December 5, 2020

The Editor Speaks: I was fired up this morning

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Colin WilsonI really was fired up this morning. I started work at 6:30am to smell smoke. This is not an unusual occurrence as I do not reside too far from Mount Trashmore and there is activity once again trying to put out fires. So that was my guess.

Some fifteen minutes later I heard sirens going off and getting louder – in fact very much louder.

Once again this is not an unusual occurrence as the West Bay Road is only a few hundred yards away and sirens are not unusual.

I had to go into church this morning as it is St Joseph’s day so I casually walked down the outside stairs to get into my car and do my penance.

The first thing I noticed was a red car blocking the entrance to the property and with some annoyance I now was going to have the person move the offending vehicle so I could get my car out.

It was only when I actually set foot downstairs and had gone to my car that I noticed three fire trucks still with flashing blue lights outside on the road, all the tenants sitting outside and firemen running in and out the house.

Then two police cars arrived and officers climbed out.

Now I knew the source of the sirens – MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!

Luckily the fire was small and was instantly put out.

What had happened and I want you all to note and be warned.

A tenant who had come home late from work and tired had lit a candle and placed it without anything underneath it (like a saucer) directly onto the wooden bedside table. He then fell asleep without blowing the candle out.

He was awakened in the early hours of the morning when flames touched his flesh. Not only was the bedside table ablaze, so was his bed!

We all were so lucky that the whole house didn’t go up in flames.

The fire brigade were very prompt and expert at what they did.

They had come in force as they did not know the extent of the emergency.

They were prepared for the worst.

PLEASE do not ever light a candle just before you go to sleep and never leave one alight on a wooden table without something inflammable underneath. Always have a bowl of water nearby. Never leave a lit candle unattended and better still never light a candle in a bedroom in the first place.

Full marks to our emergency services.

The police took full particulars and the whole event was taken care of in a couple of hours.

We were all very lucky. Many are not. Be warned.

Otherwise you will be fired up, too.


Editorial comment from John Evans to my Editorial yesterday (18) “Tempura put back into Pandora’s Box”

One of the problems with Tempura over seven years down the road is that fact and fiction are easily confused. You only have to read some of the nonsense posted on CNS to see this – there are people out there who seem to think I took a sledgehammer to Desmond’s office door.

It wasn’t a break in nor was it unlawful entry. The term ‘break in’ was originally coined by Barry Randall when he editorialised the Net News version of events back in 2008. It was then latched onto by Bridger and has lingered on ever since. Strictly legally to call what happened on 3 September 2007 anything other than a ‘police-authorised search’ is libellous.

Unfortunately, the concept that the search was conducted in an attempt to incriminate Seales and Ennis has also become firmly established in the Tempura mythology.

In fact it was quite the opposite. What people forget is that on 27 August 2007 a meeting took place between Kernohan, Covington and others during which the situation relating to allegations made by Lyndon Martin and McKeeva Bush were discussed – that meeting determined what was going to happen next. As a result Lyndon was asked to confirm that a box file of hard copies of emails relating to RCIPS operations was actually stored in Desmond’s office – bluntly Kernohan was already having very serious doubts about the allegations. On 30 August 2007 Lyndon apparently made a botched attempt to search the office – personally I don’t think he even tried. As I had never been involved in making any allegations (the only statement I ever made related to the fact that Seales had named Ennis as a source and also that a fairly sensitive RCIPS story had been fed to us from an anonymous source) nor was I involved in any on-going RCIPS investigation I was asked to complete the job. It’s possible that Kernohan knew about my investigative background in the UK but I can’t confirm that.

The big difference was that as an outsider the brief was now was to establish whether or not Lyndon was telling the truth – that’s a situation miles away from the picture most people see. At the time Lyndon had been giving everyone an incredible (and completely untrue) story about how during the weekend after his search Desmond had been covering his tracks by destroying computer discs and clearing material off the server. Lyndon’s line was that his botched search had tipped Desmond off. Anyway on 3 September 2007, after a false start when I tripped the alarm, a 2-minute walk-in search of the office put him Desmond the clear and Lyndon very much in the frame. Summed up – the whole situation was degenerating into a complete farce and the only quick way to resolve it was to determine once and for all whether Lyndon was telling the truth. As far as I’m concerned it was a one-off involvement, ‘Job done’, and what happened next was out of my control.

Unfortunately, at that point Leigh Turner, then OT Director at the FCO, had already got John Yates involved and the rest is history. I suspect at that point the Met hierarchy took over and steamrollered the investigation through as a nice all-expenses paid jolly for some of their mates. According to Kernohan the first question Simon Ashwin, Bridger’s deputy, posed him was along the lines of, “Tell me all about the break in.” If it had been left as an internal RCIPS matter, albeit with a small amount of outside help, Lyndon could have been quietly given the facts of life and told to stop telling porkies or end up in court. If it had been handled that way we might also have found out not only who started the rumours about Ennis and why but also who Desmond’s real insider was – and there definitely was a source within RCIPS feeding him material.

On 27 March 2008 when it all went public we had a series of meetings at Net News ending up with a private session between Desmond and myself. It was very amicable and I think he was quite impressed that somebody on his staff had the balls to not only search his office but carry on working for him while participating in the investigation. I explained the situation as it related above and he accepted. My WP was due to expire on 15 April 2008 and during the meeting he actually offered me a new two-year contract. The bitching only started after I left Net News.

As far as I’m concerned everything I did was completely justified and correct. What I could never have foreseen at the time was the way a simple investigation could be hi-jacked by one or two individuals and turned into a major inquiry for really nothing more than personal gain. On the morning of 4 September 2007 what morphed into Operation Tempura was over and all that remained was a quick, and low-key, tidying up. It should all have been done, dusted and buried by the end of October 2007.

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  1. Kristina L. says

    First and foremost, I am glad you and your tenant were unharmed and have a home. But as I read your story, I could only visualize that family from Gimistory saying”I will blow out the candle, no I will blow out the candle….etc”

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