We All Fall Down

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Remember that guy I worked with? The one who murdered his daughter? It was back when I was living in Hatfield. My shifts were mostly 2-10, and when I finished clearing those daily cages of pies and pasties and was upstairs in the locker room collecting my belongings, he was usually getting ready to start. He worked the night shift, you see. Carl Wheatley was his name. Google it. You’ll see his photo and those of his daughter before he battered her to death with his own two hands. One night when he wasn’t working, he came in shopping with her not long before I moved back to my hometown after Brittany and I separated. Her name was Alex. She was about four or five with nice eyes and a cheeky smile and a headful of curly, golden locks. As she skipped up and down the yoghurt aisle, he came up to me and moaned about the lack of stock on the shelves. He wasn’t creepy or sinister, but he was a little odd. But then that’s what most people say about me. He had approached me once before when I was doing a rare early shift and complained that someone had stolen his coat. I offered my sympathy and told him there were some mean people out there, but he didn’t seem interested, just kept going on about how his gloves were in the pockets and it was too cold for him to walk home without them on. You know that not long after, they found nearly seventy individual bruises on her lifeless body and evidence that he had smashed out her baby teeth before trying to superglue them back in? That over the course of two weeks, he had reigned down blow after blow until her little body couldn’t carry on any longer? To think of the years I wished so much to have been given a chance to raise Bethany, and this punk had the chance with such a sweet daughter of his own, and he had pissed all over it. But that’s how it goes, isn’t it? For a few months, we rubbed shoulders, exchanged a word here and there, and then we went about life our separate ways. Providing no one bashes in his brains behind bars, he’ll be out in just under twenty years. He may be a filthy child killer, and yet in many ways, he’s just like the rest of us because no matter how hard we try, we too will never be able to escape the consequences of our actions.

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17 replies »

  1. This is so heartbreaking, it fills me with rage as well. There are so many children out there suffering right now. Wet eyes. x

  2. I have been haunted by this piece since you posted it yesterday. I have wanted to respond but couldn’t gather my thoughts. I know what a deeply personal issue this is for you. My last social work job before I moved to research administration was working in an agency that provided play therapy for children 2 1/2 to 13 years old. 90% of our clients had been physically, sexually or emotionally abused. Many were in foster care. I can’t even tell you how many nights I worked until 9 pm calling the Department of Human Services because I feared that a child I had seen earlier in the day for therapy or an intake was not going to be safe when they went home that night. Bruises, cuts, belt marks, broken bones, limps, the fear in their eyes, the things they whispered to me when we were alone. I saw courts send kids home to biological parents who I was sure were going to kill them some day. Being able to biologically produce a child does not make someone fit to parent. The idea that he tried to glue back in her baby teeth. . . .

    • It’s unthinkable, isn’t it? Too many times over the years I’ve read in the papers about children being abused and killed in their own homes. In England not so long ago we had a case referred to as Baby P. Baby P was a toddler called Peter who was abused over a long period of time by his parents which ultimately resulted in his death. Social services were involved but for some reason the abuse continued until he lost his life. When I was a teenager, there was a girl named Victoria Climbié who was murdered by her carers. She was tortured over and over again, and although social services knew what was going on, she too ended up dying. These are just two cases I can think of from the top of my head. The are so many more, and probably double the number that are not known. How devastating..

  3. Only 21 years?
    If that was my ex, I’d be waiting with my smith&Wesson for when he got out. But not for somethhhf so easy… I’d get him back alone somewhere with pliers, rip some of his teeth out first.
    But then again, if English prisons are just as bad as American ones for child crimes, he’ll soon be dead on his own.
    I know what you mean by this. People can and do snap. Everyone, and anyone can. That’s berserkers wore specific garments for people to stay away in battle, they could not distinguish friend or foe on their frenzy.

    • You’re right, people do snap, and I can only imagine he did too. But still, I can imagine snapping at another adult, but a little girl?
      Serial killers and high profile murders are often targeted in prisons here. I don’t think many have ever been killed, most just attacked. The Yorkshire Ripper has been attacked a few times resulting in him being blinded in one eye, although I think a few years ago a paedophile was disembowelled by two other inmates.

      • Many cases like this don’t view small children as “people” – they’re the type to abuse animals as well – kids are annoying. I have twins and they make me want to jump off of a cliff, but could I snap and do this sort of thing to them? I know for sure I wouldn’t. I view them as human. This person doesn’t have an evolved mentality. Even the wife claims he was abusive. I wonder why he’d got custody. I could fucking analyze this for hours. I should’ve been a profiler. Lol.

  4. I think there is a world of difference too between snappy once and snapping over and over and over again. I hit my oldest once and learned some seriously sobering lessons. It NEVER happened again. Sam is right that that there are people with no empathy who see children as extensions of themselves– as objects– with no rights, no will, no emotions. I don’t tend to view people as good or evil but a person who has no human empathy and only sees others as a means to their ends is literally capable of anything.

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