Have Another Recap
If you haven’t read the whole sorry saga so far; it’s here:
But to summarise:
My Uncle and his wife went missing late last year and all contact was lost, no phone number, no forwarding address and a drive to his house showed that he’d moved.
My Aunt, his sister died on the 9th May 2018 and we had to try to track him down.
We found his solicitor, in Leyburn North Yorkshire and he asked my Uncle to call my Dad – which he did, from an unknown mobile, on the evening of Sunday 13th May, with a strange rambling tale that included:
- He didn’t know or wouldn’t say his full address – just the house number and not even a town.
- His driving licence had been revoked by the Police – he didn’t know why
- Social Services may have visited and said that he shouldn’t live alone. Although he clearly didn’t – there were three women in the house with him, his wife and two others.
- His bank account might have been frozen and he had no money and no car
- He would send his details to my Dad – by post – at some point.
I rang the owner of the mobile – somebody unknown to the family and asked for the address – she refused.
I drove to Leyburn on Monday, tracked the house, did a property search to confirm that it was indeed my Uncle’s place and rang the bell.
Only to have the Police called on me.
Many hours later, I’d seen my Uncle, discovered that his mind is partway gone and that he doesn’t remember my whole existence.
I raised a safeguarding concern with North Yorkshire Social Services and was informed that the Police had also done so.
I managed to track down ‘Sharon’s’ family – they live about ten miles away from my Uncle’s place and I spoke to Estate Agents, Essex Social Services and North Yorkshire Social Services.
The Picture that was emerging was quite scary, one person who had been in quite close contact said that in their view, Sharon has some real mental problems.
The Social Services net is so loose that they literally moved away from one open case and disappeared from view.
I agreed to let Social Services do the contact as this is just so complicated.
But in the background I did lots more work and when we got the date of the funeral, I asked Social Services to let him know the date, only to find that they hadn’t seen him so far.
I wrote two letters that cross-referenced each other and bought him a mobile phone, programming my number and my Dad’s number into it.
The first letter said that I would be back on the 2nd June and would take him to Norfolk on the 3rd June if he still wanted to attend the funeral.
The second letter stated that I would call him on Monday.
I then went back to Middleham, staying in a very pleasant hotel for the duration, delivered the phone and letter by hand, caught up with his neighbours and drove home.
Then on the Monday, I called him – the phone was switched off and stayed that way despite me calling and texting every day.
Until Wednesday 30th May.
He called my Dad and gave a string of vague excuses as to why he couldn’t go to the funeral and I put a plan into motion that produced some startling results.
I went back to Middleham and put a letter and condolence card through his door with instructions to either come to the hotel on Sunday 3rd June so that we could travel to the funeral … Or, deliver the card to me so that I could take it.
Twenty minutes later, while having tea with the neighbours, we saw her put the letter and card into the skip on their drive.
Neither my Uncle or the card turned up at the hotel and I left Middleham for Norfolk and the funeral on Sunday afternoon – and all was lost.
Or it would have been apart from two friends who stayed for a few days to watch the house.
And by something approaching a miracle, contact was made with my Uncle in a cafe, roughly at the same time as the funeral. A long conversation was had that showed a very dark and disturbed picture of a frightened man cut adrift from his family with no way of making contact.
It was heartbreaking and a very detailed statement was passed to North Yorkshire Police and Social Services.
And then I did some old fashioned legwork and went back to Frinton, speaking to an Estate Agent who told me that he’d delayed his own sale for 10 months as he called Police and Social Services as he was so concerned about the situation.
I also spoke to the neighbours at his old address who told me a non-stop series of horror stories that were hard to hear as they painted a picture of possible insanity and some real abuse.
I sent a statement to Social Services and then decided to drop out for a few weeks and let the situation move on.
I was sort of successful.
Things that Bounce…
- Small dogs looking for food
- Footballs and tennis balls chased by small dogs
And so it was that I learned of a local tradesman who’d been given a cheque that bounced and from there… I found my Uncle’s bank account details and put a call into their system on a Friday afternoon. I made it clear that I didn’t expect a call back but for them to call Social Services if they had any concerns about the account.
I didn’t expect a call from anybody and actually had to sit down when the bank called me back.
All banks have a customer protection team and I received a call from the head of the UK team who told me that he’d received my call and wanted to just check a few things..
Twenty minutes later, I’d given a full update and when I was asked who I was dealing with in Social Services, I was told ‘that’s the right answer’.
My legs actually wobbled a bit when he told me that he’d been working on my Uncle’s case for over Six Months and I was actually quite emotional for a few seconds as he told me what he could:
The account had seen a level of activity that my new contact had never seen before in a normal, pensioner’s account and he had taken immediate and proactive action.
We chatted for a while and he asked me if I knew what the Cambridge connection was? I didn’t know 100% so could only give a vague answer. He was kind enough to give me his email and mobile number and we wrapped the call up with two questions from me.
‘Does my Uncle have any money left at all?’
‘Great, is his account frozen?’
‘I can’t answer that but I’d refer you back to my proactive action statement’
I hung up feeling that the system was perhaps working and that maybe the financial aspect was being looked at too.
I left it a week before contacting Social Services, assuming that the bank would let them know.
And then, within two hours of each other, I had calls last week with old but very pertinent information and a call from the neighbours that pushed my concern levels back up to redline.
A Voice from the Past
I received a call from the upstairs neighbour of Sharon and her mum – I’d left a business card with the lady with the guide dog that I mentioned in the last update.
He described them as the ‘neighbours from Hell’, with a few choice details that I didn’t know from before – little things like they cooked on a portable hob, placed on boxes in the hallway of the flats.
He also stated that any attempt to get Sharon to fix things, clear up, etc. was met by her calling the Police on the neighbours saying that she’d been harassed.
It was all very useful and I agreed to take him for a coffee in Frinton when we get closer to resolution.
Rumours from Afar
Within ten minutes of that call, I got another one from a neighbour saying that they’d heard from somebody who’d spoken to somebody that the house had been privately sold to a builder and that they’d be gone in four weeks.
I asked for clarity and for the people involved to call me, then I sent a mail to social services and the bank and waited.
And nothing much happened.
So I went to the source of the rumour.
But first, another call from afar.
A Backward Step
For a few days anyway.
I heard from Social Services, they’d met with my Uncle and Sharon and he had a message that we shouldn’t worry and that he was OK. They met at the bank and I made the point forcefully, a few times; that any conversation with her present didn’t make me feel better.
My contact said that they’re still working on it from all angles, but I didn’t feel better.
And I couldn’t tell my Dad this..
Conversations with a Profiteer
There are people who do the right thing every time, they do it because they know that it is the right thing and they can’t imagine anything else.
I’ve been so lucky so far, everybody that I’ve talked to are honest, nice people who genuinely want the best outcome.
Then I talked to the source of the rumour.
We talked a few times and he said all the right things, he hates Sharon and seems to genuinely like my Uncle.
He’s been in the house many times and has said that ‘you wouldn’t want a dog to live there’.
As part of establishing my bona-fides, I told him that I’d bought a mobile phone for my Uncle, he confirmed that he’d seen it the day before and that Sharon had asked my Uncle why it was out in the open.
Then the next day, he rang me to say that my Uncle had smashed it to pieces as ‘it was being used as a listening device’.
He then sent me a text asking if I’d knocked on his door on Friday? I told him that I was in Essex and that I didn’t know his address.
And just like that, I stopped talking to him.
As far as I’m aware, only one person in the area would want to know where I was and wouldn’t be able to ask directly.
My new contact is making lots of cash from doing odd jobs for them, all of it receipted and he’s on to a good thing. So he’s told me a few things and he’s almost certainly told her that I’m talking to the neighbours.
What would somebody do? If they were:
- borderline insane with violent tendencies
- Used to using the system for their own advantage
- Convinced that they were being spied on by a distant enemy
A new enemy, one that won’t go away, one that uses the same system, thinks every move through in advance and backstops everything with written and photographic evidence.
They might make a formal complaint that the neighbours were spying on them and that they had a fear, a very real fear that somebody out there named Small Thunderdog wished them harm. That this person might cause them some sort of physical harm or worse.
Hypothetically you might do that.
Imagine how awful it would be if during this, the person that you’ve been controlling for 18 months now turned round repeatedly and said that they weren’t afraid of the Dog and that they had no reason to be.
Imagine how that might weaken your own position and make you more vulnerable to greater scrutiny from the system.
I can’t because it’s only hypothetical and I’m not her.
But the thought gives me a great deal of pleasure, she knows that I’ll never stop and that her only hope is to either get a restraining order on me (impossible – I have no contact at all) or to move away (good luck with that one).
The Weekly Letter
To Social Services hasn’t stopped though, I’ve catalogued everything I know and have asked that they investigate the finances properly, investigate her brother more and TALK TO THE NEIGHBOURS, ALL OF THEM, CURRENT AND PAST.
Maybe I’m in the wrong job.
What’s That’s Light in the Distance?
There’s a ton of stuff that I haven’t and can’t include in here, I’d be breaking some serious confidences and possibly jeopardising a few things.
What I can say is that mid-week I was as low as I’ve been during this saga so far, but a very long, very detailed conversation yesterday has given me hope that this will get resolved.
I’ve updated my Dad with the news that I have and he seems happier again.
There’s a huge number of dedicated, hard-working and supportive people within the system and I’ll be drinking to one of two of them tonight. Me, drinking to Da Police, just imagine.. .
To Be Continued
*Yes, I’m still here watching you Sharon, enjoy the next few weeks*