Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Monday 16 August 2010

'I had walled the monster up within the tomb!'

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.


  1. If he didn't have any screwdrivers in the house with which to free the cat, then how did the floorboards get screwed down in the first place..?

  2. Spooky, huh?

    Sadly it appears the explanation is too prosaic for words, involving as it does the Great British Builder. But I've just found this update , which seems to be in the right spirit:

    'Swann bemoaned the disappearance of his cat on Twitter a few days before the incident. His Twitter followers had earlier been treated to news of Max and Paddy's reluctance to use the cat flap, with Swann suggesting that they suspected it was some sort of decapitating machine.'
    (The Guardian)

    "For the love of God, Montresor!"

  3. because he was driving a high-performance car in an area where there had been a spate of burglaries.

    Because, as we all KNOW, the favourite get away car of ALL skally burglar scum is a Porsche, or a ferrari...right?

    Or did I miss something here?

  4. The real truth is that he was on his way to Loughborough to the Great Central Railway depot to do some nocturnal trainspotting but did not want anyone to know. After all the LMS Jinty 47406 is in steam at the moment.


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