It’s disgraceful really.
The lengths people will go to seriously harm others just for their possessions.
John O’gaunts, Rothwell. 2008. 11pm.
This was the day me and five of my friends nearly lost our lives to some guys with machetes, shotguns and a stupid motive:
“let’s go steal all their money and phones and booze!
Oh and Make sure to take the weed and any other gadgets too!”
Leeds Corn Exchange – Doomsday.
It was my friend Jessica’s 18th Birthday, she had nothing special to do so she had invited me and our crew to a camping trip near her house for good measure.
Or so she can make sure to be home in the morning to look after her sister. Whatever.
I was at my band practice when I got the invite and our day at the studio was coming to an end so I seen some friends off and joined the party in getting shit tons of barbecue food, buying some weed, gathering friends then we headed to the camp site.
5 miles on foot huh. This will be fun.
It was coming round to about half past 7, we were getting closer to our destination..until my friend Matthew decided to get distracted and retraced his steps taking pictures and documenting the wildlife.
I tried to follow him to get him back to the group but the path we explored brought us out to some kinda farming field complete with a very high and very much alive electrical fence.
My phone started buzzing and when I answered it was one of my friends from the party.
He wanted to know where “the fuck” us guys were? Still don’t have a clue where we were to this day.
It got real now.
We then played the most serious game of Marco Polo I’ve ever encountered.
I could hear the concern in his voice.
“Manda, I’m worried.
Do you still have the weed?”
“You..legend! Ok see you soon yeh?” *beep*
Man, fuck this guy.
That was Gibbo. 26 years old and basically the leader. Brilliant guy.
Two hours later, and I’m not kidding, we found our way out of the field, down a long road, through some tall trees and over a motorway. Signs. I love signs.
Civilization at last. We were knackered!!! John O’gaunts’ 2 miles away.
Oh great, more walking! Motherfucker!!!
On foot, we continued until found our way to the party but there was something amiss.
New people has joined the party.
Three new people both me and Matty had never seen before. They had travelled up to our party on their mopeds and they were handing out joints and booze. I calmed down once they seemed to blend in, broke the weed up and let loose.
This was gonna be an amazing night. Me and my buddies.
About half an hour later, Elliot joined me and he was already baked. Panicking too. Maybe having a bad trip. No. There was something troubling him..I had never seen him acting so uneasy. He’s the most easy going, chiller person I know!
I leant forward and rubbed his arm in a reassuring manner, “you alright?!”
“Beatrice hasn’t returned. She jumped on some randomers bike, or scooter to go to the shop and Ste got on the other dudes bike and they haven’t returned..so I’m going to go look for them.”
“Ah man, it’ll be okay, if they aren’t back in five I will go look for them with you.”
An hour later, we had forgotten about Beatrice and Ste.
Shortly after I reassured Elliot, we got drinking and hot boxed our tent.
Then, a blood curdling scream deafened me, but brought us back to the reality of what was going on. I was first to burst out of the tent, thinking Shit!! Oh shit what’s happening! All I could see is five people in the distance at the bottom of the hill getting ruffed up by More random people. I saw Reb’s face get sliced open first.
This was No joke now. We were All in trouble.
I snapped out of my simmering dopey after effect from all the weed and booze and I started calling to my friends, frantically packing up all the tents, checking my phone in the haze of the crazy.
35 missed calls and a text saying “RUN!”
My eyes were so wide and fearful, my throat, once thoroughly lubricated, ran as dry as a desert.
I didn’t even bother to check who the text was from, I just knew I had to get everyone out immediately.
I ripped open Matty’s tent first, picking at random because I had no idea where everyone was settled. He was shivering into a corner at the back of the tent. In shock. Lips pale as the newly approaching moonlight.
I threw his puny body onto my back and we were joined by a running and now screaming Elliot.
We rescued Jessica next, then disturbed Debbie and Ash who were far too busy with each other and extremely loud music to notice what was going on.
I threw their music player and it smashed on the ground near the camp fire.
Ash stood up, looked around..naked..startled at our sudden appearance.
He shook me, asking me what I know, driven mad in seconds, fearing for his brothers fate.
Ash is Ste’s brother.
Ste had been missing for two hours. I still needed to tell him that. According to Jessica, Kyle was missing too, and zeb.
We couldn’t find Gibbo either. Ash finally put some clothes on and to our horror, he ran away from us into the night. Elliot called Jessica’s dad and he may as well have turned up in a helicopter with how fast he arrived at the camp site.
Jessica’s dad took Elliot, Jessica, Debbie and some camping equipment home.
There was no room for me and Matty, so we ran away together once they’d left.
It was a nightmare. I collapsed from exhaustion when we reached a gorge. Feeling a little safe knowing we were away from the camp site, and that we had managed to save our friends, even if it put us in danger.
Its just the kinda person I am.
Matty was beginning to turn blue.
What the hell was wrong with him?
I took my coat off and gave him Gibbos hat to wear.
I shivered into my knees.
What felt like hours went by, and there was Another scream, this time a mans scream.
I cried silently and hugged Matty to me.
A figure appeared near us, I looked up, whimpered and I told him to kill me and spare Matty.
I squeezed my eyes shut, then I felt a hairy hand gripping my jaw and with such force.
He was trying to kiss me!!!
I had no time to retaliate, or so I thought…
My leg came up and got him right in his bollocks. He went down fast and then scrambled for my feet. Matty grabbed his arm and yanked him away, then I saw blood and heard my dear friend screech in pain.
I jumped up, kicked the attacker in his face which broke his teeth and he stood up moaning in pain, mouth full of blood and spat at me, laughing. Which was fucking terrifying. I ran. I grabbed Matty by my coat and his sleeve and we stumbled and fell down a small hill.
The man was closing in and I was already saying goodbye to my life and my friends, loved ones, family, college friends…everything and everyone.
I looked over at Matty and his neck was bleeding, and his chin. I stood up to attend to his wounds but then I went back down from a blow to the back of my head.
I was disorientated, Matty had fainted because we bumped heads, blood was coming from where I got hit and he was being robbed. The man told me to stay down or I die.
I told him it’ll be him in prison, not me.
He stood up and punched me, which buried my face into the mud.
Amazingly, I scrambled to my feet and managed to push the man over which clumsily made the machete he was wielding fly out and slice me from ear to cheek, I pushed him again and this time he toppled down further, giving me enough time to rescue Matty.
Putting my life at risk for a good reason. We are not dying tonight. Not like this.
Matty immediately roused and he flailed and accidentally kicked my flopping legs and we fell sideways around 10ft off a sloping slippery hilltop into a river concealed by bushes and stinging nettles. Lovely Amazing Brilliant wildlife. Take a picture!
I laughed and passed out.
I dreamt of drama class, back in high.. My friends were dressed up from the props in the costume box, we were all laughing.. Happily. Safe.
I saw my parents sadly smiling down at me.
As if I was suddenly in danger.
I shot upright. Aching, bleeding everywhere including my face.
Lights, camera, ….. Action? Police radios. Search lights from helicopters.
An immense feeling of relief overwhelmed me once again.
A police dog sniffed and barked at my face, which tickled and scared me at the same time. I lifted Matty up and another policeman told me to go steady.
We were all reunited in Beeston police station. 5am. My phone was gone.
But I didn’t care. My life wasn’t… So it was all going to be okay.
We all hugged and cheered. Even if most of us were covered in blood, mud, sweat and rain.
Reb had a nasty cut across her forehead.
Matty needed a few stitches for his neck
Kyle had a broken leg and a cut near his wrist.
Elliot, Debbie and Jessica were fine, but cried when they seen us.
Simon and Hannah were completely fine, but simon had a big bruise near his eye.
I looked in the mirror in the station toilets and I grimaced. But when I got the courage to wash my face, wincing in pain.. It wasn’t As bad as it seemed when it was covered in mud and blood.
Almost like a smiley face haha! Small, concealable if needs be.. I was fine.
Ash wasn’t. He had been stabbed. He was in intensive care. He lived though.
Ste was found draped over a fence naked next to a motorcycle helmet.
Cut up in different places. Serious and injuries from being hit with the helmet.
The police showed us the pictures. It was horrific and I immediately felt selfish.
As if I didn’t do enough to help. I fell to my knees and cried.
Everyone else bawled. It was emotional. Sad. Upsetting.
The bad news wasn’t over.
His ear had been cut off. And fed to him.
The criminals are behind bars now. They only got four years.
Everyone’s fully recovered now.
As you can see.
So did Gibbo.
That’s not an excuse to stab someone, fucking children.