"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"


14. 14

council offices wouldn’t open again until then, by then he would be miles away. Edward got into the car and placed a small screwdriver into the lock then turned and the car started. Edward had a lock up on Normandy Road, he hoped that he wasn’t stopped by anyone. It was now twelve forty-five the morning as he dropped the tools off at the garage then drove to his allotment garden near a place called “The Railings” where he kept his pigeons. He unlocked the gate and went to his pigeon loft and hid the bag of cash inside the hut. He opened one of the bags with the half crowns and took out five pounds.  That would keep him solvent for a while he thought. Tomorrow he’d be back to count all the money and then get away from Portsmouth altogether.

He parked the stolen car two streets away then made his way home. The party was still in full swing with Mr Potter playing the piano. He grabbed a bottle of beer and took a large swig.’

“Where have you been asked his mother.

“Happy New Year Mother said Edward kissing his mother’s cheek. I’ve been playing cards along at Billy’s house mum with a few friends.’

“I hope you have not lost then son.’

“No,’ I won mother, here this is for you said Edward as he handed his mother the £5.00 in half crowns.

“What about you son won’t you need this?’

“No, I’ve got enough.’

“Thank you, son, I love you.’

“I love you too mum.’

“Where’s my father?’

“He’s gone to bed drunk as usual.’

“Your brothers are all out first footing.’

“I’m off to my bed mum, I’ve got to go to the garden to feed the pigeons at nine o’clock.

Goodnight then son and happy New Year.’

Edward went to bed and slept soundly.

As soon as dawn broke through the bedroom window he shared with his brothers, Edward was up.

He went to his allotment in the car he’d stolen, no one would be looking for it today, they’d be sleeping a hangover off. He went to the allotment where he spent half an hour counting the stolen money as the pigeon’s billed and cooed. He left a note on Johnny Mac’s loft asking him to take care of his pigeons. He placed the keys on a nail, picked up the money and went to the boot where he placed all of the money.

 He’d counted over fifty thousand pounds. He couldn’t believe his good fortune. There was more than enough money to last him the rest of his life. He went across to Kipling Road and banged on the door of number seven. It was Billy’s house. Billy came to the door and asked Edward in.

Edward went inside then told Billy that he was leaving. He gave him three hundred pounds instead of the two he said he’d promised him. He warned him not to say anything to anyone or he would come back for him and slit his throat. Billy was terrified, and knew that Edward would carry out his threat. Short after Edward walked calmly along to number 39 and banged on the door.

Someone moved the curtain, they knew it couldn’t be debt collectors, not on New Year’s Day so they answered the door. “Is Liz in he asked.’

“If that’s that good for nothing lad from over the road tell him to bugger off he heard the father shout.

“Happy New year to you as well.’ Edward shouted back.

“Liz came to the door in her white apron she’d been doing the fireplace because her hands were covered in black lead.

“I thought that I told you never to come here Edward, you know how my father hates your family.’

“Answer me one question then I will gladly go if you want me to.’


“Do you love me?’

“Yes, you know I do, now go.’

 “If you love me Liz, will you marry me?’

“What now?’

“As soon as we are able, go pack a bag and bring your passport, we are getting away from here.’

“Now! how would we Live Edward, you haven’t got a job, you have no money and we have nowhere to live?

“Do you trust me Liz, if you do, just do as I ask and I will make you the happiest woman in the world. You will want for nothing.’

“Your dreaming again Edward Thompson.’

“Am I said Edward pulling out a wad of notes from his pocket to show Liz.

 “Where on earth did you get all that money?’

“Never mind, pack a bag and meet me at the corner of the street in fifteen minutes. I will be in a black Ford.

“But what do I tell mother?

“Tell her you are leaving and will send her a post card.’

“Are we not coming back?

“No, not for a while anyway.’

Edward turned and walked down the street to the car and got in and waited.

Children were playing football in the street and he sat and watched remembering how he did the same. Most of these kids would either end up in prison by the time they were thirteen, or even dead he thought. He was going to escape the rat race, he was going to get away from all of it, for good and all with Liz. With her by his side he felt invincible.

He now had the money to do it, he could go anywhere, no one would find him. He could build a new life and a new image for himself and Liz. People would respect him and his wife. Edward saw Liz coming down the street. Her father and mother were shouting at her, telling her never to come back.

Edward smiled he leaned across and opened the door so she could get in and when she did, she said “Quick Edward just get us out of here.’

Edward drove past her house; Liz’s father was shaking his fist in the air at him as the car went past kicking up dust from the dirty street.

Leaving Kipling Road Edward headed for Harwich docks, Edward planned to get a ferry across into France. Once there, he would go to the bank and make a deposit and exchange some of his money into French Francs. In Northern France they could live very cheaply. He had an idea to run a small farm with enough animals to keep them in meat and poultry and to grow their own vegetables which they could also sell.

All the way to Harwich Edward talked about it.

They stayed in a boarding house that night because there wasn’t a ferry until 7 a.m. the next morning because it was New Year’s Day. The landlady called Ellen, made them a cooked meal then showed them to their room which wasn’t great but it was clean.

They spent most of the night making love it was the first time either of them had slept together. Edward had some experience but Liz was a Virgin. Edward was very patient with Liz and showed her how to please him. The next morning, they ate a cooked breakfast before leaving for the ferry. They got there at six forty- five, where they showed their passports. And then drove the car on board. No one would be looking for a stolen car in France thought Edward. Once there he could get his French licence. Standing on the bridge together they watched as the shore of Britain disappeared into the distance as the ferry pulled away. The British Shoreline became smaller and smaller the further they got.

“Well our new lives will soon be beginning Elizabeth, he decided to call her Elizabeth from now on because this would-be part of their new image. “When we reach Cherbourg in about an hour we will drive to a hotel and stay there until we can find somewhere where we can get married.’ “I’m sure there are plenty of churches that will marry us.’

“I haven’t even got a ring yet.’

“Don’t worry about that, I will buy you one.’

Elizabeth snuggled into Edward as he held her in his arms.

Turning the other way, they could see the coast of France as the ferry got nearer. Edward could speak a little French having learned it at school. He knew enough to get by he thought.

Elizabeth on the other hand would have to learn a new language. Edward said that he would teach her and that she’d soon pick it up. When the ferry docked they were asked to show their passports before being allowed to continue on their journey. The drove down to Rue Charles Gohel on Avenue Aristide continuing to Place Marie Ravenel where they took the first exit to Rue Lucet. They came to a small village where Edward got out and asked where the nearest church was.

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