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Welcome to the world of the Vincent D'Onofrio obsessed - and a bit of real life thrown in.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Predator On The Loose

Yesterday I made a phone call to a police incident room regarding a crime about which I really knew nothing at all. But something about the disappearance last weekend of recent graduated post-grad architecture student Joanna Yeates rang a bell in my head with a giant clang.

Joanna disappeared from her flat in Bristol, in the west of England, near the border with Wales. Her movements for the evening were documented by the receipts in her purse, which was in her flat, along with her mobile phone and other items without which she would not have left home, including her coat.

Thirty years ago, I was enrolled in a yoga evening class. The teacher, whose name was Valerie Earl, had a daughter Jessie at art college on the south coast. One day Jessie disappeared. Her movements were documented for the time up to her disappearance, including dropping off a repeat prescription request for her inhaler. Her keys, bag and other items were left in her flat.

These two disappearances, 30 years apart, seemed so similar, that I couldn't get the coincidence out of my mind. What if a serial killer has been disappearing women throughout those 30 years, and no one has noticed a link?

So I phoned the incident room and left details of the earlier case.

Sadly for Joanna's parents, their daughter's body has today been found. There must be a good chance of the police finding evidence to nail the abductor.

Even more sadly for Jessie's parents, her remains were not found for 9 years, by which time any evidence was long gone.

John and Valerie Earl

I saw Jessie's much older, wizened mother in passing last week, shortly before this other girl disappeared. I didn't speak to her. I ran out of things to say long ago. Her pain must have been renewed on hearing about this latest case, especially since her daughter's killer has still not been nailed, despite the hopes expressed in this 2-year-old article from the Scottish Daily Record I found on the internet:

Parents of murdered student Jessie Earl hope end may be in sight after 28 year hunt for her killer
Dec 7 2008 By Lesley Roberts, Sunday Mail

IT has been 28 long years since student Jessie Earl vanished, leaving her parents in unending agony.

All that was ever found of the 22-year-old were her skeletal remains and her bra, tied in a knot where it was used to bind her wrists.

To mum Valerie and dad John it seemed unlikely the mystery of her death would ever be solved.

But now serial killer Peter Tobin stares back at them from newspaper pages, a prime suspect for Jessie's murder.

They wonder if they are looking into the face of the monster who killed their daughter.

John, 80, said: "We now know he was in the area when Jessie went missing and we know that he's done other murders."

Tobin's conviction at the High Court in Dundee last week ended the 17-year investigation into Vicky's disappearance but it sparked a series of inquiries into other potential victims.

And 500 miles away, at their home in south London, Valerie and John know their daughter is high on that list.

"A few months ago police asked for samples of Jessie's clothing and took DNA samples from us," said Valerie, 76, a retired yoga teacher.

"The thing I feel saddest about is that there seems to be so little left of Jessie to make the connection to Tobin or anyone else. But you never know. Things have changed so much since Jessie went missing."

Since May 15, 1980, the day she disappeared, Jessie's parents have kept scrapbooks of newspaper cuttings about her.

They include the coverage of 1989 when the young woman's bones were found in an overgrown hedge at Beachy Head, on the south coast of England.

They had lain there for nine years, keeping her killer's secret.

Valerie said: "I've always believed there was more to come.

I felt that some day someone would say something or do something to give us the answers.

"I wasn't sure we would live to see it or whether our son James would get the news. But with Tobin we feel, 'Maybe this time'."

Second-year student Jessie was studying graphics at Eastbourne College of Art and Design, in Sussex, when she went missing.

She called her mother from a phone box at the seafront on Wednesday evening to say she'd be travelling home to London on Friday but she never arrived.

At the time Tobin was living 25 miles along the coast in Brighton.

Valerie said: "If she had changed her mind about coming home, she would have called.

"So I caught the train down to Eastbourne on Saturday to see if she was all right.

"When I got to her flat, I phoned John right away to say, 'There's something wrong'."

Jessie's bedsit flat was empty, abandoned as if she had just popped out for a minute.

Her dirty dinner dishes sat on a table, her book and reading glasses lay on the floor and her purse was on the bed. Police swung into action, searching her room and sweeping the area with helicopters and sniffer dogs.

"People had seen her on the preceding days," said Valerie.

"Some even remembered seeing her in the phone box on Wednesday evening.

"But after a certain point on the Thursday, no one saw her at all. It was as if a big hand had come out of the sky and taken her."

The Earls mounted their own campaign, producing a 'Missing Person' poster to be displayed around the country.

They appeared on Terry Wogan's BBC chat show, took part in Crimewatch and even pursued lines of inquiry offered by psychics.

But there was no trace until a man trying to retrieve his son's kite from an overgrown thicket on Beachy Head cliff top made a gruesome discovery.

Theatre historian John said: "He saw the skull first then found the rest of the bones. It must have been terrible for him.

"When we were told the remains were Jessie's, my immediate feeling was relief. I knew I should be shocked but I wasn't. It was like a weight had been lifted from us.

"It was only when we heard she had been murdered that it welled up again."

The thicket was torn up and the exposed soil sieved for clues but only Jessie's bra was found.

An expert told how the knots in which it was tied suggested it had been used to bind her wrists.

Some of her possessions have never been found - her silver ring, watch, asthma inhaler and brown leather bag.

In 2000 a case review failed to identify a culprit. Valerie and John were finally allowed to bury her remains, fearing the last chance of justice for Jessie had gone.

Then Polish student Angelika Kluk was murdered in Glasgow and Falkirk teenager Vicky Hamilton's body was found in a garden in Margate, Kent. Tobin got two life sentences for the crimes and police across Britain began to look again at their unsolved murders.

Valerie said: "Before Jessie's body was found, I would have said anything, done anything, gone anywhere to find out what happened.

"I don't feel like that now. We know she's dead. We know she was killed. We want to know the rest."

The Episode Where Bobby Says "Cock"!

Right about HERE!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

See if you can get Santa down the chimney.

You get some pictures of Vincent as your reward, whether you succeed or not!

And for UK Vixens, another prize in the New Year, when Channel 5 does a rerun of Season 6, and I can at last replace the widescreen bunch I lost when my Sky+ box died last year!

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Tale of Not Woe!

You're pretty used to hearing me moan on about the quality of service one gets nowadays. Well. Christmas has sent a little tale of cheer.

After my new window was fitted on Monday, it became clear that fixing the leaking downpipe and getting the wet plaster redone was going to have to be done sooner rather than later. I looked through the bunch of flyers I've collected and settled on one. I phoned on Monday evening.

The guy arrived next morning and looked at the problem, noticing in the process a couple of others of similar kind. The house will be 110 years old next month, and the guttering is as old as the house. His quote seemed to me to be extremely reasonable.

He was going for supplies, and said he would return on Thursday morning, which he did, but he did not replace the damaged pipe there and then, but had one of his lads remove the old one, to give the wall a chance to dry as much as it could in 24 very cold hours.

Today he dropped off a couple more lads, who manouevred a very long ladder through the house without damaging anything. They took about an hour to do the fixes they had promised, even though the problems at the top of the ladder were even worse than they'd anticipated. A whole run of gutter will have to be replaced in the future, and as I want a cast iron one, like the old one, the boss said it would be more expenxive than the plastic I settled for with the downpipe. I was expecting a huge sum - he quoted £350, which, again, I find extremely reasonable.

As I expected, the internal plastering will have to wait till the wall is much drier, so at present the job remains unfinished. How much of the £110 (hey, that's £1 for every year of the house's life!) he will be collecting did he ask for today? Not a penny!

I will employ this man again.


Nasty couple of men in this. And then there's Bobby, posing for neck day.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Probably a favourite episode

And one day I will definitely make a note of which album my missing pictures from episodes like this ended up. when I find them.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

This is Handy

Not everyone likes this episode. I think Bobby's wonderful in it. It's that schizophrenia thing again.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Once in 400 Years

The last time there was a lunar eclipse that coincided with the winter solstice was 1638. It happened today at just after 7.40 am. I was up and ready.

It was cloudy.

In a suite with Bobby - no sorrow!

Hmm, lovely thought!

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