Archive for June 2nd, 2008

June 2nd, 2008

Awful Decisions

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

There can’t be many things worse for a mother than finding out your own child is a violent thug who has almost killed someone in an unprovoked, vicious attack which left a man blinded & hospitalised. To find out that both your sons have done this must be awful.

The dilemma of what to do about your own flesh & blood, whether to protect them from the law either by deliberate act or merely failing to tell someone or whether to shop them to the police must be dreadful.

So Mrs Carol Saldinack has been rightfully acknowledged for her actions in reporting her sons Luke Newman, 27, and Oliver Clark, 24, played in the violent attack on 36-year-old Marc Parkinson after a night out drinking. Not an easy decision for a mother to make.

Most mothers I’ve had experience with tend not to do this. Mrs Alexander was one. I first met her son when he was around 12. By then he was well on the road to being an out of control teenager on the path to the revolving door of the local custody suite.

Mrs Alexander was a teacher, she possibly still is, in the local primary school on the estate where she lived. Robbie went to the school when he was a junior. His father left years earlier, I don’t know what the story was. Robbie started with the usual petty thefts from the local shop or neighbours’ sheds.

Mrs Alxander was always protective of her Robby. I guess, to a degree, it was understandable; her other child, Robbie’s elder brother, had committed suicide.

I was stationed in the town for about 10 years so I saw Robbie develop from a silly teenage boy who nicked Mars Bars to a violent drug-fuelled thug who mugged old ladies in their own homes (true) & beat up his mother, regularly.

Mrs Alexander always believed Robbie when he told her he never did it each time we came to call. I must have personally arrested him 9 or 10 times & my colleagues all did the same. I remember one particular incident when an elderly lady had woken to find Robbie in her kitchen & he had pushed her over in his escape, he was caught outside garden hopping to get away. We turned up at his house & explained what had happened. Mrs Alexander’s first response to us wasn’t "how is the lady" but "what evidence have you got that it was Robbie". She knew that when we knocked we usually had evidence, we didn’t just arrest Robbie on spec. But she always refused to believe it.

Robbie wasn’t a clever criminal. On one occasion he torched a car. He cut his arm on the window reaching to pour the petrol inside leaving blood all over the glass. He then went to the local all-night petrol station to buy a bandage with the loose change from the car’s ashtray. On another night he burgled a neighbour, stole £200 ash & went round to the same petrol station where he bought 200 lottery scratch-cards. The trail of torn tickets led almost to his front door.

After the first couple of years we gave up telling Mrs Alexander that unless she started to accept that her son was no angel and started doing something about it his petty crimes would develop into something more serious. He turned to drugs. He could never pay his bills; he was too thick to understand the technical business side of paying for something he had purchased so it wasn’t unusual to see him with black eyes or worse. He started to get fed up of his regular beatings so the easy way out was to rob his mother (or anyone else he could find). He beat her  up if she didn’t have cash in her handbag. He smashed his way round the house. Every time we went round there was a different hole in the plaster or doors or a different pane of glass smashed.

He once strangled her until she told him her PIN number. No matter how many times she called us for help, she never once supported a prosecution or made a statement against him. I think she blamed herself for her first son’s suicide & couldn’t bring herself to do anything to ‘harm’ her surviving child. Whilst I understood it, I didn’t like her for it. As unfair as it sounds, her inaction helped in the creation of many more victims in the town.

He soon served his first custodial sentence as he left his teens behind. It changed nothing, the only difference when he came out was that he could run faster & needed more force to detain him.

I was speaking to one of my old mates & he tells me Robbie is still around. He still gets nicked but he doesn’t live with his mother any more. I think he genuinely doesn’t give a monkey’s about her.