To celebrate the impending release of the last episodes of the last episodes of ITV’s Poirot, here’s a set of five true British crime stories that’ll certainly thrill, chill, and fulfill you. Okay, maybe not that last one, but they will likely entertain you on some level.
The Case of the Singing Shed.
Losing your mother can be hard. Sometimes it can be devastating, but sometimes, it can lead to things like what happened on February 6 in Cornwall.
Beverly Salmon must have had a horrible relationship with her 42-year-old husband Andrew’s mum, because when she heard about her death, her instinct was to sing “Ding, Dong, The Witch is Dead.” Andrew, in response, packed up her belongings and kicked her out. He told her: “It is my house now – you are not getting in.” She ran inside the garden shed and he locked her in. She climbed out the window and went back inside her house, still singing “Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead.” When Andrew found his wife had let herself in, he tried to drag her out by her feet, but she managed to fight her way upstairs and threw her husband’s clothes out the window. Then, he proceeded to beat her like a red-headed stepchild.
What’s really remarkable is that, as it turns out, her insensitivity at her mother-in-law’s death may have actually been incidental; Andrew suspected his wife was having an affair, and the beatdown had more to do with that, but her insufficient support during his time of grief. Much to his credit, Andrew Salmon claimed to regret everything, and has been sentenced to probation.
Also, yes, I know that “Ding, Dong, The Witch is Dead” re-entered the charts in Britain around this time last year. I should also ask that readers not mention exactly why this happened. And now for something less controversial: spoons.
The Case of the Spoons in the Supermarket.
I’m not sure if this counts as crime, but given the bizarre nature of the story, I’m not sure if there was any other category I could have put this under.
As you know, there are some items stores won’t sell you if you’re not of a certain age. Alcohol, cigarettes, and pornography come to mind, but who’d think that teaspoons would be among those dangerous items?
Sixteen-year-old Liam Whelan of Lancashire rode in his moped to his local Tesco because his stepmother needed him to buy some teaspoons. But he did not count on the possibility that this would be so difficult. Quoth Liam: “I went over to the self-service till and scanned the teaspoons and the machine wouldn’t let me pay. A member of staff came over and asked how old I was, I showed him my moped licence but he said that I needed to be 18… It was embarrassing enough buying teaspoons, but to get refused was even worse. I wasn’t with anyone but the supermarket was busy and I did know some of the other customers.”
Quoth his stepmother Yvette Whelan said: “When he said they wouldn’t serve him because he wasn’t 18, I just couldn’t believe it. How silly, he had his moped licence on him but as he is 16 they wouldn’t serve him.”
To their credit, Tesco did explain their actions: “We do include a till prompt for proof of age on our self-service tills for some items. We ask our colleagues to use their judgment as to whether this should be applied. In this instance, this was not followed and we apologise to our customer for any inconvenience caused.” I’m not sure why teaspoons would be among the flagged items, but, given the next story, it wouldn’t be surprising if all utensils were under scrutiny.
The case of the Sandwich Stabbing.
The scene at the Glasgow High Court must have been surreal. Brendan McCloy was giving evidence against his father.
Brendan: I got stabbed twice.
Prosecutor Stephen McCloy: “Who did it?
Brendan: My dad. We fought and then I got stabbed.
Brendan: It was probably over the bacon.
This is going to require some explanation. John Lennox was getting impatient one lunchtime, so, when his wife Davina gave her first bacon sandwich of the day to their son Brendon, he got annoyed. At first he started shouting and swearing before he stormed out. He returned and stabbed his son twice in the heart, yelling “How did that feel?” He then went to repair the TV, which he had broken during his tantrum. Fortunately, Brendan survived. His mother said “You’ve stabbed our boy in the heart. We nearly lost him.” He denied the crime, but got eight years anyway. This may seem like disproportionate response, but, then again, given that this was in Glasgow, murder capital of Great Britain (and, until recently, Western Europe), this may be business as usual. So, let’s move from the murder capital of the UK to a region that I desperately hope is not as wretched a hive of scum and villainy as the Red Riding Trilogy would have you believe: Yorkshire.
The Case of the Homesick homebreaker.
Richard Milburn, aged 29, was convicted of burglary and driving offenses. He was sentenced to 3 1/2 years. This case itself is not that interesting, but what is is his imprisonment. He recently escaped from Category D Kirkham Jail in Preston and fled back home to Bradford, West Yorkshire. The reason? The Lancashire prison he was in was “full of Lancashire and Liverpool people” and not enough Yorkshiremen. Gasp! You mean a prison in another part of England is full of people from that part of England? Stop the presses!
He simply walked out the front doors of the prison and fled to his hometown. He stayed in Yorkshire for two months, but then, he finally gave himself up and walked into his local police station. He was put on trial at Bradford Crown Court Milburn, pled guilty to escaping and had three months added to his sentence. He is now in jail in Yorkshire at Category B HMP Leeds jail.Quoth prosecutor Paul Nicholson: “It must have been something of a loose regime. He said he was unhappy because it was not Yorkshire people there, it was Lancashire and Liverpool people.” But, now, let’s focus on some more bizarre petty crime.
The Case of the Shackled Sheep from Somerset.
I think the article in my Gallagher Brothers queue has finally reached critical mass, so, expect another Gallagher Brothers Scandal sheet soon.