THE BROTHER of an Eastbourne man who died in a Filipino jail has written a book of their lives.
Michael Clarke died in May 2005 from tuberculosis – the year he was due to be released after serving ten years of a 16 year sentence for promoting child prostitution.
He had been running the Paradise Express travel business from an office in Cavendish Place, Eastbourne, promoting holidays to the Philippines for Brits. But he was arrested in 1995 and sentenced.
Michael insisted he was innocent and had been wrongly convicted and turned to Christianity before being baptised in an oil drum in New Bilibid Prison.
Last week his younger brother David published a book called Converted on LSD Trip, which charts how the two siblings were both criminals and suffered from manic depression before turning from crime to Christianity.
David says he turned his life around after a bad trip on LSDS in 1970 and hopes the book could be of help to magistrates, judges, police officers, those working with people with mental health as well as helping reform criminals.
Michael was baptised while imprisoned in the Philippines in 2000 and penned a tribute in his brother’s book before he died.
In it he spoke of the months leading up to his arrest and incarceration.
He wrote, “As a tourist I first stayed in Angeles and Olongapo Cities and was amazed at the abundance of “Girlie” bars and nightlife. It was crystal clear that sex was on the menu at a very low price. On my return to England I formed my very own travel business, the aim of which was to offer low cost holidays to my fellow countrymen. I thought I was on to a winner, because there are no such things as “Girlie” bars in England.
“To cut the story short, within a few months my business was up and running and I returned to the Philippines to welcome my first influx of customers. On June 5 1995 I was arrested for promoting child prostitution and later sentenced to 14 to 16 years imprisonment.
“I have and always will protested my innocence. There were no child victims or child complainants; my reference to girls was only a general reference to girls as in Spice Girls, the pop group. I was not promoting children.
“After this, as you can imagine, I was very bitter and full of hate. Why, why, why have I been wrongly convicted, I would ask myself? I just could not understand why God would allow such a thing. Suicide was constantly on my mind.”
Michael said he became born again in prison and gave him the “faith and the ability to repent from my former life”.
“Even though they know that I was charged and convicted for a crime that was totally fabricated, it doesn’t alter the fact that the life I was then living was saturated in sinn,” said Michael.
David said this week, “The story is real, remarkable, and demonstrates the goodness, and mercy of God, in saving one through Jesus Christ, and the severity of God in leaving another to himself. But now it is as though Michael too had been plucked, like a brand from the burning fire.”
David, who also campaigned for his brother’s release from jail, is also offering to give talks on his and his brother’s experience and anyone wishing to contact him can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.