For those who have the same warped sense of humour this Letter can also be had in French.
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Benjamin Squirrel - funeral organiser from Hell
Dear Writers everywhere,
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.
was the email I got three years ago from my son Simonand
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 yearshad 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 betreated 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 it a book I wrote have been an uncanny prediction of what was
to happen to my daughter?
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.
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
my horror my daughter Samantha did much the same thing. She had been a teacher at
the Victor Seymour Infants School in the Londonborough 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 Britishlegal
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.
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,"whenSamanthabecame 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’."
afterwards she was dead. She hadjumped 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.
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
Most dogs get a better funeral than that.
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 theirchildren
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.
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