An innocent and generous thought. Pop to Sainsbury’s to get some decaffinated Earl Grey for the Hubby. Clean out and short of options for afternooon tea. The shopping trip went like a dream, in spite of the fact that I couldn’t see the product I wanted right under my nose. One assistant and some little embarrassment later and I’m on my way home.
As I drew up outside the house, before turning across the road in order to back on to the paved front, I notice that next door there are three people – two young men and A. N. Other who was hidden behind the others – apparently engaged in conversation. A gap appeared in the traffic and I swung across the road, then backed onto the paved area we use as parking. In the seconds that it took to do this, the ‘conversation’ had turned into what looked like play fighting and, by the time I had put the handbrake on, it was clear that there was no playing involved. One of the young lads had a knife. Without turning off the engine, I had already decided that I would stay put, lock the doors and call the police from the safety of my vehicle. This was not necessary, as it turned out. The victim had wrestled the knife from his assailant, who ran off immediately. I felt able to get out of the car and ask if my neighbour was OK. He asked me to call an ambulance.
As it turned out, someone in the house had already called the police and the ambulance but I waited around to see if I could be of further help. I gave a brief statement but expect to be seeing a policeman sometime later on as well.
At this point – an hour and a half later – their house is still taped off as a crime scene and the SOCO van is parked outside.
It was strange. The first thing Hubby asked was whether I was alright. I replied that I was fine and unhurt. He hadn’t meant that. He had meant was I ‘alright’. It was, after all, quite a horrible experience, to have witnessed a knife attack. But it was next door. These things don’t happen next door.