28 Weeks Later

9807595674_56f1252b16_bThings Past

All of the various updates from True Detective to The Voice on The Wire can be found here:

Chinatown  The Last Detective  No Country For Old Men  Disturbia  Cry Havoc  Gaslight

They pretty much cover what’s happened between May and Today, there are obviously things that I can’t disclose but this is likely to be the last ever post on this subject in particular – but more of that later.

Small Changes

What I haven’t said is that North Yorkshire Police launched an investigation, they took statements, spoke to various people and have been great at keeping me up to date.

The issue, as it has been all along is that Arthur hasn’t been willing to raise a complaint and until somebody could determine his Capacity, there couldn’t be any real progress as nobody can get into the house and speak to him / anybody else.

So, Capacity has been the sticking point all along, it’s been  holding his bank from taking anything forward or releasing his money, it’s been stopping me from taking this to the Court of Protection.

Everything Really.

An Unguarded Comment

From somebody in the middle of this has highlighted that.

THERE WAS A THIRD SOCIAL SERVICES CASE IN CAMBRIDGE

 

It began sometime after January this year and ended in April when they moved back to Middleham.

So.

Three cases, none of them linked, all involving safeguarding and vulnerability.

In three different counties.

How often does this happen? How much of our taxes and rates are spent on a system that allows this sort of thing to slip through the net?

But there we are.

An Inspector Calls

I got a phone call last night to say that Arthur has been tested and has been found to have Capacity. 

What does this mean?

The bank have turned the taps back on and they’ll allow him full access to his money again.

They have to.

The Police have stopped their investigation.

They have to.

Social Services will continue to monitor welfare at the house.

They have to.

Until.

Arthur, Susan and the whole caravan move again.

Because they will.

TH…. TH…. TH… THAT’s All Folks

Until Arthur and Shirley die quiet deaths, unknown to their families, Susan inherits the house and lives happily ever after, abusing the neighbours, living in filth and calling the Police on anybody who crosses her wherever they end up.

If that sounds bitter, it isn’t really.

It’s a recognition that the system is flawed at the moment, call somebody a naughty name on Social Media and you’re in the system for ever; live like animals at the fringes of society and the system isn’t scoped to deal with it.

I think that when they DO move, somebody will at least notify the authorities of the nightmare heading their way, I feel sorry for whatever neighbours they end up sharing space with, they’ll find – just like the current neighbours; that shy of burning the house down, they can’t do anything at all.

I’ve tried all I can with this, I can’t do any more, Arthur has made his bed and now he’ll have to die in it.

I will be trying to take the general issue up with my MP to see if there’s any chance of getting a Private Member’s Bill raised and I’ll update if I get any progress.

And I’ll take some quiet comfort in the fact that I’ve tried my best, I’ve forced Social Services and other agencies to up their game and I’ve managed to make life just a bit more difficult for Miss Susan and her family.

I owe thanks to so many of you that have given willingly of your time and effort to help with this and that’s my real takeaway from this.

I hope I can give something back at some stage.

 

 

 

The Voice on The Wire

2009_05240005As Usual

We’ll recap, I guess we have to, just to keep the chronology straight:

It’s all here…

True Detective

Chinatown

Breakdown

The Last Detective

No Country For Old Men

Disturbia

Cry Havoc

Gaslight

And no.

There’s no good news.  Just sound and fury and noises from afar.

Social Services

Had promised to get back to Arthur’s Cousin Vera to let her know that whether her letter had been received. They promised to do it soon, maybe that day.

Well that was August 1st, Joseph is now on a well deserved holiday and Vera hasn’t heard anything at all, but she’ll keep pushing him, because….. well, we have to push or we get ignored.

There’s something fundamentally wrong with this system, it’s been over three months for this part of the case alone and I get the definite impression that everybody would be happy if they just upped and left and took their problems and their adult diapers and their shouting and screaming and their foul smells  and their rats somewhere else.

Just far enough to be in a different county.

and be somebody else’s problem

But maybe I’m not being fair, the problem is that none of us know anything.

Thank God for the persistence of Postladies.

The Letter

So I wrote a letter to my Uncle.

I’ll reproduce most of it below and I sent it ‘Signed For, Addressee Only’ – this just means that somebody has to go to the door and sign for it.

It took me three attempts to get it delivered as they just don’t answer the door.

Anyway, here it is..

‘Dear Uncle Arthur,
I hope that you and Shirley are well.

Despite your assurances to the social worker, I remain worried
about your wellbeing, as do your old neighbours in Frinton, who I
met with a month ago; my Dad (your brother) and the wider
family, including your cousin Vera and your nephew Michael.

I have given them all your address and they will be writing to you
individually, as will I on a regular basis.
I know that you said that you have lost your address book, so
everybody will ensure that they give you their address.
Mine is:

xxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxx

xxxxxxxxxx
I met with your current neighbours last week, they seem like
lovely people and I had tea and a few drinks on Saturday evening
with both the uphill and downhill neighbours, you may have seen
my car on Sunday morning as I parked opposite to walk the dog
to the river.

Love’

I wasn’t sure that it would ever get to him or whether he would respond and in the meantime I had a disturbing alert to say that he had been seen pushing a shopping trolley to the shops in Middleham.  This sounds innocuous but it’s half a mile up a vicious hill that I’m not that keen on walking myself, let alone pushing or pulling a trolley.

Oh yes.

Susan’s brother had been in the house an hour previously.

I sent a mail to Social Services, etc. and the mail and the reply are below.

‘All

Please see the attached text from a concerned neighbour
If Susan’s brother was there with a car, again… Why is my uncle pushing trolleys up a steep hill, in Summer, at the age of 84? 
Does he have to die of a heart attack before somebody does something here? 
Of course, if he does, the house is Susan’s and the problem goes away doesn’t it? 
There is something very wrong with this picture and it’s getting more disturbing by the day. 
I don’t really expect much of an answer, this is more in the nature of evidence for the inevitable inquest. ‘
I received a reply from the now ubiquitous Joseph Smith.

‘Dear Mr Hodge

Thank you for your e-mail. I can assure you that this information will be considered as part of our on-going safeguarding enquiries.’

Which, to be fair, I didn’t really expect to receive. So it was slightly heartening to get this acknowledgement (if nothing else).

And things idled on.

Until last Monday.

And I got a phone call from a number that I’ve never had a call from before.

The call lasted over twenty minutes and I have a recording (luckily) of the last 18 minutes, but I’ll paraphrase the call as best as I can.

The Phone Call

It rang as I was trying to do something else and I was a bit surprised to hear my Uncle’s voice on the line.

‘Is that Thunderdog?’

‘Yes… hello?’

‘This is Arthur, have you been saying things to my neighbours? They’ve said that you’ve told them I’m nutty.’

‘No, which neighbours do you mean, what are their  names?’

‘I don’t know their names, I don’t talk to them’

‘So how could they tell you what I supposedly said?’

*sound of paper and pen in the background*

‘Are you alone Arthur?’

‘What?’

‘Are you alone? Is Susan with you?’

*paper noises*

‘No, I’m all on my own’

‘Really, I doubt that, I thought that you were inseparable, I’m not sure that I believe you, but I’m not sure it matters either, which neighbours was it? Uphill or downhill? And if you don’t talk to them why would they tell you a lie?

‘Er, it was downhill’

 

‘Ah, yes, lovely people, I’ve been in theirs a few times for a cup of tea, so why would they tell you something like that? It doesn’t sound very true to me’

Well, what about the other neighbours in Frinton?’

‘What about them? I spoke to a few of them and they were very concerned about you’

‘Who was it?’

‘It was Jackie from the corner and I had a very long chat and a cup of tea with her, she was worried after you left’?

She was a troublemaker, she came in my house and was going through all my letters and when I asked her what she was doing, she said that she didn’t think I could read’

‘Are you sure that you remember this properly Uncle Arthur? She had a very different story and said that she came over to pay you the money she owed you for letting her park on your drive’

*sound of mobile phone in the background*

‘Are you sure you’re alone Arthur?’

*pause*

‘What?’

‘Are you alone in the room? Is Susan with you?’

*pause*

‘No, there’s just old Shirley’

‘Whose phone rang then?’

*pause, paper sounds*

Anyway, what about Nobby?’

‘What about Nobby? I haven’t spoken to him in over a month’

He’s our cab driver’

‘I know exactly who he is, but I haven’t spoken to him’

*long pause*

‘And the bank have frozen my money, I went there last Saturday, I had a right row and I called the bleeding police’

‘You called the police? You do know that the police already know about your bank and so do social services and social services are talking to the bank’

‘Social Services’

We then spent a few minutes while I told him that despite the fact that I thought Susan was probably in the background that I’d tell him everything I knew.

I began though with telling him that I believed Susan to be a danger to him and Shirley, that I believed that she has mental problems and that I had reported this to Social Services and the Police.

This involved a fair amount of me unloading on him and telling him that I had copies of statements given to the police, including on the day of the funeral when he sat in a cafe and talked to a stranger about not being able to go.

At that point I heard a female voice start to say something and then stop.

Conversation went a bit faster after this point, the point of the conversation had changed and this was now me pushing him – hard.

I continued to tell him all I knew about Essex, the Police kicking his door in while Shirley was alone, everything.

I told him ‘for the record and for the benefit of others listening in’ that I wasn’t going to back off no matter what, but that he wouldn’t see me, I had no plans to go to the house and that I would be keeping the pressure up on social services.

We then talked a bit more and he started talking about his money being frozen again.

‘I’ve worked all my life as you know and I can’t get my own bleeding money out’

‘Have you asked why they won’t give it to you?’

Have I asked?’

‘Yes, have you asked the bank why your accounts have restriction on them, because this was something that they did because their safeguarding team had concerns about the way your bank account is being run and it’s interesting that you don’t seem to know anything about it or haven’t asked in seven months’.

‘I went to the bank last week, in Harrogate, they told me I could only get two hundred out and it cost me near two hundred to fucking get there’. 

‘But did you ask them why you have restrictions?’

Well I called the Police and they made me sit in a room – on me own-  and erm, yap, yap yap, I told them it doesn’t make any difference, it’s my money and I’m entitled to it. ‘

‘Did they think it was a crime?’

No they didn’t say that’

‘So what exactly did they say?’

He rambled a bit at this point and I made the repeated point that he needed to talk to the safeguarding team in his bank to find out what the issue was from their point of view.

Somebody was shouting at him from the background and he eventually hung up.

It was a strange call, but it had felt good to let him (and the listener) know just how much effort I’d put in and to turn the conversation round into something more useful (from my point at least)

Never Forget

To let those involved – even on the periphery know what’s going on.

I texted both sets of neighbours and advised them to keep an eye out as it may get interesting…

Which was just as well I suppose.

Rapid Movements

At 14:45, my Uncle rang me again to threaten himself with my solicitor – or something. It took him about five attempts to tell me that I’d get a letter from his solicitor if I didn’t back off – or something. It was all a bit bizarre. I laughed, blew Susan a kiss and hung up.

Only to get a phone call from the first set of neighbours demanding to know what I’d said as Susan had been round to abuse them, citing me as the source for her information that they were talking about her.

I calmed them down and sent a copy of the audio file from my phone call with Arthur.

Which they then shared with the other neighbours who had received a similar visit.

It was all very heated and both sets of neighbours called the Police – as did Susan.

And that’s where it ended for the day.

Apart from one more letter..

 

The Letter (2)

Dear Uncle Arthur

Thank you for your two phone calls earlier this week, I confess that they have left me more worried than ever about your situation and I have forwarded my concerns on to Leyburn Police and Social Services.

Your first call was slightly incoherent and seemed to involve things that you alleged that I said about you to your neighbours – I didn’t say those things of course;  and your statement that you didn’t really talk to the neighbours or know their name left me feeling as if you had been prompted to call me.

I could hear paper and scratching in the background during the call, which (to me anyway) showed coercion and control by a 3rd party and the fact that Susan then felt compelled to then see fit to abuse both sets of neighbours giving my name and therefore slandering me has left me annoyed and considering my next steps.

She was clearly listening to the call and chose to deliberately change my words to you when she spoke to the neighbours to suit whatever purpose she hopes to achieve.

However; I hope that my advice to you to call the safeguarding team in your bank will prove useful in your attempt to find out why your accounts are restricted.

The NatWest Safeguarding Manager is a gentleman named Neil ….., if you call NatWest, they will get him to call you on a number of your choice – he may be able to explain why your accounts set off alarms in the system.

He has been in communication with Social Services – I suggest that you ask them for details.

A large number of people are concerned about you, including your cousin Vera who has written to you twice – the first letter was signed for by S Auckland and the second letter which contained an Order of Service for your only Sister’s funeral (remember her?) hasn’t yet been able to be delivered.

Did you get it I wonder? Or did it go the way of the letter and card that I posted through your door the Saturday before the funeral. I sat and watched as Susan threw it into the skip outside (I have photos to back this up by the way – and witnesses).

Your second call in which it took you five attempts to threaten me with a solicitor if I didn’t stop contacting you (an interesting idea given that this is only my second letter to you since your sister’s funeral) would have been funny if it wasn’t both sad and sinister.

This has caused me to redouble my efforts with Social Services as I believe that you are being coerced by a 3rd party, namely Susan Auckland and I have named her in a safeguarding concern report to North Yorkshire Council which has triggered the current case that you are involved in.

 

However, should you wish to pay the fees and your solicitor wishes to communicate with me, my address is:

xxxxx

 

If your solicitor is still John Smith, he and I have met and corresponded in the past and I would look forward to hearing from him again and would relish the opportunity to discuss this situation in court.

You may be surprised at the depth of my knowledge regarding your situation, the people involved and the efforts I’ve undertaken on your behalf.

 

Love always

That’s all folks

Apart from one more letter that I wrote to Police and Social.

Which has had an unexpected result.

I’ve had a phone call this afternoon that is genuinely positive and I really can’t say much more than that right now except that finally I’m hearing words that aren’t just platitudes.

I guess we’ll see

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

 

 

Gaslight

20180727_070717The Social Services Two-Step

It’s only been a few months but the story keeps changing and mutating around all those caught up in it.

Sadly I’m more convinced than ever that it doesn’t have a happy ending, North Yorkshire Social Services are understaffed, outgunned and have the law against them. They can’t effect entry into the house unless they can prove physical abuse.

This puts my relationship with them into a category marked ‘strained to non-existent’.

And Yet.

Despite them telling me nothing, fobbing me off with OfficialSpeak (more to come on this), I’m still ahead of them in terms of what’s going on in Middleham, who’s involved and what weird and wonderful things they’ve done or tried to do.

I take a step forward, they take a step back and fall over themselves, all while vulnerable adults live in a house that the neighbours have come to abhor.

How Did We Get Here?

Once again, it’s all here.

In chronological order

True Detective

Chinatown

Breakdown

The Last Detective

No Country For Old Men

Disturbia

Cry Havoc

And when I left things last time, they had disappeared completely.

Or as far as the family was concerned anyway.

Social Services had an address via her brother Francis and our best guess was that a friend had moved them as it wasn’t a taxi.

When in Doubt – Attack.

So I did, I wrote a letter to the Chief Executive of North Yorkshire Council – Richard Flinton, I sent it to his publicly available email address

richard.flinton@northyorks.gov.uk

and the text of this is below:

‘Dear Mr Flinton, 

Please take some time to familiarise yourself with my Uncle and Aunt’s safeguarding case, which now seems to have apparently permanently stalled. 
I say ‘apparently’ because despite me telling your team that the subject of a multi-agency safeguarding case was preparing to run – as it was happening, in real time – nobody has yet seen fit to update me or tell me that my vulnerable relatives have been traced.
I have expended huge amounts of time and effort since reporting this case (in parallel with a member of North Yorkshire Police reporting the same issue in early May ) and have given your teams any information that I have gathered to help build a case. 
The lack of information is distressing to my family, in particular to my father who feels that he has lost his only brother. 
I have been collating all my experiences anonymously via a blog that has also acted as a diary. As of tonight, I am encouraging the press to look into this and will continue to do so until my relatives have been found and made safe. 
image1.png
All details can be found here
I would greatly welcome some news and support from your team. ‘
Regards
I did receive a reply – which although not massively heartening, at least made me feel like somebody was taking note.

‘Dear 

RE: Arthur and Shirley Hodge

Thank you for your email dated 9th July 2018, of which I acknowledge receipt, in regard to the above matter. I have passed this onto my colleagues in Health and Adult Services, in order that they can investigate and respond to the points that you have raised.

Yours sincerely

Sarah Pilling

Senior Officer’

 

And then nothing happened – this shouldn’t have been a surprise, but it was in a way, I was starting to see the scope of the problem here and unless a law has clearly been broken, Social Services have no right of access.

And I don’t think I want them to have.

As painful as this is, the idea of well meaning idiots having access to your home without a warrant is terrifying.

But.

I couldn’t sit back and passively wait for nothing to happen for weeks more.

So I consulted with friends and we put a credible plan in place to try to track them down, we had a list of criteria for towns that they might be in and another list of volunteers who would try to see what we could shake loose.

I printed dozens of photos of Arthur and put them in my car along with business cards and other details ready for when we visited the towns.

Meanwhile….

THANK YOU ALL

The Twitter response was extraordinary and a few people were incredibly supportive in trying to keep awareness up of their disappearance and my Direct Messages were often incredibly moving. I can’t thank you all enough, you know who you are…

 

Unexpected Events

On  the 14th July, they turned up again in the same Kia that they had left in, so I notified Social Services (again) receiving a ‘Thank You’ on the 16th.

And nothing happened.

Nothing at all .

Again.

There’s a pattern here and it’s mostly filled with blank spaces.

The neighbours saw Social Services drive past without stopping on the 16th July and shouting and bawling was heard from the house that night.

But the neighbours were and are starting to feel the pressure.

The place stinks, adult diapers are bulging from the bin, but the bin-men won’t take it. Calls to environmental health haven’t really helped.

And Susan has taken to standing in the garden to glare at the neighbours opposite, she’s slowly wearing them all down.

I spoke to one of the neighbours at length and decided that a visit wouldn’t hurt, it’s a lovely area anyway and I could combine tourism with a little checking up.

Road Trip

So on the 21st July, I was back in Middleham, I took tea with both sets of neighbours and offered to buy them beers in the local hotel in the evening. They gave me some more details on the driver of the Kia, I still don’t know exactly who he is, but now think that I could track him down in less than a day if need be.

They also told me a grim little story of how Susan had been bellowing at her mother the night before.

A Daughter’s Love

Susan’s mum, is incontinent, as is my Aunt.

It’s an age and infirmity thing and I can only imagine that it’s embarrassing, uncomfortable and a source of constant worry.

Quite why she feels the need to move them around the country at a moment’s notice in cramped cars is beyond me.

As is this.

On Friday 20th July, Susan was screaming at her mother who had soiled herself again, a stream of invective telling her how foul and filthy she was.

When her mother argued back that she was indeed her mother and entitled to a little respect; Susan screamed ‘YOU SHOULD HAVE RESPECT FOR ME…. FOR ME..’

Sadly, the neighbours didn’t call the police that night.

Beer And Comfort

I bought the neighbours a few drinks that night and also managed to bump into the area Police Commander to give him some glowing feedback on his team. He couldn’t really comment but promised to make sure that the officers concerned would get the praise in their files.

I think that the neighbours now understand that they’re in a fight whether they like it or not, Susan will complain to the Police every chance she gets. it’s her way. They need to play by the same rules; move away or suffer the pain every day until something bad happens.

Nothing else happened that night, I didn’t go anywhere near the house as I didn’t want Susan to know I was in the area.

Yet.

A Walk In The Sun

On Sunday afternoon, I parked my car in full view of their house and took a walk to the river that flows less than a quarter of a mile from the bottom of the road, I took a few photos and basically enjoyed the walk.

I enjoyed the curtains almost being ripped from the poles as I walked back to the car more though.

I think that Susan may have one or two anger issues but I can’t be sure.

I drove home and had a few beers, happy that I had at least made sure that I had thanked the people most affected by this mess and that I had probably jarred her equilibrium for a day.

I Don’t Like Mondays

Quite a lot of things happened on the Monday, I’ll note them in the order that they occurred.

I received a letter from Joseph Smith of North Yorkshire Social Services, remember that name, he’s going to pop up again in this and subsequent posts.

Here it is:

Screen Shot 2018-08-01 at 10.48.41

My reply was to the point and indicated mile dissatisfaction

Screen Shot 2018-08-01 at 10.56.17

I then received a text from the neighbours at 15:50 to say that the usual woman from Social Services had turned up with a man that they hadn’t seen before.

They were silly enough to ask the neighbours if they were OK and then received the full benefit of months of frustration, they were taken aback by this as it was the first time that they had actually talked to a neighbour. 

The.

First.

Time.

After this encounter, they tried to knock at Arthur’s door but all the curtains were now closed and they were denied entry.

And then at 18:30 Susan’s Brother, Francis Auckland arrived and they filled the boot of his car with items from the house before he drove off.

A Series of Unconnected Events.

Late on Tuesday night, real actual screaming could be heard from the house and then Arthur could be heard shouting to ‘Call the Police’

Lots of shouting about a break-in could be heard and after a while somebody turned up in a car, looked around the perimeter of the house with a torch and said that they couldn’t see any intruders, any sign of intruders or any sign of a break-in.

On Wednesday, the usual cab driver turned up along with Susan’s brother and all four people got into the cab with luggage and they drove off at 14:15.

At 14:30, I informed the Police and Social Services about the three unconnected events, making sure that I mentioned the loading of the car on Monday.

At 14:45, her Brother returned to the house to check the windows, I again informed all parties.

At 15:09 the usual social worker and another ‘official looking woman’ talked to Susan’s Brother on the drive of Arthur’s house.

At 20:48 they returned home.

And that’s where they are now.

Letters From The Past

The wider family have been writing to Arthur, but only one ‘Signed For’ letter has got through so far – it’s from his cousin Vera and was signed for by ‘S Auckland’, all other letters have been turned away or the door hasn’t been answered.

The Postwoman isn’t happy at all.

People will continue to write and we’ll see if Arthur actually got that letter.

Because.

Vera went to Mencap to see if they could help with the situation.

They contacted North Yorkshire and then got back to Vera to say that they’d made contact but couldn’t help any further.

She then received a call from Joseph Smith (remember him) who told her that there were no signs of abuse. He did ask if she knew me though, I guess I’m becoming a bit of a irritant.

She told him that I was a wonderful caring Nephew who was trying to help his Uncle while the state ignore him.

And then Vera tore him a new orifice and pointed out to him that coercion was indeed abuse, that she believed that Arthur was being controlled and that her letter had been received but she’d had no reply.

Joseph had to agree the coercion point, which once again makes me wonder if they just have a script to fob relatives off with?

Because.

Because.

Because, there are actually official guidelines for this stuff.

Just look at them.

Screen Shot 2018-08-01 at 10.57.07

Screen Shot 2018-08-01 at 10.56.51

I’ve been writing about this since May and have started to do some real digging on this, and if this is available to the public, there MUST be better information available for those entrusted by the state to look after the vulnerable.

So why the fobbing off ?

I suspect that they’re at an impasse and unless they ask the police to look into fraudulent activities, that they don’t know what to do next.

But Joseph Smith has stated to Vera that he’d go to the house (possibly today) to talk to Arthur to see if he’d got the letter – which Susan signed for.

More letters are due for redelivery this week too.

We’re not holding our collective breath.

But we’re watching you now Joseph

To Be Continued (Sadly)

Cry Havoc

20180708_085418Are you ready? Let’s begin

I probably don’t need to recap any more, all the updates are here.

True Detective

Chinatown

Breakdown

The Last Detective

No Country For Old Men

Disturbia

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

Just a week ago, I was given news that the neighbourhood police team in Yorkshire had been, in their own time, making sure that the effort to help my Uncle continued and had in fact opened up a dialogue with the lunatic that was causing so much effort to be expended and had caused so much pain.

The reason for the call was that I had alerted them that they may be planning to move shortly, go to another county and escape the net that was very, very slowly closing in.

I was so happy with this, it meant that I could relax, just a bit and get on with my real life for a week or two and give my Dad some good news for once.

It’s probably worth pointing out that this effort was not mandated by the police, North Yorkshire Social Services were and are the lead agency in this case.

Sadly.

So when I received a call from a neighbour on Thursday this week telling me that:

A car was on the drive, that the two old ladies had been sat in the back for over thirty minutes while the car was being loaded up to the roof and that it looked like they were going to run.

I was a bit surprised, a bit angry and more than a bit worried.

These are the things that I did in the next five minutes.

While. I. Was. In. A. Supermarket

  • I called a police officer’s direct number and left a message.
  • I sent an email to the police that had been helping, with the registration details – only to receive an out of office in both cases.
  • I rang 121 and reported an incident
  • I rang the lead social worker.

I was surprised to get through and told her that they were getting ready to run. I gave the car details – a silver Kia (Sedona) with the registration K14 xxx.

She was a bit surprised and said ‘I was due to call her this afternoon, perhaps I’d best ring her now?’.

Resisting the temptation to scream (I was still in the supermarket) I told her to do that and hung up.

And that was it.

Radio Silence.

I’ve heard nothing from social services since Thursday.

The Thin Blue Line

Just over two hours later, I received a mail from one of the off-duty police officers, he’d forwarded the details to a colleague and they were in contact with social services.

Yesterday I received a very sympathetic call from one of his colleagues, I won’t repeat any of it here (yet anyway) but it was now very clear that social services had ignored information that the police had given them just a week before and had taken steps that may cause the lunatic to run – but hadn’t told the police.

Bhairava

According to Demonology, naming a demon gives you power over them. Anybody who’s delved further back into my blogs knows of my half-joking relationship with the god-aspect Shiva.

It was only a few hours ago that I was thinking about him, I sat on a plinth by a weir that used to be an old mill-race and just let myself relax and sink into the moment.

He’s an interesting character and has many aspects – I suppose we all do really.

I’ll leave you to look the name above up, but it’s appropriate, my time for playing nicely is over.

I tried to let the system do this, but there’s something fundamentally wrong and if they don’t start helping me, I’m going to declare war on them. I fired a shot via twitter yesterday, but they just don’t understand how much effort I’ve put into this, how many hours of work, how many thousands of miles driven and pounds spent. They don’t get how much effort that good friends have spent trying to help me, all while the system flounders and wobbles in it’s efforts to move forward.

Let’s Name Names

My Uncle is Arthur Hodge. I’m one of eight nephews. It may well be that I won’t be anonymous after this week, let the dice fall where they may.

His Wife – who is pretty much wheelchair-bound and incontinent is Shirley Hodge.

The foulness at the heart of this story, the agent of chaos, destruction and misery across two counties (at least), the controlling, paranoid cause of all this effort.

Is Susan Auckland.

Susan Auckland.

Got that?

Bonnie and Clyde

I’m going to fill the rest of this with witness statements and information that I’ve already passed to social services over the past months.

Here We Go

This is from the day that my Aunt was buried, See The Last Detective for the full story.

6Th June 2018

At 1.56pm on Tuesday 5th June 2018, I went into the K’Teas cafe in Leyburn Square. I there saw an elderly gentleman, who I now know to be Arthur Hodge.

He was sitting alone, at a table, pouring himself a cup of tea, from a pot in front of him.

I watched him pour the tea slowly and then drink from the cup. After he had finished the drink, he got up, knocking the table to one side slightly and began to stumble backwards. I immediately asked him if he was alright. He looked up and said “sorry?” I again asked him if he was alright and he said that he was, he just wanted to change sides, whilst he waited for someone. He moved to the side next to me and on sitting, pushed the chair into a dresser with crockery on it. I became concerned that he would knock something from the dresser, so I stood up and went to his aid. Helping him to sit down.

He started a conversation with me.

Arthur “I’m waiting for ‘This lady’ (he repeatedly referred to her as ‘This lady’), she’s gone for her hair done”

“ She dropped you off for a nice cup of tea?”

Arthur “Yes, She should be here soon.”

He repeatedly kept looking towards the doorway and checking his watch.

I again asked if he was ok, he said he was.

The conversation continued:-

Arthur “Are you from here?”

“No , I’m from Sheffield.”

Arthur “We live in Middleham, in a bungalow. There’s four of us. Me, my wife, ‘This lady’ and her mother, we moved up a few months ago.”

We continued to chat about the area and him living there for a short time. He then unprovoked, told me, he was not happy.

Arthur kept looking at the door, like he was worried that someone might overhear, I felt that he was taking me, a stranger, into his confidence somehow.

He repeatedly told me not to say anything to her, when she came in. “She won’t like it”

I asked how he met the woman, he told me that he used to walk a dog, that belonged to a neighbour of hers, they got chatting and one day she phoned him and asked him to take her to the hospital “And that was that”.

The conversation continued:-

Arthur “There’s this bungalow that we bought together, but really it’s not suitable. Not suitable for older people.”

He then went on to tell me of the others in the house, being elderly

Arthur “ My wife, she’s not very good on her feet and ‘This lady.’ “Her mum is 91, coming up 92, so she’s not very good, erm really erm well, we shouldn’t have bought it. Well we’ve got it now. But I think it’s gonna sort, be a bit heavy”

He then went on to tell me that they were going to sell the bungalow, but wasn’t sure when. They had to still sort it out. He referred to ‘hundreds of boxes’ and the skip that they were filling. He was working hard sorting it out, it seemed to prey heavy on his mind.

He continued,

Arthur “Don’t tell my friend, but I think I bought it with my eyes shut. I fell down a wall, they had to tie a rope around me, put it under my arms and pull me up. It hurt my ribs for ages, I was in such pain” He repeated that he thought it was dangerous and not suitable for them. Saying “I wish we hadn’t bought it now”

Arthur “ I don’t like it. There’s nothing to do, but sit and look out of the window, we can’t walk anywhere, it’s too steep. We just sit there. We haven’t even had a telly, well we got one now. Cost sixy pounds, never been used, alright that, isn’t it? But you can’t just look out the window all day, can you? No good for no one”

He told me that the money in his account had been frozen by the Social, He complained that it wasn’t right as it was “My fucking money.” He continued, that ‘This lady’ was paying for everything for them, food, everything. Looking after them financially.

He spoke about his family down south and that it was his sisters funeral about now, how sad he was that he had missed it. He told me that one of the family had come up to take him to the funeral, but ‘This Lady’ had warned him not to go, because “My family, well, they’re trouble, she doesn’t want me getting into trouble with them. I don’t know how to get hold of them anyway, I did have a book with all the names and addresses in it, but it’s gone.”

He felt upset about this, he talked about his brother and how he should have gone, but:-

Arthur “She’ says I shouldn’t go. I can’t do much about that, I can’t even contact them”

He continued to look at the door and repeatedly asked me not to say anything.

He told me that they had previously looked at buying a house in Stamford, they had paid the survey, but lost the house. “One thousand fucking pounds, that’s not right is it? I lost that, haven’t I?”

He mentioned that he has cataracts and needs an operation, but it’s going to cost £3000. I mentioned the NHS, but he said there was “too long a waiting list, have to have it done private.” It seemed a conclusion that he hadn’t come to himself, like he was resigned to it.

He told me of a relative of ‘This Lady’ called Francis. He was coming up to the house soon “Probably this week. He don’t like us, calls me and my wife Bonnie and Clyde”

I asked why he felt that, but he wouldn’t expand. He said that he was alright when they met him in public, at the cafe recently. But chose not to tell me why he felt that Francis didn’t like them. I got the feeling that he was being verbally abused or talked about in the house, by him.

The conversation moved onto other things, stories of his younger days, which he relished in telling me, where his face lit up in a smile. He joked with me and we laughed over it, but any return to his present situation and he lost the sparkle. We chatted for some considerable time, but I had the feeling that he was being controlled, told what to do and was fearful of what ‘This Lady’ might say to him. He never referred to her with any form of endearment. Repeatedly, he told me not to say anything and to “keep it to myself”

At around 2.45pm the same day, a woman, who I now know to be Susan Auckland entered the cafe and beckoned him with her head.

Susan “Come on”

She was brusque with him and commanded him out.

I attempted to start a conversation with her, she ignored me.

Susan to Arthur “You’ve been talking, haven’t you?”

Arthur “No, I erm”

Susan “Have you paid?”

Arthur “No, I haven’t, I erm”

She then ushered him to the toilet and took out her purse, she appeared to be quite cross. I again tried to speak with her, but she turned her back. She spoke to the waitress and demanded a receipt for the bill, which came to less than £5.00. I think it was £4.75, but I am unsure.

I followed Arthur to the toilet, the toilet was a single mens / ladies toilet, he did not have the door locked. I waited for him to come out and wished him a pleasant afternoon.

I followed them out of the cafe where I heard her mention something about going on a bus to Ripon and something about getting him back, on the motorway to Cambridge. But I did not hear the full conversation.

I watched them for a while and witnessed her ordering him about, into different shops, being quite sharp with him. She then made a phone call and then walked off, with Arthur following several paces behind her, all the time.

I left the square shortly after and did not see them again.

I had the feeling that he was being controlled by her. He was confused by the entire situation and didn’t seem to know how to deal with it. I got the distinct impression, that he was not happy, but couldn’t do anything about it. He was unsure about his money. Had no idea how bills were being paid and did at one point comment that “This Lady’ keeps us.” He appeared helpless, lost even.

Several times, he asked me where I was stopping, I kept telling him, but he would return to the question again and again. His memory of distant events was sound, but his short term memory was lacking.

History Lessons

This from my trip to Frinton, a few names are changed to protect the innocent, seeNo Country For Old Men for details.

Regarding – Arthur and Shirley Hodge, Susan and Barbara Auckland

On Saturday 9th June, I travelled to Frinton-on-Sea and Kirby Cross in Essex with a view to discovering what information could be found regarding my Uncle (Arthur Hodge) before his move to Middleham.

I initially spoke to the Branch Manager of an Estate Agent

He told me that he had notified Essex Social Services early on in the sale process of my Uncle’s bungalow and that the sale was delayed from February to December 2017 while the investigation continued.

He was of the view that Susan was controlling my Uncle at that stage and that Arthur was living in her flat at 2 Marine Court, The Esplanade for a period of over a month, not even leaving to visit his wife in hospital or to go home and change clothes.

He stated that he would arrange ‘appointments’ to meet my Uncle to discuss the sale and would then take him to the hospital in his own car, once taking him back to his bungalow so that he could change clothes.

He was and remains extremely concerned about the situation, he described Susan as ‘dripping poison into Arthur’s ear’ and shared with me that he had been in contact with:

Hannah X – Essex Social Services –

PC X ? – unsure of spelling) &

PC Y of Essex Police.

They also handled the sale of Susan’s flat and he stated that ‘only one photo could be taken as the place was such a mess’ -he said that it was a ‘really bad hoarder’ situation.

He also seemed to think that my Uncle et al moved to Cambridge for a period after they left Frinton, possibly renting a property via a relative. He said that Susan frequently calls the branch asking them to do Internet searches, most recently for a Citroen garage in Holland-on-Sea.

He suggested that I should talk to the neighbours and rang a lady named from Kirby Cross (I have her phone number if necessary), who agreed to meet me.

I spoke to her at length and she is willing to write a statement and appear in court (The Court of Protection) if necessary, she also introduced me to a lady named Sheila who lives near my Uncle’s previous address.

They told me that my Uncle had become involved with Susan after meeting her on the Greensward at Frinton while walking a neighbour’s dog, and that even early into the relationship, he was spending considerable sums of money.

  • Buying them a fridge
  • Spending over £100 on food.

The neighbours were concerned at his behavior and tried to speak with him on a number of occasions, particularly while his wife was in hospital.

She repeatedly mentioned that Arthur at this stage was dishonest in his dealings with the neighbours and social services.

She gave an example of:

Shirley Hodge was due to leave hospital, but after the date, wasn’t seen by the neighbours. Arthur told them that she had ‘left hospital, fallen and hit her head and gone back in.

It later transpired that he had driven Susan to Yorkshire despite having his licence taken away by Essex Police following a series of small incidents and that he was stopped on the journey and had his car taken away, having to go back to Essex in a cab. Shirley Hodge remained in hospital at this time.

After Susan sold Marine Court, she and her mother moved into Arthur’s house.

Police and Social Services were present at the house on a number of occasions, but the curtains were now closed 24 x 7 and nobody would answer the door.

I was told a number of disturbing things and will only include those that I deem most worrying.

  • A relative of Shirley Hodge wrote to her C/O the neighbour as previous letters and phone calls had gone unanswered. This was hand delivered.
  • Shirley Hodge was left alone in the house for three days and resorted to banging on the partition wall for help, Essex Police had to force the back door
  • Mrs Y was physically assaulted by Susan Auckland (pushed from behind and in front) after delivering £30 to Arthur for the use of his drive while hers was being worked on
  • The house was full of newspapers that wrapped human faeces (I am told that the skip in Middleham contained soiled adult diapers as of last week) and any letters etc. that were lying around had obscenities scrawled on them
  • Susan Auckland had reportedly been arrested and charged with assault previously in Essex.

The neighbours were and remain concerned about Arthur and Shirley; they would welcome them back to the area, but are clearly terrified by Susan.

I am passing you this information for two reasons:

  1. I hope that it will help build a bigger picture of the situation and give you details that you may not have at this stage.
  2. I am now extremely concerned that this has long been a large concern to both social services and police but that any progress was lost after the move.

I would appreciate anything that you can do to keep me apprised of any progress in this case, but I am giving myself a personal hard-stop date on this of Friday 29th June.

If no access can be gained by that time and no view taken as to Arthur’s capacity, I will go to the Court of Protection on Monday 2nd July and begin the process to apply to be a Deputy for Arthur and Shirley Hodge.

Dire Predictions

This is from me to social services one week ago and referenced in Disturbia

Again, all names of witnesses are anonymised.

Regarding – Arthur and Shirley Hodge, Susan and Barbara Auckland

Dear Helen,

Thank you for your time yesterday and for your candour as to the current situation and possible next steps.

My concerns in this matter have only escalated over time and it seems that the more people that I speak to, then the picture becomes more worrying.

The latest information that I have had from ‘Limpy’ of Dodgy Cars is that Susan is planning to relocate to somewhere near Lincoln in ‘8-10 weeks’.

This shows a pattern that began earlier this year when all four people in the house left in her brother Francis’ car (a distinctive number plate ) with no luggage and did not return for four months (from Jan to late April).

At that time, they were in a rural location near Cambridge and were picked up by Limpy – this was his first interaction with them.

Francis has familial connections in both Cambridge and Lincoln, XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

As you are aware, my concern is that your investigation will come to a halt if they move for a long enough period and if they don’t leave a forwarding address; nobody will know to investigate.

I have spoken to a large number of people while trying to backtrack what has occurred with my uncle and I would ask that your team make contact with these people as supporting material for your case.

These people are:

XXXX – Branch Manager of YYYY Estate Agents – Frinton

He notified Essex Social Services early on in the sale process of my Uncle’s bungalow and that the sale was delayed from February to December 2017 while the investigation continued.

He was of the view that Susan was controlling my Uncle at that stage and that Arthur was living in her flat at 2 Marine Court, The Esplanade for a period of over a month, not even leaving to visit his wife in hospital or to go home and change clothes.

He was and remains extremely concerned about the situation, he described Susan as ‘dripping poison into Arthur’s ear’ and shared with me that he had been in contact with:

XXXXXof Kirby Cross XXXXXXX

I spoke to Mrs. XXXXX at length and she is willing to write a statement and appear in court (The Court of Protection)

She told me that my Uncle had become involved with Susan after meeting her on the Greensward at Frinton while walking a neighbour’s dog late in 2016, early 2017 and that even early into the relationship, he was spending considerable sums of money.

  • Buying them a fridge
  • Spending over £100 on food.

Mrs. Cook said that Arthur at this stage was dishonest in his dealings with the neighbours and social services.

an example below:

Shirley Hodge was due to leave hospital, but after the date, wasn’t seen by the neighbours. Arthur told them that she had ‘left hospital, fallen and hit her head and gone back in.

It later transpired that he had driven Susan to Yorkshire despite having his licence taken away by Essex Police following a series of small incidents and that he was stopped on the journey and had his car taken away, having to go back to Essex in a cab. Shirley Hodge remained in hospital at this time.

Shirley Hodge was left alone in the house for three days and resorted to banging on the partition wall for help, Essex Police had to force the back door

Mrs X was physically assaulted by Susan Auckland (pushed from behind and in front) after delivering £30 to Arthur for the use of his drive while hers was being worked on

The house was full of newspapers that wrapped human faeces (I am told that the skip in Middleham contained soiled adult diapers as of last week) and any letters etc. that were lying around had obscenities scrawled on them

‘Ken’ – I can’t remember his surname – 01255 xxxxxx

Upstairs neighbour of Susan and Barbara at XXXX describes them as the ‘neighbours from Hell’, stated that they cooked on a portable hob, placed on boxes in the hallway of the flats (seeLimpy below). Also stated that any attempt to get Susan to fix things, etc. was met by her calling the Police (see below). Alleged that Susan would steal items from charity shop doorways and resell them.

Limpy – 07xxxxxx

Taxi Driver to Susan and Arthur since their return from Cambridge. Has assisted Arthur with a number of jobs around the house, including clearing boxes and debris from the kitchen – which hid the cooker. Saw a 2 ring hob – collaborating the Frinton neighbour’s account. States that the house smells like faeces and that ‘you wouldn’t let a dog live there’

Confirmed on a phone call on Wednesday27th June that the mobile phone that I bought Arthur was still in the house, that he had seen it and discussed it with Arthur in Susan’s presence

He then told me on Thursday 28th June that Arthur had smashed it as ‘people were using it to listen in on us’.

Downhill next door neighbours to Arthur and Susan.

They have been concerned since Arthur moved in and have a catalogue of stories that include.

Their garden being invaded by Rats from Number 3, as food and other items was being dumped in the garden.

Shirley and Barbara being left alone for up to nine hours on the days that Susan and Arthur go out.

Susan burning adult diapers a few weeks ago in the garden and then calling the police when xxx trained the hose on the fire.

Shouts and noises coming from the house after 2am some nights.

I was in their house when I saw Susan throw my letter and condolence card for Arthur that I had just hand delivered in the skip- which was full of adult diapers and was attracting birds.

XXx has repeatedly complained that she never sees ‘social’ and that she has never been asked what might be happening. This is the case with the uphill neighbours , (I don’t know their phone number at this stage) who have again told of shouting and strange behaviour, often at 4am.

She has called me today to ask for progress and has told me that she has ‘had enough’ and is going to call Social Services – I have given her your number.

The whole timeline of this case is filled with disturbing incidents and I was shocked to discover on a conference call with Leyburn Police and Social Services before you joined the team that they were not aware of the case in Essex.

This is a long letter, but my fundamental point is that it appears that by moving from Essex, the investigation completely stopped and it was only when Susan called the Police to say that I was trying to break into the house that they went back on the radar.

My main concern is for my uncle and aunt and despite Arthur’s assurances to you that he is ‘OK’ – there is nothing OK about a situation that has:

  • Now been investigated by both Essex Social Services & Police and North Yorkshire Social Services and Police
  • Prompted intervention from his bank due to serious irregularities with his account.
  • Caused the neighbours in both towns to want to seek help
  • Prompted an Estate Agent to report the situation and delay his own sale for 10 months
  • Has an eighty-four year old man tell a complete stranger on the day of his only sister’s funeral that he was told not to go as his family ‘would get him into trouble’

Therefore, I implore you that:

  • you get your team to talk to anybody that I have named in this letter that you have not contacted
  • that you get oversight of Arthur’s bank statements and have them looked at by an accountant or financial investigator
  • that you take the Francis connection seriously and ask the basic question of how people with no money, jobs or means of getting a reference could possibly rent anywhere for months at a time without outside assistance.

I will be seeking legal advice this week to see what options I have so that Arthur and Shirley’s welfare is protected, this includes applying for Deputy status based on coercion rather than capacity.

Yours Sincerely

That’s All Folks

For now anyway.

It’s not all bad, I’ve made some new allies in the past few days and one in particular is very likely to be able to get me an address of where they’ve holed up.

People I’ve never met have given me encouragement that actually made me cry, thank you I love you all and you’re helping to keep me going.

I’m taking legal advice as to what my options are now – whether it’ll help, only time will tell.

The bank know that they’ve gone so can track any transactions.

North Yorkshire Police will keep an eye out.

And I’ll find them and get Arthur and Shirley into care.

Meanwhile, North Yorkshire Council, you have two choices.

Help me or prepare for a storm that you won’t soon forget.

To Be Continued

Disturbia

20171214_0904271753786206.jpg Have Another Recap

If you haven’t read the whole sorry saga so far; it’s here:

True Detective

Chinatown

Breakdown

The Last Detective

No Country For Old Men

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
  • Cheques

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.

And So

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?’

‘Yes’

‘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.

Incoming! Incoming!

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.

At all.

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.

Good.

Hypothetically Speaking

What would somebody do?  If they were:

  • paranoid
  • 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. 

Just imagine.

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.

Because…….

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

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*Yes, I’m still here watching you Sharon, enjoy the next few weeks*

 

No Country For Old Men

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Do You Believe?

That we are all small bright lights in the absolute blackness of a cold universe?

Do you believe that each time we make a connection with another human (or the occasional dog) that we form an invisible but glowing connection that transcends physical distance?

Do you believe that those connections wax and wane throughout our lives and that they never truly vanish, they just grow fainter like the pulse from a distant star, but that the best connections, the truest connections, forged by love; burn bright whether we see them or not?

I’m starting to.

Let’s Recap again

It’s all here.

True Detective  Chinatown Breakdown The Last Detective

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 on Wednesday.

And that was going to be it for a while.

Plan B.

I was a bit down and missing a few people, so changed my plans for the weekend, heading South on Thursday instead of staying in Nantwich.

I worked a ridiculously long day on Friday and decided that maybe a visit to the coast would be a good idea for today – and maybe, just maybe, I could pull at a few loose threads.

So..

Frinton it was..

Frinton-on-Sea

Is a beautiful little town on the Essex Coast, it has amazing sandy beaches, a promenade that stretches for a mile or so, a buzzing high street and it’s flat.

Very Flat.

So why would anybody move from here to a hill in Yorkshire?

Sharon and her Mother shared a flat on the seafront, here’s a view.

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So, if you’ve got this, why move at all?

Guide Dogs.

Retire at the age of eight and there is currently an Eighteen Year waiting list  for a retired dog, apparently the longest waiting list in the UK for anything. I found this out today from a blind lady at the cafe where we breakfasted. We chatted for a while and she said that she lived on the seafront.

I mentioned the apartments that Sharon lived in and she said that it was nearby but not her block.

She was bright and inquisitive and said that she had a friend who lived there though..

A few more minutes talking and it was clear that her friend lived above Sharon and her mum.

I told her the story and she took my business card with a promise to get her friend to call me when he gets back from holiday. I promised to update her and that we’d all go back for tea soon for a catch-up.

And a small glowing connection was made.

The Estate Agent

Who sold both Sharon’s and my Uncle’s properties was a five minute walk away and after waiting for his customers to leave, I wandered in and introduced myself.

He looked vague for a second and I mentioned my Uncle.

‘Sit down please, I was wondering about him is he OK?

‘Not really, its quite a bad situation that he’s in, I spoke to one of your colleagues before.. ‘

‘ I wish I could say that I’m surprised, but I suppose that he’s still tied up with Sharon?’

‘Yes’

‘Well, I did everything that I could, I even phoned the Police and Social Services and got them involved, but if she’s still around dripping poison in his ear, he probably can’t get away.’

While I sat there in stunned silence, this stranger, this man who could have let things lie and just sold a couple of properties, went on to tell a tale of increasingly bad things.

My Aunt had gone into hospital and my Uncle and already met Sharon and her Mother, he then moved into their flat for at least a month, not returning home at all.

He had his driving licence taken away after a few prangs in his car, but still drove all the way to Yorkshire with Sharon and her mother leaving my aunt behind. 

Essex Police had put out an alert on his car and he was stopped in Yorkshire, his car impounded and he had to get a cab back.

His house was sold in February, but the police and social services investigation meant that the sale didn’t complete until December.

By Summer, it was clear that he was afraid of Sharon and the estate agent, in his own time and after work would make excuses to pick him up to take him to the hospital to see his wife. 

Otherwise he wouldn’t have gone.

Because by this time, they’d moved in with him.

I was near tears by this point, this stranger had done so much, simply because it was the right thing.

He produced a file with phone numbers and names of police officers and social workers, I now have their names and I’ll be passing them on to Yorkshire.

And then he said that we should talk to the neighbours.

So he called them there and then, they jumped at the chance to talk, we made an appointment for an hour’s time.

I also asked him about Sharon’s flat, pointing to it on the wall (it’s up for sale again) and asking what condition it was in.

Awful, we could only take one photo, it was like a bad hoarder sort of thing and it had to be gutted after they left and refitted’ 

I shook his hand and thanked him profusely, promising to come back and update him.

And another connection glowed for an instant.

Intermission

Small dogs and beaches make any situation better.

They just do.

Meet The Neighbours

I can’t use their real names, but we met two sets of neighbours and their interlocking stories are going to haunt me tonight.

But, anyway.

I introduced myself and they were reticent at first, Sharon has scared them, a lot.

Dave, Sheila’s husband asked me what I was hoping to do.

‘Put her in prison’

The ice was broken, but the room got colder.

The whole neighbourhood had been concerned about my Uncle and his wife and had played an active part in trying to help him and also keep police and social services updated.

Because Sharon had physically assaulted Sheila when she went to my Uncle’s to pay him for a favour he’d done.

Because my Aunt had been left alone for three days locked in a room in her wheelchair with only breakfast cereal.

Because the police had to kick the door in to let her out.

Because Sharon had previous and had been charged with assault.

Because the house was a living nightmare.

With.

Obscene things scrawled on all the letters and paperwork in the house, newspapers full of human shit all over the floors, rubbish everywhere and the curtains were closed all the time. Your Aunt had to bang on the connecting wall to get rescued and she was surrounded by her own shit.’

A very nervous, quite gentle lady told me these things and we talked for over an hour, she despairs of Sharon ever getting caught as ‘social services promised that they would send a file to Yorkshire, but they couldn’t have could they?’

We talked a lot and she has volunteered to write a statement and take it to court if necessary.

It probably will be necessary.

The neighbours think that it would be nice if he could move back, they genuinely care.

I promised to go back and update them, kissed both ladies cheeks and left, shocked at the network of people who cared enough to try to help my Uncle.

And two more connections glowed for a moment.

Postscript(s)

During the drive back, I called my new partners in the detective agency, they confirmed that the skip in Middleham was being filled with incontinence pads, so the story is true without a doubt.

During both calls, a glowing connection burned white hot for a few moments.

I then had to tell my Dad the hard truth of what had happened, he took it very well but then..

‘I feel guilty that I’m not doing more, I don’t want you to be alone in this’ 

‘I’m not, I have SO much support..’

‘It’s just that I can’t physically do this’ 

‘Stop, just stop, you did everything for us when we were younger, it’s my turn this time, I promise that you will see your brother again, I promise, I love you Dad’

I hung up as he started crying.

A connection is burning like an arc-welder’s torch right now.

This isn’t over.

It’s dark outside now and it’s even darker where my Uncle is, he thinks he’s alone and cut off now that the funeral is over.

He’s not.

His connection is bright and clear, he just can’t see it.

He will.

To Be Continued

 

 

 

 

The Last Detective

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Let’s Recap – Again

It’s all here… But…

True Detective

Chinatown

Breakdown

I got into this because my Aunt died, I’d offered to drive my Dad to the funeral (once the date was announced) and I went to see him to have a chat, but he was more worried about whether my Uncle would turn up.

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.

An Unexpected Call

I use a text programme called Signal to send and receive SMS / Files etc, and I have it set to show me when texts are received, I was surprised then to see a bunch of them go through to the phone, I then got a phone call from my Dad, he sounded angry, hurt and confused.

My Uncle had called him from the phone that I’d bought and in the shortest conversation that anybody can remember, he said that he had an eye problem and that he couldn’t go to the funeral. He still didn’t remember me and seemed vague about the fact that it was his younger sister who was being buried.

I asked my Dad to text me the details so that we had a trail, tried to reassure him with my plan for the weekend and hung up, slightly depressed and more than a bit angry.

I called my Social Services contact with the update and basically brooded for the evening.

Send In The Clowns

Life is strange, the smallest action has repercussions and impacts much further down the line. I’m an occasional shitposter on Twitter but the account is more photos of the dog and nice things these days. I follow a broad cross-section of people and have met a few over the past few years.

Two of these people offered to help and agreed to watch the house for me over the last weekend and beyond to see what happened after I delivered the letter / left the town / went to the funeral.

How photos of a small dog and a bit of piss-taking turns into people offering their time and travel for free can happen I have no idea.

But I’m glad that it did.

And their contribution has changed everything.

I arrived in Middleham late on Saturday afternoon and was joined for dinner by a notorious tambourine thief on Saturday evening and we discussed the events of the day so far.

Because..

Two Hours Earlier

I had hand-delivered a letter to my Uncle.

This is it in full, just the names and numbers are changed

Dear Uncle George

I hope that your conjunctivitis is better, I have driven up to Middleham and will be staying over until tomorrow.

Your Sister’s Funeral is on Tuesday 5th June at St Agatha’s Norfolk.

When we met, (with the policeman) you asked if I would drive you there, the answer is still Yes.

If you would still like to come, please call me on 0772 xxxxx , if you cannot attend, I have a condolence card that you can sign if you wish.

Please let me know what you’d like to do.

I will drive us to Norfolk if you do wish to go I have booked a hotel for two nights, it is fully paid for.

I will drive you back after the funeral if you do wish to go, so please pack enough clothes and any prescription drugs for two nights.

Love

I had enclosed the card and hand-written on the note to sign it and deliver it to the hotel by 1pm if he wasn’t going.

As I posted it, I met one of the neighbours.

The Yorkshire Tea Ceremony

He invited me in for a tea and once again, I had to enjoy the attention of their dog – a Rhodesian Ridgeback that thought that I was either a chew-toy or a hump-toy.  It could have been worse I suppose, it kept me alert at any rate.

We had a good chat and caught each other up on what had been happening, they knew that I’d delivered the phone and were surprised to find that it had actually been used. I explained about the letter and took the opportunity to tell them the real news.

My Uncle’s house would be under surveillance during daylight hours as from Sunday and that any strange cars parked up weren’t sinister.

While we chatted, my Uncle’s door opened and a heavy-set, angry-looking woman appeared, she marched out to the road, looked up and down – presumably for my car and then threw something into the skip while we all watched.

It was fairly obvious what it was, but I finished my tea and chatted for quite a bit longer before leaving and wandering to the skip via a roundabout route.

And.

Unsurprisingly.

The item in the skip was indeed the letter to my Uncle, I took photos and the name was clearly visible. I took photos from a few angles and walked back to the hotel strangely happy.

Cracks in the Armour

We discussed the letter and the conversations with the neighbours over dinner, they had given me some new horror stories and life in the house sounds as miserable as I can imagine. There’s no evidence of physical abuse, but it’s clear that only one person in the house is allowed to have a view or a say in anything.

Dinner was excellent, good food and good service – although I had to get rid of the candle that the landlady had put there after I changed my dinner for one to a table for two….

To walk it off and scout out the house, we took some back paths that bring you out to the corner of the road and we took a slow cautious walk through the churchyard to my Uncle’s house, the curtains were closed but interestingly, the letter was gone, either buried in the skip or removed elsewhere. I can only guess that she didn’t want me or perhaps my Uncle to see it.

Either way, this was good, she’d acted in anger, in full view of two impartial witnesses and it felt like a crack that could be widened with the right pressure.

We parted ways and I tried to sleep.

The Third Man

Turned up on Sunday morning, The Tambourine Thief and I had already walked to the house and met the neighbour on the other side of my Uncle’s house. He offered tea and support and we passed a pleasant ten minutes watching racehorses being walked through the town on their way to the Gallops on the Dales.

Middleham is delightful, I can easily imagine it being a great place to retire to, people are friendly, there are four pubs in a small square, the landscape is amazing and they have a castle just above the town centre.

So why would you move here, cut yourself off, not interact with the neighbours and leave your curtains closed all day when you could be looking at the Dales?

These were the questions that occupied us over coffee that morning while we watched the tourists…

At 12, we split up and the man with the most luxurious moustache in Yorkshire began the first shift of watching the house, which left the two of us with an hour to kill before the card was maybe due to arrive

So, we had a wander and drifted into an antique shop.

Awfully Pleasant Presents

Whereby.

I was bought a splendid Silver Jubilee Plate to replace a plate destroyed by Hurricane Saffa.

The Third Man was bought a delightful perfume bottle in the shape of a poodle with a luxuriant moustache.

Meanwhile, while the Tambourine Thief was giggling to himself like some some of deviant, I picked up a small ornament…

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I paid £7 for this stunning piece of artwork and with a jaunty ‘here you go Princess’ I silenced his frankly sinister giggling.

We then settled in to wait.

And nothing happened.

I phoned my Uncle’s number, it didn’t answer.

I sent a string of disappointed texts. No response.

At 13:30 I drove off, leaving the town behind in the care of my two friends.

Just a note here, they refused to take any money or payment of any kind, not for food, petrol, beer, anything. My suggestion that I should do this was dismissed as ‘Noncery’.

So I don’t use words like ‘friends’ lightly, I have very few people that I call that and I’m proud to add these two.

On the Road Again.

I drove to Norfolk, the landscape gradually flattening out into wide open grasslands and then wetlands, but always staggeringly beautiful.

England is an amazing place to drive through, there’s beauty and history wherever you look and the view changes so quickly that a 3 hour drive felt like an hour.

I stopped once for coffee but was keen to see what updates – if any there were from Bodie and Doyle.

I arrived at my hotel parked my car 100 feet from the water and checked in.

Ugh.

What a dump, I’m going to skip over the hotel with a succinct review.

Poor food, bad service, stairs patched with duct tape, awful room, crappy beer and food poisoning.

HOW MUCH? HOW FUCKING MUCH?

Nothing else happened in Middleham on Sunday, except an unexpected result that I’ll put down to Karma or something. I don’t know.

Anyway.

Remember the £7 sand castle?

An identical one is on eBay – bidding was at £893 on Sunday evening, not bad for a bit of slightly gay tat bought as a wind-up.

Meanwhile

In the world outside, I had a few beers with my cousin on Sunday.

I haven’t seen him for, well, I don’t know. We talked about anything and everything and I was surprised and pleased to find that I really liked him, I put him in a cab and we agreed to meet with his Dad and brother the next day for dinner.

I Don’t Like Mondays

Food poisoning took up most of the day for me, along with work and conference calls.

Cagney and Lacey spotted a fire surround, a TV and some patio furniture being delivered from a hospice van, before Lacey left to go back to real life, leaving just one man to watch the house for just one more day before real life would kick in again.

I had a nice dinner with the family and told the story so far before heading back to the hotel where I had drinks with my Cousin’s sons, who turned out to be excellent company and I told the story again over lots of gin until they threw us out of the bar.

Tuesday was the day of the funeral and I went to bed and again slept badly.

Tyrsday

Is one of the many old names for Tuesday, I’m going to let you look up the god Tyr for yourself, but it’s appropriate, I promise.

I went to my Aunt’s house, it’s in a stunning location and had a cup of tea before driving to the funeral.

I had a chance to catch up with a few more relatives and was quite relaxed on the way as it was still morning and IF anything was going to happen at the house, it’d be PM.

My Dad had arrived first and he looked dreadful, gaunt and drained and it’s clear that losing his sister and possibly his brother was eating him alive.

I didn’t see much of him, just gave him an update that the house was still being watched and some vague reassurances that made my teeth itch to say them.

The funeral was nice, beautifully done and went without any drama.

He left to go home and I went back to the house for another cup of tea.

While I was there I spoke to my Dad’s cousin who walked up to me, gave me a hug and said ‘You’re the Investigator’.

I may have blushed.

She told me that she and her sister had also lost touch, confirming that my Uncle was indeed completely isolated.

And then at 13:15 – it all changed.

The Last Detective

Followed a taxi from my Uncle’s house to Leyburn and watched them wander around for a while before ‘Sharon’ went to a hairdresser and my Uncle wandered off and was lost to sight.

A few minutes later, he found my Uncle in a cafe, managed to get a photo of him and then actually struck up a conversation with him.

He’s written a report for me on the conversation, there’s no standout admission that he’s being abused, but the transcript verifies everything that we thought and more.

Much More.

I told my Dad about this yesterday and I could hear the pain dropping away for a few seconds before realisation kicked in that the situation really is bad.

But…. I now have the report and after sobbing my heart out for a few minutes, I sent it to Leyburn Police and North Yorkshire Social Services (they knew that it was coming) .

It’s heartbreaking stuff and I think that it’s going to make my Dad cry or scream when I read it to him later, but it’s evidence that nobody else has managed to get, an interview that nobody else has managed to get and it’s going to change everything.

A Few Good Men

This isn’t over by a long way, I think it may have to go to the Court of Protection, but I’ve already done the paperwork. I can see some some of light ahead now.

I’m proud of what we’ve achieved in a few weeks and sad that the system can’t quite fit together despite a lot of good people.

But…

I have no words for my friends right now, they have my loyalty until the day I die and I can never repay them.

To Be Continued