A Father’s Bond: Why a violent armed criminal tried to turn his life around

Adam Scaife spent seven years in prison for a violent armed burglary. Tareq Haddad finds out how his determination to be a good father helped him turn his life around…
On April 27 of 2008, Adam Scaife – armed with a samurai sword – entered a property on Anlaby Road and threatened his victim before getting away with an undisclosed sum of money.

It was a horrific crime and no doubt, left his target shaken and traumatised.

But meeting Adam for the first time in December, seven years on from the prison he had served, he does not strike you as your typical blade-wielding criminal.

He was pensive and clearly burdened by a difficult past.

He also had an intense passion in his eyes, a deep love for something: what though, I was yet to find out.

“I have just finished a seven-year sentence,” he said.

“I committed a bad crime and I needed to learn my lesson.

“I realised the second I went to prison I made a big mistake and I needed to turn my life around.

“I did everything I could so that when I came out, I would be able to live my life as normal and go back to my family.

“But when I finally got out, even though I had spoke to all the right people and filled out all my paperwork, social services told me I couldn’t stay in the house as my daughter. Now, five months later, nothings changed and something needs to be done about it.”

It became crystal clear; Adam’s passion was his 10-year-old daughter, Nimrah, and he was eager to make up for lost time.

Adam was born in Hull in 1974.

His dad, or who he thought was his dad at the time, was an ex-army man who was often drunk and violent.

His mum, presumably looking for an escape while Adam was a mere toddler, would herself go to prison for trying to burn the house down.

Not only did Adam not grow up around his mum, he was left in the sole care of her tormentor and was unsurprisingly unforthcoming about it.

When his mum was released – Adam aged eight or nine – they would move to Amsterdam, where Adam’s true father lived and though the environment was more stable, it would hardly be a child worker’s definition of a suitable home: Adam’s dad was one of Europe’s biggest drug dealers, he said.

“I was always around drugs and there was prostitution everywhere. But as a kid, you don’t think anything of it. That’s just the way I was brought up.

“I was still loved and cared for and I never left wanting for anything.

“But thinking about all that know and thinking about my daughter, there’s no way I’d want her to live that kind of life.”

Despite his circumstances, Adam developed a sense of normalcy and lived in Amsterdam till the age of 22 at which he point he would return to the UK.

He said he worked in whatever jobs he could get his hands on and several years later, he found his way back to Hull.

Then, trick or treating one Halloween night, Adam met Dawn Holiday. Two years later, Nimrah was born.

Awakened by his new sense of responsibility, Adam wanted to provide for his new young family, but the pressure cracked him.

Adam Scaife, west Hull, after 7 years of prison is working hard to turn his life around. He has been told by the council he can’t stay in the same house as his daughter despite doing everything he needs to do, Adam is pictured with his daughter Nimrah, 10. Picture: Peter Harbour

After starting his own personal fitness business, he caught an undiagnosed stomach condition, which left him unable to work.

“I kept having to go to the hospital and having loads of tests,” he said.

“I was constantly going back and forth, back and forth, but still nothing.

“I couldn’t work, but I needed to get money to make sure Dawn and Nimrah could eat.

“That’s when I committed the crime and everything just went pair-shaped from there.”

A Walk Along the Water, Adam ScaifeOnce in prison, Adam says he instantly regretted his crime and knew that he had to make up for his mistakes. The thought of putting his daughter through the same experience his mum made him endure seemed to weigh heavily on his mind.

He put his angst into action however, and got to work on turning his life around. He would spend the next seven years gaining half a dozen qualifications from parenting courses to a social sciences degree.

“Every single day, Nimrah was my motivation,” he said.

“She was the only thing getting me through it.

“I knew I had to be a better parent to her so I tried to do everything I could do to make that happen.”

In addition to his qualifications, Adam pursued his passion for writing and it seems he has a natural gift for the craft.

His poem ‘A Walk Along the Water’, right, was chosen by the Warhorse novel writer, Michael Morpurgo, as the best entry in the Prison Reform Trust’s writing competition for the rap, lyric or poem category.

He also completed the Sycamore Tree’s Prison Fellowship program, which aims to teach prisoners the consequences of their crimes.

“It goes without saying, that I’m really sorry for what I did,” he said.

“I must have put my victim through a lot of trauma and of course, I regret that massively.

“I even asked my probation officer, while I was in prison, if there was any chance of doing that restorative justice program where you meet your victim and you can sit and talk about how it’s affected them.

“The probation officers reached out, but he didn’t want anything to do with it.”

Now that Adam is out, he is hoping to find work and get his life back on the road.

He one day hopes to start a business with Dawn using bees to produce products such as honey and candles.

He also hopes to pursue his writing and he is currently midway through his first novel about a little boy growing up in Native America.

But mainly, he hopes the council will let him return home so he can rebuild his relationship with Dawn and be the father he dreams of being for Nimrah.

Alex Campbell, assistant children’s safeguarding manager, said: “Hull City Council does not comment on individual cases.

“There is clear guidance around the policies and procedures when working with families and this is to ensure the safety of children and young people.”

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