Thursday, January 3, 2008

Where to begin.

You know, I sat and worried about this last night. Whether it would change anyones perception, whether people might think less, although I'm not sure what of - me, my family or something else I couldn't quite put my finger on. I don't normally discuss anything that has any real feeling, or anything quite real at all. But this needed to be done, for my own good. So there's no 'enjoy', no light-heartedness, just fact and something bordering on emotion.

As I was getting ready for bed last night, I heard our home phone ring, and asked Chef to answer, as I avoid home phone calls like the plague - they're usually telemarketers who struggle to grasp the English language. He asked me to come out the bathroom, as it was Mum calling - instantly my knees went weak and I started to panic. Mum calls my mobile. During the day. Not late at night, without saying hello, simply launching into "I have something rather shocking I need to break to you". I thought perhaps Nan had had a fall, or my brother was missing, or some such - there was no way I could prepare myself for what she was about to say.

The man I stayed with whilst in England, my cousin (let's call him Peter), had attempted to murder his wife; my mum's very good friend, (shall be named Suzy). He set fire to her mothers home, killing her mother, and seriously burning Sue, who has been taken to a specialist burn unit outside the county. Her mothers boyfriend was also in the house, was taken to hospital but is O.K. Suzy is in a critical condition, and doesn't look positive.

Mum and I spent most of the night on the phone and online, trying to get more details, and basically all we know is after a 12 hour search by forensics and the dog squad, Peter was found far far away in Brighton. He has been charged with murder, and two counts of attempted murder, and will appear in court tomorrow. Forensics removed clothing from the home, and the front door for evidence, and post mortem indicates Suzy's mother died from smoke inhalation. One would hope that means she felt no pain.

I can't even begin to comprehend this. This was -what I thought to be- a lovely man, who welcomed me into his home, cooked for me daily, spent hours with me watching the rugby, going to Queen Tribute bands, sharing a quick drink and a curry at the pub on rainy evenings... all these random, great memories that I now feel should be horrible. When I first met him, my mother and I spent a week on his yacht in Brighton, going for lunch and watching movies and having a fantastic time. I have so many photos of his wife, himself and I together, laughing on the pier, giggling over a pint at the pub with our family, and so many things that seemed so innocent, and, as hard as it is to say now, wonderful.

He's 55, has Parkinsons, and is about 5ft 6 tall with grey fluffy hair...all these attributes aren't ones you associate with a killer.
Mum and I joked you wouldn't like to be on the wrong side of him if you were dating his daughter, or hurt one of his kids, but to kill an 'elderly' lady' and try and hurt Suzy is just beyond belief.
Her mother could not be described as 'elderly' by any one who knew her - she was a bright, bubbly, lovely lady, laughing the loudest when their dog would climb all over her to get attention at one of the parties we went to, and who looked after her other daughter (who suffers from MS) so lovingly.

I could bang on for hours about the justice system, and the loop holes it has for domestic violence. Mum and I talked, at length, about the times my own father has tried to do similar things, the terror he caused us and how fortunate we were he never fully succeeded. But instead, I tried to do something positive.

For not being a particularly religious person, I prayed very hard last night. And yet I didn't quite know what for - the hardest part knowing what a terrible thing it is to maybe hope Suzy wouldn't survive, if her burns and injuries are so extensive. I prayed for her daughter, who's the same age as me and dotes on her mother the same way I do - and again, I didn't know what to think. I just feel so, so sorry and heart broken for them all. For Suzy's poor mother, for the terror her partner must have felt in that burning house, and what he must be feeling to know he's survived and is well after what happened to his family. Peter's poor mother, who is one of the most amazing people I've ever met, who has only just buried Peter's father. And for what on earth made Peter do something so terrible to such good people. What he did has involved and hurt so many people, destroyed a family and his own life. And now to not know how I am supposed to think, or feel towards him, is just bizarre. So I suppose the only thing I can hope for, and maybe even pray for, is that things turn out for the best - whatever that may be. And that justice is served, Suzy's mother rests in peace, and that everyone affected can somehow, eventually heal.


Melisa said...

Wow, that's awful. I'm sure your tormented feelings about your happy memories with him are normal because what has just happenned is so hard for you to process, having spent lovely times with him/them. I can't imagine what it would be like to learn something like that.

Stay strong, and I'll be thinking about you and your mom and her friend.


Suburban Scrawl
Remembering Ruby

Susie said...

Wow, I'm so sorry. That is horrible :(
Sometimes the world has the power to totally shock seriously sucks.
I hope you're OK...

Kat said...

That is truly awful and I am sorry you are affected and as Melisa said, tormented with feelings about your happy memories.

We will never be able to understand what goes on inside another person and what led him to do this and there is nothing I could say to make you feel less "alienated" butI hope you will stay strong and get through this.


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