This article first appeared on Your Thanet here
Author Nik Greene wins literary award after being falsely accused of being a paedophile
When Nik Greene’s adopted daughter falsely accused him of sexually assaulting her, he was instantly labelled a paedophile and sent to a dangerous French prison.
While there he was beaten, raped and even left to hang by fellow inmates who refused to believe he was innocent, as his solicitor and loving wife Trudy worked tirelessly to help him clear his name.
But Mr Greene, who moved to the Limousin area of France from St Margaret’s, near Dover, in 2004, lived to tell the tale. And now he has won a top award for a book he wrote about the three-year ordeal.
Entitled False Accusations: Guilty Until Proven Innocent, the memoir reveals how the author eventually overcame what he describes as an “archaic, biased” French legal system to win his life back.
“Writing the book started off as a cathartic way for me to cope with what happened,” said Mr Greene. “I’m a big guy and had never been frightened of anything, but this slaughtered me. I thought I was going to go to prison for 20 years and that left me completely devastated.
“I’m a psychologist so I know how important it is for people to go through the grieving process. Writing this book has helped me amazingly because it’s forced me to talk to people about what happened. I’ve expressed my feelings and haven’t held them in.
“I still get nightmares about my time in prison. Although I had to lie about why I was there – I told people it was for computer fraud – there were those who knew the real story, like the guards, and word got around, hence the attacks.
“On one occasion I was held down by several prisoners and raped by a big Russian guy.
“When he finished he hurled me up to a window and left me hanging there by a towel. If I hadn’t pulled myself up on the bars I would have died very quickly.”
Mr Greene’s adopted daughter, whose name has been changed in the book to protect her identity, came from a troubled background and made the accusations to a schoolteacher in October, 2006.
He was remanded in custody for two months but released on bail when psychological tests determined he was unlikely to be a paedophile and posed no threat to the general public. But it took until August, 2009, for Mr Greene to be cleared of all charges.
Mr Greene, who plans to return to Kent and move to Birchington, near Margate, said: “I held my emotions together for my family but when I found out I had been cleared I just fell apart.
“I immediately called my friend and when he turned up 10 minutes later he had to pick me up off the floor. It was relief but also anguish at everything I had gone through, and all of it for nothing.”
Last month, False Accusations was named the winner in the Best Non-Fiction category of America’s National Indie Excellence Awards.
Mr Greene, 46, said he hoped the book would teach people not to pre-judge others, no matter how serious the crimes they may have been accused of.
“I want people to think before they do stupid things,” he said. “Recently I walked into a French supermarket and was verbally abused by an Englishman who recognised me as the person these allegations had been made about. I want people to think about how they would feel if that sort of thing happened to them when they were innocent.”
Visit www.nikgreene.com for more information.