"HE WHO RIDES A TIGER" Chief petty office Peter Thompson the upstanding, charming gent hides a secret, he is an abuser of children. How long can he evade the law. one young girl, his daughter finds the courage to come forward to tell all after years of torment.. based on a true story. "A must read"


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By Terry Patterson


A full moon lit up the evening sky around Newcastle upon Tyne. It had been raining all week but today it was dry.

Walking along the cobbled street near the Three Bridges Hotel in Newcastle, Peter Thompson made his way along. The sound of his leather soled Oxford shoes resonated off the cobbles of the busy street.

Turning the corner, he crossed the main road trying to avoid a taxi who pulled sharply into a layby to let out passengers. The smell of petrol fumes and fast food filled the air. He came to a set of traffic lights that were totally misleading. They were saying stop but traffic was coming and going in two different directions and Peter had to concentrate in order to get across into the middle of the road and another set of lights. Looking over the road he spotted a large crowd of people all dressed in tuxedos and the women in elegant evening gowns.

He was curious to know where they were going so he stood on the pavement once he’d crossed over and watched them as they made their way along from where he’d just come from.

Bexters Casino wasn’t far from there so maybe they were going there. He thought about following them but then carried on walking. Two young women passed him and smiled; Peter doffed his cap as they went past. He always got the attention of women when he was in his Royal Navy uniform. He turned smartly then spotted the lights from some late-night café’s they were still open even though it was way after one in the morning. Holding onto his brief case Peter came to a pizza shop.

“Got any spare change said a young girl who was sitting cross legged on a step just outside, her face was dirty and her hair in total disarray. He’d seen it all before in Portsmouth but it didn’t make him feel less guilty. Reaching into his pocket he gave the girl two pounds in change. It would either be spent on booze or fags he thought but what the hell it made him feel better.

Looking briefly at the menu in the window he went inside the greasy spoon café. There was a young lad who looked like a student wearing a blue tee shirt and a pair of glasses serving a young man who’d been in a fight and lost by look of him. The left-hand side of his face was all bruised and there was a laceration above his left eye which was now covered with dried blood. When he moved his eyebrow, the wound opened and a trickle of fluid came out. It was a mixture of blood and something else. He dabbed at it with a serviette from the counter. Some of the blood had congealed on his cheekbone. The man who was in his early twenties he guessed was asking the young lad to call a taxi for him. The young lad told him to wait whilst he served another customer. The lad dressed in tight jeans and a pair of red Dr Martens boots, his white shirt underneath his Harrington jacket was pocked with blood too. His hair had been practically shaved off.

He held onto a can of Carlsberg lager as the young lad behind the counter adjusted his glasses then asked a young girl who’d came in holding the hand of another girl. They were obviously a couple as the butch one slid her large frame into the seat at the table. She wore a tee shirt with some rock band on it over a pair of leggings and black Dr Martens boots. She had several earrings in each ear and a gold sleeper in her nostril. Her hair was cropped short at the back and sides. She took off the denim jacket that she was wearing and laid it down on the seat whilst her partner was waiting to be served at the counter.



The owner of the café made an appearance and began to take Peter’s order ignoring the skinhead. Peter asked for a piece of fried chicken and some salad. The owner sounded as though he was of Turkish origin thought Peter. Then he began cutting strips of lamb from the huge roll of meat being slowly cooked on a spit. He added garlic sauce in one side of a polystyrene carton then filled the other with red cabbage and a mixture of onions and tomatoes. Going to the back of the shop his work colleague was frying potato chips and placing them into a recess oven with a glass front to keep them hot. The owner called Ahmet scooped some chips into another carton and put salt and some vinegar on then then placed both cartons on the counter.

“That will be £4.95 pence please. The girl with a flowered dress denim jacket and cowboy boots gave him the money and sat down next to her girlfriend. They chatted unashamedly, unaware that the skinhead was watching them as Ahmet made a call to a local taxi firm and ordered a cab.

He turned to the young man and told him it would be out the front in ten minutes. The Skinhead gave the owner 50 pence and told him to keep the change. He walked out of the shop as the young lad with specs brought Peter’s meal. After paying him Peter walked outside his chicken was wrapped and placed into a bag. Walking outside the skinhead approached him after rolling himself a cigarette. He rolled the Rizla paper expertly between thumb and index finger then licked the gummed paper before placing it between his lips.

“Got a light captain said the skinhead unaware of Peters rank.’

Peter went into his pocket and took out a Ziplex petrol lighter he flicked it open with a swift move of his hand and it ignited a flame. The skinhead bent down and took a few puffs until he was satisfied that his cigarette was alight. Peter flicked the lighter shut and then put it back into his pocket.

“Cheers captain the skinhead saluted.

Peter Thompson was a chief petty officer not a captain but he forgave the young lad and then walked on to the hotel where he was staying for the night. Whilst his ship was in at Swan Hunters ship repair yard for a refit. He still had to report to Captain Arnold Crabbe each morning along with other crew members just in case the job finished early and they would need to sail on the high tide. Peter walked smartly into the foyer of the Hilton hotel and got his key from the reception area then went to the lift and pressed the button to the third floor. The doors opened and he turned right to room 206 and opened the door and went inside. The room wasn’t bad. He’d stayed in some right shit holes over the years. This one had an on-suite bathroom and shower. The towels were thick and there were little luxuries like soaps, shampoos, and deodorants that he was free to keep and take with him when he left. Peter took off his uniform and hung it smartly into the wardrobe. He sat on the edge of his bed in his shorts and vest then opened the bag containing his meal and began to eat. He rested his back against the headboard and flipped his feet up onto the counterpane. Peter was five feet eleven inches tall, clean shaven with neatly trimmed black hair. He preferred the clean look rather than the moustache and beard that was worn by many of his compatriots. Peter was a handsome young man and he appealed to many women. He was born in Stockport in 1937. His father and mother saw active service during the Second World War and he being an only child was sent to live in a boarding house in Cullercoats near the bay.

He was eight years old then and he was very shy at first it was the first time he’d ever been away from home and away from his parents. Alan and Mildred Young treated him no differently to their own daughter Susan who he got on well with. She was older by three years and they both went to the same school on Mast Lane after Mildred got him enrolled there.

He stayed at the boarding house where he helped out at weekends serving meals to the many guests who frequented Acorn House. Susan took him all over with her and they would go down to the beach area and watch the fishing boats come and go. Mildred would give her daughter a few shillings to buy fresh fish from the fishermen as they landed their catches. Peter had never eaten as much fish and chips in his whole life before coming here, and it was a nice change from soup made from pig’s trotters or beef stew that his mother made.  Peter told Susan that their house in Stockport both of his parents had been killed when their house was bombed by German planes. Peter took the death of his parents badly and it was Susan who pulled him out of his depressive state.  He liked to watch the steam trains as they carried coal all over the country and Susan got him to go with her. Peter adjusted to life in the North East of England and he stayed with Mildred and Alan until he joined the Navy.


Janet Higgins was a nurse on board a hospital ship during the 1st World War she had just turned eighteen when Brian Denny was brought in with a bad shrapnel wound resulting in him losing the lower part of his left leg. A bad fever set in and it was touch and go whether or not Brian would actually survive. She nursed him night after night with very little sleep throughout his fever mopping the sweat from his brow until one evening he briefly opened his eyes then took hold of her hand and kissed it. The HMS Valliant was a converted troop Carrier where Janet witnessed some the worst injuries she had ever seen. Young boys no older than herself lay dying from horrific burns or from gunshot wounds and shrapnel.

Why she treated Brian any differently from the others she did not know, she even said prayers that he should live. Three weeks after his amputation Brian was going to be airlifted back home. 

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