Out Of The BlueMy aunt was murdered when I was 12 years old. 23 years ago. She was beaten to death by her boyfriend. I wasn't allowed to go to the funeral, as I was too young. It changed our family beyond recognition as you would imagine but more so for my nan and grandad and my mum and the other siblings.. I was too young to really comprehend what had gone on, still I missed my Aunt and it hurt.
It's not something that I have given a lot of thought to over the years. It was always there but it was also quite a distant memory for me, not so much for the rest of the family. I missed her of course, but I didn't think of her that often if i am honest. I was too busy growing up I guess. I understood why the rest of the family talked about it a lot and I also understood the hate they felt towards the man who did it, but I didn't have those feelings of hatred myself. I felt nothing for him really.
So, 23 years later and I am having breakfast with my mum and for some reason it comes up in conversation. I cannot for the life of me remember how, but it gets mentioned that the man was released from prison in late 2010 and we wonder where he is,has he gone back to his old haunts, is he back with his old crowd of drug dealers and generally unpleasant people. I ask the question "do you think 23 years in prison changes a man, or do you think he has come out as the same person that he was, in which case there's potentially another woman/women out there who are not safe". My mum mentions that the other woman who harboured him when he went on the run, and who has a son to him, is remarried and wonders if he knows about it and how he feels about it. My mum also mentions that names of the people concerned and admits that she has searched for them and that it wasn't really so hard to find them.
Mum also admits that after the murder, when the man has been caught and is prison, one of his friends bumped into my nan and mum in a local shopping centre. The friend accused my nan of giving him a dirty look and shouted verbal abuse at her. This is not long after she has lost her daughter remember, she denied doing it, but she probably did, and I would not blame her. My mum lost her cool and told the friend that she knew all about him being a drug dealer and that if he ever spoke to her mum again that she would speak to the police. I think I would have reacted the same way if it was my daughter/sister that had been murdered. This man should have put his head down and walked on, he was one of many who helped the man.
I find out today that the friend and another man tried to break into our home that night. A neighbour across the street saw them and called the police. We were oblivious, my mum actually thought the police had the wrong house. It was a long time ago but I didn't know about it at the time, my mum didn't tell us as we were too young and it would have frightened us. I feel sick about it and can't help thinking about what they planned to do... it's not helpful to think about it after all this time, nothing happened after all, but I am having to just indulge the feeling of horror about it so that I can try and let it go.
So given this new knowledge today, I found myself on facebook looking for some of these people. Everyone is on facebook right? So if he is now a free man, then he probably has a profile?...... and the answer is - yes he does....and he has all of his family on there, who helped him to hide.. he also has the woman who went on the run with him and all her family. I don't know what I wanted to get out of this - what was I expecting to find? That they would all lie low forever out of respect for my aunt? Totally ridiculous of course. They had to get on with their lives.
But for the first time in 23 years, I feel angry about what happened. I have allowed myself to think about it and I despise these people. I also worry in case he gets curious about us too. We didn't leave the area and he could easily find us, probably as easily as we have found him. So I pray that he came out a changed man, I hope he is full of remorse and I hope that his path and my families never cross again.
I hope that this one night of curiosity that could not be ignored is a one off. I would not want to obsess over it like I have seen other family members do, as it does not do anything good but I do think it was inevitable that I would allow myself to think about it one day.