I woke up this Sunday morning without many worries, feeling quite happy with myself, starting to feel normal after recently being a stem cell donor through the Anthony Nolan Trust; it’s a good feeling knowing you have saved someone’s life.
I got up and went to the gym full of thoughts of the future, of how nothing was going to stop me getting fit and losing some weight.
I went home and popped out to Asda with my husband, I bought new bedding and picked up things for dinner. Everything was normal at home; my son had stayed at his friends the night before but now was home.
As I started to make dinner, my husband and 16 year old son went out to the barbers to each get a haircut; I have 4 children at this point 24,22,16,14, so I have quite a lot of experience of the behaviour of teenagers. My son had been particularly moody over those last few months, but no more than his older brother at that age. He actually was the most loving, caring person I had ever came across – I was proud of him as he had always struggled at school, but at the last minute really tried; unfortunately he didn’t do particularly well at school but wanted to resit what he hadn’t passed and was loving his engineering course at college. He had been told the year before that his dream of being in the forces wouldn’t happen because he has quite severe allergies and asthma, and I know that this had a negative impact on his life as it is something he had his heart set on.
Around 3pm I was cooking dinner and listening to some music when I saw activity at my back gate. I went outside to find some uniformed and plain-clothed police officers, afraid to enter my gate because of my dog. I opened the gate and invited them in, my heart pounding as neither I or any of my family have had any involvement with the police before. They said they needed to talk to my son and I told them he was out with his dad, having a haircut, and wouldn’t be long. They asked me to call my husband, which I did. I told him to come home as the police needed to talk to our son, I was shaking from head to foot as I guessed it was serious by how many police officers there were.
On the way home my son told my husband that on Friday night he had punched a man who had been following him, but he hadn’t thought that he had injured him so he didn’t think it could concern that. When they came home the police said to my son “is your name *******” he said “yes” and they said “we are arresting you for murder!” They then asked what clothes he had been wearing on Friday night and bagged them up for evidence, in addition to my own mobile phone and work laptop. The fear and the pain was unbearable, nothing could prepare anyone for the shock of this. Because he was a minor, my son needed an appropriate adult; my husband was unable as he had told my husband he had hit the man, and I was so hysterical I wouldn’t have been suitable; so we called our sister in law who is a lawyer, and knew she was the best choice.
My son did not resist and during the first few moments, seemed to be more worried about me than anything else. As they covered his handcuffs with a coat, he looked so scared, so young. Could he have murdered someone? My head was all over the place but I managed to calm myself down enough to give him a hug and tell him I loved him. My parting words to him were: no matter what, tell the truth son.
From that day to this our lives have been turned upside down, which is why I wanted to start writing this – to see if sharing it will shift the burden that I carry everyday. I have never done this type of thing before so I will blog my experiences of dealing with the police whilst never having been involved with them before; the tagging system; the youth justice system; youth offending team; secure units for young offenders; people pretending to be friends, and anything else along the way.