looking and independent, but bound together by this thing called love. We were never held back by the family and that meant that we could have big dreams and wide horizons. Often we got lost from one another in the forests of life, but then we would be together again, for weddings and funerals, and we would remember that families can draw strength from one another.”

    Simply magical Joe. Thank you.

  97. Saddened by your loss and physically disgusted by the actions of the judge and press toward your sister. Sadly, not remotely surprised.

    My best wishes and condolences to you and your family.

  98. My heart bleeds for you, your sister and the rest of your family. What a gallant fight for justice and understanding

  99. Thank you for writing this Joe, it’s a wonderful piece written about an amazing woman. My deepest condolences to you and your family.

  100. My sincerest condolences Joe
    Your Sister was a brave lady who fought back and educated and empowered women.
    You are all so brave and a light to us all.

  101. Your sister was such a wonderful example to us all. My condolences to you and your family.
    The story re-affirms why I will not support the current so called newspapers, trash!

  102. Such a powerful story and article thanks for sharing and ensuring her memory lives on for those that were unaware of her wonderful achievements.

  103. What an exceptional human being, your little sister made real contribution in creating a better society (How many of us can claim that? very few) An original, a trail blazer, beyond brave, courageous and also selfless. The best of us, one can do no more. What a shining example of decency and the quest for good dwarfing evil & incompetence. Thank you for sharing your insights under such difficult circumstances in such a beautifully written piece. Take care of Joe and the family, we’ll see you when we see you.

  104. Joe, I often read but rarely comment here. My deepest condolences for your loss. From what I understand, your sister was a courageous woman who helped many thousands of people through extremely difficult experiences. Thank you for writing such an elegant, eloquent and brave article here for us.

  105. I’m sorry for your loss.

    After reading about your sister it struck me what would she have been if she had not been raped by these thugs. It seems something great and the people who did this robbed her of that. But the silver lining is that Jill with her strength and dedication has helped hundreds if not thousands of other women to realise their their dreams instead of living in the shadow of rape.

    Thank you for making me aware of Jill Saward and her work.

  106. My deepest condolences.

    I’m struggling to find the right words to express how very grateful I am that there are people in this world like you and your sister. You have both made the world a better place.

  107. An amazing essay so eloquent and powerfull. Getting the “system” and the wider society to change its attitudes is a herculean task. Thank you providing the insight that so many of us never understood.

    Thoughts and condolences to you, your family and friends.

  108. May I offer my condolences too. I was genuinely sad when I heard the news, and I had no idea she was your sister.

    What I don’t understand is why a shining example of selflessness like Jill wasn’t honoured with at the very least an OBE. I think you would be hard pressed to find a more deserving case IMHO. And it’s particularly galling, when you consider that many recipients get honours just for doing there well paid jobs!

  109. Joe, despite your loss, I hope you feel nothing but absolute pride for your amazing sister, Jill. It takes a very special person to cast away their own victimhood and use it as a driving force to help others. To turn such a horrific personal experience into such an amazing life’s work is truly remarkable and deserves much celebration.

    I hope the wealthy of the F1 community are willing to support the fund to help continue her work. I will be making a small donation as soon as I have posted this comment.

    Thank you for sharing Jill’s inspirational story on your blog. Deepest condolences.

  110. Joe, you mention that as children you were encouraged to ‘strive to make the world a better place’. I know too many people who have had their lives made better, indirectly, through the amazing work of Jill. And my own life is improved markedly through this blog and the greater understanding of F1 you foster. Thank you and my deepest condolences.

  111. My deepest condolences Joe. Thank you for writing such an enlightening article at what must be a very difficult time for you and your family.

  112. Dear Joe,
    Thank you for your heartfelt tribute to your sister. It is moving, dignified and totally appropriate for one who truly made a huge difference in her time.
    Memories live in or hearts. May fond memories live in yours forever.

  113. Dear Joe,

    When I read the news last week I immediately recognised that Jill was your sister and have wanted to pass on my condolences since then.

    I am terribly sorry to hear of your loss and the loss to the wider family and world of an extremely courageous campaigner, someone who has made a real difference to the world.

    One of the beneficiaries of Jill’s work was my wife. Following an attack, she was one of the first people to be able to give evidence via a video link.

    Your piece is a beautiful tribute to her and I hope that you find comfort in the impact that she made and from your fans.


  114. Hi Joe,

    Jill was a very brave lady and having just read your blog I know she would have been extremely touched by your beautiful words, as we all are. Very moving. My sincere condolences to you and your family at this very sad time.

  115. We might agree that the great majority of folk are good ,or what passes for good, a small minority aren’t, and a tiny percentage (vanishingly small) are downright evil.

    Unfortunately your sister met the last group, but her response was magnificent.

    She should be the inspiration for all of us who try our best to do the right thing, as evinced and exemplified by some of the extraordinary posts on this thread.

    Power to you Joe and your family.

  116. Dear Joe, my sincere condolences. Apologies for not making the connection straight away. I will donate to your sister’s memorial fund.

    May she be in peace up in heaven,

  117. Shared with my teenage Granddaughter both for your sister’s humanity and as an example of your impeccable writing on the most harrowing subject.
    My sincere condolences to you and your wider family.

  118. Jill is and will always be a paragon of immeasurable strength, courage and dignity, a beacon of hope and a guiding light for anyone who suffers as she did. I use the present tense advisedly for so long as we the human race continue to remember and recognise who she is and what she stands for, the essence of Jill lives on. She made the world a better place in so many ways. There can be no nobler aspiration.

  119. I made the connection with you and your extended family, especially your sister Jill, some years ago. The post you wrote was beautifully crafted and laid down with emotion, with some remarkable constraint in parts, and with obvious love.
    From what i read and from hearing her and seeing her speak in the media, she was an utterly amazing woman, all her life. And although the circumstances of how her life changed were unspeakably horrible, out of that terrible situation, she rose to help and sustain others in an outstanding manner. The plain fact is true, that she left this World a much better place for having been here, even if it was by normal standards, a very short stay.
    Of few people can it be said that they did very little harm, Jill managed to do enormous good, and that is without also noting maybe her greatest feat, that of having a Spirit that can forgive, even forgive extreme trespass. For that alone, she shines for me as an outstanding human being, for I know i could not be the same.
    In the depths of sorrow that you and your family are no doubt experiencing, it must be a huge comfort to know that your Sister was such an amazing person, and one who touched people in remarkable ways, and lifted them from terrible depths into a way forward, and a life regained. A person like that is so rare and so inspiring, and it isn’t possible for someone like Jill to ever be forgotten, which again, is a massive tribute to one who always sounded so humble herself.
    So, my condolences to you Joe, and all your Family, and although not religious myself, as someone else used to say, May your God go with you.

  120. Joe, I hope you can find some comfort from the fact that so many people who only know you through this blog, are thinking of you and your family at this time. Sincere condolences.

  121. I don’t want to sound crude but might I suggest that you plan a holiday with your family for next January? We have an annual one in May for similar reasons and it’s a good way to put a positive spin on a dreaded month.

    Best wishes,


  122. Nothing I can add that hasn’t been said many times here, by caring and genuine people all around the world. My deepest and sincere sympathies also.

    I have sometimes sensed some indefinable “X factor” about your blog- now I see from where it arises, your wonderful family. I should have known.

    God bless all of your in your loss. I will be donating in Jill’s memory.

    “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints”. (Ps 115 v.16)

  123. No words from me needed Joe. I just like to extend my condolences you and her family. Sadly i remember the case very well, and like most people I was shocked by the circumstances surrounding it. But I also marvelled at her subsequent strength and bravery under such difficult circumstances to try and rebuilt her life, and not empower anyone to destroy her life. I think that says a lot about your parents and the values they instilled in you both.i can only imagine your pain, but I hope the feeling of pride you must have in your sister, will ease your loss in time.

  124. My sincere condolences, Joe. The article is a wonderful tribute to Jill – thanks for taking us along on this journey as well

  125. You don’t know me Joe but Jill was a very dear friend of mine and her children friends to mine. She has been real support to me and my family through some very tragic times. My thoughts are with you during this very sad time. God bless you. Mandy

  126. I used to be a police officer and ran ID parades for my force for two years. I ran nearly three rape/serious sexual assault parades a week. The trauma apparent on the victims was terrible. The assistance given to them by brave people such as your sister gets many through the further abuse they receive by ‘the system’ as well as the aftermath.

    Thanks for your sister and her rewarding efforts. Your piece does her justice. It was both heartbreaking and inspiring.

    I am sorry for your loss and at such an age. .


  127. Joe, thank you for writing this and spreading awareness of Jill’s work to those who may not be familiar with it. I too have been raped. It was a horrendous time. This is not about me so I’ll leave it there – but I do really dislike the term “victim”. “Survivor” is much more prescient. Ultimately, I got through it and that’s why I’m now able to talk about it. Jill did so much more than that and showed that you can get through even though you are somehow changed forever.

    I’m glad Gary was able to help you. He is such a good source of information on trauma and brain injury and very straightforward about the facts. Sadly I too suddenly lost a good friend in recent months – he fell down the stairs (possibly due to a heart attack, we don’t know), hit his head and that was that – he never woke again. He too was in his early fifties. So I can’t possibly know how you feel to lose your amazing sister but I do know the shock of a sudden and unexpected brain injury. What made me saddest was the thought of all my friend’s knowledge, memories, and experiences being deleted. I don’t yet know how you get over that. I hope your own journey isn’t too hard.

    Finally, I’m so glad Jill’s organs were able to be used; that she could bring optimism to other families from a very sad situation. I’ll be donating to the fund linked, but I also hope that your readers will remember the importance of organ donation where possible. And that those who are raped do not need to be victims, but can become survivors.

    Thank you again for writing this article. And I’m sorry that the Murdoch Empire was full of such mercenary bastards. Thinking of your family. Thank you Jill for everything you did.

  128. So sorry to hear of your loss. Jill was clearly a brave and inspirational lady and I am sure your touching article resonates way beyond the motor racing world.

  129. Thank you for sharing your beautiful and personal story of both your and your sisters life. Jill helped my niece so much she is devastated. She will be missed by many but many will also pass on her beliefs and work with victims. Rest in peace Jill x

  130. Joe, my deepest and most sincere condolences to you and your family. Fifty-one is way, way too young to go. There’s so much rubber left on those tyres. May you, your family and Jill’s friends live long and enjoy good memories of her.

  131. A remarkable woman who stood up to all sorts of people, and changed the world one step at a time. I have never been touched by anything she went through, but I am very sure hundreds of people are very grateful to her. And , yet again, the best go early. I am sorry for your loss.

  132. Joe, as with so many others I wasn’t aware of the connection. My heartfelt condolences to you all and my very great thanks and appreciation for sharing this most personal story at this difficult time. What an inspiring and remarkable woman Jill was.

  133. Joe, I’ve read many many of your fascinating articles and listened to of your pieces on podcasts and appreciated greatly your knowledge and intellect. None touched my as much as this piece about your sister Jill. I extend to you my very sincere expression of condolences and sorrow, but also thank you for sharing what a great & caring person Jill clearly was. May her example live on a long time as what kind of woman or person everyone should strive to be!

  134. Dear Joe, sincere condolences to you, and your family.

    Than you for sharing Jill’s story with us all. She possessed an extraordinary amount of dignity and strength. I could not begin to truly imagine the adversity that Jill faced not just as a result of the crimes against her but also with the battles she valiantly fought in the campaign she led.

    Your tribute is beautiful and moving. Words may never bring back Jill but I am sure that she will now live forever in the minds and hearts of many of us who have read and thought about your words.

  135. Joe, my condolences to you & your family.
    I want to thank you for continuing to be the storyteller. Being the father of a wonderful daughter who survived a particularly horrific rape, your story resonated deeply with me. To read about Jill’s response was heartwarming & uplifting.
    A fitting tribute to a beautiful & strong soul who has done so much to benefit others.

    John C

  136. As a reader and a fan I can confirm that F1 can indeed often be a welcome break from the glaringly sharp outlines of life, even if life doesn’t spare those involved in it. I salute your courage in writing this article at this time, and am happy to read in it and in the comments that you and yours have many friends to help you through this time, since in the end, that’s all we have. Even if I never knew you and I thankfully haven’t had cause to deal with the things you dealt with, but simply as a human being: thank you, Jill.

  137. A few months ago Joe received a disgusting comment on his blog about the events at the vicarage. I personally messaged him because of the impact that event and his sisters response had had on me. I was young a Police Constable at the time, based in North London not West. I have seen some violent incidents where peoples lives lie in ruins, but the brutal horror of that event stuck with me throughout my career. The subsequent court case and MiLords pathetic judgement led to the emergence of Jill Saward. I am sure it was not a role she ever envisaged for herself. But she fought to lessen the impact of those who had suffered as she had, whilst increasing the possibility of conviction.
    In my eyes her greatest legacy and also that of her father, is their forgiveness.

  138. I had no idea, thankyou for the article
    Condolences Joe and family
    Thankyou for the opportunity to learn, contribution sent, in recognition of a life well spent and a feeling of common cause. xx

  139. Deepest condolences Joe. As others have said above, leaving the world better than one finds it is the greatest possible legacy.

  140. Jill was a lovely woman, and left a real legacy. Quite frankly some of the newspaper headlines about her passing quite sickened me. I’m really sorry you and your family had to go through this horrific ordeal. she will be missed greatly. RIP Jill

  141. I hadn’t made the connection, upon reading the news website article, last week.

    As soon as you mentioned the age, 51, I instantly knew who you were referring to, and I am so terribly sorry that such a thing happened to your sister, even before you revealed what the press and media did at the time – sometimes one forgets just how terrible the Sun was to people being covered in its pages.

    You did her proud with this write-up.

    Please accept my condolences for your loss.

  142. Joe
    Condolences to your family and the many friends & people whom were inspired by your sister, or importantly benefitted from her strong will to make a change.
    Thanks for sharing your story with us, humble F1 tragic’s. As always even when your off the F1 topic, know most of us as like minded humans, hear & feel your passion of what you type at that juncture of time.
    When I’m next home and ashore I’ll be raising a toast to your sister mate.
    Thank again, and importantly thanks for sharing your thoughts and the pride you held in calling her your sister
    Dan Leather

  143. All the best Joe. She was a brave woman who did fantastic things with her life. You are right to be proud. Condolences to you and your family.

  144. Your sister was an inspiration to many victims and their families and I’m really saddened by your family’s loss.

    I’m a 47yr old father and 4 years ago my (now 19yr old) son who is autistic was raped and sexually assaulted by an older boy from his school. During this time I remembered the case of your sister and how she again became a victim during the court trial. My son never had his day in court due to the concerns for how my son would be treated in court. Unfortunately a year later the perpetrator found another victim, this time a 6yr old boy. There was physical evidence this time and a witness and he is now in jail thankfully.

    I hope your sister knew she was a true inspiration to many victims and her bravery in coming forward and waiving anonymity certainly helped us.

  145. Joe, I am so sorry for you and your family’s loss, your sister was an amazing lady that made a difference.

  146. My condolences, Joe. Your story, written with passion and eloquence, brought her ordeal and subsequent courage, to life.

  147. Joe,

    A moving piece of writing, my condolences on your family’s loss.

    I lost my brother to a subarachnoid haemorrhage, exactly 25 years ago this week in fact. He was only 22, three years older than me. I think that dying in this way can be particularly bewildering to the victim’s family and friends; it comes out of the blue and in my brother’s case at least, with no warning signs.

    You can be comforted that your sister, through her bravery, achieved much in her life and in a very concrete way touched the lives of many women who had suffered as she had.

  148. Thank you for this powerful and moving piece.

    How brave of your sister to do what she did when things were even worst than what they are today. She indeed made this world a better place Thank you for sharing.

    My deepest condolences.

  149. Joe: So sorry that all of this has happened. Deepest condolences to you and family. I will leave you with this thought…

    If, in fact, Life is judged by accomplishments, lives touched, minds changed and injustices righted, then Jill Saward was a Very Old Soul.

  150. Joe, Being an American I was unaware of your sister until your column. I’ve since gone and read a couple of the obits in the British press. Your sister was a brave and remarkable woman. My sincere condolences.

  151. Joe, you have moved me with your factual reporting of the exemplary life of your sister. To have lived with that violation and then to move forward to provide support for others affected in the same way shows true spirit and compassion. I hope that her memory continues to provide inspiration for other victims to stand up and support abused women everywhere. Thank you for sharing this personal story with us.

  152. In my estimation it sounds like the world lost a very,very bright light which allowed us to follow, and find our way through the evil that men do. My deepest sympathies to you and your family Mr.Saward.
    May the memory of your sister ring true for years to follow.
    Theo DeJager

  153. Joe

    If you have not already seen it in their latest issue on page 6 under Street of Shame; Private Eye has drawn attention to the dreadful identification of your late sister by Kelvin MacKenzie/the Sun.

    Again – commiserations

    OS If you would like to see the Private Eye article but cannot get a copy if you let me know how I can send you a pdf copy I will be happy to do so

  154. Joe A fantastic bit of writing. I have 4 daughters and the dangers which women face in their every day lives are always lurking somewhere in the far back of my mind. Your sister was a very very special person & I am sure that you & your family are justly very proud of her.

    Joe Saward posted: “This is a motor racing blog – at least, most of the time. Now and then, I decide that there are things more important than Formula 1. Today is one of those days. Sadly, not all such days are happy ones, but I am going to tell the story nonetheless, becaus”

  155. I heard the news on the radio whilst driving, and was very shocked when because I knew Jill was your sister from your previous articles. However I was not aware of the extent of her campaigning and her success in changing legislation and attitudes. She made a hugely positive contribution to the world, and will be remembered in history. Not many people achieve that in their lives. Your article is superbly written, thank you.

  156. Condolences to you and your family Joe. It’s incredibly rare that I agree with the Daily Mail, but I did with their headline that she should have been recognised by the government.

  157. Hi Joe,

    I only became aware of this sad event in your family’s history when you posted it on your blog a while back, in response to a malicious message.

    Thank you for the tremendous message, I feel love and pride in your blog post and it heartens me to read it.

    Best wishes and condolences.


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