A good man dead
Why was my kind brother murdered?
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