There have been many new visitors to our site this year and it appears they are reading of Jim Perrin’s history — one which shows an altogether darker side to the author and of which it is unlikely his ‘public’ is aware. Apart from those who know him of old and have told us of the traumas of their time with him there is a group of loyal, if complaisant, followers who even after hearing of his past continue not only to support him but actively to promote him.
When we began, with the invaluable assistance of friends, we intended — as we explained in our introduction — ‘to set the record straight’. Jim Perrin’s attitude towards our sister, Jac, (and to her children) during their time together — and in his writing of her after she died — was not to be tolerated by the family who loved her without an attempt to show the facts as they really were and unless we did this his account in his then recently published book West, would stand, uncorrected, on record. It was an account which was full of lies and which gave a false and self-promoting impression of their relationship — a relationship in which our sister had become so unhappy that she intended to end it: indeed it had been discussed between them.
Had Jim Perrin not written this book, in all probability his past history would never have been uncovered and we, Jac’s sisters, would perhaps have remained unaware of his previous exploits. However, there was to be an entirely different and unexpectedly significant aspect to our site. When we first published our posts, and to our surprise, we were contacted by others who had been involved with him and they let us know of their own experiences… If we had not related our memories of Jim Perrin’s actual behaviour to our sister, others of his victims* would have had no idea of our existence, nor would we have known of theirs. His long-established pattern of compartmentalising his relationships would have remained unchallenged.
Our site, then, seems to have become — although never envisaged to be so — a focus of attention for those men and women of whom Jim Perrin has taken advantage over the years; who have been mistreated by him and felt afterwards too intimidated to seek redress — some actually threatened by him of ‘consequences’ should they do so. We have published what we have been told albeit with some caution as, Not to Put Too Fine a Point on It, many of our correspondents are still very afraid of this man and much of what we have learned is far too sensitive to write of.
* * * * *
Should readers of our posts feel uncomfortable — and there are Jim Perrin ‘allies’ who have indicated that we ought not to have written them at all, see UKClimbing forums — we would say that it is not simply, as he has responded when confronted, that it is he who is the victim of malicious gossip that is being spread about but that what we have disclosed has in each case a sound basis of fact and evidence and should no longer be ‘swept under the carpet’. There is no question in this case of there being ‘two sides to every story’ and Jim Perrin is not able credibly to refute anything we have written about him. Although he did make occasional forays — using the aliases ‘Melangell’ and ‘Llywarch’ on threads on Amazon and the Guardian, A question of identity?, when he tried by ‘attacking to defend’ to disempower us — he has not, since the inception of our site, found grounds on which to challenge us as to our integrity and honesty concerning the incidents we have recorded.
In one respect he does try to deflect us — yet in itself it is a questionable response: he has indicated to anyone mentioning our site that they would be disloyal to him were they to read its contents. Should they ignore his wishes and have the temerity to cross him he explains it away by saying that it is all merely a ‘vendetta’ by Jac’s sisters who have an axe to grind and whose only desire is to trash [him] … using any avenue which permits them to speak. The last quote was from a comment originally posted by ‘Liz’ — (Jim Perrin in female guise?); as one sister remarked at the time ‘who but Jim Perrin would have the motive or could be bothered?’ — and she/he ‘answered’ on Amazon, sometimes within hours of our posts here! When later we complained about what was blatantly an infringement of their guidelines and was in fact the behaviour of which ‘Liz (JP?)’ was accusing us, Amazon deleted ‘her’ completely, ref. Jac’s sisters’ complaint to Amazon.
Possibly Jim Perrin’s words are persuasive to those inclined to believe him — they are certainly ‘plausible’ — and we do understand his wish to negate any impression our site may give; after all, the majority of what we have included in our posts, and we have told only the truth, shines a very bright light on his ‘activities’. But: we invite readers to ask themselves (as we have asked our lawyer) would it have been an undertaking of any merit if we had not witnessed Jim Perrin’s behaviour to our sister at first-hand or, moving to the present, if we had not been made aware of the distress and damage — physical, psychological and most definitely financial — which so many of those affected by him have suffered? In some ways, we have been told, (and we include this only to illustrate the despair they have felt) that reading our posts has been cathartic, and to see that Jim Perrin’s past is now made public is to see, as someone wrote, ‘…this leopard has not changed his spots. Ref. Of nature writer, Jim Perrin: Can a leopard change its spots?
Toby Mundi, founder of Atlantic Books and the publisher of West, thought, in retrospect, that ‘it was the book Jim Perrin should never have written’ and he told us that probably more people were reading jacssisters than the book for, he went on to say, ‘the sales were very poor’. As to that, with the increasing use of ebooks perhaps it is by now more widely read — a happy outcome for Jim Perrin? But surely Toby Mundi was right about the flawed nature of the book as, without doubt, it was the catalyst for our site and the means by which further enquiries and associated chance have revealed this prolific author’s lies as well, in our opinion, as his reprehensible behaviour. It is our firm belief that for many reasons these details should be made known. Of course, the irony is inescapable: the more people who read West the more likely it is that they will find ‘jacssisters’ site and discover here the truth for themselves — an outcome which Jim Perrin could not possibly have foreseen…
We would like to close by taking this opportunity to thank all those who have helped us — who have shared their stories with us, and in so many ways encouraged us in what has become almost a joint venture to ‘set the record straight’.
* ‘Victims': In view of all the indisputable evidence we believe the use of this word is no exaggeration.