Finally: (as this is the last posting in a sequence of four). Did Jim Perrin leave our sister at such a crucial time because, possibly, the nurses had told him that ‘she was a little brighter’; ‘she was a little better’ — (which is what he relayed to her sisters that evening) and he felt it was acceptable to do so. It might have been, for instance, that after all he did have pressing business reasons to leave her?
Perhaps after consideration he thought it would be safe to go, so his absence — and his exceptionally late arrival next day, on Wednesday — could well be explained if, as we now suppose, he was some distance away.
To reiterate what we have written in earlier posts: Jim Perrin was the first person Jac’s ‘Welsh’ sister had tried to telephone after she arrived at the hospital at 7 am. that Wednesday and discovered how gravely ill Jac had become.
She had been offered the use of the staff office whilst telephoning and had continued, unsuccessfully, to try to reach him in between her calls to others which it was also necessary to make (and she was desperately trying to find Jac’s daughter): until, no longer wishing to be away from Jac’s side — the nurses had explained that she would not be rousing from the coma into which she had fallen and might die at any time — she accepted Jac’s ‘first love’s’ offer to continue her efforts to contact Jim Perrin. He also said that he would try to locate one of Jac’s sons and his girlfriend who were in South America. (This, amazingly, he managed to do… )
It is noteworthy that everyone to whom the message had been given, those in Wales and including family members who travelled from as far as Cumbria, Yorkshire and Suffolk, arrived at Jac’s bedside before Jim Perrin — with the exception of her son who was in Argentina. Sadly, her eldest son was supply teaching in the North of England, we knew not where, and as he had switched off his phone while he was working we were unable to tell him until much later in the day.
* * * * *
It was several hours before we had been able to speak to Jim Perrin — his mobile phone was inactive and it was not possible to leave a message, (and it was several more hours, after contact had been made, that he arrived at the hospital). When he answered his phone and was told how very ill our sister had become his response was not — as might have been expected — that he would be setting off immediately but instead, and giving no idea as to his whereabouts (and rather strangely): ‘I’ll be along later.’ These words seemed, then and now, extraordinarily inappropriate.
The likelihood that he was far away now seems to us — given so many question marks — the most feasible reason for his long delay; and the completely second-hand descriptions of Jac’s last hours were clearly his attempts to give verisimilitude to his dishonest claims to have been with her.
Because, of course, we know that he was not there.
It could have been that he was not expecting Jac to die while he was away from her; but he was, presumably, shocked when he was told: shocked not only that she had died in his absence, but also that others knew that he had left her — at the most vulnerable time of her life — so close to her death…
We do now feel that on the basis of the known facts, combined with the circumstantial evidence and Jim Perrin’s own words in his description of his visit to Derbyshire, the very strong probability is, regardless of the impression he gave (to his readers of West and to us her sisters), that he was not with Jac for any appreciable time — if any at all — on Tuesday May 10th the day before she died on Wednesday May 11th, and after puzzling it all out we think he may have telephoned the hospital rather than visiting himself before he left to wherever he was planning to go; it could explain his use of ubiquitous ‘hospital-speak’ rather than his own more personal terms when talking to Jac’s sisters. If we are right it would certainly answer a number of questions which we have long felt were unsatisfactorily addressed. It has always been a mystery and one by which we have been perplexed since that desperately sad day.
However, one truth indisputably remains. Jim Perrin left our dying sister on her own: at no point did he alert anyone to the gravity of her condition — although according to his detailed accounts in books, articles and interviews he was himself very well aware.
Had not the kindest of fates intervened and led one of Jac’s sisters to the hospital so early on that Wednesday morning, Jac would have died alone in her room and with none of those she loved around her.
She had been completely deserted by the man who claimed to love her, Jim Perrin…