Butcher Boy ( Part 17, Captured)
It was a Sunday, 10th October 1976; I was staying at my new girlfriend’s house having just finished Sunday dinner with her and her Mum and Dad. It was just after 5 o’clock and we were about to start getting ready to go out. We were going to see Clint Eastwoods new film, “The Outlaw Josey Wales”.
Their phone rang and her Dad answered it “ It's for you Joe, it’s your Dad”.
Now this was a big thing, there were no mobiles back in 1976. So if I was going somewhere I would leave a number for Mum and Dad if they had to contact me in an emergency. This was obviously an Emergency.
My first thought was that one of my grand parents had died; Granddad had been ill for some time so when I took the call from Dad I was expecting some bad news.
Dad’s voice was edgy. “ Get yourself home son, Roy's been captured, they are searching the shop as we speak, you could be next. I’ve just got rid of anything that was lying around in the house, you do the same.” He hung up.
I was in shock. I never, ever, thought that this could happen. As I have said before, everything seemed like one big game. Roy was invincible, he was the man. They couldn’t capture Roy, not Roy. I stood silent for a moment, taking it all in. Ok, need to get going.
I had about 30 pairs of jeans in the boot of my car. I also had 3 cases of wine on the back seat. We had just had a delivery of wine the previous day.
I told my girlfriend that my Granddad had taken a turn for the worst and I had to go home straightaway. On the way home I dumped the jeans and the wine into the river Roding. I stopped the car down the end of a deserted road and threw the lot into the river. The lot was worth about £500. Money didn’t seem important anymore.
When I got home I expected to see Police cars outside, but everything was very quiet. When I went in Mum and Dad were sitting there watching the TV.
Dad looked up, “Whatever was in the shed or the garage has now gone. I’ve dumped it.”
It was only a few cases of this and that so no big deal really.” Ok Dad. My cars clean if you know what I mean. So I suppose we just sit and wait?”
“Not much more we can do son.”
I wanted to go to the shop, but decided this was not a good idea. The old bill were probably still there. Dad said that Sue had called him about an hour earlier and said the police had taken Roy away and had a warrant for the flat. They had started searching it when she made the call. She had called us first then said she would call Roy a solicitor. All the numbers that I needed were at the shop, I should call the Cousins and Gaz to let them know. But I didn’t have the numbers. I wasn’t sure if Sue had either. It would all have to wait until the morning.
I didn’t sleep at all that night, every time I heard a sound or a car outside I was convinced it was the Police. So I got up at 4am and made a cup of tea. Dad heard me get up and we sat together talking it through. He kept saying “Remember, you’re just the Butcher Boy, whatever has gone on in the shop, you know nothing about it. You’re just a Butcher”
I got to the shop at 5am. I opened up and set about putting in the window display. Business as usual. Sue came down from the flat about 6am. It was obvious she had been crying. I put my arms around her and she started crying again. I tried to tell her it would all be ok, but to be honest, even I wasn’t sure about that!
I asked her where the police had searched, she said just the flat and the garage at the back, but not the shop, they hadn’t touched the shop. Great news, we kept a large sum of money hidden in the shop and also any jewellery or watches that may have come in. These should still be safe. I asked her if she had called a solicitor, she said she had, a close friend of hers had recommended one. Ok, now I need to make some calls. I tried both the cousins. No answer. I called Gaz, Gaz would know what to do. It was just after 6am. Gaz answered. “Roy's been captured” was all I could say.
“Ok, keep calm” said Gaz, “ just carry on as normal. I’ll take care of a few things here”. Then he hung up.
Sue said that the police were from Romford CID and had left a number for her. She said she would call it at 9.00am. Then she would go to her mums. Would I look after the shop and run everything. Of course I would!
The cash and jewellery were still there. Hidden under the cold meat counter. There was £2000 in cash and some odds and sods of jewellery. Everything that was in the garage was gone. It was mainly cases of wine that had come in earlier yesterday. It was supposed to go to Mr Patel later today. I should call Mr Patel and let him know. I called Mr Patels Cash and Carry, no one had seen him that day and nobody seemed to know where he was. Now I was getting nervous.
I opened the shop as normal at 08.00. The other Butcher turned up and I explained that Roy had a family emergency and would be away for a few days. Not unusual as Roy was quite often away from the shop. Then I got a call from one of the cousins, Teddy, “ I hear Roy's been captured, act normal and keep your mouth shut.” That’s all he said then put the phone down! There wasn’t any stress in his voice just a professional manner, I supposed he’d been through this many times!
During the day a couple of delivery drivers came in and said they had some stuff, I told them not to come in for a while. “The Butcher's been captured”
They soon got the message and fucked off.
Sue called the CID. “Roy's being held in Hertfordshire somewhere, he’s been moved from Romford and he’s spoken with his solicitor. I can’t see him yet. That’s all they’ve said”. She started to cry again.
“Ok, be strong its gonna be ok, you know what Roy’s like, he’s probably taking freezer orders from the old bill as we speak”. We both laughed.
Sue packed a few things, then she and the twins left to go to her Mums.
The other cousin, Danny, called later that day. “ If you can get a message to Roy somehow, tell him to fuck off whatever Solicitor he’s got. He can use our one. But he can’t contact Roy until he gets his permission. Get Roy to call me asap”
I explained to him that he’s been moved to a place in Hertfordshire. Danny told me that these things were quite common. “If they come for you Joe, just be strong and keep you mouth shut. You just work in the shop, you're just the Butcher Boy, understand?”
“Ok”. But really I was shit scared!