A HERO’S HEART

Cat-both­er­ers, big mouths and bul­lies knew to watch out for Ge­orgina’s fella, Oggy. But what match was he for pure evil?

Real People - - CONTENTS - As told to Mark Christy & Christa­bel Smith (sto­ries@re­alpeo­plemag.co.uk)

There was some­thing dif­fer­ent about my fella, Oggy. I no­ticed it the mo­ment he walked in… ‘New work boots!’ I said, as it came to me.

‘Terry bought me these,’ he replied.

Terry was an el­derly neigh­bour in our block of flats.

‘I did him a favour,’ Oggy shrugged.

A few days later, I saw Terry in the lift. He told me he’d been ha­rassed by an anti-so­cial res­i­dent on his land­ing, who’d banged on his front door and played loud mu­sic at all hours.

One day, find­ing Terry up­set, Oggy went to have a word with the lad – and he’d be­haved him­self ever since!

‘I was so grate­ful,’ Terry ex­plained. ‘Oggy didn’t want anything, so I bought him the boots to say thank you.’

I smiled, be­cause it was so char­ac­ter­is­tic of my Oggy. He hated bul­lies and would step in to de­fend any­one who needed it.

We’d got to­gether when I was 35 and a sin­gle mum to Louise and Tara, 16 and 11 at the time. I was the bar­maid of the pub he’d come into af­ter his work as a tiler.

But when he chat­ted me up, I soon re­alised he was more than just a man’s man. Oggy, whose real name was Ai­den, was cheeky, but funny and warm-hearted as well.

He was three years younger than me, but when he moved in a few months later, he told me, ‘I re­alise I have re­spon­si­bil­i­ties now. I’m going to up my game.’

He was true to his word. He was a hard-work­ing fam­ily man with old-fashioned val­ues. He’d visit his mum, Mau­reen, on Sun­day morn­ings and phoned her ev­ery evening with­out fail.

He’d help Tara with her pony and play daft prac­ti­cal jokes on her at home, jump­ing out of cup­boards to make her scream.

So when, aged 22, Tara had baby Chloe, Oggy was be­sot­ted,

I joked, ‘Spurs and your mum are the loves of your life and now I’m even fur­ther down the peck­ing or­der!’

He’d never had kids of his own, so I was amazed to see this 6ft 2in, 18st man melt­ing over a lit­tle baby.

Hard as rock out­side, but can­dyfloss un­der­neath… that was Oggy.

Hol­i­day­ing in Por­tu­gal one year, we were watch­ing foot­ball in a sports bar when a man picked up a stray cat and chucked it onto the street.

Oggy squared up to him. ‘You can’t do that to an animal!’ he fumed.

He hated any­one at­tack­ing the de­fence­less. But I couldn’t help wor­ry­ing. I’d tell him to mind his own busi­ness, ter­ri­fied it would get him into trou­ble one day.

‘Peo­ple can’t get away with do­ing bad things,’ he ex­plained. To him, it was ob­vi­ous. When I gave him a puppy, Lily, for his birth­day, he put her on his knee and I saw tears leak­ing onto his cheeks.

‘I re­ally love her,’ he sniffed. ‘Don’t tell any­one I cried.’ ‘Big softie,’ I grinned. Early one Sun­day af­ter­noon in Jan­uary 2016, I picked Oggy, 60, up from his mum’s and dropped him at JJ Moon’s, a lo­cal pub, to watch the foot­ball.

‘See you about 6.30pm, love,’ he said.

‘I’ll have the roast ready,’ I told him.

I got busy pre­par­ing the veg. Oggy was never late back, so af­ter 6pm, I had my ears out for the door.

There was a knock, but when I an­swered, it was the po­lice.

‘There’s been an in­ci­dent,’ an of­fi­cer told me. ‘Mr O’ma­hony is in hos­pi­tal.’

They drove me and Oggy’s

sis­ter, Deirdre, to The Royal Lon­don Hos­pi­tal so fast, my fear be­gan to mount. Then Chloe called, dis­traught. ‘My friend and her dad were in the pub,’ she sobbed. ‘They said he’s been stabbed.’

When we ar­rived, they were still work­ing on him.

At 7.30pm, my world ended. ‘I’m sorry to have to tell you he’s passed away,’ I heard.

Oggy had been stabbed straight through the heart, and there was noth­ing any­one could do to save him.

I was led to his bed­side to iden­tify him. His head was swollen and blue.

‘It’s be­cause of the lack of oxy­gen,’ a medic ex­plained.

Shock turned to a sud­den rush of fury. ‘You stupid b*****d!’ I raged. ‘Don’t tell me this was about a game of eff­ing foot­ball!’

Back home, as me and Chloe, 17, clung to one an­other, the po­lice li­ai­son of­fi­cer ex­plained that Oggy had been stabbed by 31-year-old James Roberts.

It hadn’t been a fight. Oggy hadn’t even touched the man, just told him to stop threat­en­ing the bar­maid.

‘Typ­i­cal,’ I sobbed. Hun­dreds of peo­ple came to

the fu­neral, where we sang, ‘Come on, you Spurs!’

I put on a brave face, but felt shred­ded to bits in­side.

The house was so quiet with­out Oggy. I couldn’t be­lieve I’d never hear him again.

Lily the dog looked at me with con­fused eyes. She’d wag her tail when she saw a man wear­ing a high-vis jacket. ‘That’s not him,’

I’d tell her sadly.

Roberts pleaded not guilty at the first trial at Lon­don’s Old Bai­ley and, af­ter three har­row­ing weeks, the jury couldn’t reach a ver­dict.

Roberts said, ‘I’m so sorry,’ as he was led past, and I had to fight to stay silent. How dare he seek for­give­ness from me!

Weeks later, as we buried Oggy’s ashes in Heron­gate Woods in Es­sex, I prayed for the strength to sur­vive a sec­ond trial.

Oggy had been watch­ing the foot­ball with his mates when Roberts rowed with his fa­ther at a nearby ta­ble.

Wit­nesses heard him shout­ing, ‘Don’t tell me how to raise my kids, it’s not like you were a great dad!’

Watch­ing the CCTV footage from the pub, I could see that Oggy and his mates didn’t even turn their heads.

As Roberts be­came more and more ag­i­tated, the bar­maid, Angela Sands, told him to leave.

Roberts held an ob­ject to her face, yelling, ‘Shut up, I will cut your vagina off,’ and ‘I’m going to stick this up you.’

The abuse was too much for Oggy. He in­ter­vened, say­ing, ‘You don’t treat a lady like that.’

That was my man. I could imag­ine ev­ery ghastly mo­ment of the un­fold­ing scene.

Roberts replied, ‘Come on, I’ll have the lot of you out­side.’

He walked out, fol­lowed by his dad and Oggy, then sud­denly turned, stab­bing Oggy with a 4in blade. He scarpered, but re­turned mo­ments later, smash­ing his fists through the win­dows and try­ing to barge his way back into the pub, where

Oggy lay dy­ing. While some cus­tomers tended to him, oth­ers bar­ri­caded the doors.

Roberts left, dis­card­ing his top in a nearby park, be­fore buy­ing a can of drink in a chicken shop and brag­ging to some teenage boys about what he’d done. With his hands cov­ered in blood, he laughed as he demon­strated a head­but­ting ac­tion.

His dad even re­turned to his ta­ble in the pub to fin­ish his drink be­fore leav­ing.

De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Garry Mon­crieff said, ‘Ai­den did not know Roberts, and Roberts did not know Ai­den.

‘Roberts was in a foul and ag­gres­sive mood, and de­cided to just take it out on any­one who he felt crossed him.

‘Ai­den was be­ing a gen­tle­man and tried to help a mem­ber of staff who was be­ing vi­o­lently threat­ened.

His brave in­ter­ven­tion un­for­tu­nately cost him his life.’

Roberts was found guilty of mur­der and handed a life sen­tence.

Our fam­ily were re­lieved that jus­tice had been served, of course, but it was a hol­low vic­tory when we were all suf­fer­ing so much. Mau­reen, 92, took to her bed when Oggy died and won’t leave it even now. Her liv­ing room is full of pic­tures and cat or­na­ments from Oggy, but she can’t bear any re­minder of her cher­ished son. Chloe has Oggy’s foot­ball scarf and pic­tures of him all over her room.

As for me, I keep to­gether for ev­ery­one else. The grief will come for me one day, I know. Half of me still wants to give Oggy a right ear­ful for get­ting in­volved and not let­ting some­one else sort it.

The rest of me is so proud… The man I loved for the best part of 30 years died a hero. But I would much rather he was here, snooz­ing in a chair be­side me, where he be­longs.

Ge­orgina Fuller, 64, Hornchurch, Es­sex

My Oggy hated any­one at­tack­ing the de­fence­less

Us in the 80s, when Oggy had hair!

He’d call his mum, Mau­reen, ev­ery day

Roberts was found guilty of mur­der Chloe was dis­traught to hear of her Oggy’s death KILLER

Me and Lily the dog can’t be­lieve he’s not here any more

Us with Chloe at her prom

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