Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Interview: - Aidan Minter, author of the true crime memoir Carved

I encountered Aidan Minter on the Kindle Boards when I put the word out for authors who had a couple of books under their belt. Since the Robert Lory interview was popular here, I was thinking of doing more interviews that covered several books by writers old and new. Aidan, who works in the computer game industry, noted that while his first book was about to come out, he hoped it might be of interest since it was a personal memoir.

It did seem to be a dark and compelling true story, and I read more of the case to which Aidan was exposed. New developments in the investigation were being reported earlier this year. It is a sad and unsolved crime known as the case of "Adam" for many years in Great Britain because the victim was unidentified.

I'll let Aidan, in his answers, tell more about the case and express his experiences related to it.

Could you give me a brief bio and a little information about your book?

CARVED is a memoir of sorts, a short but very personal account of my experiences of finding the torso of a murdered boy in the river Thames 10 days after the 9/11 attacks on New York. This year will be the 10th Anniversary of the event, and I thought it would be a way for me to get a degree of closure in writing about my experiences of that day and the subsequent police murder investigation which was one of the largest in UK history.

Where can your book be purchased or when will it be released?

The book will be published by Orb Entertainmant and will be available on Kindle, Smashwords, Nook B&N, Createspace and Overdrive from September 11th.

Since this is a personal account, could you tell us a little about how you found the River Thames victim? You were walking on the Tower Bridge? How did you come to be there at that moment, and how did you see the body?

I was on my way to a creative meeting with a design agency, the river was coming in from the estuary and it was high tide, because it wasn't long after the 9/11 attacks there was nobody around, normally at that time of day on a Friday afternoon the bridge is full of tourists and commuters but I guess the attacks on New York had shattered peoples confidence in standing near large landmark buildings. Looking out towards the East as I crossed the bridge, I noticed a pallet and some drift wood moving quite fast in the flow of the river, beyond that about twenty feet away was what I thought was a beer barrel because it was rounded and bobbing in the water. I had stopped on the bridge by this point right at the point where the bridge opens to let tall ships pass and looked over; it was then that I could clearly see that it wasn't a barrel or a tailors dummy but the torso of a small boy, his head, arms and legs had been hacked off and he was dressed in a pair of orange shorts.

I know there had to be a considerable emotional impact. Was it difficult in the time immediately after the discovery?

Funnily enough no, straight after wasn't so bad, I gave a statement to a detective who drove down from Catford CID and the body had been recovered from the water somewhere close the Globe theatre. I was offered counselling in a sort of half hearted way, due to the Stephen Lawrence case the police were obliged to do more for victims of crime, but I declined it initially. It was years after the incident when my own problems began, much of it was triggered by the traumatic birth of my daughter which unbeknown to me acted as a sort of a trigger to the Thames case, I was ultimately diagnosed with an acute form of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and sought help with the Priory clinic.

Has it been frightening given the strange and ritualistic nature of the death?

Not really, although for a very short time I was wary that if the murder was linked to child trafficking or sex crime. I had a young daughter and I was concerned someone might convince me to look the other way if things went to court. By this time the case became such a high profile one and the police investigation was huge to the extent that figures like Nelson Mandela became involved that I'm pretty sure that whoever killed the boy had gone to ground and the inevitable wall of silence started to hamper the police investigation from the outset.

Has there been a long term impact on your life?

Well I'd like to say it hasn't but I'd be lying, you put a different perspective on life after something like that, because the event took place only ten days after Sept. 11. I thought that there couldn't possibly be anything worse than seeing those American Airline planes being flown into the World Trade Center live on TV, unfortunately I was proved wrong.

The discovery was in 2001. How closely have you followed the case over the years?

The police contact me every so often, they called me in March to check I could still be reached and the case had been active for 10 years so I got an update of sorts to how things had progressed. A detective called John Weyhill is in charge of the investigation after the original detective retired.

What was your first thought when you heard new information had developed?

Well what people don't realise is that police embarked on some amazing forensic work on this case that had never been used before in a murder case. This was London's worst crime involving a child for more than forty years, in the book I explain what some of those processes were and its truly amazing that they can identify where you come from just by what we eat.

How did you decide to write about the case?

The tenth anniversary of the case comes up in September and I was looking for something that would give me a sense of closure on it, the boy was called Adam by the police because he didn't have any identity and when his name (Ikpomwosa) was revealed in the news earlier this year I thought it might be interesting to tell my side of the story.

What period does your book cover? The immediate time after the discovery or the entire case until now?

The book starts from the day I discovered the body and then goes through the investigation and primarily covers the key events in the police investigation, its a novella size so it's quite an easy read.

Anything else to add about the case and your experience.

Only that I'm glad his (Ikpomwosa) identity is now known, the mystery of who he once was is finally over.

Do you see this as a one-time memoir, or do you have plans to do other writing?

As a memoir yes, I don't lead a life of wanton adventure and wrestle sharks or climb mountains for a living, but I do have a fictional novel that's nearly done called Patriot Down about Navy Seals in Afghanistan, that's nearing 70,000 words on the first draft so that still needs a fair bit of work to get into shape and has taken me about three years so far.


Charles Gramlich said...

Wow, what a horrific experience. I can imagine it would never leave you.

Anonymous said...

Well done to Aidan on helping Ikpomwosa find peace. He demonstrates an inner strength, courage and integrity.

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