In the early eighties our family home was robbed. We lived in a big white Victorian house on Windsor Road in Newton Heath, Manchester. Pam was nineteen. She arrived home from work right in the middle of the robbery. She was in training to be a hairdresser at Vidal Sassoon’s in Manchester.
She walked into the house and shouted out to see if anyone was home. The house was in darkness. There was no reply. She turned on the light and went straight into the ‘downstairs toilet’ as we called it, first on the right as you enter the house to take a pee. Or have a wee as we call it in England. As she sat there she watched herself in the mirror, singing in silly voices. She was such a sweet girl. She was the youngest. Throughout our childhood she would spend hours alone in her room.
Finishing in the toilet she plunged into the darkness of the kitchen then into the cloakroom to hang up her coat when something moved. A man put his hand over her mouth. ‘Shut up or I’ll shoot you.’ He had a stocking over his head and he shoved a sawn off shotgun in Pam’s back. Her legs collapsed beneath her so he and two other men with stockings on their heads dragged her into the living room.
They told her to lie on the floor while one of them closed the curtains. Another pulled out the telephone cord and tied her up. She thought she would be raped. The man asked her where the safe was. There was indeed a safe in the house behind our father’s bed. Dad was a very hard worker, a builder, who came home exhausted and would often be in bed by eight o clock. She pictured dad in his bed. The man asked ‘Do you know the combination?’ She told him where the safe was but that she didn’t know the combination. Horror and guilt flooded over her. All 3 men disappeared upstairs. At this point she was able to give more attention to our lilac point Siamese cat Charlie with whom she had a special bond. All the while he’d been sitting by her head. His pinky, blue eyes and white fur gave her a sudden surge of comfort. He stayed by her side throughout. She could hear banging upstairs like sledgehammers hitting a wall. After this the men came downstairs carrying the safe. ‘Don’t move for an hour or we’ll shoot you.’And with that they left. Pam and Charlie sat and waited. After a few minutes of this Pam decided to move. She ran out of the house to one of the big old houses next to ours, one that was now a nursing home for the elderly. She saw the nurses through the window sitting in the kitchen laughing and smoking. She ran inside her heart beating fast. ‘Hello Pam what’s up love?’ said Norma the large burly woman who owned the place. Pam couldn’t speak she tried to but nothing would come out until one of the nurses laughed. A sudden fury erupted in Pam and out it came at last. One word. Gun!
The police told us that they knew who it was. Thank god that dad on this rare occasion was out. My sister Angie was a model and she was working that night at a boxing match. She had to walk round after each round in a bikini displaying the number of the round on a little board. Since dad was an avid boxing fan he’d gone with her to watch the match.