Story of a man called Rob I met on the streets…

Over the past few months I have been trying to get together the story of a man I met on the streets while I was out and about doing what I do. He shared his story with me and in my enthusiasm I commented that he was a walking miracle and what had happened in his life could be made into a book. So, here’s the beginning. With the help of some amazing chaplain volunteers we typed this up and put this together as a booklet for him to give out to friends, family and those who knew what had happened to him. We helped Rob as he isn’t able to write up his story, yet the detail and way it is written has been at his direction; including keeping the names of people in the story, against my advice. So, here it is:

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It all began in January 2010 when a homeless person knocked on my door and asked for help.  Bobby Keene was an acquaintance who had fallen on hard times and when he asked if I would put him up for a couple of days so he could get back on his feet I was in two minds about it but in the end I knew I had to help because I felt sorry for him.  I had lived on the streets for 2 years and 3 months so I knew how tough it could be.

He moved into the flat, as he badly needed clothes I gave him £40.  I fed him and housed him but it was some days later at about 2.30am one morning when he was playing music very loudly I asked him to turn it down as the neighbours would be trying to sleep.  I went to the kitchen and fetched a drink and when I returned the music was still blaring out.  I was shocked to see Bobby spinning a 16” knife in his hand.  He shouted “I ***** hate you and I am going to kill you”.  Suddenly before I had time to react he starting stabbing me with the knife.

Next thing I knew I was in the kitchen covered in blood having left a trail of it and then he slipped on the blood and I was able to grab the knife and call the police.  Fifteen cops arrived and arrested Bobby.  I was rushed to the hospital where I underwent major surgery and stitching to repair the damaged he caused.  I was in hospital for a few days but could not face going back to the flat.  By now the police had notified my Mum who took me back to her place to look after me during my long recovery.

I thought about what happened but I could not understand why he turned on me the way he did.  I needed to consider the neighbours so had just asked him to turn the music down to a reasonable level.  As a result I landed up in hospital fighting for my life.  The flat needed clearing but I could not face going back there so my Mum had to clean up all that blood.  It was hard for her but she and the family packed up all my stuff so that I did not need to return.

So my flat was cleaned and cleared and my wounds were healing so to all intents and purposes I was on the road to recovery but like most things it was not that simple.  Whilst physical healing was taking place mental scarring was causing me problems.  I was not managing to sleep but if I did drop off I was having horrendous nightmares in which I re-lived the ordeal.  The nightmares got worse and sleep got less and less.  I kept hearing him shout “Why won’t you ***** die you bastard?

Eventually the case went to court and Bobby pleaded guilty to the charge of attempted murder.  During the proceedings I discovered he had a criminal record.  The story hit the front page of the ‘Evening Telegraph’ and he received a 9 year prison sentence. 

I decided to move toWalesto get away from it all but discovered I could only get treatment and a future restraining order if I stayed inPeterborough.  The whole incident has made me very suspicious and when I am out I often look round worrying that someone may turn on me for no real reason.  At this time I got to know God and I heard him say as I walked past Oundel Rd Baptist Church, “son this is the church for you” so I went in and have been going since as they welcomed me with open arms, but sometimes I wish people could really understand the ordeal that I have gone through.  But then why would they, even my family and friends have never really understood.  It is a shame that knowing about such incidents often leads people to say the wrong thing that can be unhelpful or patronising, like ‘I know what you are going through or ‘just get your act together’ and I am left wonder ‘how’! 

I have started therapy but know that my nightmares will get worse before they get better. 

I have been told many times that I am lucky to be alive but it’s not luck. God knew it was not my time.  I have been supported by Nikki who occasionally attends Oundel Rd Baptist Church.  She has given some words to me that I keep at home which say that God is glad that I answered his call.  The words go on to say that He knows the mental battle will help me and that God has chosen me to be ‘a soldier of God’ and that he has filled me with his righteousness.  Because of what Jesus has done for me, in God’s eyes he looks at me as perfect.

Then my worst nightmare happened and someone, known to me as Mad Vinnie, told me to get out of town.  He yelled at me that if I thought Bobby was mad I hadn’t seen anything yet.  He shouted that I should move faster.  I was with some relatives who stuck up for me.  It turned out he had met Bobby in prison but my cousin told him the true story and Vinnie calmed right down.  The following day he said sorry and we shook hands.

I am now on that journey that will put my life together and I pray that one day I will be able to forgive Bobby for what he tried to do and that my nightmare will be over.

3 thoughts on “Story of a man called Rob I met on the streets…

  1. Ellel Ministries used to do a course to help those who minister to those who are suffering as a result of an accident or trauma and I think they still do. Is there any way that someone who is ministering to Rob could go on this to get some specialist advice? I did this as a weekend course at Lancaster a few years ago. If Rob is strong enough he might be able to go on one of their free mid-week healing retreats or indeed attend one of their fee-paying weekend courses. Definitely something worth investigating and prayfully checking out to see if this is the right way to offer additional support. They also have a centre in Surrey and another in Sussex that may be more accessible for you.

  2. Whenever I see myself before God and realize something of what my blessed Lord has done for me at Calvary, I am ready to forgive anybody anything. I cannot withhold it. I do not even want to withhold it. ~ Martin Lloyd-Jones

    Luke 23:33 & 34 (KJV). And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
    Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his clothing, and cast lots.

    Acts 7:59 & 60 (NIV). While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
    Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

  3. Forgiveness is a process not an act. Those of us who have been through serious trials know how hard it can be. The first step is the hardest. Each time when something comes to mind or a twinge is felt it is necessary to forgive. It is an act of the will and a tough walk to follow. Yet bit by bit as each step forwards is taken greater peace is achieved. Would someone tell Rob that he is forgiven for struggling to forgive. He is a much loved and wanted brother in the Lord and should not beat himself up for struggling do what the world says is impossible. Let him know that one step forwards forgiveness i.e. forgiving one act no matter how small is a victory for the Lord and a defeat of the enemy. Encourage him. It is a battle that he can win but it will take time.

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