News spread rapidly across British media on 10 June 2019. We were glued to our small screens as news unfolded regarding a domestic squabble over a suitcase that ended in a stabbing.
The Independent took the lead with breaking news of the ‘revenge attack’. Apparently Gary Moore tried to stop his girlfriend Lesley Bradbury packing too many clothes in the car for their holiday and she went into a ‘pathological rage’.
Out came a knife – nobody’s saying from where – when Lesley discovered Gary had removed several items from her case. “He deserved it,” his girlfriend shouted while Bradley bled from a wound in his left bicep.
For her troubles, she picked up 12 months suspended for 18 months for causing ‘unlawful wounding’. Gary, who refused to make a statement to the police, has recovered fully. However the Court is in a tizzy because it seems the couple are continuing with the relationship despite their squabble over a suitcase.
The Medical Facts behind the Case
We’ll set aside Gary’s apparent inability to let go of the friendship. The New Zealand Herald let slip two days later that Lesley Bradbury “suffers from a mental health condition that causes her to hoard and protect possessions in a pathological way” according to evidence before the Court.
Now we do know, according to Mayo Clinic that “hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. And moreover a person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items.
‘Distress’ might be putting it a little mildly according to the evidence. We understand that Gary had brought some of Lesley’s possessions back inside from the car and had thrown them on the ground. These must have been of great personal value for Lesley to have escalated a squabble over a suitcase into a stabbing “in order to stop him”.
Does This Mean a Hoard May be Portable?
Most hoards we know of are fixed, in the sense the owner keeps them in a particular place, and refuses to allow them to be removed. Reading between the lines, it seems that Lesley had overfilled the suitcase. Perhaps she shared it with Gary. They certainly appear to have had, shall we say an intense relationship.
Pointing fingers at ourselves, we have to admit having lesser hoards in our favourite suitcases. A corkscrew in case a hotel does not have one, or a half-forgotten cardigan ‘in case we are caught short in a blizzard, you never know’.
It is pretty much common knowledge most of us take far too much with us on holiday. We pack it all out when we get there, and we pack most of it back, unused when we leave. Our minds wander to Charlie Schultz’s Linus. Do you remember him, thumb in his mouth and blanket over his shoulder?
Psychologists called Linus’ scrap of cloth his ‘security blanket’. We mostly all have possessions that accompany us everywhere we go. If that’s the case we are all lesser or greater hoarders, with difficulty discarding or parting with possessions. Don’t touch my phone please. I like it there.