Grim nature

For the past two weeks or more Old Glebe has been the centre of a major murder enquiry, which has brought the community into very close contact with the emergency services, particularly the police.

Members of the enquiry team have been ever-present throughout that period as they go about their forensic work.

That phase of the investigation is now winding down and it cannot pass without a comment.

It seems every branch of the Surrey and Sussex police services have been involved at one time or another as what is a quiet residential road has been besieged by all sorts of vehicles and personnel.

We have seen uniformed officers, plainclothes detectives, forensic scientists in their blue and white moon-gear (our grandson’s description) and the search team.

Community support officers have stood guard over the scene.

We and our neighbours have been interviewed by various officers, uniformed and plainclothes.

Some households have supplemented the police’s own facilities, providing hot drinks, cakes and sausages to fight off the snow, rain, wind and cold.

Despite the grim nature of their task, as they pick over the sad remains of Mick Griffiths’ house, the police have never lost sight of the community in which they are working.

They have interrupted their duties to have a word with our grandchildren, allowing them to sit in police cars and giving them balloons and key fobs.

They have kept us informed from time to time of the steps they are taking.

They have been concerned about the noise of their generators needed to light the scene and help keep them warm at night.

Today we were visited by Inspector Riley, the lead officer, who called to thank us for cakes, tea and sausages and to hand over an enormous box of chocolates as a tangible mark of his team’s gratitude.

Inspector Riley, it is us who should thank your team.

Mick lived on his own, he was in his late fifties – but to our police and emergency services this is irrelevant.

He was a member of the community and deserves the full weight of the state to be thrown at finding out who did this to him. My wife and I feel terribly frustrated we have been unable to provide any real support to that search – we had no information of any real value, we did not see anyone looking even remotely suspicious and we heard nothing.

It is a great comfort to us to know the police are as determined as they are to find out who did this terrible deed.

We have never seen a heavyweight police enquiry at close quarters – it is a very impressive operation – thorough, rigorous, painstaking, and remorseless all come to mind.

Yet at the same time the police have been sympathetic and sensitive to the community in which they go about the grim business.

The snow on the ground when Mick died has disappeared to be replaced by crocuses and daffodils as they push up through the cold earth.

We won’t remember the snow, but we will remember Mick, and we will remember the police and the way they went about their business.

Christopher Honeyman Brown

Old Glebe