This is the follow-up to Father Pinkman Accused Me of Leading the Great Escape
It was published recently.
This was not the end of it though.
Soon afterwards, I got called up to Pinkie’s room. He started the grilling over again. I had to tell him who was going to be in the Great Escape.
Again and again I told him I knew nothing about it. I started to cry again and I kept on crying and crying and the tears were running down my face in streams.
On and on went the interrogation. He said he would only stop and let me go when I had told him everything.
I had nothing to tell, though.
“I know that someone is organising it” he said. There was no way out for me as I had nothing to tell him.
Capitulating Under Interrogation
Eventually, after what seemed like ages he said “If it’s not you who is leading it who is it then?”.
“I don’t know” I said crying relentlessly.
“Is it Locke and McGinnis” he asked.
They were my two best friends.
Here was a way out. I could say it was them and the pain would stop. The interrogation would be over and I could go free. I could escape with just one word.
But I couldn’t do that I also thought. It wasn’t them (It only ever existed in Pinkie’s fevered brain).
“No” I said.
“It is them isn’t it” he said. “You’re not telling me because they are your friends”.
Oh my God, the interrogation fever was being turned up again. “Oh no!” I thought.
“It is them isn’t it, Locke and McGinnis”.
“Yes” I said and in one fell swoop I was free – except that my two best friends never spoke to me in a friendly way ever again after they had been brought up and grilled like me.
Pinkie even told them that it was I that had accused them. I denied it but they never believed me.
When I’ve read of supposed miscarriages of justice where the accused has made a full confession and then retracted it saying that he was under duress to confess I am as cynical as the next man.
But when I think back that is exactly what I did. I was under such duress that when given the opportunity to finger my two best friends I did just that, so that the grilling could stop and I could leave the room.
Perhaps that is my greatest regret of all the time that I was there. I cracked and got my best friends into trouble. They never knew the circumstances of it. After all, I had denied it and so could not go back and tell them what had actually happened.
Locke got expelled at the end of the term and never came back. I was never friendly with Frank McGinnis again who had been my best friend for the best part of two years. He never spoke to me again. We were never friends again and I had to make a new set of friends in third year. I later found that he had been expelled in summer 1967 – at the end of the term after I got suspended for a year.
Even though I was under intense pressure I still should not have cracked. I was a boy of 12, though, being psychologically tortured by a cruel psycho who sexually preyed on boys as young as eleven and who was scorned by me as he saw it. I state this in my own defence.
But in my heart of hearts I should still not have cracked and ‘handed over’ two innocent friends.
The rest of second year was quite difficult as I had to hang around with people that I hadn’t been all that friendly with before. If truthful, I had to hang around with people who nobody had been all that friendly with before.
And I got constant reminders from my two ex-best friends whenever I bumped into them – which was frequently. Locke took it particularly badly. I think that Frank McGinnis might have eventually forgiven me but I think he wanted to show solidarity with Francis Locke who was slightly more dominant of the two.
Meeting Francis Locke Again
Several years late I was invited to Allanton in Dumfries where the Verona Fathers had a seminary for boys who joined at a later age. This invitation was both for new boys and for boys who had left the college previously but who might be interested in coming back. There was only two boys there that I knew – and one of them was Francis Locke.
He hadn’t forgotten. He didn’t say anything but he was not over friendly and spent most of the time with the other guy who neither of us had been particularly friendly with when at The College. He spoke to me when I spoke to him but there was no warmth. Indeed there was no warmth when he first saw me for the first time in several years. Not even a smile.
What treachery it must have seemed in his eyes and for no reason that he could see. What a wicked boy I must have been to him.
I never got the opportunity to explain to them – and even if I had done I’m not sure it was a good enough explanation.
I never thought of it then but there must have been someone else who fingered me in the first place. Pinkie wouldn’t have made it up. He really did believe this ridiculous story. Someone must have given it to him.
Was it some other poor boy in the same circumstance as I was that he was interrogating? That’s possible but that boy would not have been the person who put it into his mind.
One of the ‘in crowd’ must have told him this lie.
Perhaps it was to please him. We know already from my days as one of his ‘spies’ that this was an area that he gave some thought to. Could one of the boys have come up with this cock and bull story just to curry favour with him?
I’ll never know who was the one who decided to put me in the frame as the guy masterminding the Great Escape, or why they did it.
The Final Straw
As I got up to leave the room Pinkie looked towards me and I could see he was about to say something else. I could see the venom in his eyes.
“Just one more thing” he said. “You won’t ever be getting picked again for the school football team” he said with more than a little satisfaction.
He couldn’t have picked anything that could have hurt me more. And what’s more he must have known it.
I went into the room as an innocent twelve year old and I left it robbed of my favourite hour and a half of the week – and without any friends.