Sunday, November 09, 2014

Poor boyfriend K

It's early in the morning and I'm fast asleep, having been out the previous evening to see a film with my friend Close Encounters. After the film we'd met up briefly with Boyfriend K in a gay bar in Soho in central London. Boyfriend K was with some friends of his and they looked keen to party the whole night. However, I'd been out very late with Boyfriend K on the previous night and I'm feeling slightly tired, so I decided to leave them to it and go home for some rest.

But at 4:20am I suddenly I wake up to the sound of my mobile phone ringing. I can tell from the ringtone that it's boyfriend K, so I get out of bed to answer it. Luckily I manage to reach it before the voicemail kicks in:

"Hello :-)," I say in a drowsy voice, "I was asleep! How are you :-)?"

"GB, GB :-(", says boyfriend K in both a drunk and tearful voice.

"What's happened?" I ask urgently, "Are you OK?"

"No," answers boyfriend K very tearfully, "I'm not OK …"

"What on earth …"

"I've been attacked," replies boyfriend K, crying.

My first thought is that boyfriend K has been the victim of some kind of homophobic or racist attack. But it's very hard talking to him. He's clearly drunk and quite incoherent.

"There's lots of blood, GB, I don't know what's going on …"

"Where are you?" I ask anxiously, "I'm going to come and find you."

"No, hang on", says boyfriend K, "a woman who's been helping me wants to talk to you."

"Hello is that GB?" asks a calm and efficient female voice, "I'm with the London ambulance service. Your boyfriend has been assaulted, but don't worry, I think he'll be OK."

"So what's happening?" I ask her, feeling very relieved that he's in good hands and being cared for.

"Well, the police are here, taking some statements. But when they're done we're going to take him to the Accident and Emergency department at a nearby hospital to get him checked out, just to be on the safe side."

I get her to tell me which hospital they're going to take him to, but when she passes me back to carry on talking to boyfriend K, he's still very incoherent. I tell him that I'll go to the hospital and meet him there.

"No don't come, GB, don't worry, I don't want to be any trouble …"

But of course, when one's boyfriend is in a situation like this, such requests fall on deaf ears!

I quickly pull on the clothes that I was wearing the previous night, and once in the street, I manage to find a taxi quite quickly. With the early morning streets relatively empty, I end up getting to the hospital first. I wait in the area where the ambulances arrive. About fifteen minutes later, an ambulance arrives, and once the doors open I see one of the friends that I had left boyfriend K with a few hours earlier.

"Are you GB?" asks a paramedic, as she helps boyfriend K out of the vehicle.

"Yes indeed," I answer, "I guess you were the person that I spoke to earlier. Thank you so much for looking after him :-)."

When Boyfriend K emerges, he's in a sorry state. His nose and left eye are very swollen, his face is splattered with his blood, he's got various cuts and bruises, and on top of that the polo shirt that he's wearing is ripped and covered with blood too. He doesn't say much but he looks very pleased to see me.

I'm surprised to see that there's also a police officer with them. Together we all head into the hospital where we're told to sit down while they find someone to look at boyfriend K.

"There were two of them hitting boyfriend K," the friend tells me, "a man and a woman. I saw it all."

I can't help thinking that boyfriend K was lucky that he'd been with this particular friend. This guy drinks very little alcohol, so he'd have been quite sober when the incident took place and was no doubt able to help.

The policeman overhears that I'm trying to find out what happened, and joins the conversation.

"We think what happened," says the policeman, "is that boyfriend K saw the man pissing in the street and told him to stop. The woman, who we think was this man's girlfriend, told boyfriend K to mind his own business. She says that boyfriend K pushed her, and because of that the man came to defend her which is how the fight started. Once boyfriend K was on the ground and there was blood then he ran off, but thanks to the help of the security staff from a nearby bar we were able to arrest the woman."

"OK, I guess that makes sense," I say, starting to understand what might have happened. I'm mildly surprised that boyfriend K got physical by pushing the woman, but unless the incident was captured on CCTV, it'll be hard to prove who got physical first.

"When I first heard about this," I continue, "I was wondering whether it was a homophobic attack, but I guess not."

"No," answers the policeman, "It wasn't homophobic. In fact it was completely avoidable! The lesson for your friend is that he should mind his own business a bit more."

"At the moment the attack is being treated as GBH," continues the policeman, "which for now is good because that means this case gets some priority. But unless your friend loses an eye or has a brain haemorrhage or something, it'll almost certainly be downgraded to ABH. That's why I'm here, to find out from a doctor how serious the injuries are."

"So will anyone be charged with this assault?" I ask.

"There's a reasonable chance that there'll be a charge. Although the woman was arrested, it's unlikely that she'll be charged with anything. It's the guy that we'd like to catch."

"That'll be hard won't it?" I say, wondering how the system works in connection with this sort of crime.

"Well, the place where the incident occurred is being treated as a crime scene. The guy was taking a piss so we'll be able to get his DNA. If we can match that to someone's DNA in our records, then we'll be able to find him and arrest him. Of course we'll also be asking the woman who he is, but she probably won't want to tell us."

"So what's the chance of catching the guy?"

"The truth is that a lot of the people that do this sort of thing are known to us which means that we have their DNA on record. So there's a reasonable chance of catching him!"

Boyfriend K has been sitting quietly while we've discussed all this. I can tell that he's still quite drunk, and he looks very tired too. The friend who's been with boyfriend K also looks tired so I tell him that he can go home if he wants.

"I can stay for now," he answers, keen to support boyfriend K as much as possible. But with me now on the scene and much more alert than him, he soon realises that he may as well go home and get some rest.

"We've got your statement," confirms the policeman, "so you don't have to stay."

A bit later, a nurse comes and takes boyfriend K along with me and the policeman into the treatment area. We get our own cubicle, so boyfriend K sits on the treatment couch, while me and the policeman find chairs to sit on. But once he's on the couch, boyfriend K can't resist lying down, and soon it looks like he's fallen asleep.

"It'll be hard to wake him now :-|," I tell the policeman. "When he gets drunk like this and falls asleep, I generally find it absolutely impossible to wake him."

"I'm feeling tired too," says the policeman, "because I've been on duty for almost 12 hours now!"

"Wow, that a long shift isn't' it?"

"I suppose so, but it's OK," he replies. "I work for 7 days, with 11 or 12 hour shifts each day, but then I'm off for 7 days. So come tomorrow evening, I'll be relaxing with a vodka or something, looking forward to my week off :-)."

"Is this kind of incident very common?" I ask.

"Yes, very common! Most people don't realise how common it is, because although they might see something occasionally, they don't see it all the time like we do. Most of the work we get at night is dealing with drunk people and fights like this."

"I tell you," continues the policeman, "with what I know now, I could resign from the police and become a criminal, and then make enough money so that I could retire after a year or two. But of course I won't, because I've got much better morals than that."

"Is it that easy?" I ask.

"With burglars, it tends to be the stupid ones that get caught. For example, they might have a cigarette while still in the property that they're burgling, and if we find the butt end then we can get their DNA. The same thing applies if they take drink or something from the fridge. The penalties for burglary aren't that bad either. If you only get caught once in 5 years, you probably only go to jail for 6 months. You can regard it as a manageable occupational hazard."

"The penalties for dealing drugs are quite severe," continues the policeman, "but then you can make serious money from doing that, much more than you or me take home in a year. A drug dealer might have 50 clients, each spending £150 a week for three hits of cocaine. But it's much cheaper when bought in bulk. A suitcase full might cost you £30,000 but you can sell for £100,000 in a few months. Perhaps we should try the Three Strikes And You're Out law that they've got in New York, so that people go to prison for life after three offences. That would make people think twice."

We chat a bit more, but soon some of the hospital staff come along to attend to boyfriend K. Although they have a lot of trouble waking him up, they have a few tricks that eventually work, so gradually over the next couple of hours they assess him. Half way through, the policeman agrees with his sergeant over his walkie-talkie that if they charge anyone it'll be with ABH rather than GBH, so with his job done he bids us farewell.

Eventually, the conclusion is that although Boyfriend K will have a swollen nose and black eye for perhaps a week or two, he doesn't need a head scan and doesn't have a broken nose either. We get given a leaflet about head injuries, and are told we can go. On the way out, I thank all the staff that helped us. Just outside the hospital I manage to find another taxi, and soon we're back home. The time is around 9:15am.

"I'm feeling tired, but perhaps I'll have some breakfast before coming back to bed for a nap", I say to boyfriend K as he climbs into bed to get some rest.

"No," he says, looking at me lovingly, "please come to bed now."

I know that because of the state that he's in, activities aren't on the menu. Nonetheless, I'm more than happy to oblige, so I take all my clothes off too and jump into bed to keep him company for a naked cuddle :-).

Looking back, I'm very impressed at the way London's support systems handled everything. The ambulance service, the police and the hospital staff all did their jobs well. Although it'll take boyfriend K a while to recover, without all these efficient support services it would have been so much worse. I just hope that it'll be a long time before we need to find out how well these services work again!


Adlexus said...

I must say I was so intrigued reading this post, but glad to know it wasn't a homophobic incident. Hope the swollen eye and nose heals fast as well!

GB said...

Thanks for your kind wishes, Adlexus :-). GB xxx

Kenski said...

Hope Boyfriend K recovers quickly!! Arnica cream can really help with bruising, if you've not used it before.

Anonymous said...

He got beaten for telling a guy to not urinate in the public? I guess he must have had one drink too many, otherwise why would he care about such a thing. I find it all slightly amusing, not that anyone deserves to be physically assaulted in such manner. Hope he's recovered by now.

GB said...

Thanks for the advice, Kenski :-).

And to the most recent anonymous commenter (whowever you are), boyfriend K was indeed slightly *tipsy*, but I know we're not the only ones who think that urinating in public places in cities is a disgusting habit.

GB xxx

Latelygay said...

'Amusing'??!! Yes, a right bellyfull of laughs, NOT.

I, for one, do not want to live in a world where we cannot take others to task for their anti-social behaviour.