364 days ago, I was happy and not dealing with a liar.
364 days ago, life was good.
364 days ago, I still had my best friend.
364 days ago, things changed in a way I never saw coming.
It’s hard to believe that tomorrow will be a year since Josh died. A year since my life fell apart.
I still remember that night so vividly: I couldn’t settle, I was so restless and didn’t know why. Anthony J Grant had been sending chat messages constantly, as he always did, and called me at one point just after I finished work.
He had been staying with his parents in Crossgar, Downpatrick, Northern Ireland, but was getting on a bus and heading south, supposedly looking for chef jobs. But who knows: there is very little he actually told the truth about when it comes to the stuff that matters.
If nothing else, he is a talented liar. He was most likely heading to meet one of the many random women he slept with from his online dating site hookups because that seems to have been the basis for most of his trekking around the place, as I have since discovered.
By my night owl standards, it was early: a little after midnight. But I was tired. I had little sleep the night before. I don’t know why, but I felt completely on edge. In the end, I took myself off to bed and tried to sleep but once again, I couldn’t.
A little after 1am, I got up. To this day, I don’t know why, but I decided to walk to Josh’s place. As far as I knew, he was at work, doing his regular week of overnight shifts. But I still felt compelled to go there. His bike was outside his flat, and I could see a light was on in the living room. The front door was locked but I used my key to let myself in (we pretty much lived at each other’s houses, our homes away from home).
That was when I found him. After that, things are still a little blurry but some of the memories are all too vivid.
He saw me, he looked up as I opened the front door. The look of shock on his face tells me he didn’t expect me to turn up, he didn’t expect me to be the one to find him.
He tried to push my hand away as I was cutting him down from the door, he tried to talk once I got him on the ground. Then he stopped. Everything stopped. At some point his neighbour had come over, had heard me shouting for help. He called 111 and was crouched on the floor beside me as I did CPR and he talked to the 111 operator.
I knew when he was gone. When he became so still, so quiet. I am glad Josh wasn’t alone when he died. But I so wish I had done more, that I had found him sooner. Maybe I could have saved him.
It all seems so surreal even now.
Unreal even. I still expect him to turn up. I hear a car slow down near my house at night and wait to hear if it’s Josh calling in for a coffee after work. My phone rings and my first thought is: Josh.
I miss him. I suppose I miss me, too … his death and everything that happened after have changed me so much that I don’t think I will ever get that person back.
Josh was my best friend for 30-plus. The person I trusted most in the world. We saw each other every day; I was his “best woman” when he married Heather. I was holding his hand and hers as she died 6 years ago.
I promised Heather that I would look after him. I failed.
Anthony Grant: liar and more
And I can see now that it was at this point that Anthony Grant made his move. He laid the groundwork for his scam months earlier when he lied about having broken up with his ex, when he lied about all the bad things she had supposedly done to him when all along it was him doing those things.
But now, looking back over it all, I can actually see clearly how completely he lied. He had no feelings for me, that was all part of the scam. Because this was where he started to push for us to be more than friends, when Josh died.
Plain and simple: Anthony Grant was, and still is, a liar.
Anthony did something that no one could ever do to someone they cared about: he made the decision to use my grief as a weapon against me. He started the night Josh died, February 28. And he continued even after he began living with Karen Harris, formerly Karen Doran, at the start of April.
(MAY 2020 UPDATE: They are currently believed to be living in the Newcastle area of County Down).