Sandy MacGregor forgave the unforgivable - the murderer of his 3 daughters - face-to-face.

"Not for the murderers sake but for my own".

Summary

On 23rd January 1987 Sandy's life was a happy one. He was the father of 6 children, a Civil Engineer and a retired Army Colonel, having been to the Vietnam War (working with US forces - 173rd Airborne Brigade) and being decorated with the Military Cross and the American Bronze Star, for bravery in tunnel conflicts.

And then tragedy struck in a seemingly senseless way. His 3 daughters were gunned down and killed in their Sydney home by an intruder. He went to the brink of mental devastation.

He then found what human spirit is all about. This crisis made him a witness to the true power of forgiveness and using our own mind. In this way he saved his life from becoming one of hatred and self-pity. He was able to come to terms with the death of his three daughters. It has been an ongoing process of forgiveness for him, culminating, after 14 years, in having a face-to-face meeting with the murderer of his daughters in February 2001. Now he feels he has completed the process of forgiveness.

Sandy is thankful that he had developed personal skills of meditation and stress release before the crisis. He started investigating this area in 1981 when his eldest son Andrew used it to control asthma and then to save his badly broken leg from amputation. Before the tragedy, being a "prove-it-to-me" sort of person, he proved that the technique worked for him by using it to release 49 pounds (22 kgs) of weight. Sandy says that "As well as Forgiveness (and Weight Release), there is a multitude of issues people can work with by using these techniques, including sporting ability, improved learning, self esteem, handling fears, pain release, healing and letting go anger."

After the tragedy he went on to develop and teach others how to use their own inner strength and apply it to many areas of life. Indeed, he felt as though it was almost his "responsibility" to do so. Now, after conducting his CALM Life Skills Seminar nearly every weekend for 12 years, hundreds of thousands of people have learned of the techniques through his talks, books, audio tapes, videos, website, TV & Radio Interviews and the Press. The most recent television coverage was when Sandy appeared on the "60 Minutes" Program and ABC TV's "Australian Story".

Sandy's 14 year Journey of Forgiveness

After the tragedy Sandy went through a turbulent time with all-consuming thoughts of hatred, anger and revenge. On recognizing, during meditation, that these thoughts would only bring bitterness, hostility and sickness and indeed make him another victim of the tragedy, he turned to changing his deeper inner thoughts - again using meditation - to acceptance, co-operation, unconditional love and forgiveness.

This was Sandy's first stage of forgiveness and it happened approximately six months after his daughters were murdered.

The second stage was when he was interviewed on Australian National ABC Radio four years later. This was his first ever radio interview and he was asked: "Have you forgiven Richard Maddrell?" His answer was "Yes, I have" and yet his internal thoughts were vibrating with "What will people think of that - will they think I am mad or something? How could he possibly do it?"

Sandy's third stage of forgiveness was when he wrote about the process in his second book: "Switch On to Your Inner Strength" and his fifth book: "Creating Happiness Intentionally" - really declaring his position and where he was coming from.

His fourth and final stage, which really amounts to a 14 year journey, was when he attended a Conferencing Program with the perpetrator, under the auspices of the Correctional Services, in Grafton Jail in February 2001. He did the seemingly impossible - some people say he forgave the unforgivable. Sandy says "In a face-to-face meeting, I went through my forgiveness process, ensuring that Richard Maddrell understood the process, and unconditionally forgave Richard Maddrell for the murder of Jenny, Kirsty and Lexie.

"I experienced a feeling of freedom, liberation, and a sense of lightness and felt as though a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I would never again wonder how I would react if confronted by the murderer of my daughters."

Sandy wants people to understand what he means by forgiveness. He does not condone the action. Neither does he resent Richard Maddrell and he has no hatred, bitterness or hostility towards him - if he has any feeling towards him, it is one of compassion.

Sandy says "By forgiving him, people may think that I 'pardon' him and that perhaps by this I mean that Richard Maddrell should be free, however this is not the case. I think that Richard Maddrell, should be in jail for life, principally for the protection of the community. If Richard Maddrell is freed, I could handle it - this is Man's Law. What I do is far deeper - involving spirituality - it's between me and God."