Sociology of Crime and Deviance. Crime Story for seminar 1.
By David Anderson.
There was an autumnal haze in the air as Lord Newby sipped his morning tea whilst staring across the grounds of his sixteen-acre estate from the comfort of his conservatory. He loved doing this, but not today. His thoughts were making his stomach turn making each sip taste like bitter lemons. His wife whom he had been married for forty years had recently died not eight months ago and thoughts turned to his own mortality. They had lived and loved, believing they would be together forever, but God deals with dangerous cards. Now it was time to see his estate passed amongst his two sons and a daughter and it was these thoughts that plagued his mind the most. He new the will he had recently devised would upset certain family members but Lord Newby was a man of principle and felt that his decisions were always the right ones. The decision to tell his children today with all of them present was his own even though his lawyer, Ben Young, had decided it was a bad idea. Ben would also be present when Lord Newby confesses his will and it would be tonight.
Lord Newby invited his eldest son John with his wife whom both see Lord Newby frequently and attend to his wishes the most. John lives with his wife about an hour from the Newby estate and visits frequently whenever John can get time away from the hospital. The day he qualified as a doctor was the proudest day of Lord Newby’s life but it made the rest of the family insanely jealous particularly Nigel the next eldest. He resented the vast wealth his family sat on and desperately couldn’t wait to get his hands on his share so that it would fund his aid project in South Africa. That’s where he spends most of his time, being the unselfish philanthropist even though it goes against his fathers wishes, ‘Why couldn’t you do something respectable like your brother,’ were often the words spoken loudly whenever they met. They don’t see or speak to each other very much at all and it took a lot of persuasion from his father to fly back from South Africa for this get together. Felicity, the youngest child, also had huge disagreements with her father. A couple of month’s back she got engaged to an aspiring rock star. Lord Newby believed strongly that the only reason for his interest in Felicity was for her wealth and of course the prestige of being married to a Lords daughter, especially if you want to be noticed as a rock artist. Felicity’s relationship with her father was hugely strained because of this and has not seen or spoken to her father for many weeks.
As Lord Newby reflected on the circumstances of his life, a knock was heard on the conservatory door and in came Alfred, Lord Newby’s personal butler. Alfred has been a loyal servant for twenty years probably because he feels that he owes his master a debt of gratitude. In his younger days he accidentally killed a man in a drunken brawl outside a pub in Manchester. Alfred spent a good few years in prison, convicted of manslaughter, and his life seemed ruined. When released he was given a second chance in life, to work for Lord Newby, and he has been there ever since. However, he has never really been made to feel welcome, being constantly reminded of his violent history and treated at times like an animal by Lord Newby.
‘Mr. Young has arrived Sir, would you like me to bring him through,’
‘Well it would not be good sport if we were to leave him out in the cold now would it Alfred,’ spat Lord Newby, ‘Of course you should bring him through.’
‘Very well sir’ beamed Alfred, for he was used to such treatment.
When they greeted each other they did so like old friends, they had known each other for many years. Ben had looked after Lord Newby’s affairs with a personal touch that was much appreciated.
‘Are you sure that you want to tell them the news together Charles, it may be upsetting for everyone involved,’
‘No it is important that I see there reactions so that I am satisfied that I have made the right decision,’ exclaimed Charles, ‘It is something I must do.’
That afternoon, Ben and Charles went over the final details of the will making sure everything was perfect before the arrival of the children that evening. It was about five thirty before the first of them arrived and it was no surprise that it was the eldest son John and his wife Margaret. They greeted each other lovingly but with a touch of formality, Lord Newby had traditional values after all. Next to arrive was Felicity and her partner Brian. These were tense moments, especially for Felicity because she knew that her father and Brian hated each other immensely. Charles was making it very difficult for the marriage to take place; in fact he would never allow it in his lifetime. Felicity worshipped both Charles and Brian but chose Brian to be the only man in her life, but if Brian were to reap the rewards of his catch then that would only mean one thing, the removal of Charles. As they all sat in the drawing room, the tension was unbearable, especially when Margaret, John’s wife, continually made cutting comments about Felicity and Brian. Margaret loved Charles immensely. Her father died when she was very young and looked up to Charles as a father figure so the decision to run off with this ‘idiot’ Brian as she often called him hurt her tremendously.As the minutes ticked away, Charles was getting impatient but he knew he would have had to wait for Nigel because he had only flown into Heathrow that afternoon.
‘That boy is useless, he can never do as he’s told,’
‘But father’, said Felicity, ‘I’m sure he is doing his best to get here, why don’t you understand his work, it means so much to him and it is probably the most kind and unselfish thing anyone in this family has ever done.’
Charles just turned away in silence with a look of tempered guilt. He always wanted his children to grow up to become doctors, lawyers or politicians. It wasn’t what Nigel was doing that annoyed him, but the fact that he had gone against his fathers wishes and plans. Felicity could never understand this for she loved and missed her brother enormously. She felt that her father had driven Nigel away making her life unhappy, making her relationships with both her boyfriend and brother very difficult. Then in came Nigel.
Charles wanted to get on with things immediately, without even acknowledging Nigel’s arrival. Ben and Alfred were to be present.
‘I have brought you all here together so that I can explain to you the reasons for my decisions regarding my will.’ For the first time that evening, the siblings looked at each other with looks of amazed interest, ‘My decisions will make some of you unhappy but it shouldn’t be too unexpected,’ Nigel could not look at his father at this point.
‘John and his partner will receive the majority of my estate, with the deeds put into his name with all of its possessions and a sum of fifty thousand pounds. Felicity will receive the sum of ten thousand pounds and a sum of a further forty thousand pounds if she marries anyone other than the named Brian Corby within my lifetime. If I die before then, the money will still be passed to Felicity. Nigel will receive the sum of one thousand pounds, hardly enough for him to waste on some foolish philanthropy.’ Nigel storms out of the room, Felicity giving chase, ‘and finally I must explain to Alfred why he receives nothing. Once a criminal, always a criminal, at my death you must leave the estate and never contact my family again.’
With the mixture of emotions flying around that evening it is understandable why Ben thought it better if Charles had done this some other way. The next morning proved why Ben had been right. At eight o’clock, when Alfred went to wake Lord Newby he was found dead. When the paramedics and police came, it was clarified that he had been strangled and beaten to a pulp. On questioning the parties, including Ben regarding the will, the police found it necessary to arrest Alfred. The nature of the beating and his motive of outrage at his treatment despite his loyal service was enough for the police to handcuff and escort to the station. However, Ben had noticed a couple of things that the police had failed to recognize. On questioning John, he had noticed that his hands were swollen, more than usual and also that in Charles bedroom he had noticed a bracelet, a women’s bracelet under the bed. So he picked it up and approached Margaret, John’s wife.
‘This is yours I believe,’ handing the bracelet over.
‘Oh there it
‘Why did you kill Charles Marge,?'
‘Oh but I didn’t, oh what have I done,’ tears began to stream down her face.
‘If you didn’t, then who did?’
‘He only did it because he loved me,’ at this point the rest of the parties walked into the room.
‘Who loved you, was it someone in this room.’
‘Oh John I am so sorry,’ at this point Chief Inspector Thomson walked into the room, hanging onto every word.
‘I was Charles’ lover, and John walked in on us together, he knew I was seeing him but we thought that maybe if I carried on seeing him we would get a large share of the will, but we did not know he would tell us all together like this.’
Then John piped up with insane rage, ‘ His treatment of the others was unthinkable; I secretly hated the old bastard, his ancient values. I hate being a stupid doctor, all to please him, I was fed up with it.’
Appearances may be deceiving and in this case it certainly was. Don’t let the obvious cloud your judgment; nothing can beat looking at hard evidence and a thorough investigation of the facts. Money, sex and power are all dangerous toys to play with.