‘I FELL IN LOVE WITH A DEATH ROW INMATE’
AS JESSICA HESITANTLY TYPED A HEARTFELT MESSAGE TO NICK ON FACEBOOK, SHE WAS NERVOUS.
SHE HAD NEVER TALKED TO A DEATH ROW INMATE BEFORE, BUT AFTER READING A BOOK CHRONICLING NICK’S BATTLE TO CLEAR HIS NAME SHE COULDN’T HELP BUT REACH OUT.
THAT FATEFUL MESSAGE TURNED INTO A WHIRLWIND LOVE AFFAIR AND THREE YEARS LATER THE SHY BARMAID IS DUE TO MARRY AN AMERICAN MAN WHO FACED THE ELECTRIC CHAIR!
Pretty Jessica, 23, was captivated by Nick’s harrowing story.
After wrongfully convicted of raping and murdering a woman in the US in 1982, Nick spent 23 years on death row.
For the majority of that time, he was in solitary confinement.
Despite continually proclaiming his innocence, Nick’s pleas fell on deaf ears so he decided to focus his energy on getting an education and becoming the best person he could be.
Finally in 2004, Nick, 51, caught a break when DNA evidence proved he didn’t do the heinous act he was accused of and he was freed.
Instead of falling back into a life of crime, Nick wrote a book ‘Seven Days To Live’ about his experience.
Little did he know how much that book would change his life.
In a little village in Lincolnshire, barmaid Jessica borrowed his book from her boss and after reading it reached out to the former felon on Facebook.
The pair sparked up a friendship which quickly turned into an unlikely love – despite their 30-year age difference.
They moved in together eight weeks after first meeting and three years on are now planning to wed.
And like most relationships Jessica and Nick’s has its quirks.
After years in solitary confinement Nick spends hours ‘locked up’ in a small room at their home – with Jessica right beside him.
Jessica said: “I want to support him. I understand why he does certain things because he was institutionalised for so long.
“He told me how other inmates would try to kill him and how he was taunted when called a ‘rapist’ and ‘murderer’.
“That kind of experience changes people so if being in a room makes him feel safe, I’ll stay with him.
“We play scrabble online for hours.
“When I first got together with him most people thought I was crazy.
“He is twice my age and has got more baggage than an airport but he makes me
“There has been a lot to contend with – his past, and the age gap.
“Everybody has wanted to like him but there have been a lot of concerns.
“Nick doesn’t act his age. He acts a lot like somebody my age. We will go out
together and he is up for a laugh.
“He is just a fun person to be around and a genuinely nice guy, which is
amazing considering what he has been through.”
But Jessica has had a tough battle for friends and family to accept her lover and his past.
She even gave up her job at a pub because of bullying about her relationship from her boss.
Jessica said: “My family were obviously shocked and they were concerned because they had never met him.
“My mum told me that I had to come home straight away because I had decided to move down to be with him.
“But one day I just told my mum that there was no point arguing about it because I wanted to be with Nick.
“I think there will always be people who won’t be supportive but all my close friends and family have welcomed Nick now.”