A good man dead

Why was my kind brother mur­dered?

Chat - - Inside - By Cather­ine Para­dine, 41, from Northamp­ton

Open­ing the front door, I was greeted with a friendly smile. ‘Al­right, Sis?’ my brother Jerry, then 37, grinned. It was late 2007 and Jerry had dropped by out the blue. ‘Come in, I’ll pop the ket­tle on,’ I beamed, thrilled to see him. Sin­gle, I lived on my own and Jerry lived miles away in Cam­bus­lang, near Glas­gow. He of­ten came to see me for an im­promptu cuppa and catch-up, though. ‘Just check­ing you’re OK,’ he’d say to me. Five years older than me, Jerry had al­ways been a pro­tec­tive big brother. Grow­ing up we’d been two peas in a pod. And, even as adults, we re­mained close. But life had been tough for Jerry over the years. He’d lost his beloved wife Amanda in Jan­uary 2002 to cervical can­cer.

It’d hit him hard, torn him apart. But, slowly, he’d picked him­self back up again.

Now, six years on, Jerry seemed to have a spring in his step.

‘What are you so happy about?’ I asked.

‘I’ve met some­one,’ he blurted, eyes beam­ing.

He told me her name was Maryanne and he’d met her through friends.

He seemed so happy and it was nice to see Jerry set­tled.

When he even­tu­ally brought Maryanne, then 37, to meet me, she seemed nice enough.

Jerry was so loved up – and, in April 2008, they tied the knot.

Af­ter, Jerry didn’t visit as of­ten as he had.

‘Sorry, I’ve just been so busy,’ he’d say.

I didn’t com­plain. Jerry was mar­ried now and had his own life to live.

But, over the years, when­ever I did see him,

I no­ticed that the twin­kle had faded from his eyes.

‘What’s wrong?’ I’d ask, but Jerry would just clam up.

I didn’t see Maryanne much and sensed they were hav­ing a few mar­i­tal prob­lems.

And, in Oc­to­ber 2016, I was proved right.

‘We’ve bro­ken up,’ Jerry told me over the phone.

He ex­plained that Maryanne had left him and had be­gun a new re­la­tion­ship.

I hated hear­ing Jerry up­set but told him it was for the best.

‘You’ll get through this,’ I told him, re­as­sur­ingly.

It turned out Maryanne was dat­ing a man called Ralph Goldie.

‘Just leave them to it,’ I told Jerry, feel­ing sad for him.

Months passed, and Jerry seemed to be do­ing OK.

On 13 Jan­uary 2017 I spoke to him on the phone.

We had a lit­tle chat and Jerry didn’t men­tion Maryanne or the split at all.

He must be mov­ing on,

I thought, re­lieved.

When I hung up the phone, I had no idea that’d be the last time I heard his voice…

The fol­low­ing day, my mum Penny, 70, phoned.

She could barely get her words out.

‘It’s Jerry,’ she choked. ‘Some­thing hap­pened at his friend’s flat.’

Mum said Jerry had fallen down the stairs and died.

‘Don’t be silly,’ I replied. ‘I only spoke to him yes­ter­day.’

But Mum ex­plained the po­lice had been to see her.

There was no doubt about it. Jerry was dead.

I was ut­terly in­con­solable. My whole body started to shake.

When I vis­ited Mum, we just held each other, sobbed.

‘How did this hap­pen?’ I cried.

The po­lice said they’d ar­rested a man on sus­pi­cion of mur­der. Ralph Goldie. I knew that name... ‘Maryanne’s new boyfriend!’ I gasped, con­fused.

Slowly, as the in­ves­ti­ga­tion pro­gressed, we learned more about what had hap­pened by read­ing about it in the pa­pers.

Turned out that a few days be­fore Jerry had died, he’d of­fered Maryanne and Goldie a place to stay. They’d found them­selves home­less and Jerry must’ve felt sorry for them. Let them into his home. It didn’t sur­prise me one bit. Jerry, 45, was so kind-hearted. De­spite ev­ery­thing, he’d never want to see them on the streets.

So he must’ve put his feel­ings to one side and of­fered them a roof for a few nights.

As a thank-you, two days later, Goldie had ap­par­ently in­vited Jerry out for a drink.

They’d drunk at a lo­cal pub be­fore go­ing to a mate’s flat. But, while they were there, a row must’ve bro­ken out.

Goldie had thrown Jerry down a flight of stairs – then he’d jumped and stamped on his head un­til blood ran out of his ears and nose. So chill­ing – my poor brother hadn’t stood a chance against that vi­o­lent brute. Our Jerry wasn’t a fighter. ‘He wouldn’t hurt a fly,’ I cried, sick­ened by the whole thing. Jerry had suf­fered a fa­tal head in­jury. I couldn’t make any sense of why this had hap­pened. My kind brother had of­fered that mon­ster a place to stay. ‘Most peo­ple would’ve told him to sling his hook!’ I said to Mum. But not lovely Jerry. And how had Goldie re­paid his kind­ness? By killing him.

Weeks on, in Fe­bru­ary, we laid Jerry to rest. Ev­ery­one brought roses to place on his cof­fin. ‘Bye, Big Bro,’ I wept. Af­ter, I strug­gled to move on. There were just so many unan­swered ques­tions.

Why had Goldie turned on my kind, lov­ing brother?

Mum said Jerry had fallen down the stairs and died

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.