Since creating this website, I have been asked on a number of occasions why I took the decision to publish the full transcript of my interview with Vic, since during this conversation I assure him that our discussion is off the record. I would therefore like to make it clear that I had every intention of honouring that pledge, and indeed would have done, were it not for a subsequent turn of events which rendered the deal somewhat meaningless. This will hopefully become clear as one reads through the entire story. I would state however, that without the impact of later events, my entire interview with Vic would have remained confidential to this day, and whilst I would certainly not have chosen for events to follow the course they did, it would be disingenuous of me not to admit that the existence of the Victoria pub interview considerably strengthens the body of evidence relating to this case. I therefore have no qualms about placing it here.
My conversation with Vic was intriguing for a number of reasons. If we are to take his testimony at face value, then it suggests a significant number of people are aware of Peter Marlin's existence and activities. Of course, it doesn't necessarily follow that Marlin's claims are therefore genuine (indeed Vic could offer no substantiating evidence of the crimes in which he believed), it may indicate merely that Marlin has succeeded in hoaxing a greater number of people than just myself, but at the very least it appeared to prove that he was more than simply a crank caller to a news organisation. To a small, yet specific, subculture of the community at least, he was all too real.
Whilst I was excited by this apparent step forward, I felt the need for scepticism too. A few aspects of my encounter with Vic did not sit comfortably with me. The most obvious is the fact that he agreed to speak to me in the first place. The men in the subway had been cagey in the extreme, and shown no signs of any willingness to speak with me. They also appeared to display a definite solidarity, an unspoken pact not to break rank and impart even the smallest piece of information. Vic was starkly different, almost worryingly so. For all his apparent nervousness and at times reluctance to talk, the fact remains that he agreed to speak with me just yards from where his supposed companions had been standing. This seems to me an extraordinary risk. Wearing a hood may to some extent have concealed Vic's appearance from a stranger such as myself, but to those who knew him, it surely acted as little or no disguise at all. If any talk of 'the PM man' was so obviously frowned upon by his peers, why would Vic risk exposure by agreeing to meet in a public place, so close to the preferred hang-out of his companions?
One possible explanation is that Vic was never really a part of this group, but rather an outsider unfamiliar to those I had previously met, and therefore less fearful of speaking out. This seems unlikely to me, since he had apparently been privy to the rumours and gossip surrounding Peter Marlin. I had experienced for myself the group's reluctance to speak to outsiders. If Vic was such a loner, denied membership of this clique, then there is no reason to suppose that its members would be any more inclined to speak to him than to me.
(Note: It has subsequently been suggested to me that Vic may indeed have been an outsider with no personal involvement in any discussions regarding the Marlin situation, but that crucially he was also something of an expert eavesdropper! It has to be said that he demonstrated this much to me, having been fully aware of my conversation with the men in the subway, without, apparently, making his presence known to any of those involved. I am forced therefore to concede this theory as a possibility).
A simpler explanation is perhaps that, as Vic himself implied, he had merely reached such a stage of desperation that he felt he had to act, to reach out for help, and in the heat of the moment had done just that, and chosen to speak to me. One could also argue that since it was such an impulsive action, he was not in a position to think clearly, and therefore agreed to meet in the pub without thinking through the possible risk he was taking. This may also explain his sudden departure. Perhaps in a moment of clarity he realised his mistake, and put a swift end to proceedings.
I am naturally prone to a cynical point of view however, and I therefore cannot rule out the possibility that Vic was some kind of 'stooge'. I should state that as I write this, my suspicions are far less strong than had been the case at the time, and in reality have all but dissipated, yet the fact remains that there is a certain 'convenience' to this chain of events: Marlin directs me toward Christchurch Park; there I meet John, who points me in the direction of St Matthew's Street and a surprise encounter with Vic. It was almost as though each were waiting in turn for me to discover them. Coincidence and luck can play a part in any investigation of course, but it is generally prudent to retain a degree of scepticism.
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