What a day for fans of Edgar Allan Poe!
'England cricketer Graeme Swann was on his way to buy screwdrivers to help rescue his cat when he was arrested for drink-driving, a court has heard. The off-spinner told police he had been out with friends when he returned to his West Bridgford home to find his cat trapped under the floorboards.'
Yes, it's the 'Black Cat' defence*. Only in this case, finding the moggy imprisoned in the woodwork, the animal-loving sportsman was so distressed that he immediately set off in his Porsche to buy some screwdrivers.
Now F Scott Fitzgerald was probably right when he said the rich are different, and I suppose millionaire sportsmen don't sully their lily-white hands with DIY like the rest of us, but it is surely an unusual household that can't run to any sort of cat-freeing implement at all.
Whatever the actual screwdriver situation, Mr Swann was unlucky enough on his errand of mercy to be intercepted by the police who, it seems, wanted to know why a chap in a Porsche was driving down Loughborough Road at 3am.
'Giving evidence, Pc Denniss told the court he decided to pull Mr Swann over because he was driving a high-performance car in an area where there had been a spate of burglaries.
"Mr Swann stated he had been out that evening and had come back to find his cat trapped under the floorboards in his house. He had gone to Asda to fetch some screwdrivers to remove some floorboards."
I was under the impression floorboards were nailed down, and anyway, an all-night garage might be a better source of tools, but then what do I know? And Asda? In a Porsche? Obviously this is a far cry from the branch frequented by the unfortunate Mayor of Ellesmere Port.
*I should point out to die-hard fans of the Gothic and macabre that Mrs Swann is, to the best of my knowledge, alive and well, although she may not have been exactly delighted to receive a visit from a police sergeant in the early hours to check her husband's story.
The Book of St Richard, Chapter 25
6 minutes ago