Miles Kington: Trials and tribulations of an accidental burglar

The mail from 'Reader's Digest' had piled up so high that it had jammed the door
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Counsel: Your name is Brian Godfrey?

Godfrey: Yes, it is. Or Brain Godfrey, as Reader's Digest likes to call me.

Counsel: Reader's Digest has a special name for you?

Godfrey: They do. They write to me almost every week, and they always call me Brain Godfrey.

Counsel: What do they write to you about?

Godfrey: I get the impression I am on the verge of winning a huge amount of money from them.

Counsel: And are you?

Godfrey: I have no idea. I have never opened their letters.

Counsel: Why not?

Godfrey: They are not addressed to me. They are addressed to someone called Brain Godfrey.

Judge: If I may interrupt here, Mr Forster. Some of us have to get home and do our Sudoku puzzles tonight. I would appreciate it if you stuck to the matter in hand.

Counsel: Yes, m'lud. Now, Mr Godfrey, I want you to cast your mind back to the afternoon of 13 May last year. You came home early from work, did you not?

Godfrey: Yes.

Counsel: But you were unable to get into your house.

Godfrey: That is true.

Counsel: Why was this?

Godfrey: Because the mail from Reader's Digest had piled up so high inside the door that it had jammed it solid.

Counsel: That is not true, is it?

Godfrey: No.

Counsel: The truth is that you had mislaid your key.

Godfrey: Yes.

Counsel: So what did you do?

Godfrey: I remembered we had left a spare key with our neighbours the Richardsons for exactly this kind of emergency. So I went and knocked on their door.

Counsel: Were they in?

Godfrey: If they were, they were asleep, or hiding , or too shy to come to the door, or ...

Counsel: They were not in, were they?

Godfrey: No.

Counsel: So you forcibly broke and entered their house?

Godfrey: The thing was, I had just bought several frozen items which had to go in my freezer straight away ...

Counsel: Just answer the question, Mr Godfrey! You broke and entered their house?

Godfrey: It was nothing I had not done before.

Counsel: Oh ho! So you have done some breaking and entering on previous occasions, have you?

Godfrey: Yes. But only at the Richardsons' request. They locked themselves out once, so I got my ladder and got in through the first-floor landing window, went down and opened the front door for them. I thought I might do the same this time.

Counsel: But this time was a bit different, wasn't it?

Godfrey: Unfortunately, while I was up the ladder, it slipped, and went through their window.

Counsel: Did you go through the window too?

Godfrey: Yes.

Counsel: I believe at this point a passing policeman saw you.

Godfrey: That is correct.

Counsel: He asked you if you were the householder, and you said you were a neighbour breaking in to retrieve your spare key.

Godfrey: That is correct.

Counsel: Which, I suppose, you produced to prove your story?

Godfrey: That is incorrect. I could not find my spare key.

Counsel: Why was this?

Godfrey: Well, as I subsequently discovered, my teenage son had borrowed it the weekend previous and hadn't returned it.

Counsel: So how did you get into your own house?

Godfrey: I had to break in.

Counsel: So the policeman had now witnessed you break into two houses?

Godfrey: Yes.

Counsel: But you could now produce the elusive spare key to prove your story?

Godfrey: No. I could not find where my son had left it.

This is too painful. More some other time, perhaps...

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