Saturday, September 1, 2012

Truth is stranger than fiction - part II (the 'law' comes a calling)

Thanks for coming over for Episode 2 of KATcapers riveting true-crime docu-drama 'Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction'!  Geez that was a tongue twister!!!
I'd be lying if I haven't got a slight chuckle out of shocking you all with my tale of drama and excitement on the suburban streets of Ascot Vale circa 1982.
The 'friend' mentioned in the post is a reader of my blog.  She is a life long friend and a 'victim' at least in the sense that she's my friend...murderers get less time than we've been friends!  She will no doubt have a conniption (or a quiet chuckle) when she finally logs onto KATcapers and sees that our commando crawl is being relived in all its glory for the entertainment of the blog sphere.
Ascot Vale is actually infamous to any Melbournite educated in crime family lore as the childhood home (and parental locale) of a certain family made famous by the original Underbelly show.  Yes folks the Moran family compound was down the street from us...I shall make a note to do another post about my childhood recollections of one J. Moran.  As a bit of a teaser consider how incongruous it is that the house connected with criminals of such repute was painted SALMON.PINK!!!!
Scary huh!  Imagine him as a 10year old...even scarier!!
Anyway, back to the events post-shooting.....
You were left with the image of two hapless youngsters, one of whom had a blinder of a headache.  Come to think of it, my girlfriend probably had a headache too as in all the excitement she probably didn't eat for most of the day!
I recall that my dad turned up at the hospital and he was even more confused than everyone else as he had come straight from work.  He had been told I'd been shot but wasn't filled in on the specifics so one of the first questions he asked me was "why were you at school" to which I think I stared at him in total bewilderment.  You see, the sniper incident that I'd been the victim of wasn't the only experience we'd had involving idiots with air rifles!  We attended a Catholic Secondary School in a suburb of Melbourne that is adjacent to a bunch of Housing Commission towers....and in an equally unfortunate incident the year before a pupil had been shot through the window!!!!!!
So, my poor confused father put two and two together (Libby + Sniper = Those bloody degenerates in the Housing Commission) and unfortunately came up with the wrong number.  No dad, didn't happen at school, happened in our OWN.SUBURB!!! 
Now don't get me wrong I didn't grow up in South Central Los Angeles:)  Ascot Vale was (and is) a very nice suburb.  Please don't come hunting for me lovely law-abiding residents of Ascot Vale!
Clutching my urine sample jar containing my very own bullet we were driven home. 
Fast forward to our family home that evening (although could have been a few nights later can't remember) and there am I (and my trusty co-victim of crime) being interviewed by two Detectives from the local command (ooh I love whipping out the lingo).
Isn't is strange how some things stay with you?  In this case I have a VERY strong recollection that I was wearing a dressing gown that my mother had made me that involved quilted fabric of an unnatural variety and a zipper!!!  For goodness sake, why can't my memory of my five seconds of fame being interviewed by the fuzz involve some cute outfit?????
Did I say that the two detectives had identical looks of scepticism on their faces?  No, well they did.  Not only that, they grilled the two 11year olds about the "older brother" that lived in the house (that would be my girlfriends big brother...the one with the Cold Chisel album).  They had decided that we were covering up an accident of our own making and that we'd actually been playing with the air rifle that presumably belonged to Mr Cold Chisel and it had gone off.
Fortunately I had early signs of being a stubborn "take no prisoners" kind of gal and I recall explaining to B1 and B2 (that's a reference to a children's TV show if you're scratching your head) that our retelling of the event made COMPLETE sense considering that I was taller than my friend and the bullet hit ME and not her...therefore it must have come from someone up on the hill in the houses behind her street (you know if I had the ability to use Google Maps in blogger I'd be getting all CSI on you and pointing out the EXACT location!).
B1 and B2 fobbed us off and went off on their way to investigate crimes that they actually believed happened and we were left with my parents who were slightly peeved at the unhelpful attitude of our local constabulary.  Since it was 1982, the recourse for those who felt they weren't getting a fair suck of the sap (or suck of the sauce bottle according to K. Rudd's version of the saying) didn't involve saying something about in on the my mother just rang the local community paper.
Possibly because it was the holidays and local news stories were thin on the ground we featured!  Yes, snipers shooting at youngsters minding their own business in a suburban street was a HOT story for the Essendon Gazette that week.
My mum recalls that the publication of this article prompted renewed interest from the local doubt they were unimpressed to be on the receiving end of some criticism that the culprit was not being pursued!  Go mum!!
Regardless of their motives (and I doubt their change of heart would have occurred without the publicity) they reviewed the transcript of our interview and decided that it would be good PR to at least go and engage in the time-honoured art of door knocking.  That Google Map would come in handy because sure enough, they chose to door knock in the street up on the ridge behind my friends house...right above where we were walking along her road that fateful day.
As they chatted with residents the clues began to emerge, apparently there had been instances of birds being shot by a guy in a house down the street...he liked to take pot shots from his back yard at the seagulls on the reserve!!!!
The 'Force' converged on the suspects house (I'm sure it wasn't really wasn't that dramatic but it sounds good) in time to spot the aforementioned suspect putting a bag in the boot of a car.............................yes folks, he must have read about that pissed off mother of five that was coming gunning for him and was in the process of making good his getaway.
I'd like to think there was some reading of rights/arm twisted behind his back/see above Miami Vice image of police force but all I know is that he was taken in for questioning and later charged with a few counts from the crime statute that all boiled down to 'you shot me you stupid idiot'!!!!
We had another, much friendlier visit from the Detectives who I recall praised us for our powers of deduction (okay maybe not) and some months later I had to face the prospect of testifying in the court case.  Thankfully a few minutes before the case was to go to trial the police prosecutor informed me (and my parents) that he'd pleaded guilty so I was off the hook.  I think we went out for a milkshake:)
He got six months and I can't even tell you what his name was.  Some time later I got $500 for pain and suffering through a Victorian Government victims of crime initiative.  It was a token gesture as there was thankfully no lasting effects from the incident. 
We will never know why he went from shooting at birds to shooting at us.  After all, I hadn't developed my well honed skills of pissing people off yet!!!!  Basically he was just a DICKHEAD!
So there you go, riveting stuff heh?


  1. Great idea on your mum's part. He'd probably have shot someone else if she hadn't contacted the newspaper.

  2. Oh my goodness that is one crazy story! You tell it so well! I love that your mum turned things around! x

  3. What a great story, and a great tell! I truly hope there was a pic of you in the paper, perhaps with a head bandage and an angry ACA kinda look :) sarah

  4. Good times LIz, Good times, (lol)
    I still remember your mum and dad being totally supporive of us and also getting lots of lovely attention from them.

    It was fun having your mum recount that story at her last visit. She filled in a lot of things i had forgotten or had mis-interpreted in my 11 yr old mind

    Your recount made me smile, and we weren't being stubborn , we were just RIGHT!!

  5. Oh Lib, what a tale. Thank goodness you weren't left scarred by it all. J x

  6. Too funny, well not funny but you know what I mean x

  7. Where are you? Come back.....

  8. Can you tell your Jason Moran Story please!


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