The Pusher

Is serial there a serial killer dubbed “The Pusher” murdering men in Manchester by shoving them into canals?

This is from a story published in one of the national newspapers in the UK. There was a documentary on this subject last night on Channel 4. If you are able and have catch up service I would recommend watching it. For me it meant it left more questions than answers to what has been happening in the city of Manchester over the last six years.

More than 80 bodies – almost all of them men – have been pulled from canals and rivers in Manchester over the past six years, many in the city’s Gay Village.

Grieving families, academics and authors believe a serial killer could be stalking the city’s waterways, but police insist there is no evidence to back this up.

I am not convinced at all that that every case has been thoroughly investigated. The programme itself mentioned very briefly that some of the areas where bodies have been found are known cruising grounds for gay men. The programme didn’t elaborate too much on this aspect of the issue of twenty eight deaths that where deemed “open cases” to deaths where no firm conclusion has been made whether a death was accident or suicide.

I don’t know Manchester that well only briefly visiting in the late eighties with college but I do have extension knowledge of what gay men do and don’t do. I don’t understand why they hadn’t spoken to or found someone who was part of this “scene” apart from getting the views of a token drag queen while he was putting on his make up and wig. He commented that it seemed suspicious but the surface of the problems where only lightly scratched.

Why is it a majority of men who have died in the canals? If the police believe that the deaths are alcohol related and people accidentally falling into the water why isn’t there more women dying? If it is just men what are they doing there and how have they come to meet their deaths?

The CCTV images of some of the people who had died was extremely unreliable, poor quality to the point that you couldn’t be sure who you were looking at. I am interested in these cases because being a gay man I am very particularly in making sure that if I was to go anywhere where I wouldn’t normally go and with someone maybe I had recently met people would know about it. Three people have the ability to track my whereabouts on my iPhone 24 hours a day and I don’t leave the house without it.

There is a setting on my phone that if just before it is switched off or say the battery dies for whatever reason it will record the final GPS signal on the iCloud and this could be accessed later if necessary.

In part of my degree I did a module on serial killers and was very interested in the criminology side of this. I have been fascinated and curious about those who have been caught killing others for reasons usually only known to the person.

I don’t think we have heard the end of this story and soon something will emerge from the shadows. There too many unknowns and not enough firm evidence to prove that everyone of these deaths were due to accidents. A couple have been proved to be deliberate and the perpetrators caught and jailed. I will wait and see.

Frost

It’s been a cold week. I haven’t been going out much as I have been recovering from a winter bug which saw me laid up in bed for the best part of two days doesn’t really help when you aren’t feeling the best in the first place. It was bad because I was waking up thinking I was back living at my parents and they, when you realise where you are at it, makes you feel like crap.

I don’t know what it is when I’ve got older I have become less tolerant of the cold. I was talking to a friend about this and they said it doesn’t bother them. Just put more layers on. I think it’s more to do with hardwiring in my head that has a lot to do with it. Trying to protect me and feeling safe. If I feeling I am a little out of my depth or insecure going to somewhere and it makes me uncomfortable for whatever reason it will cause distress. It is a self-preservation mechanism that kicks in.

The spring and the summer are great. Nothing better than flinging the windows and doors open allowing the warm air to go through the house. Sitting in the garden and admiring the view (when it looks nice and not like a council landfill site as it does at the moment).

Everytime – Britney Spears

On Saturday night I couldn’t stop crying. I feel okay today. Yesterday was okay. But with having lost a mother sometimes grief hits you when you least expect it. This song perfectly puts in to words what I was feeling. Particularly the lines …

I may have made it rain,
Please forgive me,
My weakness caused you pain,
And this song’s my sorry.

 

 

Grieving

I have never been able to be sad for the things I haven’t had. It’s like sad that you haven’t had a sister. Well I have never had a sister and don’t know what it’s like so to me that is said. It what you have known and lost that makes sad

I didn’t even meet or know dad’s side of the family. He never told us that the had relations living in the south. I didn’t know them so not know what you haven’t had doesn’t make you upset.

Today, well to be exact this evening has been this worst. I am dreaming that she is still with me and that I am saying to her in the dream that it is impossible as you are not around. It the subconscious mind trying to patch things together in your memory and make some sort of resemblance of order in your life.

And then somehow dad appears and he has been dead over 21 year and things get very confusing and muddle because I know in the dreams that they had passed away and I am stilling coming to turns with.

Today I found a diary of mine of late 2012 which I asked: “What will it be like when she is no longer around”. It was interesting theories and emotions about mum and certain people were so true. Yes, it is scathing in some parts but I said that I have spent quality time with mum which is the main thing that mattered. Even in 2012, I knew I had done the right thing.

As I had said before losing my father happened so quickly before I started my teacher training so I really didn’t have the time to grieve which screwed me up a few years later.

The mental torture of losing a loved one cannot be cured. Emotions can be suppressed with booze and medication but there is a lot of screwed up people out there who haven’t properly grieved for a loved one. A numbed pain only goes away for a few hours while you are stoned or pissed. This is the equivalent of trying to put on a plaster on a major wound after surgery you might think it will go away and ignoring it does make things difficult in the long run.

Grieving is a natural process. At the moment I cannot be bothered with small things in life. This is a process that mentally you have to go through. Great speech Philip, but doesn’t make anything better,  different and easier to handle. It only gets easier to handle things less painful each year. Especially around mothers days and other occasions things that connect with mum and myself like Christmas’.

I have good friends and loads of people who I can fall back on and that makes a difference. I have been for them when they have needed help and when I am feeling like crap they help as well. I just take each day as it comes and not try to suppress the tears and emotion.

First Christmas

I know a lot of the people who are my friends aren’t big fans of the Royal family (more Royle family). I always listen to the Queen’s Christmas Day broadcast. It was the Queen that did mention that it can be a difficult time for those people who’s first Christmas it is spending it without a loved one.

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When you have spent every christmas, bar one, with your own mum it does become a little strange for her not to be here. She would have been falling asleep after dinner when I was tidying up. Except it was me that was falling asleep about 5pm after I had eaten and my food had settled. I think the mulled wine played it’s part wonderfully.

I spoken to a few people who have gone through the same. You expect them to walk through the door or someone to give you a phone call. Mum a few times used to set a place for dad at tea time ready for him coming in from work.

I think the worst bit has been waiting for my phone to ring to say I needed to go up early morning as they were having getting difficulty getting mum out of bed or the district nurse would call to say that the needed me to pick up something from the local pharmacy for mum.

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The phone has stopped ringing and sometimes it was ring three or four times a day, some days even more. I didn’t mind it because that was I was there to do it. I was her carer and her son. But you don’t know really how you miss something now that it is now long there. You cannot miss something you have never had or experienced.

So I have the first christmas over. It was the same when dad died. After a few years you get into a difference routine and and different place. Your plans change. So what ever happens next year I will see. If I spend it on my own again that will be up to me. Or if I get invites like I did this year I might take one of the them up. Who knows? But I won’t forget those who have passed. You never really lose them entirely as you always have the memories you made with them.

Mum – saying goodbye

I wanted to say thank you to those people who came to mums funeral. I think the worst aspect of it was seeing other people upset. I don’t know why? I was helped to walk into the crematorium by my cousins wife Sue. She was wonderful and held me very tight when I felt I was “welling up” again. What a marvellous person she is. I am thankful for her as it wasn’t planned that she would walk with me.

The flowers we ordered were beautiful; mum would have been overawed to have seen them. There are still roses that grow in mums garden that my grandfather planted there over thirty years ago and somehow they still flower each year. She always loved looking at them.

The service at the crematory in Birtley was just right. Although a lot of us commented that we thought we were going to lose the roof as it was really windy. Rev Liz Kent who is new to the area provided a lovely and fitting tribute to mum. She read Psalm 121 which was mums favourite piece of the Bible which I thought was very fitting for the service.

   “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
    My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121)

It was lovely to see some of mums friends that had known her since she was a child and had been life long friends. Some friends that had come from the Methodist Church. Particularly a chap called Bill who is a kind and gentle man. His wife died 2007 and he had also looked in on mum just as as his wife did for years before her passing. Always delivered the church news letter which I used to read to mum. It was lovely that even when she couldn’t leave the house that people would come to see how she was.

We had a collection for the Multiple Sclerosis society at the end and it was great as I sent them a gift of £145 for them in memory of mum. I think it was wonderful that people gave so generously.

We then met at Chester-le-Street Cricket ground which was wonderful we were treated with respect and dignity. The food was typically northern. Real slices of ham and peas pudding. The mince (meat) pies were wonderful. I think Anne enjoy her peach melba a little too much!

Thank you all for those attended and those who couldn’t attend I know you were all thinking (and some of you praying) for us all on the day.

 

the barefoot tree

Still grumpy

Gari Wellingham

UK-based musical theatre geek previously living with a brain tumour!