Monday, October 22, 2007

Oh, didn't you know John? Your son died four months ago.

Every now and then I encounter a story which makes me want to grieve and rage at the same time. Consider Jordon Lyon, a ten year old boy who dived into the water to save his 8 year old stepsister last May. Thankfully, she was pulled out, but tragically, he went under and was drowned. A terrible incident for all concerned, it was made worse by the fact that two "community support officers" stood on the bank and whined they hadn't been trained for the work rather than dive in after him.

I will reserve my scorn for that pair. I hope they spend the rest of their lives regretting their cowardice (a much misused word is cowardice, but it surely applies here), but beyond that they are relevant only insofar as their behavior provided the vehicle for their father to find out what had happened to his son.

No, he wasn't informed as a matter of course.

Oh, stepdad Anthony Ganderton got there as fast as he could, and then mom, Tracey Ganderton was interviewed on the BBC expressing her horror at the officers' wretchedness. Then there was the inquest. Should the fake cops be reprimanded or sanctioned in some way, or not? Lots of public wringing of hands, political recriminations, and general wailing and gnashing of teeth.

You'd think that someone, somewhere in all this would think to ask if anyone had told Jordon's dad, wouldn't you? Where exactly is Mr. Lyon anyway?

There is no Mr. Lyon, because Jordon's name is actually Jordon Prestwich.

Come again?


Oh good grief, not that game again?!

Very probably, because you won't find the name Prestwich anywhere in the news reports of the death and inquest, nor even on Jordon's memorial website, not until 22 Sept when there is found an entry which reads:

You gave your life to save another. I couldn't be more proud of you son. Hero at 10 year's old.
'If I went to heaven and you wern't there,I'd write your name on a golden stair.'
'I'd give the angels back there wings, golden harps and other thing's'
Just to prove my love is true,I'd go through hell to get to you'.

Tracey!!!! Contact me!!!!
Yes. Why did nobody tell him?

Probably for the same reason that no-one told him where he'd gone when his mother took off with Jordon and his brother Brandon one day leaving no forwarding address. The Child Support Agency and the police wouldn't tell him, inappropriately citing the Data Protection Act. Now that's a good one, isn't it? The people who take the child support won't say where they send the money because, well, they just can't be bothered? They didn't even pass on a letter to her, despite saying they would. Scum. Utter puerile, covering-their-ass, snivelling, bottom-dwelling scum.

So how does John find out that his son is dead? Well, 8 years later he's watching TV and this report comes on about two gutless "Community Support Officers" who stood by while a child drowned and who are let off the hook by a half-assed claim that the kid was probably dead by the time they got there (yeah, right). It's only while he's watching this choreographed ass-covering that John realizes the kid they're talking about is, was, his son.

"It was like someone had hold of my throat and I couldn't get any words out, I just collapsed on the floor," he said.

Can you imagine?

Can you really imagine the unspeakable horror?

For years, the best you could do was to be "...on the system, the electoral register. I am available to be found if someone looks, and I've done that on purpose, so that if Jordon and Brandon did decide to look for me, they could find me." then you turn on the TV and the first thing you know for all that time about your kid is that he's drowned trying to save some unknown stepdaughter. And no-one's told you. No-one's thought to look for you and tell you.

Dear God, but the horror, the unspeakable horror. Listen to him talk about it here. Really, listen, it's well worth it. He went so far as to consult a spiritualist trying to find his sons. The pain in his voice is absolutely palpable, but he still has the strength to forgive her for disappearing as she did, saying it was nothing malicious, with lots of excuses for her. The man's a bloody saint.

But I call bullshit. There was nothing stopping her from keeping in touch. Absolutely nothing. She just left it all up to him despite being the one who left and let the grey, bureaucratic incompetants do the rest. The cops, even now, are lying about what they're saying to John.

This is not a society that gives a damn about families, this is not a society that cares about children and their parents. This is a society of indifference, of cowardice, of sustained apathetic carelessness which it follows up with a lurid interest in the pitiful aftermath.

Again, I say, damn them all.


Anonymous said...

Words cannot express the horror of John Prestwich's reality. Denied the opportunity to say goodbye in addition to the grief in losing a child.

Pumpkin said...

Oh my god.....that is, to date, the most horrifying thing I have ever heard and I can't even begin to imagine what that poor man is going through.

Two words describe what I think that is...

Fucking Evil!!!

Anonymous said...

I can not believe that the father of this child was not informed, how can this be right? Althought I do have sympathy for the mother losing her child maybe she will now understand some of the pain and daily grief John Prestwich has experienced.

Anonymous said...

I want so badly to leave a comment, but I don't know what to say. I imagined my fiance, who lost his children over 10 years ago, going through something similar and my heart broke at the thought. What makes this worse, I saw this story on the news. And look at the additional tragedy behind the story...

There's too much profit in keeping families apart (re: the comment about Child Support concealing the boy's address). The court system loves when strife enters families. I just finished writing something related on my own blog.

God help us all.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Truly despicable treatment of the father. But, I think you are too harsh on the officers, who I take it were male. It's time for men to recognized that they are conditioned to be disposable. Going down with the Titannic while "women and children" get into the lifeboats first is just another dimension of the problem.

Anonymous said...

It makes me tear up. But given how fathers are viewed in today's society, you are only a father if you pay cold hard cash for the child you are not allowed to see.

I would totally expect this from almost every woman I have ever met. Once they fuck over a ton of men to get to some greener grass, they never want to look back. His son probably died thinking his father was a big jerk due to the parental alienation that the mother assuredly brainwashed him with.

The kid is a hero. The father is the victim. The police/fake police are - as always - corporate tools.

Anonymous said...

I fear this same type of thing, I go to bed every night not knowing where my daughter and son are, how they are. I have not seen them in 6 years and thanks to my x, i most likely won't see them again.
I cried when I read this I couldn't imagine finding out that way.
My heart truly goes out to this man and his sons.
For the wife and the system, well what would you think they would do, the right thing.
Things have to change.
For my own kids, I can just hope they are ok.

Anonymous said...

Oh my God.

I'm a teenaged child of divorce, myself, with a custodial mother who drove the wedge between my father and I years ago. I know if something happened to me, my father would be informed - my mother would have the decency to call someone to let him know, even if it wasn't my father directly.

This is among the most horrifying things I've ever read, I think. I can't imagine not knowing that your child is dead. Beyond that, I honestly don't know what to say.

Anonymous said...

I do feel that some may have been more harsh than necessary on PCSOs, however after listening to John Prestwich on BBC's 5live show via download, I think this woman heis trying to protect for some reason is a heartless bitch.

There are discrepancies between what has been reported and what he is telling us, points to note as follows
1) She had to notify CSA of his details, or CSA had to search him out 8 years prior to his sons death, under FOI such information could be obtained by investigative journalist
2) John says she asked the police to notify him, the police deny this.
3)(and this is the biggy for me) she never notified CSA that the child was deceased, because they would have then passed on that info to John.

tell me I'm wrong, John has been bullshited to all the way along by this cow

Kim said...

Reading this make you wonder how it's possible that something like this could actually happen. I can't imagine what it must have been like for that poor man to hear, after the fact, that his son was dead. How do you move on from that? How do you find closure when you didn't get to see him one last time, didn't get to go to his funeral....? There is no excuse for why this happened, nothing the mother can say that will ever begin to justify what she's done.

Anonymous said...

Just think- when the father didn't show up to the funeral, the mother could point that out to all her friends proving her point that her ex is a worthless asshole.

Fathers really don't get enough credit for all that they do.

Anonymous said...

I am in a similar situation, in that if my child died, I would have no idea until someone decided to tell me.

Many people often wonder why men are "commitment" phobic, or they don't want to have kids. They attribute this to our "
childishness" or a lack of maturity. All I have to do is point at this story, and others like it to show them why. There is no way I am ever having anymore kids when things like this are not only allowed but implicitly condoned.