Deadly game? .. Missing youth "concept album" link.

From the pages of 'The Manchester Evening News'....

When A level maths tutor Gareth Clough and ambulance driver Lee Holden both of Chorley Lancashire and motorcycle courier Christopher Gately of Birmingham, all 31 decided to create a concept album around their favourite rock band Kiss they expected that the most trouble that they might get into would be as a result of copyright infringement but they looked seriously pale and drawn this morning as they were released on bail in relation to the investigation of the dissapearance of Karl Claudius, 25 an African Imigrant last seen indulging in "familiar banter" with the three men and their houseguests, relatives of Clough who have also been questioned.

On Friday 15th August Karl Claudius was calling door to door, acting on behalf of N Power selling energy services. Most of the people on his round politely but firmly told him "no thanks" as is the norm but at 11 Goldcrest Close, shared home of Clough, Holden and Gately something else transpired. Neighbours report that Claudus was visibly agitated as he was invited in, only to leave shortly afterwards, "hurriedly, calling over his shoulder". Later after leaving Goldcrest Close he was seen to return and call at a number of other house "determinedly avoiding number 11". Holden was seen to call menacingly "power man" and an embarassed Claudius headed over to the house asking "Who is Lee?". He was never seen again.

When police entered number 11 with a search warrant two days later they found "a typical heterosexual male shared dwelling mess" of musical instruments, computer equipment, copyrighted entertainment products and half eaten sandwiches. The one thing that set alarm bells ringing was the discovery of a piece of A4 paper with the word "Karl" in capitals and Claudius' mobile telephone number in 1.5 inch type taped to the wall in the living room. Discoverys of a further fifteen identical sheets were made on walls and inside cupboards around the house. These bizarre decorations were enough to secure arrests.

Clough, Holden and Gately are amateur electronic musicians who call themselves the Kettle Cups and have had some minor success in Australia and Japan, they have protested their innocence. They claim that the proliferation of homemade posters featuring Claudius' contact details was a joke and that they have no idea what has happened to him. Their story is that on his first visit to the house Claudius asked to speak to Holden whose name was on the electricity bill, he was advised to call back later when Holden might have returned from work. He expressed an interest in all the music and computer equipment and was told that these two were principally the property of Holden. When he passed later Holden had returned and been told all about him, hence the "power man" call. Before Claudius could begin to extoll the virtues of N Power electricity and gas Holden had persuaded him to buy some of the Kettle Cups' home made records. A preliminary contract for energy supply was drafted but more importantly to the Kettle Cups Karl had arranged to return with some of his own home made records and agreed to record a vocal for a collaboration. After he left Clough and Gately had teased Holden that his new friend would not return and this is when Holden had made the poster with Karl's number which he had left of his own volition. The next day when Karl did not return with his records or to record his vocal, several copies where printed up and displayed around the house "in jest".

The police are reported to have described the alibi as "too bizarre to be true or to be made up" The Kettle Cups are on bail pending further investigation but are not expected to be charged. They are said to have abandoned all plans for a follow up to their album "Knights In Satan's Service" which they have withdrawn after the disappearance publicity attracted the attention of church leaders and Kiss themselves. They are said to have been emotionally disturbed by the police involvement and have all lost their jobs. The incident again has raised questions of whether the new low cost music production technology brough by affordable home computer technology should be outlawed.

© R Stevens, August 2003