The First Call
A further six days passed without incident, which brings us to Monday, 8th September 2003, and the first of the telephone calls claiming to be from Peter Marlin himself. To date I have received three such calls.
Whilst I do not wish to identify the news organisation for which I work, I feel it reasonable to state certain facts about the nature of my job in order to clarify the circumstances, not just of these calls, but of the case as a whole. It should therefore be pointed out that both my name and the phone number of my office are freely available to anyone willing to search through the staff listings of my organisation, and this information appears in print on a regular basis. It is not uncommon therefore to receive unsolicited calls on a variety of subjects, sometimes related to stories I have previously covered, other times not. There is nothing unusual or unexpected in this.
Although calls to my office are not routinely taped, being a news organisation we naturally possess the facility to do so, and as such I will occasionally record conversations which strike me at the time as being interesting for one reason or another. Consequently I have been able to retain copies of all three conversations which have so far taken place between myself and Peter Marlin, transcripts of which can be accessed via the menu on the left.
This first call was received at 9:07am on the Monday morning, and may be viewed here. The conversation was brief, a little under two minutes in length, and was punctuated with occasional silences lasting anything up to seven or eight seconds. Marlin's voice was indistinct, perhaps purposely, and possessed something of an edgy, nervous tone. These factors, combined with the brevity of the call, meant it proved difficult to judge with any degree of accuracy such potentially identifiable characteristics as age, accent, or social background. I can state little more than that the voice was indisputably male, adult, and apparently English. Requests have been made to me from various sources to make these recordings available to the general public, perhaps via this website, so that others may judge for themselves, and whilst I will not rule this out as a possibility for the future, at present I feel it would threaten my own anonymity, and thus is a risk I am not currently prepared to take.
To me, the reason for this first call was obvious. It was an act born quite simply out of frustration at the lack of any previous attention. Two letters, one accompanied by a severed finger, had produced no discernable reaction from the recipient. The timing of the call was surely also of some significance. I feel it safe to assume that Marlin had anticipated some form of press coverage the previous week, and when no such report had been forthcoming, frustration had boiled over during the weekend, leading to a call at the earliest opportunity. My working week starts at 9am on a Monday morning; Marlin's call was placed just seven minutes later.
Of course, this call added nothing to the weight of any 'case'. Indeed, at this point, no such case even existed. A clear act of frustration such as this gave yet more credence to the assumption that Marlin was probably little more than an attention-seeking crank. His motive appeared to be publicity, as it invariably is with cases of this kind, and in such instances the journalist's job is simply to deny the perpetrator the attention they crave. Starved of this oxygen, these individuals tend to lose interest very quickly and are rarely heard from again.
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