I don’t know what it is, but since I was a teenager and someone walked calmly up to our front door with a two foot long knife inside his jacket and pointed it at me when I opened the front door with my 18 month old sister around my legs, I have seemed to have remained calm in a crisis. It was my first experience of the police.
My Dad had just gone to get his toolbox out of the car for the night and was tidying his car up on the driveway, when there was a knock at the door. I was thirteen years old. I opened the door. A man was standing there, his knife pointing towards my stomach. I looked down at it and calmly told my little sister to go indoors, pushing her away before she could see what was happening. He asked me if there was a lady here, I do not recall her name. I told him that he was mistaken and he had the wrong address, he then asked for my neighbour’s Geoff and Anne by name. My father walking back down the pathway brightly said, “No, they live next door”. The man Thanked him and putting the knife back out of sight under his jacket he turned to walk past my Dad on the pathway, he was not ranting or shouting at this point. My Dad came inside and the next thing we heard from the adjoining hallway, was an almighty crash as he smashed his way through next door’s front door glass, to let himself in, there was a scream, then another then children began to cry and he yelled that he was going to kill the bitch….
Our telephone was in the hallway at the time and I grabbed it and called 999, explaining what was happening and they should get someone there quickly. I then explained what he had done at our doorstep. I didn’t know if he had actually managed to get to her, but he was inside the house.
Police arrived on the scene and disarmed him, the family next door along with their friend had locked themselves in the bathroom I think, while he went on the rampage.
Later the police came to me and took a statement, they told me that I had been very brave not to have screamed and had acted very calmly. It was a huge risk to take but as I explained my prime consideration was to protect and not to alarm my younger sister at my side, so I had to remain calm. I also did not want him to know exactly where the lady was that he was looking for. In truth I couldn’t scream if I had wanted to, a consequence of previous childhood trauma.
I think this experience gave me the ability to take things in my stride when they are happening. From then on, when faced with a situation, an accident or altercation, I handle it at the time as though somehow detached from out as an observer. I am able to deal with it calmly and effectively and retain the ability to keep it together when others might not be able to. Afterwards is when it hits me, some might have a stiff drink at this point, I do not. It just seeps in, I shake for a while try to figure it out and if I acted in the best way and then calm down. Only many years later , after receiving counselling for Trauma and opening up to my counsellor about things, have I start to question what happens to the body and mind after such trauma. You know, when the shock kicks in after everything has calmed down and you are alone with your thoughts. I find myself asking, if only there was a way to conquer that down time so that I do not then become a gibbering shaking wreckage of whatever has happened. I berate myself for not being strong enough to handle it.
Yesterday, after threat upon threat of the past few weeks and a couple of attempts on my partner’s life, our psychotic neighbour who has threatened both my partner and I in the past few weeks, decided to carry out his threat upon me. Being a friendly and approachable person in the community, who has worked voluntarily to get things done with the local authority has its drawbacks. You might wonder how a passing Hello to a friendly neighbourhood PCSO or visiting Councillor and members of the local authority would make you a police officer and a grass, by association this might be a little far fetched. But then if you throw a violent paranoid schizophrenic into the mix, who does not take his medication on time, drinks alcohol and whose paranoia and habits are being fed by the drug dealer next door it all starts to make a little bit more sense as to someone like that this deluded outlook on things might seem real. Unfortunately, what has happened IS very real.
So, having yelled out across the street the day before to my partner that “she was going to get it” and that he was going to kill both of us. In the past fortnight when these threats have escalated to a now daily occurrence, combined with terrorising us with motorbikes, threatening behaviour with weapons and other abuse. I have been rather nervous to go out alone and have stayed inside, barely venturing into the front garden, which is crying out for some attention. But since I had a Drs appointment yesterday morning I did just that, in a bid for freedom and a short time away from this madness I went out in the car. I was alright once I was away from the house, but drove with the windows barely open and the doors locked, just in case he followed me on any of his motorbikes.
When I returned later in the afternoon, I was told that for several hours he had been circling up and down outside the house, revving the machines up to a deafening volume, whilst his mother, (his principal carer) and a social worker were waiting outside with a video camera at the ready for my partner to confront him, so that they could get any altercation on film. Thankfully, despite it all my partner saw it was an ambush and stayed inside and their plan was foiled, although several of the other neighbours were alarmed he almost ran one of them over with her dog and she rushed back inside, others came outside to observe and later said that it was a terrible row. Clearly none decided to call the police though. Later on in the early evening, my partner was speaking to some of the neighbours on the pathway in the front garden and once they had left went to come back inside. As he did so the man from over the road was shouting again, had begun to walk out of his gate and across the grass stepping on to the road, he was holding what could only be a knife. It was small like a kitchen knife, but I clearly saw the light glint on the blade. My partner called me and asked if I had my mobile and could take a photo since he had a knife, I said it wouldn’t come out from that distance, but I held up the mobile as though to take a photo, which seemed to put him off and he tucked it into his pocket and walked back towards his gate. He yelled again that he was going to kill me. For a moment, we stood there and looked at him. He then headed back across the road again and I asked my partner to come inside quickly.
We were actually considering going out for a walk to calm down. But I asked, what if he came back? My partner told me to call the police. I dialled 999 and called them explaining what had happened and they said they were sending someone. 45 minutes later a tactical squad turned up to arrest him as we were waiting, it occurred to me that had we not seen him coming and he had been able to carry out his threat then we would have been dead. I thought that he was in the house, but it turned out that he had slipped out whilst I was not looking out of the window. We think he may have hidden out in his next door neighbours house.
The Squad which came tried to get in, and eventually got the neighbour to let them in and searched the place, since they did not find him and we all believed that he was out on one of his motorbikes, they asked me to call them if we saw him return. Lo and behold within 5 minutes he was back. My partner had just gone to lock the front gate after the police had left and saw him skulking around the front garden and heading back across the road again towards our place again with his shiny knife. He virtually ran back inside telling me to call 999 again NOW! I did so and 15 minutes later the squad returned and arrested him, searched his house and took him away. At just before 1am officers came to take a statement from me until 2.30am this morning. They asked if I would attend court to give evidence against him. I said yes, since he has already decided I was the problem and it was personal I have a duty to see it through to justice. So that he will not be able to do it to someone else. To destroy, or maim or kill someone else’s life as he has tried to with ours. I was hopeful of some sleep knowing that he was safely locked up and could not harm us.
Sleep was fitful, this morning I am shaking and a little jumpy. The aftermath of an actual attempt upon my life, a threat made time and again in the past few weeks which he intended to carry out. The reality that it was not just threats. That actually has been planning, waiting for his moment. I have seen him plotting it, as though the cogs of his evil mind are on view, you can almost tell what he is thinking and I have learned to follow my gut instinct, whenever in the past few weeks I have sensed that he is about to do something, it has not let me down. I am on constant alert and aware. I told the Dr what had been happening lately, she was horrified and told me to keep calling the police. I do not want to take the pills which my Doctor prescribed for acute anxiety yesterday morning, as I do not want to miss any of the signals, it is my only way of protecting us, to keep my wits about me. Yes I am afraid to go out alone until this man is brought under control and kept secure, I hope that they also find time to deal with the puppet master who pulls his strings. Meanwhile, my partner is watching my back and I am watching his. My gut instinct has kept us here for the past few weeks and long may it continue to do so.
I cannot brush this under the carpet. I felt the need to write about it, I can’t keep it coped up in my head. This is my cling mechanism. It will stop me falling apart when it’s all too much.