The stamp of evil

Jamie left his mark in the cruellest way possible...

Published by: Polly Taylor
Published on: 24th February 2011

They say life’s full of surprises and, for me, that couldn’t have
been truer. I’d been with my boyfriend Jamie Worrall for four years when, aged 17, I’d fallen pregnant, despite being on the pill.
Breaking the news to Jamie, 18, I’d expected him to freak out. We were so young – but his reaction was my second surprise.
‘That’s amazing news, babe,’ he beamed, hugging me. And, as my baby bump grew, so had Jamie’s excitement about becoming a dad.
‘I hope it’s a boy,’ he smiled, looking at my scan picture. ‘Then I can teach him to play footie.’
We didn’t live together, but he’d bought a cot and tons of baby clothes. I felt sure he’d take to fatherhood like a duck to water!
But when our son Cody arrived, I realised how wrong I’d been.
Jamie became moody and distant. That was my third surprise – and a nasty one. One afternoon I called him, asking him to visit. ‘I’m busy,’ he snapped.
‘You’ve hardly seen Cody since he was born…’ I protested.
A dialling tone was my only reply – he’d hung up.
After that, Jamie turned up when he felt like it, acting as if nothing was wrong. ‘You can’t do this,’ I’d tell him. ‘It’s not fair on Cody.’
It wasn’t fair on me, either – he was supposed to be supporting me, not acting like a tearaway teenager.
I didn’t need this.
So, the next time he appeared at my door, I had a surprise for him.
‘It’s over,’ I announced. ‘I don’t want Cody growing up like this, with a dad who’s only around when he feels like it.’
‘Fine,’ he shrugged, walking off.
Of course, that wasn’t the end of it.
Jamie started turning up in the early hours, drunk, and demanding to see his son.
‘Go away,’ I’d shout through the letter box, praying that Cody wouldn’t hear.
Trouble was, as hard as I tried to protect him, my boy was almost two now – old enough to know something was wrong.
‘Daddy mad,’ he croaked one evening, as Jamie hammered on the door. He even started having nosebleeds, which I was convinced were caused by stress.
I felt terrible. How could I cheer him up? I know! I’d get him a pet hamster, something of his own to love and take care of.
He was so excited when I showed him his new pet, a tiny white and ginger ball of fluff that fitted easily into the palm of my hand. ‘What do you want to call him?’ I asked.
‘Thomas!’ he shrieked. Bless him, he loved Thomas the Tank Engine!
‘He’s all furry,’ he giggled.
‘Are you going to look after him?’ I asked, kissing the top
of his head.
He nodded furiously.
Every morning I’d wake to find Cody peering into Thomas’ cage, squealing with delight as his new pet ran in his wheel. ‘I love Thomas,’ he beamed.
‘And Thomas loves you,’ I smiled back. ‘Look at how he snuggles up to your hand when you stroke him.’
It was true. The hamster would gaze at Cody with bright, button eyes, and scamper over to him.
My son grinned at the thought that Thomas loved him.
It was a relief to see him smiling – especially because Jamie’s behaviour was getting worse. More drunken visits, more shouting… One night, the sound of smashing glass jolted me awake. Dashing downstairs in my dressing gown, I found him trying to break in through the back door. He’d punched a hole in the window!
‘What the hell…?!’ I screamed.
‘I love you,’ he slurred.
Drunk again!
‘Funny way of showing it!’ I scoffed, calling the police.
Thankfully, they arrested him. The second they left, I checked on Cody. He was sat staring into Thomas’ cage, bless him.
‘Are you okay?’ I asked.
He didn’t move, didn’t hear me. Oh the poor love, he’d got his fingers stuck in his ears and was watching Thomas in his wheel, trying to block everything out.
His own father had forced him to try blocking out the world.
Even though Jamie was charged with criminal damage and ordered to pay a fine, I couldn’t relax. I was worried he’d be back again.
So my dad Peter, 47, offered to take Cody for a night, while I went to the pub with my mates.
‘This is just what I need,’ I told my pal Gaby, as we ordered drinks at the bar. ‘Jamie’s…’
‘Over there,’ Gaby said, pointing.
Oh God! ‘Leave me alone,’ I warned as Jamie strode over.
‘What are you doing out, slag?’ he spat. ‘Where’s Cody?’
‘None of your business,’ I yelled, as Gaby urged me outside.
‘Come on,’ she said. ‘We’ll go somewhere else.’
We spent the night in a different bar, but I couldn’t help wondering if he was following us.
Still shaken, I stayed over at Gaby’s and picked Cody up the next morning. But as I walked up the garden path to my front door, I gasped. The front window had been smashed in. ‘Not again,’ I fumed.
As I opened the door, though, I realised in horror the broken window was just the beginning.
Inside, tables were upturned, light fittings were hanging down from the ceiling, plates were smashed on the floor. There was even food smeared on the walls.
The place was trashed, and I knew who was responsible – Jamie.
‘Mummy, what happened?’ Cody asked, following me inside.
‘Er, nothing, love,’ I tried smiling, steering him outside. I left him with a neighbour while I called the police.
Back in the lounge, I caught sight of something in the corner.
Thomas’ cage was upturned on the floor, the table it normally stood on was smashed to pieces.
The fine metal bars were mangled, as if the thing had been kicked around like a football.
Peering inside, there was no sign of Thomas. Poor little thing had probably made a dash for it the second the lid had flown open.
I’d have to find him before Cody came home. Explaining this mess was going to be hard enough, never mind telling him his beloved hamster was missing.
Wait… there he was, just a few feet from his cage. But he wasn’t scurrying across the carpet… In fact he wasn’t moving at all.
Looking closer, bile rose in my throat. Thomas’ tiny body had been viciously stamped into the carpet – a flattened, furry, bloody mess.
I felt sick. I knew Jamie was aggressive, but killing Thomas? Stamping on the poor, defenceless creature like a discarded fag butt? Destroying something his son adored? I couldn’t believe anyone could be so cruel. Soon, the police arrived to take fingerprints.
‘I’m sure my ex did this,’ I told them. Sure enough, Jamie was arrested and charged with burglary and animal cruelty. But now I had to break the news to Cody. How could I find the words?
I’d tried my best to protect him from Jamie, but I hadn’t been able to protect the thing he loved most. ‘I’m afraid Thomas has gone to heaven,’ I said, stroking his hair. ‘I’m so sorry.’
‘Why?’ he sobbed. ‘Was he ill?’
‘Yes,’ I said – I couldn’t bear to tell the truth.
‘I’m going to miss him,’ he said.
At Liverpool Crown Court, Jamie admitted breaking in, smashing up the house, and stealing my bike. After seeing me out, he’d ransacked the house in a drunken rage. As for the cruelty charge, he claimed he couldn’t remember killing Thomas.
He was jailed for 15 months.
Now Cody has a cat, Tigger, but he still talks about Thomas. They say life’s full of surprises, but it’s full of shocks, too. I still can’t believe what Jamie was capable of.
ZoŽ Pope, 21, St Helens, Merseyside