Time stands still as model of decorum enjoys good hair day

TIME passes slowly in prison and the clocks seem to have come to a halt completely in Catherine Nevin’s cell.

The widow of Jack White’s publican Tom Nevin, appeared in state of suspended animation when she glided ghost-like into the Court of Criminal Appeal for her latest challenge to her conviction for his murder.

Her poise perfect, her manners unfailingly polite, she was the same model of decorum who fascinated and baffled in equal measure when she sat through her own trial like an interested observer 10 years ago.

In her well-pressed black trouser suit, crisp-collared white blouse with faint pinstripe pattern, black boots with pointed toes and minimal make-up confined mainly to her eyes, she seemed to have decided on a look that said smart, respectful and sufficiently solemn to reflect the seriousness of the occasion.

But it was an occasion and Catherine can’t resist a little bling when she’s out and about, however restrictive out may be. So a gold disc hung around her neck, a wide band encased her ring finger and a large bracelet jangled from each wrist.

And then there was the hair. It’s still blonde, though perhaps a shade more strawberry than a decade ago, and it’s still clearly her pride and joy.

Backcombed at the back to create an illusion of height, smoothed sleek at the front to give it lustre, it tumbled down over her shoulders in layers, reaching halfway down her back at the longest point, the ends softly curled for bounce.

Pamela Anderson would be looking for tips had she seen it.

It hardly moved throughout its owner’s 100 minutes in court but then neither did Catherine. She sat, Swiss finishing school style, without fuss, employing slow, deliberate motions to perform tasks each time the judges rose for a brief adjournment.

It took the manicured forefinger and thumb of her left hand at least a dozen minute movements to twist the cap off her plastic bottle of mineral water and another dozen to replace it.

She opened her newspaper as if she was unfolding a precious garment of ancient silk. She nodded greetings to prison officers and her lawyers like Queen Elizabeth in slow motion.

Widowed at 45, jailed at 49, still challenging her conviction a year from her 60th birthday and yet she gives the appearance of having just stepped out for a moment with little of consequence having happened in the intervening 14 years.

Her case aired, the judges said they couldn’t present a coherent ruling straight away and reserved judgment to an as yet undetermined date. Catherine doesn’t know if she’ll win her appeal but she’s managed to stop the clock again – a small victory that, to her, must amount to a really good hair day.


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