Support for The Victim, comes from Berkley, publisher of Our House—a disturbing and addictive novel of domestic suspense from internationally acclaimed author, Louise Candlish.
Welcome to the website of ‘The Victim’, the acclaimed crime podcast and winner of a National Documentary Podcast Listeners’ Award. Each episode tells the true story of a crime directly in the words of the victim. ‘The Victim’ is not an investigation, but a privileged insight into an innocent person’s suffering. From stalking to identity theft, domestic abuse to property fraud, the experience of each victim is a terrifying journey that you are invited to share – and a cautionary tale for our times.
What follows is the new episode, Fi’s Story. Caution to the listener, as it contains strong language.
Season Two, Episode Three: ‘Fi’s Story’
My name is Fiona Lawson and I’m forty-two years old. I can’t tell you where I live, only where I used to, because six weeks ago my husband sold our home without my knowledge or consent. I know I should say ‘allege’, that I should say it before everything, so how about this: I ‘allege’ that what I say in this interview is the truth. I mean, legal contracts don’t lie, do they? And his signature has been authenticated by the experts. Yes, the finer details of the crime are still to be revealed – including the identity of his accomplice – but as you can appreciate I’m still coming to terms with the central fact that I no longer have a home.
I no longer have a home!
Of course, once you’ve heard my story you’ll think I have no one to blame but myself – just like your audience will. I know how it works, they’ll all be on Twitter saying how clueless I am. And I get it. I listened to the whole of Season One and I did exactly that myself. There’s a thin line between a victim and an idiot.
‘This could have happened to anyone, Mrs Lawson,’ the police officer told me the day I found out, but she was just being kind because I was crying and she could see a cup of tea wasn’t going to cut it. (Morphine, maybe.)
No, this could only happen to someone like me, someone too idealistic, too forgiving. Someone who’d deluded herself into thinking she could reform nature itself. Make a weak man strong. Yes, that old chestnut.
Why am I taking part in this series? Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m a very private person, so why open myself to mockery or pity or worse? Well, partly because I want to warn people that this really can happen. Property fraud is on the rise, there are stories in the press every day, the police and legal profession are playing catch up with technology. Homeowners need to be vigilant: there’s no limit to what professional criminals will try – or, for that matter, amateur ones.
Also, this is an ongoing investigation and my story might nudge a memory, might encourage someone who has relevant information to get in touch with the police. Sometimes you don’t know what’s relevant until you hear the proper context, that’s why the police don’t mind me doing this – well, they haven’t asked me not to, let’s put it that way. As you probably know, I can’t be compelled to testify against Bram in a trial thanks to spousal privilege (that’s a laugh). We’re still married, though I’ve considered us exes since the day I threw him out. Of course I could choose to testify, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, my solicitor says.
To be honest, I get the feeling she thinks there won’t ever be any prosecution. I get the feeling she thinks he’s got a new identity by now, a new home, a new life – all bought with his new fortune.
She says it’s ever-expanding, the lengths to which people will go to cheat one another.
Even husband and wife.
Speaking of which, you said this has a good chance of being heard by him, that it might be the factor that prompts him to get in touch? Well, let me tell you right now, let me tell him – and I don't care what the police think:
Don’t even think about coming back, Bram. I swear, if you do, I’ll kill you.