Monday, 2 November 2009

Monday, 02 November 2009

Today I went on an adventure and it wasn't one I had planned. And it's not really an adventure I would go on again.

I was in the Waterstones next to the gym, thumbing through a book about 2008. One of the entries was about the case of Baby P.

If you're not sure, the story is an extremely harrowing one which you can read about here.

Of course, if you were in Britain towards the end of last year you couldn't have escaped the outrage that engulfed the country about Baby P.

And, standing there in the bookshop now reading about the story, my intrigue overcame me. Where did this poor little boy live? What does the house in which he was abused to death look like? Is it still there? Who lives there now?

A quick Google search shows the house is on Penshurst Road in Tottenham, N17.

You may know that parts of Tottenham are pretty depressed. There is nasty war between Turkish gangs taking place in the borough.

As you can see, it's pretty rough...

Abandoned shops and semi-empty streets. It feels edgy.

I have my iPod on, listening to the latest Barbra Streisand album.

If I get caught in some gangland cross-fire at least Barbra will be wailing in my ears as the bullets ricochet off the boarded-up buildings.

There are groups of boys standing on just about every street corner but I'm not brave enough to start pointing my iPhone camera at them. Yet.

From Seven Sisters Road I took the 297 bus to White Hart Lane football stadium. You get off and the area is a mixture of boarded up buildings, car scrap yards and houses.

There is a weird lack of people except for those hanging around. I doesn't feel menacing, just a little uncomfortable.

So you turn onto Penshurst Road from White Hart Lane and you walk through part of a council estate and then road turns to the right.

Carry on until you reach the second last house on the left. And there it is...

Completely unremarkable. Ordinary and a little shabby.

Yet inside that house lived poor little Peter his siblings and an unfit and obese mother who was captivated with violent porn and internet sex-chat sites.

Her boyfriend lived there too. An overweight 6ft 4in man who was obsessed with knives, kept a cross-bow as a weapon and harboured a collection of Swastika memorabilia.

The boyfriend's brother also stayed there. He's a convicted arsonist, burglar and neo-Nazi, arrested in the mid-1990s on suspicion of torturing his dying grandmother to get her to change her will.

There was a Rottweiler called Kaiser and two snakes that slithered loosely around the house.

When ambulance workers went into the house after the toddler was found tortured to death in his cot, they found the house littered with human faeces, dog faeces, and dead rats and chickens to feed the two pet snakes.

Empty vodka bottles and Budweiser cans strewn about the floor, fleas, lice, knives and replica guns.

On the kitchen surface was a dismembered rabbit. The place was infested with fleas and stank of urine.

I honestly didn't know what I was expecting to see or feel when I got to the house. It's a building.
Someone must live there now.

And even though I've now been, stood for a while and looked at the house, I still can't connect with what happened within those walls.

It is depressing to think about, because what occurred there not so long ago was the worst kind of evil. And it's depressing now because it is just so ordinary.

But that's it. It's a house. It can't speak.

People must live there who're oblivious to its history. It needs painting. The bushes in the front need trimming.

Was I really expecting the house to say something? Did I really think there would be something to mark it out as place that has housed hell?

I guess I was just curious.

And that was what I did this afternoon.