Andy Kershaw heads to Rochdale for home comfort

Date published: 07 March 2008

Andy Kershaw lifts a trouser leg to reveal flesh covered in red, seeping sores.

"It's all over my body," he said to Adrian Darbyshire of Isle of Man Today, ready to unbuckle his belt to prove the point - an offer Mr Darbyshire politely refused.

Back in his seafront home in Peel after nearly seven weeks in prison for breaching a restraining order against his former partner - and just hours before he was to be arrested again - Mr Kershaw was clearly in a bad state.

That same evening he was to be back behind bars pending a further court appearance for breaching the restraining order again.

This time, however, he was to walk free from court after High Bailiff Michael Moyle suspended for two years a six-month jail term on the condition that he move back to Rochdale with his mother Eileen while he sorted out his personal problems.

The Radio 3 presenter maintained his skin condition was caused by lack of vitamins and daylight, the result he said of poor diet and being banged up in his cell for 23 hours a day.

He said he was suffering from psoriasis, phlebitis (inflammation of the veins), dermatitis, eczema and hair loss.

But it is clear there are other scars that will take much longer to heal.

He is convinced that he is the victim of a terrible injustice - maintaining that he was jailed for three months for merely looking at his ex-partner Juliette Banner, the mother of his two young children - on Peel breakwater.

And in a stinging attack on conditions inside the Victoria Road jail, he insisted he had to brush rats off his blanket in his cell - a claim strenuously denied by the prison authorities who insist there is no vermin problem other than from the occasional field mouse.

They also denied the prison was awash with class A drugs as Mr Kershaw claimed.

His criticism of conditions in the jail was broadened into an alarming attack on the criminal justice system.

"I love this Island, I love the people," he said. "But what I can't stand is the nasty little regime that runs this Island. The criminal justice system is not going to overcome the goodwill of the ordinary people of this Island."

Mr Kershaw had previously spoken of how his dream to move to the Isle of Man turned into an 18-month nightmare after Miss Banner ended their relationship having, he said, discovered a text message from another woman on his mobile phone.

To compound what was described in court as his 'emotional meltdown', he received a letter from his new partner, Catherine Turner, just before his release from prison telling him their relationship was over.

During his spell inside, he read 31 books including an autobiography of US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

He also became something of an agony aunt for the prisoners, writing letters for those who could not read or write.

He said he planned to return to work with the BBC and to film documentaries on a freelance basis in world trouble spots such as Zimbabwe, Beirut and Gaza.

Acting prison governor Colin Ring insisted that prisoners could be out of their cells for between seven and eight hours a day if they chose to take part in all the various activities, including socialising with other prisoners, gym and education.

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