A convicted paedophile is to marry his boyfriend in Britain’s first gay marriage held inside a prison.
Mark Beech is serving a six-month sentence at Wymott Prison for possessing over a thousand pornographic images of children at his home in Blackpool.
His partner, Nick Lock who has been diagnosed with a terminal lung condition is serving an 18 month suspended sentence for possessing over 400 ecstasy tablets at the home he shared with Beech.
The couple who have been together for three years applied for a Civil Partnership the day the Act came into force although their wedding date has been delayed due to complications with staging the ceremony.
Mr Lock who suffers from Cryptogenic Fibrosing Alveolitis says he needs to hold the ceremony immediately: “I do not have long left – people with my condition don’t normally live any longer than five years. I have been going for six so I just can’t afford to wait.
“My health has not been so good lately and I have suffered two strokes in the last two months because of this stress with the prison. But every week I go into the prison and see Mark and this is what we both want.
“All Mark and I want is to have a civil ceremony and have the rights which any other couple do. I have been marching on equal rights for gay people for 20 years so this is an important moment.”
Mr Lock told the Lancashire Evening Post that he’s happy for the wedding to take place in the prison as they have a room set aside for these purposes: “We want a nice ceremony with music and roses and lilies – just like any other couple would want. I have no problem with going into prison at all for the ceremony and I don’t think it will cause any problems for Mark.”
Mr Lock claims that the prison are placing obstacles in front of them holding the ceremony: “The prison has been dragging their heels on this and coming up with excuse after excuse. We have been made to wait and wait on this. The fact is there is no reason why it should not take place. It is our anniversary today and that was the day we had both planned to get married, but because of the delays I just can’t see that happening.”
Chris Popple, the governor of Wymott Prision denies there is any problem: “It is all going to be OK, there is no problem with it taking place at all. Why would there be? The partnership has been registered so once we have sorted out a few more of the details then the ceremony can take place. I can’t see it happening before Christmas but it should be OK for sometime in the New Year.”