So, where was I? Oh yes, I was [in a perverse way] about to declare my undying love for my new Ford Granada Scorpio! Thinking back, I wish I had taken / kept photographs of her. She was indeed a thing of beauty (in an ugly sort of way being based as it was on an enlarged Sierra) with all sorts of of added extras such as electric seat adjust (up, down, forward, backwards and even tilt). Even the back seats had electric recliners! Ah, I do miss her. Mind you, I miss the XR4 as well, She just went like S@*t off a shovel. :-) Maybe I’ll tell about the time when the police in their XR4x4 stopped my in my XR4 and then spent half an hour comparing notes on our cars; or even the time I forced a Police Volvo off the road. The Police and I seemed to be common acquaintances :-( but I never got into trouble(!) thank goodness. :-) These are all true by the way…. But things were about to change………
Back to the story.
Scorpio and I (I just realised, Scorpio is also my star-sign!) continued along the M4, A419, A417 (eventually reaching the Air Balloon Pub roundabout before dropping down into Gloucester and eventually my place of learning for the next 5-days.
My first day in class was a relatively painless one spent mainly getting to know each other, working out who was going to be the swot at the front and who was going to be disruptive one at the back. I was neither: I just sat an acceptable distance away where I could observe both teacher and students. Now, if I remember rightly, this was the course (I went on many in the 90’s) for Operational Supervisors, of which I had been one for some time! and this course was going to involve much role-play. Good-oh, I like role play.
Come the end of the first day, we all checked into our rooms, tidied ourselves up and arranged to meet down in the bar for drinks and dinner. The dinner was secondary, the drinks were primary. That first night was a late night and the following morning was an early morning with an early breakfast of pain-killers and of course a fry-up. And then, much coffee consumed, we all headed back to class.
Day 2 was to be Principles of Supervision, it was also to be the day my spinning head was to spin more than it’s ever spun before: During the mid-morning coffee break, I was passed a message to call my wife urgently, like now. Now all us men know that when your wife says now, she really does mean now, so I had my coffee, a sticky bun, another coffee then I went back to the class acknowledging that I must phone her at lunchtime, which of course I did.
“Where are you” comes the demanding question over the phone: “I’m in Gloucester of course, on a course, why”. ‘Well”, she says, the Police came around this morning to arrest you” my head reeled then my head laughed. “oh really, what have I done then?” I asked. “I don’t know” she said, “But they need to talk to you about an incident that took place on the M4, a very serious incident” – “Cripes” I thought, “What have I done?” I ask myself. “You [must] phone Newbury Police Station as soon as you can”. This last sentence was delivered with such insistence and urgency that I knew instinctively that I must phone the Newbury Police Station as soon as I can. So I did, there and then.
Just What Did I Do?
I phoned the Newbury Police Station, introduced myself and asked why they wanted to talk to me so urgently and why they had felt the need to attack my home so early that very morning. Naturally, they wouldn’t say. All they would say is that they wanted to speak to me with regard to a very serious incident that took place yesterday morning from which my car was seen leaving rather quickly. They asked if I could come to the station right away. Naturally, I said NO. I was on a course all week and wasn’t expected to finish before Friday Lunchtime. I could if they really insisted on it, call in on Friday on the way home. There was a long pause, and then some muttering, then they came back and said ok. But if I failed to arrive, they would arrest me and bring me in.
So, The Police want to speak me urgently about a Very Serious Incident (from which I had made a quick getaway in my Scorpio), so serious that they sent cars and vans to arrest me, but settled for me phoning them. As soon as I phoned them, half a day later, they wanted to me to come to the station immediately, but they settled for four-days later on Friday. Whatever it was I’d done, it was clearly very bad but not too bad, so clearly I hadn’t killed anybody. I reached back into my memory banks. I tried to retrace my journey to Gloucester. Had I run any red lights? None that I knew of. Had I seen any accidents around or behind me (that I might have caused)? None that I knew of. Had I felt any untoward bumps, such as running somebody over? None that I knew off, though the Scorpio was a pretty solid car, so I was left with nagging doubts on that one. I could think of nothing else. That must be it, I thought, I’ve knocked somebody over. But, having, subsequently, checked over my car, I could find no such evidence. All I could do was finish the course and head home, via Newbury Police Station, which was, as luck would have it, en-route. Tales of role play can wait for another day.
I walk into the Police Station and introduced myself. They thanked me for calling in, all very politely and asked me to accompany one of the officers to an interview room. It was here that I found out the extent of my supposed wrong-doing. It would appear that at the time I was in Membury Services, an Asian family had been mocked, ridiculed and then attacked leaving one of the family in need of medical attention. The perpetrators of this incident were two men, one of which matched my description, who was also described as wearing a blue and white jumper. Shortly after the event, a witness noted that my car left the services extremely quickly as if trying to get away from something. This was why why they wanted to speak to me. But, they did give me a let out clause. As already mentioned, the perpetrator who matched my description was wearing a blue and white jumper. If they could search my luggage and found no such garment then it was likely that the meeting would be brought to a swift conclusion. I gave them my keys, with a sudden realisation that in amongst all my, now smelly, clothes was indeed a blue and white jumper. Somehow, I knew I wasn’t going home early.
Predictably, the office came back and with a stern face revealed the jumper. That was that, I was immediately arrested in connection with an assault on an Asian Family and possible ABH or even GBH against the family member requiring medical attention.
Following my arrest, I was allowed to make the one customary phone call, to my wife. I told her I had been charged with GBH: the snotty desk sergeant quickly corrected me to say that I had only been arrested, not charged. “I couldn’t give a f@*k” I said, ‘It’s all the same to me”. Actually, they are very different but having never been in such a situation before I felt pretty frightened, so arrested or charged made no difference to me. I was looking at time behind bars, and I didn’t like it.
Following my ‘arrest’ and ‘phone call’ I was taken into a proper interview room with recording equipment and everything. The officer then started to question me. Why was I at Membury Services? Why did I leave so quickly? who was my Accomplice? Why did I take so long to come to the station? What is my problem with Asians? How many more of those cigarettes are you going to smoke? (as many as I feel like, I replied, with venom). And so the questions went on. “you know, he said, “if you told us who you accomplice was, it make things easier for you”. I racked my brains. Why was I racking my brains. I had no accomplice. But still I racked my brains. Jesus, I think to myself, maybe I did do it but I’m damned if I remember it. The questions continued: What is my job? Who do I work for? What was my car like, it sounds very nice? What are my hobbies? They were trying to be nice and buddy up but I knew their game. They weren’t getting me that easy. My answer with monosyllabic, although there were a few, actually a lot, of expletives. Try as they might however, I couldn’t give them what they wanted. I explained my rapid departure, hence their interest in my ‘nice’ car. I explained how a large number of my work colleagues were Asian. I explained how I didn’t even see or hear of the event until this day. I explained what a bunch of twerps they were. Actually, I didn’t use the word Twerps, but you get the gist.
Eventually after 4-hours and 20 Benson and Hedges, they conceded that were going to get nothing from me that evening and they had no substantial evidence with which to detain me any longer. So with that they were to let me go, but on bail. I was to return to Newbury Police Station at a date & time to be advised for further questioning and to attend an identity parade which would be attended by the five family members, one at a time. I was put on notice that if I failed to return, I would be arrested and brought back and it wouldn’t look good for my defence.
I walked out of the Police Station into a now cold, dark, misty night with my luggage, minus my blue and white jumper, clutching copies of my arrest papers and climbed into my nice Ford Granada Scorpio. I sat there bemused and dazed, and even frightened. I fired up the V6, put on the heater, switched on the heated seat, open up another pack of Benson and Hedges and drew on the first fag, finishing it in almost one draw. I sat, gathered my thoughts, composed myself, lit up a second fag, and eased the car out of the station car park and set course for home.
Come back next week for part 3…..The Identity