Mr Jock McTavish was the street’s busybody. He was addicted to his membership of the local ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ branch. Nothing escaped his notice and he made copious notes and took photographs of everything that caught his attention in the area around his house. He was a constant visitor to the local police station where he provided copies of his notes and sometimes photographs of his observations.
The police at the station always accepted Jocks notes, photos and ‘verbal advice’ as local knowledge and intelligence are a vital component in the law enforcement arsenal. In fact, Jock’s info file at the station had, over the years, become so voluminous that it had its own drawer in the Crime Manager’s office. How often it was or should have been reviewed became a meal brake discussion point amongst the staff. Never the less, Jock’s input was seen as valuable general intelligence.
In the area where he lived, locals had become used to Jock peering through his curtains, walking around the streets with his camera at the ready and making little notes.
Despite the fact that some of the neighbours felt that Jocks inquisitiveness was an infringement on their privacy, he was generally well liked and thought of harmless and somewhat eccentric
However, it came to pass that his inquisitive nature almost cost him his life.
On the morning of the day that Jock almost came to meet his maker, a very heavy fog had rolled in, reducing visibility to a matter of metres.
Fortunately for Jock, his next door neighbours awoke to the sound of what they thought was a violent altercation taking place outside.
They rushed out in time to see a figure disappearing rapidly into the fog and then they saw an inert figure lying crunched up on the ground between the trees.
As they got closer, they were shocked to see it was Jock, lying bleeding on the ground and not moving.
Grabbing her mobile phone the next door neighbour dialled the emergency triple 0 and alerted the police and ambulance that help was needed.
As they were both first aiders, the neighbours gave the inert Jock the once over and rolled him into the recovery position to await the arrival of the emergency services.
It was then Jock regained consciousness and in response to a question about what had happened said,’ I woke up early for some reason, looked out the window as usual and I saw a shape moving in the fog. I grabbed the camera and snuck out of the house in my pyjamas to take a photo of what I saw. I don’t remember anything else’.
By then the police and paramedics had arrived and as the paramedics placed Jock into the ambulance he repeated to the police what he had just told his neighbours and added,’ I got some photos, take my camera and have a look, they might give you a clue about the bastard who bashed me. It was so quick, I can’t give you a description apart from the fact it was a bloke wearing a cap and dressed in black’.
The neighbours had picked up Jock’s camera and they handed it to the police.
This is what was found on the camera’s SD card.
After a week in hospital, Jock was discharged with no permanent injuries.
The offender could not be identified from Jock’s photographs or his sketchy description and is still at large.
It’s said that it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good. Since his assault, Jock has clearly demonstrated that his obsession with ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ has diminished. He no longer prowls around with his camera and notebook and he is no longer observed peeping out through his curtains.
His personal drawer in the Crime Manager’s Office no longer requires review and is used as a training tool for budding Detectives.
Jock’s misfortune has become a win win for everyone, including the offender whom, in the fullness of time may be revealed as a near neighbour.