Happy birthday, you're dead. This was the sad tale of one 16 year old in the London Borough of Bromley this month. Sadly, it doesn't get much better.
The front cover story of the News Shopper, Bromley edition, this week is BIRTHDAY BOY KILLED. Nathaniel Brown was stabbed at a party on August 1; he died at 5.11am. August 2 is the birthday of Ted Turner, formerly lead guitarist with Wishbone Ash. It is also mine. I won't feel quite so sorry for myself in future. Two youths aged 18 and 16, one of whom cannot be named, have been charged with murder and will appear at the Central Criminal Court on November 9.
Nathaniel was stabbed in the chest. What a total waste, and on a landmark day that should have been happy, to say the least.
By a remarkable and extremely unpleasant coincidence, a 27 year old man named Nathaniel Brown was convicted at the same court earlier this year of murdering his ex-wife.
Other reports from my local press include that of a carer who stole from an Alzheimer's sufferer, an elderly woman; an eight strong gang gaoled for a string of organised thefts; and a shopkeeper who was stabbed during a robbery in Beckenham High Street.
The big story in South East London this week though is the disappearance of 12 year old Tia Sharp, pictured below.
Tia Sharp, 12, had been missing after leaving her grandmother’s house in New Addington, Surrey. Update — Stuart Hazell is charged with her murder
Flyers have been affixed to bus stops, lamp posts and in many windows in both Penge and Sydenham, including the mini-cab office at Sydenham Station.
Obviously one can only hope for the best, but when a young girl disappears, literally off the face of the Earth, the longer she is missing, the worse is the prognosis. The names Dowler and Bellfield spring readily to mind.