Twelve months ago today, I discovered that one of our sons, along with three of his friends, had been mugged at knifepoint. In an hour-long ordeal, hidden in plain sight of customers and staff at a major 24-hour supermarket, they were robbed by four youths who had half a dozen younger kids for support.
They were stripped of their personal possessions (mobile phones, outer clothing, cash) and then, at knifepoint, taken along the main road, to a cash machine and forced to withdraw the money from their bank accounts. Our son was first to be sent to the ATM, and told that if he did a runner or told anyone what was happening, they would "cut" his friends and find his mum and brothers and hurt them. One of the youths even openly chatted-up drunk girls in the queue.
Luckily, all four of our lovely young men survived this dreadful ordeal in-tact. They even laughed at how surreal it had been, but at the same time, shook with fear. At one point, as they were led into the underpass beneath the M60 motorway, our son truly believed he was going to die, "just like Jimmy Mizen."
Until now, you will not find any mention of this crime on my timeline, on this blog, because I do not ordinarily believe in sharing every single detail of our life with social media. Our dignity and privacy is far more important to me. Instead, we decided to trust Greater Manchester Police to find the lads that did this, and for the criminal justice system to do the rest. We did not want public hangings or life sentences. Justice, that's all. And safer Stockport streets for other beautiful young people enjoying time with their friends on a Friday night.
Twelve months on, the perpetrators of this crime are still at-large. This, despite the fact that each one of the four youths were identified by name the next day, thanks to a little detective work and the joys of a small-world via Instagram, Snapchat and FB. One even bragged he was off to the Trafford Centre to spend his ill-gotten gains, and asking if anyone wanted to buy an iPhone 7.
Unbelievable? You betcha!
I'm tired of how many excuses I have heard from GMP. I'm tired of how pathetic their attempts to do anything have been. But I am listening, with interest, to the chief constables of major police forces this week, discuss their need to tackle ever-rising violence and crime on a threat-harm-risk basis and wonder what will happen next.
By the way, we have given up on ever seeing justice for this particular crime. We no longer harass the police officer for updates. He tells too many lies. It's embarrassing. Our son quit college and joined the British Army, despite the risks in that particular career path. He even told us he would be safer in Iraq than in Stockport, and is now receiving initial soldier training. We are so proud of him.
So, Happy Anniversary boys. All four of you are amazing. And whatever doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger. Except polio, maybe.