Brit pensioner becomes ‘best friends’ with Death Row inmate who is ‘a good man’

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    A British pensioner who started writing to a Death Row prisoner in the US has become "good friends" with him.

    Rosemary Power, 68 has been writing to inmates for 26 years and became penpals a prisoner known as Twin, who had been awaiting execution for 17 years when the pair got in contact.

    "Twin’s story has really touched me because we’ve become very good friends, and the feeling is mutual," Rosemary told

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    "For the first six months, I got no answer. I then got a very stilted but polite letter saying thank you and that he would write – he had just been thinking about it.

    "Though we’ve never physically met, after a number of years we managed to get a phone call, and he’s perfectly articulate."

    Twin was on Death Row for a total of 21 years before he was taken off it and moved to a regular prison.

    He began refereeing basketball matches and even mentored a 23-year-old who was sharing his cell.

    His family also stuck by his side while he awaited potential execution.

    "I wrote to his sister to send him some money," Rosemary recalled.

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    "She wrote back and said: 'I’m glad you’re writing to him, he’s done some wrong things but he’s a good man.'"

    Twin also rediscovered his religion of Islam and began practicing again, and with the help of his cellmate was even able to celebrate Ramadan.

    "The young man decided to fast for Ramadan with him, even though he was Catholic by background," Rosemary added.

    "The system hadn’t allowed for two meals at the end of the day to break the fast, so they had to share one.

    "If you’re 23 and only getting half a dinner at the end of the day, that’s a big commitment.

    "Things like that show humanity, despite the threat of being executed by a fairly horrible injection being over them all the time."

    Rosemary and Twin's friendship continued to blossom, despite her living in Scotland while he was thousands of miles away in an American prison.

    Their friendship was made possible by LifeLines, an organisation founded in 1988 that helps people around the world to connect with Death Row inmates through letter writing.

    Jan Arriens, who founded the company 35 years ago, said: |I think some people are just horrified that a civilised western country can lock people up, under sentence of death, for periods of up to nearly 40 years.

    "There are some who are actively against the death penalty, but I think the predominant thing is probably compassion, because of the awful predicament these people are in.

    "It’s the relentless, cold-blooded, heartless countdown to death."

    Rosemary added that she doesn't feel the need to know what her inmate pals did – she views her letter-writing as a humanitarian effort.

    "My view is you’re writing to them, and why they’re there is not your business," she said.

    "It’s not that I don’t care; I know there will be victims somewhere out there. It’s more that it’s not my affair, that’s the affair of the legal system.

    "What I am doing is humanitarian, and people are human whatever."

    She added that she and her prisoner friends will be connected "for good, until death parts us."

    "There is redemption; people do change," she said.

    "Some of the people I’ve known have changed dramatically and certainly if Twin ever got out I would be privileged to meet him.

    "I’ve learnt a lot and made good friends out of it."

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