Real People - - FORGIVE ME… - Ray Weather­all, 53, Ash, Kent

Shot… with a gun?!

It was noth­ing to do with the tu­mours.

Sam had phoned Hay­ley who rushed over to me.

‘What on Earth?’ she gasped, in hor­ror.

In hospi­tal, the doc­tors told me a ri­fle bul­let had trav­elled from near the front of my right ear to just below my left one.

The bul­let whizzed through soft tis­sue and parts of it lodged near the left side of my jaw.

‘Is there any­one you can think of who would have done this?’ asked a po­lice of­fi­cer. Baf­fled, I shook my head. It could only have been some­body mess­ing about with an air ri­fle, and I’d been un­lucky to get hit.

Now, I had four tu­mours and parts of a bul­let em­bed­ded in my head!

As I re­cov­ered at home, Hay­ley fussed over me.

‘I don’t de­serve you,’ I said. Two months af­ter the shoot­ing, Glenn came round.

The pair of them went to the kitchen to make a cuppa.

Our springer spaniel, Lau­rel, bounced onto the set­tee and knocked off Glenn’s phone.

Pick­ing it up, I no­ticed a

mes­sage, See you soon, love you lots!

The sen­der – Hay­ley! Hay­ley had sent it to Glenn? Hay­ley – the per­fect wife. And Glenn – my best man.

They’d been car­ry­ing on be­hind the back of a dy­ing man. Could they not have waited?! I strode into the hall­way, grab­bing Glenn by the throat. ‘You dirty b***ard,’ I shouted. ‘What’s been go­ing on?’ ‘We only kissed twice,’ said Hay­ley hur­riedly, re­al­is­ing I’d read the mes­sage.

Could I be­lieve her? I des­per­ately wanted to. She’d been un­der so much strain re­cently.

Per­haps it was just a kiss. My friend­ship with Glenn was over, but I wouldn’t give up on Hay­ley.

Re­solv­ing to carry on as nor­mal, one morn­ing, I went to the kitchen to make her a tea.

As I tossed the bag in the bin, I glimpsed sev­eral pack­ets of tablets at the bot­tom.

Hay­ley must have been clear­ing out some old medicine from the cup­board.

Later, my niece, Emma, vis­ited. ‘I’ve got some­thing to tell you, Un­cle Ray,’ she said, look­ing se­ri­ous.

Po­lice had come to her home look­ing for Heather, Glenn’s daugh­ter. Her car had been found aban­doned op­po­site the ma­rina, with her dog still in­side.

She’d lived with Emma once, so her car was reg­is­tered to Emma’s ad­dress…

‘It was the day you were shot, Un­cle Ray.’

Heather shot me? Emma said Heather and Glenn had been ar­rested. My mind was reel­ing. My friend­ship with Glenn had bro­ken down, but that was af­ter the shoot­ing.

And Hay­ley? Was she in­volved?

Days later,

Hay­ley stood in the kitchen in her dress­ing gown.

‘It’s true,’ she wept. Her and

Glenn were hav­ing a full-blown af­fair.

He’d ma­nip­u­lated Heather into shoot­ing me. They’d wanted me dead!

‘I didn’t think he meant it,’ Hay­ley gib­bered.

And the tablets I’d found at the bot­tom of the bin?

Glenn had given her sleep­ing pills to drug me with. The plan was to give me an in­sulin over­dose while I was asleep, which, with my di­a­betes, would have killed me.

‘Oh my God!’ I cried.

‘But I couldn’t go through with it,’ she wept.

‘What have you got your­self into, girl?’ I sighed.

We went to the po­lice to­gether.

At Maid­stone Crown Court last No­vem­ber, all three de­nied con­spir­acy to mur­der.

As more de­tails emerged, I strug­gled to look at Hay­ley.

I re­mem­bered her con­cerned face star­ing at me in the hospi­tal, hor­ri­fied that I’d been shot.

Yet now, I learned that she’d sent a text to Glenn as she sat by my bed­side: They didn’t do a very good job, he’s still here.

I felt sick.

The court listed the pa­tio heater ex­plo­sion as an at­tempt to kill me too. Per­haps one of them had tam­pered with it?

The planned in­jec­tion of in­sulin was an­other.

Then there was the fish­ing trip Glenn took me on. He’d wanted to push me over­board, but there were too many peo­ple around!

The text mes­sages be­tween them had re­vealed it all.

Glenn, 49, was found guilty and jailed for life, to serve a min­i­mum of 17 years. Heather the same, with a min­i­mum of 15 years.

She’s tran­si­tion­ing and now likes to be known as Arthur.

Hay­ley, 32, was given the same as Heather. Too harsh!

She hadn’t pulled the trig­ger. Hay­ley’s bar­ris­ter told the court she’d ‘lost her wits in the throes of pas­sion’.

‘This was cru­elty of a high de­gree – cold, cal­cu­lated and chill­ing cru­elty,’ said Judge Adele Wil­liams.

I vis­ited Hay­ley in prison as soon as I could.

‘Sorry, sorry,’ she sobbed. I want her back. I still love her. Our kids need her. I know peo­ple won’t un­der­stand.

To be hon­est, I don’t un­der­stand any of it. Why couldn’t they wait for me to die?

Maybe they had an eye on my life in­sur­ance, but it would only pay out £4,000 to cover funeral costs.

Our kids will be grown-ups when Hay­ley gets out of prison. And I won’t be here...

It breaks my heart that I won’t ever hold her in my arms again.

What can I say? I for­give her. Heather is ap­peal­ing her sen­tence.

Why couldn’t they wait for me to die?

life The at­tempts on my left me burned and with a bul­let frag­ments lodged in my head My own great-niece, Heather, shot me! I still love Hay­ley, and I for­give her

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