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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 October, 2004, 11:58 GMT 12:58 UK
Son's death confronted in book
Timothy (Timo) Baxter
Timo Baxter was murdered in London five years ago
A mother from Pembrokeshire, whose only son was murdered five years ago, has written a book about how she has confronted his death.

Losing Timo is a collection of writings, prose and poetry by Linda Baxter published on Thursday.

It deals with the aftermath of the trial and life without Timothy, known as Timo, who was killed in London.

Mrs Baxter, 61, said the book was partly about "defying the cruelty" of what happened to her son.

She added: "It (the book) was crucial to me and although it's about losing Timo I had to defy the cruelty of what happened to him and writing was a way of dealing with that.

"Writing the book was a way of confronting my feelings."

Sam and I were just very proud to have been his (Timo's) parents
Linda Baxter

Law student Timothy Baxter, 24, died on 18 June 1999 after being beaten unconscious and thrown into the River Thames by a gang of youths.

He was with his student friend Gabriel Cornish when they were attacked and mugged as they walked home across London's Hungerford Bridge.

Mr Cornish was also thrown in the river but survived, but Timo never regained consciousness and he drowned.

His killers were sentenced to life imprisonment.

Mrs Baxter, who lives on the north Pembrokeshire coast, worked as a modern languages teacher in schools in London until 1990 when, disillusioned, she turned to writing.

Two years later she suffered a brain haemorrhage that removed her ability to speak, let alone write.

It took many years of determined effort and speech therapy to recover.

After moving to Wales, she enrolled on a Master of Arts creative writing course and had intended to write her dissertation about how she had come to terms with her illness.

However, after her son's murder she decided to put her emotions about that into words instead.

"Gradually I realised I could put my feelings into poems and then realised I could write something more meaningful," Mrs Baxter said.

"My dissertation tutor was the poet Menna Elfyn who helped me immensely."

Linda Baxter
Mrs Baxter says her book describes her emotions

About the publication of the book, she added: "I will feel proud when I see it on the book shelves, especially as I lost my ability to speak.

"I will feel I have done Timo proud too. It's all about him.

"My family have been very good to me, they have been brilliant. I've been given lots of space to write it.

"My husband Sam took most of the photographs in the book."

And what would Timo have thought of her achievement?

"Lots of people say he would have been proud," she said.

"I always respected Timo, his mind and his intellect and I wouldn't want to presume to know what his views would be.

"It's not because we didn't talk it's because he was a very thoughtful person.

"Sam and I were just very proud to have been his parents."

The book, Losing Timo
It is Mrs Baxter's first book

The book's publishers, Honno Welsh Women's Press, in Aberystwyth, say the book "looks death unflinchingly in the eye."

Company spokeswoman Nicola Craddock said Losing Timo was one of the most touching books the firm had worked on.

She added: "We had a duty to publish the book because the work was of such high quality.

"We can only publish so many books, but it was important to publish this story. Linda is a very brave lady."

Mrs Baxter will be signing copies of her book at Newport, in Pembrokeshire, on 21 October.

It will be launched offically in London on 25 October and in Carmarthen on 4 November.


SEE ALSO:
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