Hello, Hi There - is that Chris..? We understand you're a bit of an authority on the Tony Martin case. Could we do a live interview about some of the issues in the light of the latest on the story, we understand he's been burgled again, is that right ..?
I turn down the chance to bore for Britain on the lunch-time news show and ring the man himself to check out the happs. Nearly 14 years after he shot two burglars, killing one and wounding the other, the story's hitting the headlines again.
Tony explains what's happened, adding his own take on the situation. I'm guessing it will be all over tomorrow's papers, as I start writing. As soon as I put the phone down, it's off again and again:
"Have you got his number, can you let us have it, have you spoken to him, how is he today, what did he say about what's happened, can you let us have some quotes, can you tell us where he is, is it true he's moved, do you have a postcode we can give the camera crew, will he do an interview, do you know if he's on Twitter, have you got his e-mail address, could you pass on our details and ask him to ring the studio so we can get him on air...?"
I wrote this a few years ago, on the tenth anniversary of what the tabloids called the Bleak House Bloodbath:
"The branches still bend double on the trees as the apples swell in the orchards. Out in the wheat fields, a combine whips up a dust storm as the late summer sun sets over Emneth Hungate.
"On the surface little has changed in generations in this corner of the Fens, let alone the 10 years since a farmer went to bed wondering if the weather would hold long enough to cut the corn and a car-load of burglars set out from a sink estate for a very different kind of harvest.
"Fred Barras would be in his late twenties now - if he had not joined two seasoned thieves on a foray to the flatlands. Instead of celebrating his night’s haul with a spliff and a can of cider on the way home, he died sobbing for his mother - shot dead for the sake of a few silver jugs."
I sometimes wonder how much we ever learned from what happened in that remote corner of the flatlands, as Tony Martin grabbed his gun and made his way down the stairs. The rest, as he's told me several times since, is "history".
Tony Martin:No Regrets *linky*. Today's story: *linky*.