Thursday 27 January 2011

A darkness over clifton

Aberdeen Road, Cotham. A one way street with the main entrance on Hampton Road, just past the car parked by the dropped-kerb build out with its hazard lights on. A bicycle locked to the road sign. We've covered this road before, mainly on the topic of school runs and parking.

Never looked at the houses much. Student houses. You can tell. The driveway converted into bicycle parking.

But this day: different. A police car with the engine on sits outside one of the houses.

This is where the current suspect in the murder of Joanna Yeates was apparently arrested.

We have nothing to add on this topic; Bristol Culture has done a better local analysis than the rest of the country's press. What we can do is show people what Canynge Road, where Joanna lived, is like. It's never had a mention here before for one simple reason: it's not interesting enough. It's a quiet road between Clifton and the Downs, most notable for providing parking for zoo visitors in summer. Otherwise, sleepy. Or it was.

Now the police stand outside one of the houses; a camera man stands across the road. One person is believed to have been murdered in the house just before Christmas, two other residents have (separately) been arrested and questioned -one of them charged. Whatever the outcome, Canynge Road will be tainted for a long time -like Cut-Throat Lane in St Werburgh's. It has gone from what was a quiet route for cyclists (it's faster to drive on the parallel road as this one is too narrow at the Clifton end), and somewhere for people to live, to a road with a dark history.

In Clifton and nearby, there's now a clear feeling of relief whenever someone who is potentially the murder is being detained by the police: that it is suddenly safer. Because Clifton is a safe part of town, and such things don't happen there, the way they do in Patchway, or down in Somerset, in Cheddar. Things that happen there don't merit national news coverage, despite the grief and suffering the relatives of those people will be going through.

We mourn them all.

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