What Happened To Jenny?
Jenny Courday had always wanted to be a reporter, from her earliest days on the school newspaper to her current role on the local news. She always had a bubbly, friendly personality, but one day that seemed to change overnight as she became more thoughtful, withdrawn and careful. It was only after several weeks that her friends heard the full story of what had happened to her, and her central involvement in one of the biggest stories to hit the area that year. The following is in her own words.
I guess it really started when the Wilson’s moved in next door, a couple of months back. I always like to get to know my neighbours, but these two very much kept themselves to themselves. I knew he worked in town somewhere, and she had a home business, but that was about it until the day I noticed their front door was ajar, and a white van parked in their driveway.
Well, I was worried about why their door was open fro the first time I could remember, so I went and knocked quietly. “Mrs Wilson,” I called out, but there was no reply. I know the sensible thing to have done would be to leave and call the police, but my own curiosity got the better of me.
Pushing the door open, I walked into a large, well lit room where I saw a computer sitting on a desk, the monitor on and various spreadsheets opened up. I figured Mrs Wilson had been working there, and had just slipped off for a moment, but that damn curiosity of mine got the better of me, so I sat down and had a look at the screen.
I sat there in my white blouse and dark skirt, fascinated by what I was looking at, until I heard a noise behind me. Before I could react, however, a large hand reached over and grabbed both my wrists, while another was slapped over my mouth and a deep voice said “Quite the little snoop, aren’t you?”
I raised my head and looked up to see a balaclava covered head looking down at me, green pupil eyes staring from the holes in the fabric. “Who are you and why are you in here,” he snarled at me as I sat there shaking, then he took his rough hand away from my mouth.
“My name’s Jenny, and I’m the next door neighbour,” I said. “I was worried when I saw the door open, so I came in to check if everything was all right.”
“I told you to shut that door when we came in,” he called to someone over his shoulder. I heard footsteps, and then a second man in a balaclava mask came in.
“Who the hell’s this,” he said as he tossed a roll of white tape around in his hand.
“A little snoop from next door – we’ll have to make sure she can’t raise the alarm before we get going. Tear me off a strip of that tape – she might be able to help us before we leave here.”
“Oh yeah – she might at that,” the other man said as he tore a strip off of the roll. The guy behind me said “Don’t move and keep your hands on your lap,” as he let go and took the strip of tape off his partner.
“Go back up and make sure Mrs Wilson is properly secured,” he said as he held the strip in both hands in front of me. “Now, purse your lips.”
Instinctively, I reached up and grabbed his wrists with my hands. “Please,” I said as I tried to push his hands away, “I won’t do anything stupid, you don’t have to gag me with that tape, I’ll be quiet, just mmppph!”
He had proved too strong for me, however, and pushed the tape over my mouth, smoothing it down. A second piece went over the top of the first. There must have been a powerful adhesive on it, for it stuck fast at the first attempt and I couldn’t move my lips at all.
“Now, you just be quiet and do what we tell you,” he said as his partner came back and handed him a piece of paper. Taking me by the arm, he led me to the other side of the room where there was a small safe on a ledge in a cupboard.
“Open it,” he told me as he handed me the paper, which had a four digit number written down. Typing it into the keypad, the door swung open and I was forced to empty the contents into a bag. He then marched me over to a small table, and made me site on the edge of the table.
“Don’t move” he commanded as he went to the other side of the room, opened a bag and produced several coils of dark brown rope. Coming back over, he dumped the rope on the floor before selecting one coil and unravelling it.
“I want you to put your hands behind your back, palm to palm, and stay still,” he said as he doubled the rope over, and I knew then I was not going to be leaving for some time. As I did as he asked, he wrapped the rope around the fabric of my cuffs, fed the end through the loop and pulled tightly, before wrapping the rope around at least four more times, then twice between my wrists, then tying it off out of reach of my fingers.
I looked over at him as he unravelled what looked like a mile of rope, before he passed it over my head and pulled it around my arms and chest below my breasts. As he repeated the passing above and below, pulling each time, I felt my chest tightening under the hemp and my arms being pinned into place.
Walking round and kneeling in front of me, he then took another length and started to tie my ankles together, in a way I presumed was similar to the way my wrists were held together. As I watched, I realised that although it was tight, it wasn’t too uncomfortable, so I figured all I would have to do is wait until they left and I could wriggle free. Even when he started to tie my legs together above my knees, I figured there was still hope for an easy escape.
Those were soon dashed, however, when he pulled my legs round, me sliding on my bottom as well, and put my shod feet down flat on the table top. I hadn’t realised it, but he had left the longest length of rope for last, and he started by passing that under my bound legs. Rather than wrapping it more around them, however, he passed it behind my back and pulled the end through the rope where the others were bound. This both pulled my legs up and pushed me forward, so that my knees were resting against my bound chest, and more turns were taken round before the final ends were passed between my legs and chest, knotted off to the side.
“Is she secured yet,” his partner said as he came back in holding the phone, and then nodded when he saw how I was. “I need to make the phone call – you go and get the other one,” he said as he dialled in a number.
I looked up at him as he dialled – he looked older than the other one, but obviously was in charge. As he waited for the call to be answered, the man who had tied me up brought Mrs Wilson in and laid her on the couch opposite me.
She could not have sat up even if she wanted to – she was trussed like a sausage in a rug, with only her face and head visible while the rope went round and round her body. White tape was over her mouth as well.
“Mr Wilson? Just shut up and listen to me. We have your wife, Mr Wilson – and if you don’t do exactly what we say, she won’t see you tonight or any other night.
“No, this is not an idle threat. Listen.”
I watched as he walked over and yanked the tape off her mouth, her shout brought a tear to my eye, and I can tell you.
“George,” she whispered into the mouthpiece, “please do what they say, I’m scared they might do something to us mmph”
The tape went back into place, and the kidnapper started talking again.
“Yes, she said us. Your next door neighbour called to see if anything was wrong – but we’re not talking about her, Mr Wilson, we’re talking about your wife. Understand?
“Good – now send your staff home and stay there. We’ll be in touch shortly – and no calling the police, or your wife will never ever forget it.”
He stopped the call, and returned the phone to it’s holder while the other man left the house. I could hear the sound of the van outside starting up, as the older guy came back and looked at me. I started back at him, then had to watch as he put yet more tape over my mouth,
“You’re staying here, sweetheart – now you’re not going anywhere, so don’t try to force it. I’ll make sure you’re comfortable first, then we’ll take Mrs Wilson with us.”
I wondered what he was planning to do, fearing the worst, when he pushed me back and rolled me over onto my side so that my legs were at a right angle to my body. Satisfied, he went over and picked up the struggling body of Mrs Wilson in his arms.
“Good luck, sweetheart,” he said to me as I looked up at him, and then he carried Mrs Wilson out of the house. I saw him come back and close the front door, and then heard the van driving off.
I lay there, listening to the sound of the world going by outside the window next to where I lay, and wondering what the hell it was that Mr Wilson did which made it worth two men risking jail to get from him. I tried to twist round and get free from the ropes, but they were too well tied and I just managed to irritate the skin on my legs underneath the hemp. In desperation, I lay back and tried to relax.
It was dark when help finally arrived, as two uniformed officers broke down the door. They had expected to find Mrs Wilson here, so it took a while to explain to them what I was doing trussed like a Christmas turkey on the table in their main room. I then found out that Mr Wilson was a bank manager, and they kempt a low profile because they had been the victims of two previous robberies by the same gang. When I stumbled in, I interrupted the hat trick by all accounts.
What did I learn from it? Never just walk into strange situations without back up, and learn self defence – but, when faced with a gun, accept and go with it.