Tom and James went to Scouts the following day. It was during Scouts Tom’s phone started ringing. He answered a couple, then left the phone with one of the scout leaders. The scout leader answered the next call. It was a barrage of abuse, screaming down the phone, they were going to kill him.
Another call, different number, another call, another call, they kept coming.
Different numbers, some withheld. The scout leader took the calls. Sometimes speaking – they would come and get him to, they were not scared of him. Twenty-four missed calls. The numbers were systematically blocked. The phone provider transferred all unknown calls to voicemail, these could be deleted. Then a single text message – they were outside our house waiting.
On the way home Tom was adamant he was off out, he had to check his friends were OK. I had to call the scout leader to tell Tom he needed to stay in, it was late, he was tired. Tom agreed to stop in. I knew nothing else would happen that night, I knew “they ” would not be waiting. I knew they would get bored. I kept my phone with me…in case…
The next day the police telephoned me, to see how things were going following the previous weeks incidents. I mentioned what had happened the night before, and was told I should report it. I said I feel I am ringing the police all the time, and there was not much they could do about phone calls. I was told to report it. I did. A couple of hours later PC Jill, who we had met the week before called, she would come round for a chat.
That evening Tom wanted to go out with two of his friends. They are nice enough lads, typical teenagers, little eye contact, grunt occasionally, laugh nervously (Tom has said they think I am cool, I’ll take that, they clearly have a very good sense of character!). As they were going I said to keep away from the local lads. If there were any problems, to call, go to the shops, or come home. Just don’t interact with them. All three of them were adamant they were going to stay away from them, they were bad news. Return home time was confirmed, off they went.
It probably was not for about a couple of days I found out what happened that evening, it came out in drabs, with the various professionals we met up with up. One of the professionals suggested to Tom there was probably more that has happened, that he was not saying.
Tom and his friends left the house, they went to the local shops, they were walking around. They had not seen the local lads. They had got something to eat and were sat on the wall eating sausage rolls, Tom was smoking his e-cig. A group of 3 or 4 of the local lads went past them, one of the grabbed Tom’s e-cig, and ran off towards the park. Tom and his friends went after them to get the e-cig back. They found the group of lads in the park, there were more of them, laughing, passing around Tom’s e-cig. The e-cig was thrown to a lad leaning against the open door big metal storage container, used to store sports equipment. The lad threw the e-cig into the container, Tom went to retrieve it.
The door was slammed shut. And locked.
Tom said it was pitch black in the container. He had no idea what was in there. It smelt damp. But it was dark. Pitch black. (It is only in the last couple of years that Tom has been able to shut his bedroom door on a night, he still has a night-light in the corner of his room. For years he was terrified of the dark)
He said he could hear the lads laughing outside, they started banging their hands on the container. Tom said they kept banging, even when they stopped banging, it would be echoing the bangs on the metal.
Asked how long he was in there, Tom had no idea. He didn’t even know where the door was. He was so disoriented. Eventually he heard the lock, the door opened. At first he couldn’t see anything. When he came out the lads turned on Tom friends. Threatening them not to say anything. One of his friends got three clear punches to face. The lads ran off, laughing. One shouted “Thanks for the e-cig!”
Tom came home, he was clearly agitated by things. H said the local lads had hurt his friend. They hadn’t hurt him. He was not going to stay in the village anymore on an evening, he would go to his friends.
A couple of nights after the police were back, they had come about the telephone calls. It was then Tom fully opened up about what happened at the park. He shared that one night he had even climbed on to the health centre roof, which is two floors high, to hide from the local lads. The police were great again. Reports were taken, referrals made, vulnerable person reports compiled. An appointment made to come back again, to check, which they did. The police “bumped” into Tom a few nights later, and had a bit of a chat to see how he was.
Tom has been going round to his friends, sometimes they slob here, they are slobbing on the game console, they grunt… sometimes. Last night Tom had a shower ( I know, read that again..Tom had a shower), I know he did, I found the damp towel on the floor. I asked him to bring down any cups from his room to put in the dishwasher – he brought 3 pot noodles tubs, with forks – at least he is eating something. He’s replied to my text tonight, well he said “OK”.
We are starting to breath again.
Thank you to all who have sent supportive messages during this saga. Love especially to Befuddled Mum, and to all those on Twitter. I have learnt so much about what Mate Crime is, and so has Tom. Please share these blogs, lets talk about Mate Crime. It’s wrong. It’s nasty.
Be nice. Be kind. xxx