The disturbing story of the ‘Silent Twins’ from Barbados who caused a horrific stir in the UK

June and Jennifer Gibbons are remembered as the silent twins for their peculiar character that later caused a lot of damage to a few lives in the UK including theirs. To date, their story remains a bizarre interest to many but also sheds light on the many ways that racism and segregation affected the lives of black people whether young or old.

The disturbing story of the 'Silent Twins' from Barbados who caused a horrific stir in the UK
June and Jennifer Gibbons

June and Jennifer Gibbons had a very peculiar love-hate relationship that many people perceived it to have been exaggerated due to the colour of their skin. However, a lot of proof such as diary entries show that even though the two had a very strong bond, there was also a strong inclination to be free of each other.

The disturbing story of the 'Silent Twins' from Barbados who caused a horrific stir in the UK
Jennifer Gibbons, Marjorie Wallace, and June Gibbons, March 11, 1993.Photo:

The twins became known as the Silent Twins while they were still in school. According to the Ranker, the twins were the only black children in their school and community and hence suffered major racism, mockery and were ostracized by their age mates and even teachers. Eventually, they stopped talking to anybody but themselves and developed their own special language talking in whispers so as not to be heard or understood by anyone. The twins were only 11 years old at the time of this developing attitude. However, the colour of their skin did not allow that they were given the needed attention before things escalated.

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At the age of 14, the twins were sent to separate boarding schools by their parents, Gloria and Aubrey Gibbons but were later dismissed separately and had to come back home where they spent a lot of time locked up in their rooms. It was during this time that the twins developed a love for writing and started to write short stories. But the stories were very disturbing of young girls who lived in the U.S. and dated their teachers, used drugs, had sex and killed people.

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After completing school, the twins became uncontrollable using drugs, drinking, indulging in sex and committing crimes such as stealing, destroying of public property and even hurting each other.

In June 1981, Jennifer and June committed arson by burning down a store together and caused $200,000 worth of damage. They then vandalized and attempted to burn down a local college. 

They were arrested, sentenced indefinitely for arson and sent to a maximum security prison where they shared a cell with dangerous criminals while they were still young. The experience in the prison made the Silent Twins more silent and dangerous which led them to be taken to an institutionalized hospital where they were separated and could not see each other but sat in the same position for hours without doing anything. The doctors soon gave them diaries which they took and filled. By this time, the twins had become very popular in the UK and inspired several shows including BBC’s Silent Twins.

The disturbing story of the 'Silent Twins' from Barbados who caused a horrific stir in the UK

In 1993 during the transfer of the twins to Caswell Clinic, Jennifer sat with her eyes open the whole time in the car and she was dead by the time they reached Caswell. She left June to survive on her own.

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Doctors reported that she died of an inflammation of the heart and was later revealed through several interviews with June by media houses such as the Guardian that the twins had decided one of them had to die and Jennifer opted to be the one.

To date, June lives a normal life in London very close to her parents and younger sisters ever since she stopped being monitored by the police or doctors.

Last Edited by:Victor Ativie Updated: May 6, 2020


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