16 March 2015

Alison

 Ten days ago, Alison Wilson was assaulted in Widnes, Cheshire. Last Friday, as a direct result of her injuries, she died in a hospital bed. She was just thirty six years old. 

Returning home with a male friend after a Sunday night visit to a local pub, she came across a man and woman arguing angrily in the street. A baby was present too. Rather than walking on by,  Alison's "Good Samaritan" instinct surfaced and - probably without thinking -  she intervened in an attempt to break up the unknown couple's violent row. It was a fatal mistake.

Twenty seven year old Stephen Duggan now turned his anger on Alison and her male friend. She was beaten to the ground, sustaining a serious head injury which was the direct  cause of her  death.

It reminded me of something that happened when I was eighteen. It was a Saturday night and I was in the little Yorkshire coastal town of Hornsea. I had said good night to my girlfriend and  I was making my way homewards through Marketplace. There were few pedestrians around but on the other side of the street an almighty row was in full swing between a man and a woman. They were twenty-somethings.

I wanted to walk on by but then he started punching her around the head and she fell to her knees. I rushed over and grabbed his arm to prevent more blows raining in and then I became part of the altercation. Not only was he yelling at me but bizarrely the woman on the ground also started on me. I was pushed into the street and stumbled down as a taxi approached.

I remember rolling into the gutter as the taxi's wheels raced past me - a foot away from my head. By now two or three other passers by were involved and the rowing couple slunk away - their fire already turning to embers.

But I have always remembered those ten seconds very clearly. My life could easily have ended that Saturday night because I chose to do the right thing - instead of walking by like the priest and the Levite in that famous parable. That incident from long ago has always made me very cautious about intervening whenever strangers are involved. Doing the right thing can sometimes be the wrong thing. And it makes me feel especially sorry for  poor Alison Wilson and the loved ones who grieve her passing.

A family statement read: "We are truly devastated. Alison was a beautiful, caring, loving, mother, daughter, partner, sister, sister-in-law and aunty. She was taken away from us too early for trying to help another person in distress."

14 comments:

  1. How tragic. Police know that when called to a domestic disturbance the police are in danger, since the anger and violence often turns to the outsider. What a sad thing to happen to this kind lady.

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    1. Thanks for calling by Terra. That sudden animosity towards the outsider is a curious phenomenon.

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  2. This is very sad.
    Not for him as in all probability he'll just get a slap instead of the twenty years he deserves.

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    1. His girlfriend and baby were also injured in the fracas though I am sure he didn't set out that evening to kill someone.

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  3. Some weeks ago, a similar case made the headlines here in Germany. A young woman had tried to defend/protect a group of teenage girls from (verbal) abuse by a man; she didn't know either the girls nor the man, she just wanted to do what she felt was right. Her reward? A punch in the face and a kick to the head. She died there and then.
    Many articles have appeared in the papers, and "conflict experts" keep coming up with good advice, urging people to not let events like these make them stop from intervening - if only by calling the police - when they witness a fight or potentially dangerous situation.
    My mother once witnessed a stabbing at the railway station. Of course she did not go near the guys who were fighting, but she used her mobile to call the police - nobody else out of the dozens of onlookers had done that.
    I am glad your life did not end on that Saturday night, Neil!

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    1. If the taxi had run over me I would have never had children or watched them grow up and I would never have found out about Baden-Württemberg but the world would have carried on.

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  4. I think bystander apathy would mean a much worse society to live in. Certainly it is tragic that this young Mum lost her life in this way, and it is good that her family have focussed on her life and her spirit rather than her death. I hope this brings to action a groundswell against domestic violence in the community of Widness.

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    1. Bystander apathy... it's later what stopped me intervening when I saw a young Leicester City football fan attacked on a petrol station forecourt and it's what stopped me from grabbing a drunken driver's keys... amongst other things.

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    2. I am sorry YP

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  5. I have heard of this happening before when the couple fighting then turn on the good Samaritan. Maybe they just enjoy knocking each other about. They've probably been brought up with it and are just programmed that way.

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    1. I hope that you and Roberto don't behave that way after a long session at "The Fox and Coney"! Was that pub named after the two of you?

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    2. I am getting too old for long drinking sessions. We got a bit fed up with the Fox & Coney. It changes hands every couple of years and has gone a bit downhill.

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  6. Your personal story with it's lucky outcome and, unfortunately, the story of Alison with it's terrible one can be scaled up to national level and show us how some wars can begin too with the same appalling outcome as in Alison's case.

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  7. How very, very sad.; how very, very wrong. It's a natural reaction (or should be) to want to step in and assist the one being brutalised...but then an outcome such as this (and the one you were involved in) makes you shudder and question whether you should or not.

    I hope the murderer serves the term of his natural life...may he never be free to walk the streets again.

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