Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Benjamin Squirrel - funeral organiser from Hell

Dear Writers everywhere,
         I wouldn’t wish this on you or anybody.
Five of us in the Chapel, me crying. Listened to 4/5 songs and it was over. I filled the coffin with 6/7 bunches of flowers and a picture of us together. Ben did a crap job. No friends invited, no cards, no flowers – just mine, No respect.
What an appalling epitaph for any one and it is so much worse if you were closely related to the person who died and were unable to do anything about it.
Death gives no second chances.
That was the email I got three years ago from my son Simon and I have been agonizing over it ever since. It was bad enough that she had died in such tragic circumstances, but to hear that the man she had been living with for some 20 years had been as heartless in the end as to give her such a deplorable send off made my blood boil.
         A "crap job", was a huge understatement. She needed to be treated with dignity which didn’t feature anywhere in Ben’s idea of a funeral. It was deplorable. And this was especially so as he was not some uneducated bumpkin, but a London barrister at the top of the legal fraternity.
         Could a book I wrote have been an uncanny prediction of what was to happen to my daughter?
         At the time it had not even been published and she had no idea I had written it. As a journalist I don’t normally believe in the supernatural, but I can’t help wondering if she would still be alive today if it hadn’t been for that book.
         It was based on one of my cases when I was running my own private eye business, which I turned to after leaving newspapers. A young girl mysteriously fell to her death from the 15th floor of a block of flats in Johannesburg. 
Samantha when I last saw her
       To my horror my daughter Samantha did much the same thing. She had been a teacher at the Victor Seymour Infants School in the London borough of Carshalton and was living with her barrister partner, Benjamin Squirrel.
         Squirrel, a member of the Criminal Bar Association, has been involved in some of Britain’s most sensational trials. These included the happy slapping case in which a teenage girl made British legal history when she was prosecuted for using a mobile phone to film a man while he was being beaten to death by two young thugs.
         Another of Squirrel’s cases was that of Anton Gelonkin, who perpetrated one of the country’s largest identity frauds. The chairman of a Russian bank he disappeared during the 1995 collapse of the Moscow City Bank and later turned up in Britain where he used various aliases to commit the crimes.
         Simon, who lives in Jersey, told me his sister never wanted to have children. "She had Bosco to replace our Mum who died suddenly aged 68, he said.
       "Bosco was only seven weeks old" he went on, "when Samantha became very depressed. To try and cheer her up Ben and his mother Ingrid took her out for the day. And while they were sitting at a café she got up, passed the baby to Ingrid and ran off.
        Ben phoned her and asked if he could come and fetch her but she shouted, ‘NO’."
       Soon afterwards she was dead. She had jumped off the seventh floor of the car park near the Sutton Council’s civic offices in London. She was 41.
         Simon and Samantha’s mother Julianne and I were divorced 37 years before my daughter’s death. At the time we were living in South Africa and she returned to her home town of Exeter with the two children.
         Unfortunately she poisoned them against me. Sadly Samantha would have nothing to do with me after she grew up, although I did have some contact with Simon.
Ben, who I only knew of after Samantha’s death, also refused to acknowledge me, so it looks as though I will never, ever be able to see my grandson.
             From the little that Simon told me about Samantha’s funeral, to which I was not invited, it was just as weird as the one for the girl in my book. In his email Simon described how Ben and his brother, and two of his mates, collected the body from the hospital and took it in his Jeep to be cremated.
          It was what happened then that upset Simon so much, not only because it was a final goodbye to his only sibling, but because of the indifferent way it was conducted.
What got into Ben I will never know? Why didn’t he give her a proper farewell? The staff at the school where she taught as well as parents of the children would surely have wanted to attend. They must have been shocked at his callous behaviour.
Most dogs get a better funeral than that.
        Have all those crime cases influenced him for the worst?
         Set in England and South Africa (1930 -1985) my book, which is a mixture of fact and fiction, ends with this: "Nobody who gets divorced should ever use their children as a means of getting their own back. And nobody ever wants to write a novel that has a real life ending like this."
        I hope Ben will remember that part about not using children to get your own back. As things stand it’s clear that he has no intention of ever letting me near Bosco and I’ll probably be dead by the time the boy is old enough to make up his own mind.
         Sadly yours,
         Jon, a father who like a lot of other people, wishes he could turn the clock back.

P.S. At the time of my daughter's death you could find Squirrel's profile, complete with photo, on the Internet. Not any more. After that funeral he is rightly hiding his head in shame.
Note. He  has now reappeared & here he is


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Devastating :'( I do hope you find out the whole truth , I knew Samantha & Simon while they were in Shipston on stour and attended the local school during the late 1970's early 1980's , I was in the school netball team along side Samantha , my thoughts are with you x

  3. How can I get in touch with Jon

  4. Jon doesn't deal with anonymous people. Send another commment with you name and email address