A burglar makes a horrible discoovery at #4 Privet Drive.
A SHOCKING DISCOVERY
Saturday July 7 1985, 7:45PM:
"Emergency services, this is Constable Mason. How may I help you?"
"I'd like to report a dead child."
"Excuse me, sir? Did you say a dead child?"
"Aye, I did."
"What's the address?"
"Um, Number four, Privet Drive."
"Is it in Surrey?"
"Yes. Little Whinging."
"Stay there, sir. Emergency services are on the way, and the police will have to speak with you."
"I'll be here."
Four minutes later, Police vehicles arrived at the door of number 4 Privet drive. On the porch, a haggard looking man sat, weeping bitterly. He was dressed in black from head to toe, and carried a satchel. Police immediately surrounded him. Sergeant Jacob McCaffrey addressed the distraught man.
"Are you the person who called in a report of a dead child?"
"Aye, sah. That I am."
"Where is the child?"
"'E's inside. In the cupboard under the soddin' stairs, of all places!" The haggard man cried out. The constables were joined by a police photographer and together they prepared to enter the home.
Sergeant McCaffery had him stand and told his men to search the place while he escorted the man away. Seating both of them on the low stone wall in front of the house, he pulled out pen and pad, and asked: "What's your name, sir?"
"Mr. Reilly, do you live here?"
"No, sah. I live in London, in the bowery."
"Why are you here?"
"I'm a burglar. I steal valuables from homes and I sell them. It ain't honest, but I never harmed no one. Not like them what lives here, done." He growled. McCaffery realized the haggard man wasn't distraught. He was furious! In fact, just then, he looked to be out for blood.
That a burglar would stay at the scene of a crime, was astounding. For him to casually tell them of his 'job' was unheard of.
"Can you tell me what happened?"
"Aye. I been lookin' this place over fer a while. They's four what live here. A mum, dad, an' two boys. I learnt their 'abits quicklike and 'cided to hit them tonight. They'd left for some place or other yesterday afternoon. I watched the place off 'n on 'til t'night. I figured if they hain't come back by now, they wasn't gonna, anytime soon. Anyways, they was all gone, I figgered it'd be a quick in 'n out, so I come in th' back way. They's got a right pretty house, they 'as, but nothing really worthwhile. I was about to leave it as a bad job, when I saw a latched cupboard under the stairs. I 'cided it was worth a look. God help me, I wish't I 'adn't. 'E was just alyin' there, all bloody an' bruised an' all. 'E looked at me and says: "Please, don't 'it me." An' then he up an' died. Poor li'l tyke. He cain't be more'n three, from the size of him!" Once more, tears fell.
"Sergeant!" One uniformed officer came running. "It's true. There's a little boy dead in a cupboard under the stairs. He looks to have been beaten to death." The officer glared at the man next to Sgt. McCaffery.
Walter paled, holding up dirty but bloodless hands. "It weren't me! I swear to God, it weren't me!" He sobbed.
"Wait here, please." McCaffery ordered. "I'll want to talk to you again." He followed constable Rhys into the neat bungalow.
Seeing as how McCaffery had assigned no guard, a young constable brought him a cup and her thermos. "It's rather sweet." She poured some hot tea into the cup, and sat beside the sobbing burglar.
Under the stairs off the kitchen, a door stood ajar. Two of his men stood in the hallway, faces flushed with anger and sorrow. To one side, the photographer was loading a fresh roll of film into his camera. His face was also wet with tears.
McCaffery bent down, looked inside and almost lost his dinner. Lying on a filthy mattress, that by the look of it, was surplus from the Great War, was the dead body of a tiny boy. His shirt was gone, and his pants were bunched around him, like a tent. McCaffery could clearly see fist, and shoe shaped bruises of a livid purple, covering the boy from waist to forehead. His messy black hair was crusted with dried blood. On his brow, McCaffery could see a thin, pink scar, like the 'S' the Nazi's used. The boy was clearly dead, but they'd have to wait until the doctor could certify it.
As if on cue, the Ambulance attendants and a responding physician entered the hallway.
"Is he in there?" Asked Maurine Phillips. "Yes. He's here, Doc." McCaffery replied heavily. He hated seeing children abused, and from the condition of this one, there was no doubt in his mind at all, that this boy had been abused...severely...and for a long time. He swore he'd work this case personally. There was no way these animals would go free. The dead boy deserved some kind of closure, and by God, He'd see to it!
He stepped outside the home to begin the long and involved process of putting someone in jail.
In the street, the ambulance waited, it's blue lights flashing, accompanied by two more patrol units. By now, neighbors had begun to leave the comfort of their homes to investigate the disturbance. Constables circled him, awaiting orders. McCaffery gave them. They were simple.
"There's a dead child inside. No one else in the house. Find out who he is, and what the situation is."
The constables began to filter through the crowd, asking questions.
The ambulance crew slowly rolled the shrouded gurney down the walk to the back of the vehicle. Both of them had tears flooding down their faces. Behind them Doctor Phillips, trudged, her head, bowed in sorrow.
Gasps of the neighbors, sounded through the night, as they saw the tiny body under the shroud, and realized exactly what had happened. Suddenly, there were a lot more people willing to speak to the police than there had been before.
Half an hour later, senior constable MacMurdo approached.
"Sergeant. The boy's name is most likely Harry Potter, aged four, or maybe five. He's nephew to the family that lives here. Vernon, and Petunia Dursley and son, Dudley. According to most of the neighbors, he is thought to be a 'troubled child'. They say his relative's act and speak as though he were a dangerous criminal, although they've seen no indications of that. He apparently was a quiet lad, polite to all, and as unaggressive as they come. Some of the neighbors say he was 'different'. They claim he wears rags, and eats from rubbish bins. Sergeant, that's entirely likely. The boy was dressed in clothes that were little better than cleaning rags, that appeared to have been handed down from someone about three times his size, and judging from the way his ribs poked out, those ones not broken, that is, he's quite likely been starved.
The lady in six, says she hears the sound of someone beating someone else, several times each week. The latest time was yesterday noon.
The doctor told me his current injuries are consistent with that timeline. She also told me that older injuries indicate that this has been going on for years. It seems someone, likely his uncle, beat him horribly around noontime yesterday, and chucked him into that cupboard. The neighbor in six says they left around one thirty, heading for Dursley's sister's place for a weekend visit. They're expected back sometime tomorrow evening."
They'll be coming home sooner than that, if I have anything to say about it." McCaffery growled. " Get on the horn. Have dispatch contact the Dursley's sister, and inform them that a burglar broke in. I'm going to speak to the magistrate on duty tonight, who was it? Oh, yeah. Eddings-Smythe. He's fair. I should be back here with warrants before the Dursley's arrive."
Turning to Walter, he spoke quietly. "I'm not going to run you in for burgling. I can't say what the magistrate will do, but I don't think I will have to persuade him too hard. You deserve a medal for your actions here tonight, but given the nature of your 'occupation', I don't think many would appreciate the gesture. This card has my office and mobile phone on it. I want you to stay in touch. Call me every morning until this is over. I'll have need of you in case this goes to court."
"I'll be here. I don't like people what hurt kids, an' if I have to go to jail, for a while, then so be it."
"You're a good man, Walter."
Friday afternoon, Hogwarts:
At Hogwarts School of witchcraft and wizardry, several silver devices in the office of headmaster Albus Dumbledore began to sound. As it was Friday and school was out for the summer anyway, he'd decided on a short holiday in France.
Shortly after two PM, Minerva McGonagall entered the office to collect the list of new first-years. The cacophony was hideous. Holding her hands to her ears, she backed out of the room, and rushed to her own office, where she flooed to the hospice Dumbledore had listed.
Learning that he was not in, she left a message describing the terrible noise in his office. The deskman assured her Dumbledore would get the message.
By Saturday morning, the blaring alarms were loud enough to be heard throughout the entire school. None of the teachers had slept the previous night.
Suddenly, on Saturday evening, at 7:43PM, the alarms stopped...as if the reason for them had ceased to be. Twenty minutes later, Albus Dumbledore who, when he'd heard the news from the deskman at the chateau he'd let, had rushed back to Hogwarts castle, entered. In his office, he paled as he saw the now silent gadgets, all of which had fallen over, and flooed directly to Mrs. Figg's home.
Dumbledore spun to a halt in Arabella Figg's hearth, and immediately dashed out the door. He was just in time to see the boy's body being rolled into the ambulance.
Harry Potter was buried between his parents in Godric's Hollow, in Wales. Dumbledore had claimed his body, and transported him there himself. Only a few people attended, all good friends of the Potters...except one. Next to Arabella Figg, a haggard looking man, wearing a cheap suit and holding his hat in his hands, stood and sobbed as the tiny coffin was lowered into the ground.
On the simple marble stone, were the words:
HARRY JAMES POTTER
July 31 1980-July 7 1985
A/N: Many might feel I am over emphasizing the potential for abuse at the Dursley home. I disagree. Canon has Petunia striking Harry with a (presumably hot) frypan, while Dudley is allowed, and even encouraged to 'hunt' Harry with his friends, as well as use him as his personal punching bag. He is kept locked in a cupboard under the stairs. I work as a carpenter and I have built many frame homes like the one described. That space is about 30-36 inches wide and because of the mid-span brace, only about 5 feet long, the bottommost foot of which cannot be used for anything, as it is only about six inches high. Add to that the three heavy stringers to support the stairs, and Harry has about two and a half feet at the upper end of the cupboard.
Additionally, Vernon exclaims "There's nothing that cannot be beaten out of him" implying that he's tried.
I grew up in such an environment, and know that abuse only grows until it is stopped by outside means. My sibs and I lived in the basement and had no recourse to magic. Even now, almost forty years later, I still have scars across my back from when my father would whip us while he was drunk.