Archive for February, 2008

War Child

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008



War Child works with children affected by war in Afghanistan, Iraq, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. Our work with former child soldiers, children in prison and children living and working on the streets gives them support, protection and opportunities. To make sure we provide them with what they need we involve them directly in all our decision making.

If you don’t think there is a need for charities like this then I would ask that you read my post about Joseph

Italian Job 10 – Float like a Butterfly….

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

I knew how the Italian judges assistant felt, because I felt the same way about this job.

What had started out as a straight forward nice little earner had developed into a right old can of worms.  I have to admit to being intrigued by this latest twist in the tale, but by the same token there was also a very real danger of being fingered for the old blokes death by some slimy legal git trying to make a name for himself.

I figured it was best to come clean and tell him all I knew about the dear departed Mr Hawthorn.  The legal Italian listened in silence.

“This just makes matters worse

What I need was a plausible and practical solution to bring this rather unfortunate episode to a mutually satisfactory conclusion.  It occurred to me that f I needed such a solution then so did the judge.

As we spoke a lazy wasp or bee droned around me.  I paid it little attention until the fucker stung me.

“Oww you little bastard” I said quite loudly.

“What did you call me?” said the Italian indignantly.

“sorry, not you, I was stung by a bee or wasp”

Fortunately I apart from them hurting I have no reaction to these things, though of course thousands of people do.  In fact I had a colleague who was stung while on patrol in Northern Ireland who died of anaphylactic shock.

At that point if I was a cartoon character a a light bulb would have come on over my head.

“Yess” I exclaimed

“Are you all right signor?” asked the Italian

“A bee sting!” I said out loud half by way of explanation and half in a flash of inspiration

“Si, che cosa?” said the Italian

“I have been stung by a bee” I explained

“Yes senior you said.  That hurts and can be very dangerous” said the Italian  with what I thought was quite an amount of concern. “Bee stings can be fatal and we have some bees here in Roma with a very toxic sting”.

“Yes I know I had a colleague who died from a bee sting” I said with more enthusiasm than may have sounded decent.

“So why you say yes?” He said

“Could it be possible that this old man Mr Hawthorn was stung by a bee?” I said slowly

“No no no, de tests say poison probably German!” exclaimed the Italian

“The tests say poison but they say probably German but not definitely” I said “Look I didn’t kill Hawthorn or whoever he was and you know that.  Whether you admit this to me or not now doesn’t matter, but what it is very important because instead of dealing with a murder you are dealing with a suicide”

“I cannot a commenta on whether it is se murder or de suicide” He said all legally.

“No of course not, but you have not said you don’t believe me” I pressed “And if you were so sure you would have not let me go or leave Italy no matter how flash the lawyer”


“Look Signor, Mister Hawthorn was an old man and he was at the end of his life.  As it is we don’t really know who or what he really was.  He told me a story about being an American but that could have been a load of bollo… lies.  He could have been Italian, German, American or just plain old English Mr Hawthorn.  We just dont know and to be honest at this stage does it really matter.”

“A man is dead nonetheless” said the Italian all righteously

“Yes I accept that, and I also accept it is mysterious but it is not really suspicious is it?  Sure we  could all spend some time investigating aspects of his story and I have no doubt we could verify some of what he said, but what is it really going to achieve?  The only difference it would make is to his family. What do they know of his death?”

“We have said that he died suddenly and that we are establishing de cause of death.” He said very legally again.

“OK so there has been no talk of murder or suicide” I said seeing a light at the end of the tunnel

“No there haza not a” he said slowly

“So from what you said earlier if it was said he died more naturally…., I mean your tests are not entirely conclusive yet, so there could be an error and if an old man in a weak condition had …”

“Been stung by a bee ” Interrupted the legal beagle

“And died as a result of ..” I continued

“Ze toxic shock” He said slowly and his voice told me that he was warming to the idea

“Exactly” I concluded

Unfortunately for me he cooled to the idea as quickly as he had seemingly warmed to it “Yes I suppose we could, but oh I donta know zat I really lika dis” he said slowly and with reservation.

Despite this little set back he was taking the bait despite his reservations.

The best form of defence is attack and I felt this was the time to turn the tables on the Italian authorities.

“Look signor I am giving you a way out here”

“Yo are giving me away out, I dont a understanda” He sounded puzzled and concerned I think he almost laughed.

“Well” I continued  “You have an awkward case that could be very embarrassing for a lot of people.  Technically he died at the time of an Italian police operation so he died in police cusotdy and the Police are responsible for his death”

The lawyer interrupted me “That is ridiculous”

“Is it, if you want to know how much trouble and expense a foreigner dying because of the Police can cause, why don’t you ring the Police commissioner in London, I am sure he will be more than happy to fill you in.”

“But zat is not an issue here” He protested.

“Look at it this way.  Hawthorn was alive when I left him and I will testify to that.  Now bearing in mind the little fracas with your officers in the house I could not have been with him when he died.  However when I came back he was surrounded by police and was dead.  You now ring me and tell me he died as a result of poison.  As far as I know Mr Hawthorn had no reason to kill himself, so I think the Italian police must have poisoned him” I said with theatrical force and emphasis.

Rumpole of the Bailey eat your friggin heart out.

“That just is not a true” He exclaimed

“Isn’t it, prove it then”


“Go on” I said “Prove it is not true.  I left him alive and when I came back to him he was dead from poison and surrounded by the police.”

“Well you know I cant prove it at a de moment” He protested”And it is not appropiate for me to comment any further on this”

“What other explanation do you have for this innocent old man’s death at the time the police arrived.  How else could an apparently healthy old man with a comfortable lifestyle, loving family and distinguished life behind him die in police custody and from some kind of toxic reaction at that”

There was silence

“Well signor how do you think Mr Hawthorn died?”

“A bee sting maybe?” he suggested

Dawn 5/Hawthorn Again – The weirdness Continues

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

After my somewhat bizarre night I did not really sleep very well. The bit I could not rationalise was how the “Other” Woman knew the BIL.

Before we parted company I went over a few things and found that Dawn actually had an address for this woman in Peterborough. Apparently Dawn had sent gifts to her. It also transpired that she had seen her on a webcast, although she was very hesitant to admit this and I suspect the web cam thing had been of what you might call an “intimate” nature.

Even so, an address is a very handy starting point.

I headed for home and was pleased to that L was waiting for me, although I must confess to having a mega guilt complex after the night at the hotel.

“I didn’t expect you till tonight” she said whilst kissing my face and neck.

“Oh why was that?” I asked

“Well Dawn rang and said she had a big problem and could she borrow you for the night. I said yes, but she had to promise to get you a good room in an nice hotel and to make sure you had a good meal and plenty to drink”

“Well she did that” I said

“I also told her she had to be gentle with you”


“You know that she is mad in love with you” L said seriously.

“Madly” I corrected

“Mad, madly she is still in love with you” L said unabashed

“How do you know?” I asked

“How, how? Are you blind? Every time she look at you, she is like a puppy”

“Ahh but every time she talks to me she gets my goat” I retorted

L shrugged and smiled ” She is only upset with you because things worked out wrong for her.”

“How can you be so sure” I said more aggressively than I had intended

“I am a woman and I love you and……”

“And what?”

“She told me”

“She what?”

L laughed “Now you are blind and deaf, she told me”

I must have looked shocked.

“She rang me up when you were away and she was really upset and crying. I rang Cynthis and she went down to stay and look after the children and Dawn came here to stay with me. I looked after her we talked”

“How erm..what did errr…”

“Well you always say a curry and a few beers makes the world seem a brighter place, so I took her for a curry and a few beers. Actually it was a lot of beers and she teld me everything” I did not correct her error.

“Oh right I see” I said a little taken aback at the conspiracy.

“She told me all about this woman and her idiot husband and everything and I said “no point having a dog and being the hunter yourself” She beamed back at me “You are going to help her aren’t you?”

“Oh yeah of course if I can” I said

“If you can! of course you can and what are you going to do about her stupid husband?”

What indeed. However I had more pressing buisness with L and it did not concern my BIL.

Later that day I was pottering about and catching up with a few things when my mobile rang and a man with a thick Italian accent introduced himself as being an assistant to the judge examining the investigation into Hawthorns death. I hope you haven’t forgotten Hawthorn.

“Signor, the man dead in your car de Mister Hawthorn you say he was a de Engelesh”

“Yes that’s correct as I understand it”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes” I said feeling a little uneasy

“Was he ever from or in Germany?”

“Not as far as I know, why do you ask?”

“Well you see signor Misder Hawthorn he died of a poisoning, but you see de poison was used by de Germans”

“The Germans, what Germans, What poison when, I am sorry I don’t understand, you will need to explain”

The man sighed and spoke more slowly and loudly as one does when trying to get something simple and obvious across to a foreigner. “Our tests show that he seems to have died of a poison de Germans used as de suicide in de war.”

“Oh I see” which I didn’t really

“Signor I am glad you see because I dont” Said the Italian “Why does an old Engelesha man hava de suicide pill of de German when he is Eneglesh and why and dis is de bigga question, why he taka it in your car?”

Why indeed. My little brain was racing to a rather nasty and possibly premature conclusion and consequently my actual response was louder than I intended “Fucked if I know” I said

“Me too signor” He sighed heavily “You know I hate a dis kind a case”