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Pete was the nicest boy you could ever wish to meet.  He had learning difficulties, but if you’d seen him with the children you would have known that he was the nicest lad.  He was patient with them. He was kind with them.  If the kids were there, you knew Pete was somewhere around looking after them.

He was quite tall too.  Taller than Mike or I.   and strong…the children would hang from his arms and he would lift them up like they were nothing.  Screaming and giggling they were, with him just standing there grinning.

His whole life revolved around the youngsters.  He would wait with them too if parents didn’t turn up on time and once he took a boy home as the little one was so homesick and Pete knew the Mum was hard up.

My name is Helen and I used to run the Kittie Brook day care centre.  Pete used to work for me and my fiance Mike. This is a hard story to tell but it has to be told at some point and hey,  I’m now 89 so I don’t think it matters if I tell the story today.

Mike and I met at college.  We had been together for quite a few years at the time of this story.  We met Pete straight out of school.  He was a daft teen that would make us laugh a lot.  Mike was a bit of a bully when we first met Pete.  Sad to admit that but it is true.  But Pete took it all in good stead and Mike backed off after a few months and Pete sort of was just there after a while.

When we started the kid centre, Pete was just there too.  We started paying him but he would have been there anyway.  He loved the place and helped us decorate, do odd jobs, and of course, look after the children.

We were young, all in our early twenties.  Mike and I thought we knew it all. We had good training and we love the kids.  We thought that was what the future held and were content.

Mike did an extra course in child psychology.  He was a quick learner and that side of things was really his forte.  He sailed through the exams and left with honours.  That really helped with the parents trusting us as we had quite a few certificates by this time so we were always full with a long waiting list.

Things were doing really well and then one day Mike came to me and took me to one side, and he quietly said that there’d been report from one of the children that Peter done something to him…. let’s just say something that perhaps he shouldn’t have done.  I was like, well you know him, always cuddling.  That’s what I thought, you see?  Nothing more than that.   I just thought nothing of it.  I wanted to question the youngster but Mike said it may be too upsetting and to leave it to him. He was trained for it, obviously, so I was happy with that.   But then Mike came to me with another report, and then another, and it was decided that perhaps we should actually say something. Approach the police I mean.

Of course we did tell the Police, and Pete was arrested, and he was taken away to the police station.   I was totally shocked. I did realise that the police station was perhaps not the best place for him to be, and I was really, really worried about him.  A day later, when Mike was out of the office, I just had to ask one of the children seated on a bench outside in the sun, what exactly did he do to you, and the child said he didn’t do anything to me, it was Mike.  It was Mike that did it to me but he told me not to tell.  Then he promptly burst into tears.

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Dumbfounded, I asked him more and unfortunately he told me what had been done to him, and I realise that Pete was not the one to blame, and that Mike have been using him because Pete was unable to speak for himself in a really good way.

I was incensed, angry, hurt, upset, and leaving one of the staff in charge I drove to the Police station to tell them that they had the wrong man!  It was not Pete, it was the man who had put the charge in, Mike!!

When I got to the police station though, they kept me waiting for ages, whispering among themselves and looking at me from the corner of their eyes.  They then invited me into a room and before I could say anything, they told me that somehow Pete had managed to hang himself!  I sat in the room with them for ages it seemed, answering questions about Pete.  How loving he was.  How he wouldn’t hurt a fly.  How I did not believe the stories and how they should talk to the kids again.  I never mentioned Mike.  Not once.  I could not bring myself to say that the man I had loved was a lying bastard.  The words just would not come out.  I knew they would find out very soon for themselves and I had something to do first.

Finally I left.  There had been no windows in the room we were in and I was greeted by sudden thunder and heavy rain.  I sat outside in my car, water lashing the windscreen, unable to see out for what seemed like forever just crying, and planning.

I did not tell Mike that I knew.  Something inside just died that day and I suppose you don’t think real clear when you are young

So I didn’t tell Mike where I’d been when I got back to work. I told him that I’d had a long lunch and he seemed to accept that and as he hadn’t heard yet about Pete’s death I managed to carry on being my normal self …. as normal as I could be, for the rest of the day, and then I asked Mike if he’d like to go out that evening.  He jumped at the chance.  He always did like a drink or three.

My friend I room-shared with is a vet, and it didn’t take much to find out what drug I could use on Mike. So that night I grab the bottle from her dispensary when she wasn’t looking and everything was set

Oh my god, it was so hard to be nice to Mike, you have no idea!  Every time he touched me I cringed inside.  I just wanted it over!

At the end of the night and his last drink, I placed some of the stuff… I like to think of it as poison actually, so that on the way home he would fall asleep.  Well, no, actually that’s not true.  He would look like he was asleep but his eyes would be open. He wouldn’t be able to move but in fact he would know everything I was saying and doing.  You look shocked and perhaps you think that was a bit hard but perhaps you have to realise that……. no I don’t even think I need to explain to you I think you totally understand deep down.

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Well it worked you know.  Halfway home he did go out.  I stopped the car and sitting there smoking a cigarette and blowing the smoke into his eyes, I told him about Pete and I told him that I knew what he done, and that Pete was innocent, and I told him exactly what I thought of him…..then I told him that it he should pay for this and that I had thought of something rather nasty but well he did deserve it after all don’t you think?

I drove up to the farm that I knew was quiet as they had taken a holiday.  They had a sideline in furniture now that farming wasn’t worth much money.  They cut down and raised their own trees.  My, that son of theirs been an awesome carpenter.

I knew that in one of the sheds was a wood chipper.  You know the kind of thing you put in a huge log and it just shreds it?  So I put him through it feet first.  I did think at one point it may have broken as it seemed to be stuck right at his hips.  But it carried on and and did the job quite well.  Can you imagine if I had had to call out an engineer?

About three days after this happens I had a visit from the police and they told me about Mike being the culprit after all… (I looked appropriately shocked) and that they had been hunting for him. (I tried to help him with where I thought he may have gone).   Soon they came back and told me what had happened at the farm.  Seems the family had come off holiday and at first thought an animal had got in the wood chipper until they realised that another animal would have had to turn on the power and then pull the plug out afterwards.  They reckoned a parent had taken him up there and I cried a lot and I sobbed a lot, and I had counselling…a lot.

I closed the daycare and decided to take up dressmaking which is what I then did most of my life.

You know, in this retirement home there’s an old guy who talks in his sleep.  Seems he was a bad man.  Had naughty thoughts about youngsters.  Well,  I think nobody knows it yet as only I heard him gabbing.

I really think he should be dealt with, don’t you?

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