Posts Tagged ‘ crime ’

A not entirely fictional tale

Once upon a time, four friends decided to buy a house together.  Not just any old house, but one which had stood for over 200 years and had spent the last several decades not actually being a house.  They began work on it, knocking down stud walls, marvelling at the treasures the previous owners had left behind, watching electricians fall out with each other and painting the shed.  They lived together happily, trying to work out what this meant in terms of normal life and of spiritual life, for the position of the house was chosen for spiritual reasons.

One weekend, two of the friends went away to visit family and other friends, and the two who were left behind pottered around getting on with the business of life in general.  It being the weekend between Hallowe’en and Guy Fawkes Night, fireworks were exploding periodically, sending bursts of random sparks across the sky.  Sitting in his room near the top of this house (which is so high, it nearly brushes the clouds), one of the four friends, a librarian, heard a noise.  “That was an unusual firework”, he said to himself.  Then he heard a noise from his other housemate downstairs and thought “hang on, that sounded like glass breaking” and ran to his window to peer out in the street and see what was happening.  Unable to see anything useful, he ran down the stairs, an exercise which takes quite some time, and out in to the street.  Here, he discovered shards of glass, his housemate on the telephone, people milling around and a large pane of glass smashed in the front window.

Rather upset that someone had decided to damage the home he was rather fond of, the librarian waited for the police to arrive, and attempted ineffectually to deal with Drunken Man No. 2, who claimed to know the culprit and said that said culprit, who we shall call Mr Smashy, would come back and pay for the damage so long as the police did not come.  Since Mr Smashy had already run off down the street and could have had no idea the police would be called, this seemed unlikely.  It transpired that several people had called the police, as a window had also been smashed in the local pub at the end of the street and one lady happened to witness the act of smashing.

The police took details and a sample of the glass which appeared to have some blood on it, and helped the two friends clear up the glass from the street outside.  As a general picture of events was pieced together by the various parties, a man came back down the street and proceeded to walk past the small gathering, which by now included three police officers, the two friends, two neighbours and the pub’s landlady.  The latter woman had seen Mr Smashy in the act at her pub and suddenly cried “It’s him!”  And indeed it was.  Mr Smashy was too far under the influence of drink (and, the friends would later learn, other substances) to realise that this was a most unwise choice of route.  The police stopped him, whereupon it was discovered that Mr Smashy was bleeding heavily due to sustaining cuts from one or other window.  An ambulance was called while police, friends and Drunk Man No. 2 tried to get Mr Smashy to keep his hand above his heart.

Eventually, police, paramedics, Drunk Man No. 2, neighbours, Mr Smashy and the pub landlady had gone their separate ways, leaving the two housemates to clear up the glass that was inside the house and board up the window.  Luckily, due to the ongoing work on the house, plenty of suitable materials were available and the two were able to close the hole in no time at all.  Sleep came late for both friends, who were suitably perturbed by the whole experience.

The following morning, the librarian had to leave in a hurry to teach Sunday school, an activity he finds remarkably hard.  As he left, he discovered that Mr Smashy’s blood had been on an escape mission, and could be found for a long way down the street as well as on the friends’ front door and surrounding woodwork.  On his return from church, he took photographs in case they were needed, although the police had said they had everything necessary from the scene, and set to cleaning the bloodstains from the front of the house.  This led to introductions to several neighbours and a telling off from one woman who quite rightly said he should have worn gloves to do the task.

The friends resolved to call the council on Monday to get the street cleansed, since this was a task beyond their capabilities, and are now awaiting a return visit from the police force in the near future.  And they all will hopefully live happily ever after.

What price justice?

There’s a lot in the news at the moment which is distressing, confusing or depressing, sometimes all three at once.  Wars and rumours of wars.  Corruption and scandal.  And, or so it seems to me, a disturbing new direction in criminal justice laws, often prompted by the so-called war on terror.  I don’t often ‘do’ controversial or speak up in a public forum, but there are times when it seems necessary.  One of the most recent rumblings that has put my back up concerns a possible UK version of ‘Megan’s Law’.

This is a law that would allow the ‘naming and shaming’ of paedophiles and similar offenders who have served their prison term and been released into the community.  Now, you won’t find me arguing with anyone who says that paedophilia and child abuse are terrible, terrible things.  However, I cannot see how such a law would be a good thing.  Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: