8th December 1997, morning
Perhaps we slept for two or three hours: I’m not sure. Faced with any challenge, my mind races, looking for something, anything to overcome it.
Long before seven I was down in the kitchen asking that same burly policeman who still hadn’t moved, standing to attention as he was in front of the window, what we could do to help.
There was nothing, of course. I knew that. What could I offer, compared with the resources of the Metropolitan Police? Nevertheless, I had to ask.
He knew there was nothing, too. But just as I had to ask, so he had to answer. To be kind, and give the question consideration.
He suggested I should ring his superior back at the station, and ask him.
“I know there’s nothing we can do,” I said. “But what can we do?” I racked my brains for my scant usefulness. “Publicity, perhaps?”
“Well, publicity always helps,” he agreed.
Right. Publicity. Puff. That was something I could do.
It was not yet 7 am. I didn’t expect to reach him for a while but I rang the Telegraph anyway and left a message for its editor, Charles Moore. Please could he ring me back?
Then David Coomes, editor of Thought for the Day: I had his home number, for script edits which can take place any time of the day or night.
David and I enjoyed a ragging, teasing relationship: he always pulled my leg about my scripts ending with a Billy Graham altar-call, so he always had to take the last line out. Before long I started adding a spurious cod last line, “Repent of your sins, today!” just so he could have the pleasure of excising it.
There was none of that now. He heard me in swift and solemn silence, and said he would do what he could.
As soon as I hung up the telephone rang. Charles Moore, returning my call, barely seven in the morning.
“What can I do for you?”
Charles was and is perhaps the most quintessential, chivalrous, charming Christian gentleman I’ve ever met, straight as a die and as honest as the day. I would trust him with my life.
And, as was becoming evident, our most sensitive family privacy, before the world.
“What am I doing, Charles?” I said, aghast at my own indiscretion. “Is it insane to go public with this? Will I regret it dreadfully?”
Charles had twin children of his own, younger than Bink.
“When she walks through that door,” he said, “you won’t care about anything else in the world.”