Magazine article The Spectator

My Identity Crisis

Magazine article The Spectator

My Identity Crisis

Article excerpt

Police thought I was the Putney Pusher

I'm sitting at home working, minding my business, and the mobile rings. It's DC Lyle from Wandsworth police station. He says that my name was given to Crimestoppers anonymously as a potential witness to the 'Putney Pusher' incident. Remember that nutter who barged a woman into the path of a bus on Putney Bridge while out for his morning jog? Well, six months on and they still haven't found him -- and DC Lyle wants to meet.

I say I couldn't possibly help as I wasn't a witness. DC Lyle says he still needs to meet. I reaffirm there really was no point, I could be of no value; I wasn't there. DC Lyle insists, and in doing so mentions that he has my email address, and that he tried to see me at my office yesterday (I wasn't in). What? Somebody gave the police my office address, email address and phone number. Who? Feeling invaded and indignant, I tell DC Lyle he could come at 10 a.m. the next day. I put the phone down, and only then the penny dropped. I was a suspect.

I must know. Who was the person who put my name forward? They obviously know me, but not well enough to call me first and let me know they were going to dob me in. Or perhaps they do know me well and have it in for me. That's for another day; I have to clear my name, and reclaim ownership of my identity.

I frantically search for the video footage of the incident online. The images are grainy. Squint the eyes and even I can see some resemblance. I look at the Pusher's jogging gear. Not premium, I might be OK. He's got fat calves. Result. Mine are sculpted (my best feature). The Pusher's got pronounced moobs. Oh dear. I carry some permanent holiday weight, I admit it. All it would take is a bored jury and a half-decent prosecution barrister, and none of this would be beyond reasonable doubt.

I need an alibi, so I fire up the iCal to see what my movements were on 5 May. …

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