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About the Author

Kathryn Nelson was born in Athy, Co Kildare in the Republic of

Ireland. The only daughter of the late James & Kitty Nelson and
sister to the late Martin.
Convent-school educated, she went on to specialize in Drama,
Literature and Oral Communications, teaching successfully for
some years, yet having partaken in an early and unsuccessful
marriage, the conclusion of which came with her application for
annulment: This having been granted, other matters sought to
impede her future career, so in 1990 to avoid such occurrence,
Kathryn sought and was awarded a teaching position in Libya:
Spending three happy years in The Oil College of Azzawiya ,
she was further appointed to Ras Lanuf Oil School.
At the conclusion of 1995, Kathryn left Libya, and was
immediately engaged in further studies pertaining to
international communications.
In late 1997 an appointment was offered and accepted to a
Diplomatic Liaison Company in London. Here she continued to
work, covering projects in Mongolia, Tunisia, Bulgaria, and
Malta to name but a few.
In 2004, Kathryn became ill while attending the company office
in Liverpool: Major surgery was required: Following this
occurrence, and being restored to reasonable health, she made
the decision to open her own private practice.
In August 2004, Kathryn opened her own office in Sofia,
Bulgaria. Shortly afterward the debacle regarding the Northern
Bank Robbery began. Taking 5 years 10 months to successfully
clean her name, all other business was with either put on hold or
finally concluded.
Having cleared her name High Court Dublin 2010, Kathryn
made the decision to write "A Terrible State".
She currently resides in Ireland.


In memory of my late father, James.

With love and gratitude for your love and protection.
Also sincere thanks, love and respect always to David, precious
friend, great man of Cumbria.

Kathryn Nelson


Copyright Kathryn Nelson (2015)

The right of Kathryn Nelson to be identified as author of this work
has been asserted by her in accordance with section 77 and 78 of
the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any
means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or
otherwise, without the prior permission of the publishers.
Any person who commits any unauthorized act in relation to this
publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims
for damages.
A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British

ISBN 978 1 78455 100 1

First Published (2015)
Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd.
25 Canada Square
Canary Wharf
E14 5LB

Printed and bound in Great Britain

David Ross of Cumbria
Sean O Feargail T.D. Fianna Fil
Joe Costello T.D. Labour
Monsignor John Byrne: Portlaoise Parish, Laois
John Sturgeon: The Isle of Man
To all the above, my sincere thanks. The faith which you placed
in me and the generous help offered these be the factors,
which guided and influenced my success.
My thanks to the Journalists who willingly printed and spoke
the truth
B.B.C. in the persons of Shane Harrison and Andrew Martin
The Irish Examiner, in the person of Caroline Doherty,
The Belfast Telegraph in the person of Noel McAdam.
To those who with patience and forbearance prepared the initial
presentation of this book
Mr John Dunphy, Printers, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny and
Ms Rose Doherty, a good and constant friend
Most sincere thanks.
My thanks also, to the good people of Hugginstown, known in
this publication as Bile na hAngel:
They, who at all times showed generosity and care to a stranger:
The management and staff of the Ashling Hotel, Park Gate
Street, Dublin, 8.
Sincere thanks and appreciation for all their kindness during my
court case and at all times since.

Last but not least, to my "Moonlight Shadow" you are always

on my mind you gave me strength.

I was a sixth year student studying for my Leaving Cert at St.
Joseph's Academy Kildare when I first met the enigmatic
Kathryn Nelson. Tall and imposing, she made an instant impact
on the groups of lads pursuing their English course. The impact
was all the greater when the rumour reached us that she had
good humouredly threatened a mature student in a nearby school
that she would be out of jail before he was out of hospital if he
did not desist from his disruptive behaviour. She taught with
ease, captivating her student audience and there was genuine
regret when her all too brief sojourn in The Academy ended.
Somewhat later in life, though not much, Kay and I were to
become firm friends, she by then a constant temporary whole
time teacher with County Kildare V.E.C. where she had been
engaged to teach English and Drama by two successive Chief
Executive Officers. Viewed by some as a Vocational school
teacher, she was in fact a woman with a burning vocation who
wanted the best for and strove to achieve it with all her students,
finding progress with the most challenging to be all the more
Severe cutbacks in the late 80's and early 90's in the
aftermath of yet another recession meant that many teaching
posts were lost across the country, County Kildare being no
exception. The loss of Kay to the vocational system in Kildare
was not without its controversy, however, her departure to Libya
marked the beginning of yet another phase in the life of this
extraordinary woman. Her eleven year tenure there teaching
English and Drama at second and third level was for her and her
students as exciting as it had been back home and during that
period too she made many return visits to Ireland.
While never tiring of teaching, the lure of business
beckoned, influenced in large measure by her life experience
and her travels. Having left Libya she embarked on a new career
in the area of Diplomatic liaison. Meeting her during this period

one heard discreet references to many embassies and to travels

criss-crossing Europe in support of client's objectives.
It was while involved in this work that she was arrested in
Ireland and questioned in connection with the Northern Bank
Robbery where in 2004 thieves absconded with 26.5 million.
Kathryn's detention made national headlines and this publicity
had a devastating effect on her good name and of course her
business. This book, beautifully written, in her inimitable style
tells the story of her five year battle to re-establish her good
name. It shows the extent to which one courageous woman was
prepared to go to confront the system and to challenge perceived
pillars of society in order to achieve natural justice.
In A Terrible State we see how a woman who has lost
everything, except her indomitable spirit, can by virtue of that
Shackleton-like determination, endure to fight another day.

Sen Fearghal

Part 1

The Sunday World published an article by Paul Williams on

its front page on February 27, 2005, concerning the
laundering of the proceeds of the Northern Bank Robbery in
which the Provisional IRA had stolen stg26.5 million.
Reference was made in the article to Kathryn Nelson
and the activity of other individuals who had travelled to
Sofia in Bulgaria. It was suggested that the purpose of the
trip was to disperse the proceeds of the robbery.
We wish to make it absolutely clear that Ms Nelson had
no involvement in any criminal or unlawful activity.
We wish to acknowledge that Ms Nelson is a person of
the highest integrity.
We unreservedly apologise for any suggestion to the
contrary contained in the article.

The above was published in December 2010.

Chapter 1
July 2005
Mid-afternoon, sunny and quiet! Little car, packed high with
luggage, trundling towards a small hotel. There, in the lobby
relaxed, were Sean and Darragh. Gently offering friendship,
they were the only people to keep me company and wish me
Godspeed. On the evening of my departure we discussed my
ensuing journey, afternoon tea was ordered, and we by these
words and actions said Goodbye in the kindest of ways.
Speaking of this and that we joked about my situation and
time passed easily, until Dublin Port beckoned and my little car
and I obeyed the call.
Steering through, clanking and clambering I reached my
parking space on board. Locking up, I went to survey the scene.
A grey boat of iron and steel reigned supreme, no beauty, only
the brutality that a port displays when the individual viewing the
picture is leaving, and I was truly leaving.
This should have happened five months earlier, but my
destination should have been Sofia, Bulgaria where an office, a
career and many good friends, patiently awaited my return.
Instead I was travelling to the Isle of Man, there to wait,
hopefully, for a short time until this silly mess could be
It wouldn't take long, I told myself ME? Middle aged and
arthritic, only months had passed since major surgery. Could
they seriously believe, I was a bank robber? The matter
WOULD be corrected. Checking my past, profession and
character would be the simplest of exercises, a Kildare child;
daughter of the late James Nelson, Publican, Race-horse owner
and political contributor. In Kildare I had been a teacher,
committed to my profession, a lover of music, the arts, and all
matters pertaining to Ireland. Was this a joke? Apparently Not!
Looking south from Dublin, it would be difficult to believe
that a few miles down the road is a foreign country, Kildare

appears to remain obscure, no information may be gleaned from

down there, what a load of rubbish! Or perhaps an arrogant
assumption, this being the first of many assumptions which
could be described as arrogant, or perhaps a less gentle person,
might describe such assumptions as stupid?!?
Later that evening on a calm Irish sea, I attempted to
confirm this situation as it currently stood. How would this mind
and body withstand the brutal attack visited on my person? It is
well for those afflicted by a touch of the dramatic to
remember that all violence is not visited or perpetuated by men
(or women) carrying guns, knives and bombs. I was
experiencing the most insidious manner of all, the apparently
accepted method (seemingly used in Ireland) of destruction of
the individual by the written word!
This is the method with which I must do battle, were I to
retain my good name and my life! I was fully aware of such
methods and protocols, if such they may be called. Thankfully,
however, in the past I had viewed them only from a distance and
could describe them as nasty little tricks, sometimes used even,
by good souls known for their integrity. Genteel bullying was
said to achieve massive results and of course, the commonest of
all emotional blackmail! At certain levels in our Country, these
methods were long considered, as acceptable methods for
achieving results! Yet even at this early stage, I was fully
determined that they would not succeed on me!
Dawn was breaking, the easy way it seems to happen at sea.
For a moment I felt hope, just a little, and a stronger feeling that
this fight had just begun.

Chapter 2
On arrival on Man I drove down town towards my favourite
hotel, they were expecting me and even at 5.30am, I was
received with a hearty welcome and a good breakfast.
There was a pretty hotel room facing out on the sea, what a
beautiful sight assaulted my eyes! Saluting the Island was a
wonderful sailing ship, gently swaying, comforting her crew in
their last moments of sleep. The young men on board gaining
experience and confidence for their future lives, as naval
officers: What a contrast! On one hand the invitation of hope to
enhance the creation of exciting careers and on the other the
termination of a well conducted life and career brought down by
a journalistic act of cowardice. Gazing still on this scene, I said
goodbye to my past life, goodbye to the people I loved, and
a sad and final goodbye to Ireland. The finality of that parting
still remains in my heart, and truly I cannot say that it can even
be reversed.
Next day, I made a start on this exercise of correction. I was
on a beautiful island, had a project to complete and was ready to
go house-hunting, thus assuring my time on Man would be
pleasant. There was work to be done, my communication skills
were of a professional level, I had energy to expend and money
in the bank, what could possibly go wrong? Further comfort,
came from the fact, that albeit arrest and detainment, I had not
been charged with any criminal offence, and further been
pronounced free to go. So off I went to correct the story. The
high point at this stage of the story allows truth once again to
become stranger than fiction. When I tell you, honestly and
openly, that Sean and Darragh, who had eased my time,
supporting my leaving, with friendship and sincerity were
indeed the senior officers, who participated in my arrest.
They were the Garda of the Elite Squad
Thankful and supported by their friendship, I attempted to
gather what remained of my reason, feeling confident that I

could do what had to be done. Sean and Darragh, had done their
duty as Garda, they were not the journalist in question; they
were not the destroyers.

Chapter 3
The following days were spent in organising matters domestic
having found a suitable apartment, I contacted my storage
company in the UK, they immediately arranged for furniture etc.
to be delivered to the Island. In the space of the next week I had
secured a lovely home (temporary of course) and had set to
contacting clients and others relevant to life and work. It was
necessary to explain the reason for my absence from Sofia and
my office there. I was also necessary to explain the reason, why
I could not now represent these people at international level.
The Sovereign State of the Republic of Ireland had not deemed
it necessary to correct the initial facts offered to the world on the
occasion of my arrest.
Yet for the moment, there was an island to enjoy, beaches to
visit and excellent coffee to drink! It was on such an occasion
that my funny incident returned back to mind from memory.
Now I can describe it as funny yet at the time of my arrest I
would have described it truly unbelievable, at least to those of
us who lacked the experience of incarceration. Mentally I had
travelled back to that fatal evening: The senior Garda had
interviewed me, for what appeared to be a long period of time.
The interview was conducted in a low keyed manner and on a
level associated only with persons of superior intelligence.
Interview concluded, I was for a time, left to my own devices,
this I now understand, is the manner in which such procedures
are executed.

Chapter 4

The Little Lemon

Suddenly the door jerked open and in bounded what could only
be described, as a character, newly escaped from the cast of a
cheap B. film (American of course), all business, noise and
superfluous activity, he hopped and skipped around the room,
asking few questions, generously giving his opinions on all
matters pertaining to the present situation. Addressing me, as he
regularly did and constantly referring to me as The Drama
Queen. Having accepted this for about twenty minutes, I
requested him most respectfully to call me by my name a
request which he severely ignored!

As he ranted on with theories, extending from matters of the

sublime to the ridiculous I experienced my mental control
sliding fast way as my mind became invaded by a blinding fury.
Viewing this individual, whom I shall call Lemonchik (Little
Lemon) the picture of a sturdy man of middle years, appeared to
blur and as anger elevated within me, there arrived in his place a
vision a great fat mushroom parked, not on the floor, but on an
imaginary forest's grassy edge. In shape it was quite dome-like,
though it did possess beady eyes and a roman nose all etched
into the musty mushroom flesh. This creature continued to expel
in vocal terms a constant stream of toxic verbal bilge concluding
again with the term Drama Queen.
Taking a deep breath to maintain an attitude of calm, I
awaited his next question. It came directly skimming and
shimmering through the realms of fantasy, which may be only
found in the confines of an undisciplined personality.
Directly I replied to his question Yes this is true SHIT
Silence descended upon the room, a silence of intense
quality, only experienced when for example one is among a
team on the losing side in a great sports event. Not a muscle was
moved, I sat static and correct. Eventually the piercing blue eyes
were trained in my direction:
Lemonchik: Did you say, SHIT HEAD?
K.N.: Yes I did
Lemonchik: You can't call me that
K.N.: This is true, no more than you may call me, anything
but my name!
Another silence, a quick glance at his notes
Lemonchik: I think that will be all!
As he walked toward the door, he glared once more in my
direction, then away he went, still looking, but with the thought
that perhaps there was more than one type of woman in the
He never interviewed me again.
Farewell, Little Lemon!

Chapter 5
August on Man was a symphony of business and sunshine
twinned with the excitement of discovering a new place. Food
was celebrated here with a colour and flavour rarely experienced
in these times. In 2005 A.D. Meat was not imported into this
Island, the favour and textures of the Manx Meats were of the
highest quality.
Quail were farmed here (and also lived in the wild) and the
quail eggs were common as the hens. There exists in Douglas a
Game Butcher a throw back from another world, sadly not
often seen today.
As a food lover and a life long devotee of the culinary arts,
this to me was a heaven, unexpected but highly appreciated.
These discoveries and new experiences helped in a strange way
to calm the emotions and discipline the mind for the work
ahead. I must clear my name, I must clear my name for my own
good also for those of my blood who carry it. No shoddy article
will destroy us. Don't Care will be made to care! To quote
from the work of a literary great August is a wicked month.
Nothing happens in August, in the nature of business or
professional activity everyone is somewhere else!
As a result of this situation I continued through the month to
explore and educate myself in the Island's way. My favourite
haunts were the towns of Ramsey and Port Erin. Ramsey with
its pretty little shops displaying clothes echoing good taste and
may I say Class. Port Erin, once a famous holiday resort, still
could brag of two fine hotels, Port Erin's highlight for me
however, was a sweet little caf, situated right on the beach. It
was owned by a lady called Laura, many gentle afternoons were
passed at this venue. I shall always remember this place and be
thankful for the friendship and kindness bestowed on my by the
owner and staff.
Central to Mans first place of Government was a lovely
wooded area, rich with the unspoiled quality of a place,

unaffected by time. A road through that wood, now leads to a

shopping centre where everything from designer wear to life's
true necessities may be easily purchased. Easy parking and the
absence of noise and clamber makes this place remarkable in
linking with ease, the simple lifestyle of the past and the
proposed (sophistication) of this present day.
As August drew to its golden conclusion. I set to prepare a
course of action that would advance my situation, correct this
great mistake and allow me to continue my life and career
without fear or blemish. I would begin by seeking the opinions
on this matter from the wise and experienced in my country.
Although I had left Ireland in January 1990, I could surely rely
on the support of my friends: support in this instance would
mean a friendly ear and a voice that offered an opinion a
true opinion, not necessarily containing the wisdom of Solomon.
I had hoped however to see clearly displayed that element of
care, which always demonstrates that an effort has been made to
contribute and help.
Initially the telephone was my weapon of choice, setting out
lists, I set to contacting people who hopefully could give some
overview of my position.
Many pleasant conversations ensued, however the ability (or
perhaps in some cases) the will to clarify the situation remained
beyond my grasp.
Having worked for many years, in an atmosphere of
austere correctness I found some replies to simple questions
both macabre and outrageous. In my world of work when
answers were required it would be deemed unacceptable to reply
on the lines I'm not sure/ I couldn't say / I wouldn't
Surely it is the responsibility of committed professional
people to seek and discover the facts, thus, supplying an
intelligent answer based on trust and allowing the individual in
question to proceed with their project and hopefully reach their
The situation remained unchanged neither information,
advice or solace were available to Kathryn Nelson, but a
common phrase returned to my mind from the dark recesses of

the past: I had been cut loose without help or support to do as

best I could, but just as this moment of savage truth, translated
from supposition to fact, the phone rang, with news and advice,
for a greater power was at work. God spoke before them!
The telephone rang and picking up I was delighted to find at
the other end a friend of many years, ready to contribute what I
considered to be a helpful idea. Despite the opinion of many of
my dedicated critics, I do have friends in Ireland friends,
lovers and the respected those to whom, I will truly continue
to give love and devotion.
In mining circles, it is a well known fact, that in the
discovery of one Emerald it may be necessary to work through a
ton of dross and sludge. So it is that I view my friends as the
Emeralds of this world; yet the dross must still be addressed:
address it, I did! But not before suffering, absolute destruction
of my life and the passing of years five to be exact and another
ten months just for good measure: There are great and serious
crimes, for which, should I have been found guilty, I would not
have remained incarcerated for 5 years 10 months. Yet I was
under suspicion for a sinister crime I (a Kildare woman) had
an office in Sofia. Good God, where will they go next?!
To return to my friend Riace and our telephone
conversation, his idea required that I should speak to a
gentleman, a Dail Deputy and well known public figure,
accepted and well respected for his work among the needy and
that at ALL LEVELS. It was hoped that this person whom I
shall call Cathal Roche would guide me to the knowledge
available to initiate the required action. A telephone appointment
was arranged: I waited nervously for the designated day and
hour to arrive.
The call came and I had my first conversation with Cathal
Roche. I will never forget that day, in retrospect this
conversation was the turning point, it was the first step in the
long process which changed my life. The life line offered to me,
was offered with gentility and compassion aspects of life,
which by this time, I had forgotten existed, either in this world
or in my country.