Diatribe: Death By Garden Gnome.
We have a garden gnome in one of the flower beds along the side of our house. His name is “Gnomie” and he’s been there for many years. His once brightly painted gnome uniform long ago faded into a sort of gnome camouflage that allows him to hide among the shrubbery and perennials that are his home.
Gnomie is a harmless sort. Since the days before the bushes grew taller and the flowers filled in the bed, he has worked proudly to make our garden a bit more interesting and colorful. He asked very little from us in return, causing no trouble at all so, during the winter months we place him carefully in a shed, away from the elements, and return him to his position in the flower bed each Spring.
Knowing Gomie like I do, it’s preposterous to think that a garden gnome might be involved in a brutal murder.
Last Friday, however, Frederick Gilliard of Blackpool, England was sentenced to four years in jail for attacking his wife in their bedroom with a garden gnome and a carving knife. Gilliard, a 74-year-old who served in the Royal Air Force for twenty-seven years, told police he “just lost it” when he beat his spouse of fifty-four years with a garden gnome before stabbing her ten times.
He then dialed 999, England’s equivalent to 911 in the U.S., and told the operator what he had done.
“I can’t believe it. This is going to kill my kids. We have been married 54 years. I loved that woman.” – Frederick Gilliard
Gilliard was originally charged with murder but, at an earlier hearing, pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to chronic depression. The frail man, who has four children and three grandchildren, walks with a stoop and wears glasses and hearing aids in both ears. He could not hear Friday’s proceedings and looked over to his family in the public gallery who held up four fingers to indicate his sentence to him.
This tragic tale is really unbelievable. I may never look at Gnomie in quite the same way. And I can’t imagine why anyone would have a garden gnome in their bedroom.
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