March 6, 2007


The night my daughter was stabbed - and my liberal instincts died (Daily Mail, 5th March 2007)

The evening with my family had been perfect. My 18-year-old daughter, Amy, and her sister had cooked a meal for their mother's birthday and there had been a couple of glasses of champagne.

After dinner, Amy popped down to the corner shop. It was 10.30pm. When she returned, she staggered through the front door smeared with mud - and soaked with blood from a dreadful wound in her chest.

In the 500 yards between shop and home she had been followed by a youth whose face was concealed by a hood, pushed to the ground, robbed of her bag and stabbed in the ribs with a screwdriver. [...]

[W]hen Amy got home, her ordeal was not over. Terrified, we called an ambulance which came promptly enough, but took her to A&E not at her local hospital, where she receives regular treatment as an insulin-dependent diabetic, but to another much further away.

After an initial inspection, she was left untended for more than three hours, without the wounds being cleaned. Yet the hospital did not appear busy, and nurses spent a lot of time chatting on mobile phones.

When Amy protested that she needed, at least, to be given some insulin, she was told by a nurse: "Don't think you're gonna pin a complaint on me."

The police, sadly, weren't much better. They arrived within minutes of the 999 call, but their approach seemed to lack any reasonable expectation of capturing the culprit.

"You're a lucky girl," one of them told Amy. "It could have been worse. This was a very rare crime."

"Lucky?" said Amy afterwards. "Surely it would have been luckier if I hadn't got mugged and stabbed at all."

And rare? After Rhys Price had been stabbed in the same manner close by? Frankly, the response of the hospital and the police seemed to convey that far from this being a rare crime, it was commonplace.

The next day, I telephoned the detective in charge. I had imagined that, with a violent man on the loose prepared to stab a young woman in the street, there would be a full-scale search under way.

"The detective's not available," the woman at the police station told me cheerfully. "He's got a day in court. But he is one of our best officers."

When we eventually talked, he said: "Let me run through with you, Mr Williams, exactly what we are doing."

They hadn't been able to make an identification despite Amy having drawn a sketch of her attacker; they had found none of her property and nothing was clear on CCTV.

What about forensics? Amy scratched the youth's face with her fingernails. "Did she?" asked the officer. "Well, she didn't tell us." But the police hadn't asked. Now it was too late.

And, of course, the detective constable was "very busy" dealing with "unruly kids at school lunchtimes", as well as crimes like this.

This is not entirely a tale without redemption. The young woman who heard the attack from her flat and drove Amy home, disregarding the blood on her seats, was brave. She said: "I had to intervene. I heard the whole thing. It made my blood curdle."

And Amy herself fought back bravely and tried to give chase, despite losing her shoes.

With the empathy and optimism of youth, Amy has tried not to issue blame. "I pity him," she says. "He's been conditioned into a life he can't escape from."

A commendable view, perhaps, and one that up until recently I would have shared. But not any more. Nothing shatters one's dearly-held liberal beliefs quite like a brutal clash with the reality of crime.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 6, 2007 8:22 AM

There is one way to handle these violent miscreants. Have a smallish but wiry bloke dress up like a lass with a wig and all, then troll for a baddy. When the baddy makes his move, shiv his worthless arse and leave the corpse to be found at first light.

Enough of these punks start showing up dead, and the problem will disappear. You people can fight back, against the criminals and your Socialist government. You just have to decide you have had enough.

Posted by: Analog Roam at March 6, 2007 9:18 AM

Maybe the best plan would be for Republicans to embrace anti-gun legislation, early parole for murderers and child molesters, avoid hiring any more law enforcement officers and watch crime escalate - for the express purpose of turning Liberals into Conservatives.

Posted by: obc at March 6, 2007 10:31 AM

Old joke: a conservative is a liberal who's been mugged.

Posted by: Mike Morley at March 6, 2007 11:51 AM

Analog: The American way is much simpler: a portly, white-bearded bloke with a hammerless, 5-shot, .44 Special Smith & Wesson Model 296Ti in his pocket.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 6, 2007 12:44 PM

Analog: You'd enjoy Death Wish if you've never seen it.

Posted by: PapayaSF at March 6, 2007 3:27 PM