Titchener fights for life as wife is charged with attempted murder
Rob Titchener of Blossom Hill Cottage, who was injured in a knife attack at his home last Sunday, was said to be ‘critical’ as the Ambridge Observer went to press.
‘Mr Titchener has undergone two operations to repair his ruptured bowel, but the colostomy procedure unfortunately resulted in a life-threatening infection,’ said surgeon Mr Will Cutmore of Felpersham Hospital.
‘Of course, you could argue that being critical was what got Mr Titchener into this mess in the first place,’ said Mr Cutmore. ‘But that would be unprofessional of me.’
Mr Titchener’s parents said they were ‘shocked, but not surprised’ that their daughter-in-law Helen Titchener had been charged with the attempted murder of their son. ‘I knew from the first moment I saw her she was dangerous,’ said Mrs Ursula Titchener. ‘I asked Rob’s dad, Bruce, for permission to speak and I told him so. But he barked at me that I was being a stupid, hysterical cow as usual. How anyone could accuse any son of Bruce’s of being an abusive bully, I have no idea.’
Mrs Helen Titchener will appear at Felpersham Crown Court for a plea and preparation hearing on May 5. There was no application for bail and she was remanded in custody. Her son Henry, five, is being cared for by his grandparents, Pat and Tony Archer, at Bridge Farm. They said: ‘We have absolutely no idea what’s going on but it’s all terribly upsetting.’
Attack sees Ambridge in eye of media storm
Ambridge found itself at the centre of a media frenzy this week as reporters descended on the village following the near-fatal attack on well-known local resident Rob Titchener.
‘It’s intrusive, but we all have a duty to support a free press,’ said Mrs Susan Carter of Ambridge View. ‘And having spent time at Her Majesty’s Pleasure myself, I can give journalists a real insight into what poor Helen must be going through. Of course, I was in a low-security prison; I didn’t mix with women who tried to kill their husbands, like she did. As I said to PC Burns, we all know about her ex committing suicide and her eating disorder. I reckon that’s what pushed her over the edge.
‘But I’ve been ever so discreet with the press. ‘Local flood hero stabbed’ – that was my headline in the Courier, that was. I’ve kept a couple of copies for the grandchildren.’
‘These journalists are scum,’ said Ms Fallon Rogers of the Ambridge Tea Room. ‘They have the nerve to come in here, eat a full English breakfast, pay for it, leave a large tip, and then ask questions like ‘Where is the nearest cashpoint?’ They should be run out of town.’
• As the newspaper ‘on the ground’, the Ambridge Observer is happy to support visiting media. Desk space is available at a very reasonable £100 per hour (plus extra for wi-fi and sandwiches) and staff can supply contact details of chatty local characters, such as Sabrina Thwaite, Hilary Noakes and Barry Simmons. Email email@example.com
‘No serial killer on loose’, police claim
Borsetshire’s Rural Crime Unit (PC Harrison Burns) reassured residents that a repeat of this week’s violent assault at Blossom Hill Cottage was ‘highly unlikely’.
‘As far as we know, there is no link between this event and the recent crime wave in Ambridge,’ he told a packed press conference.
‘We have been unlucky lately, with burglaries at Woodbine Cottage and Glebe Cottage, arson attacks at Hollowtree and Grange Farm, the theft of Mr Ed Grundy’s bullocks and the St Stephen’s Lent Appeal money, and of course the notorious Village Green Bunting Heist,’ said PC Burns. ‘But now that DS Joanne Madeley and her crack team from Borsetshire CID are on the case, I’m sure that we will not only find out what happened to Mr Rob Titchener, but also tidy up my ‘Unsolveds’ folder in no time. ‘
PC Burns stressed he was playing an important role in the investigation. ‘I now know exactly how DS Madeley likes her coffee, and I got Susan to stock her favourite brand of cigars at the shop,’ he said. ‘It’s at times like this that local community policing really comes into its own.’
NEW! Spring Fiction Special: The Case Files of Maverick Madeley*
In the first chapter of our dark new serial by crime writer Luther Gumshoe, author of the acclaimed ‘Gone Girl on the Bus’, our heroine DS Jo Madeley is called to a shocking case…
Wiping the sweat from her eyes, Jo Madeley fished her phone out of her tracksuit. Her daily 10k through Felpersham’s mean, cold streets was hard. But it was the only way she could outrun her demons. She answered the call and sparked up her tenth cigar of the day. ‘Yeah Bill, what we got?’ ‘You better come quick boss, it’s bad. Ambridge. Blossom Hill Cottage.’
‘Copy that.’ Five minutes for a cold shower and a bitter, black coffee and she’d be on the road. Another invite to plumb the depths of human misery, and she would always RSVP…
‘I need you to stand up for me and hold your hands out in front of you, Helen.’ She took no pleasure in cuffing a heavily pregnant, hysterical woman. But Jeez, it was carnage. The victim, a Rob Titchener, lay in the kitchen, bleeding out into a lake of custard. Doc Sharma said the perp had done a real good job on him. And there was a little kid – Harry? Henry? – who must have seen the whole thing.
‘OK Harvey, take her downtown.’ ‘Um, it’s Harrison actually, Sarge. PC Burns. Do you mean Borchester police station?’ Sobbing for her little boy, Helen Titchener was led away for questioning. Jo’s detective nose led her back to the crime scene. Blossom Hill Cottage. So sweet, you could get diabetes just looking at it. But underneath there was a rotten stink. And it wasn’t tuna bake or burnt fruit pie…
‘Rob drove her to it… he belittled Helen, drove her mad – made her doubt her own sanity!’ Kirsty Miller seemed on the level. But Jo knew the mousy-looking ones could be the worst. The PNC showed Miller had form. Vandalising GM crops – with Helen’s brother Tom. Was that coincidence? What was with the burner phone she’d given Helen? How come she was so quick on the crime scene? Was this Thelma and Louise, Ambridge style? So many questions. And the only answers they had so far put Helen right in the frame. Over two fingers of single malt, no ice, in the Coppers’ Arms, Jo told DCs Reed and Sharples what she’d just told the perp’s brief. ‘Forensics, her little kid, her ma-in-law – they all say the same thing,’ she said. ‘We’ve no option. Attempted murder. Why? Leave that to the judge. And let’s hope her waters don’t break in the prison van.’ Sometimes this job was tough. But she was tougher…
To be continued….
Ambridge Cricket Club: come to nets!
After its very successful 2015 season, Ambridge Cricket Club starts summer training this week. The unexpected absence of Thomas C and Titchener R means we are looking for a mediocre but principled slow bowler and a cheating, homophobic bully who unfortunately is also a match-winning all-rounder. Email Adam.Macy@homefarm.com for details.
*Lavinia Catwater is temporarily indisposed.