Skating on thin ice…

Young Ryan was somewhat of a tearaway. He was 12 when I started learning my trade, and was like a real criminal, only smaller. His debut offence was stealing 2 A to Z’s from the local garage at the age of 11. This bemuses me straight away, other than a brief stint at a relatives address in northern Scotland and his frequent appearances at court, Ryan has never gone more than a mile or two from his home address, or prison. He doesn’t need an A to Z.

He was a prolific local car thief and burglar, who occasionally also got drunk or stoned and did silly things, but his main activities made him very very unpopular with the locals.

To give you an example, in the week before I came out of training school, there was a suspicious death where a young woman fell from the 13th floor of a tower block. It was never established whether she jumped, fell accidentally or was pushed, but she had a handbag on her when she went over the balcony. Ryan and one of his friends saw her land, ran over, took the handbag off her shattered body and legged it, going through the contents as they ran. Although the people who told the police this wouldn’t say it in a witness statement, they did say it to other people who had a different approach to justice.

He was warned to pack it in by local residents who preferred to deal with matters themselves, which happens frequently. He didn’t heed these warnings, and then one day he went missing. That is to say, he went missing for longer than usual. Kids like him and Jonathan don’t get up, go to school, come home, do their homework then negotiate about their bedtime. They have chaotic lifestyles, stay out all night getting up to god knows what, and when they go missing it’s a while before anyone realises they’re actually gone, not just living life their way.

In his case, he had been abducted by a few locals who were sick of his constant thieving. He hadn’t heeded the warnings, so he was taken to an abandoned council flat, ironically in the same block where the young woman had fallen to her death. He was given a damn good beating, and was tied up spreadeagled on a bed there. He said later he was so scared he was going to be murdered, he dug his nails into the palms of his hands until he bled, then smeared some of his blood round the back of the bed posts, so there would be DNA left behind once he’d been killed. After some more beatings and some sexual assault too, he was thrown into a canal and left for dead.

He hasn’t learnt, he still steals cars, burgles houses and shoplifts, and probably commits 5 of those offences for each one that we actually get to know about. A couple of years ago, someone who was similarly unenamoured with his behaviour fed Ryan to his Rottweiler and ‘cheered the dog on’ to quote the crime report. Not quite as severe on this occasion, he had several good bite wounds to his arm but that was about it. When he has random drunken fights with people, he tends to lose, so I can see Ryan encountering further rough justice.

His offending will not stop, his ability to avoid detection will not increase (he’s been arrested 36 times, yet still keeps getting caught). Ryan will keep going until he does something very silly and gets a long sentence, or until he motivates someone enough to propel him into being a Natural Selection post.


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