It was a strange feeling seeing a picture I had taken on a night out get repeatedly used on a documentary about a murderer.
On that night, Dan and myself had gone out in to Derby City Centre, as usual, for a few beers. We’d decided to do somewhat of a bar crawl, visiting our usual haunts but also popping in to a few different places too. Well, I say decided…what I mean is we’d gone out with the intention of having “just a couple” and, in the end, had a bar crawl and a fair few couple more.
That was how several nights out would go with Dan. It had got to the point that on “big” nights we’d joke that we weren’t in the mood and would actually only have a couple but on the nights we would purposefully say “just a couple” we’d end up rocking back home at gone three in the morning. One of those “just a couple” nights resulted in visiting a 24 hour off licence after the club, buying the cheapest but biggest vodka they had – Glen’s Vodka…I still have nightmares – finishing the litre bottle in under two hours and me having the worst and longest hangover of my life. It took me a good two weeks to touch any other alcohol after that night.
The night of the picture wasn’t quite as heavy. A bit of a rarity, and it’s weird I remember this, on that night we stuck to pints and had no spirits. The picture was taken at The Old Bell Inn down Sadler Gate. The Bell was one of those pubs that when I was at Uni I loved. It was dirty, it was run down, but it played rock music, served decent beer, had a place for live music and, most importantly, always had a good atmosphere. Prior to this visit with Dan, our last trip to The Bell had seen me somehow remove the hand dryer off the wall in the gents while still trying to figure out how the cubicle door had a hole in it so big meaning that you may as well keep the door open; privacy wasn’t there either way. After that, though not because of that, The Bell closed and got refurbished. We went in to see what it had turned in to on this night (it’s now more of a posh identikit bar) and drank a few pints of Blue Moon.
This would turn out to be one of the last night outs that Dan and myself would have. We’d sometimes pop out for a pint and a chat after, but this was the last “out out” night. Just the two of us with a few pints, completing a greatest hits of all the bars we drank at along the way.
I was at work when I was told that there was going to be a programme on Sky about Dan. I was surprised. Part of me had felt that if there was going to be a programme about Dan I may have been approached to take part. Part of me had felt that if there was going to be a programme about Dan then someone close to it, be it family members or other friends, would have let me know. Finally, part of me just thought that it seemed a bit too soon.
I couldn’t imagine Dan’s Mum or Dan’s brother agreeing to the programme and, initially, I’d wondered if the colleague at work had got the wrong idea. When I got home I checked on Google and, eventually, found what I’d been looking for.
“What The Killer Did Next – Episode 3 – Geoff Seggie”
Suddenly, flashbacks of that week in 2016 hit me. I read the information for the episode and began to wonder what would be on it. The show had a premise of trying to give a motive as to why a murder would have happened. Would they go in to psychological detail on Dan? Would they give reasons as to why he chose to lie so much? Could they actually gather any form of potential motive?
I felt a mixture of dread and intrigue. I was dreading the thought of seeing Dan’s story on Sky TV, watching them uncover the details of the murder and what had happened, but equally I really wanted to see what they could uncover. I still had so many questions about what Dan did and part of me started to think that, potentially, this TV show could help me answer some of them and put my own mind at rest a bit more.
I watched the trailer for the series and started searching for clips of the episode about Dan and Geoff but to no luck. After about a week, the Derbyshire Evening Telegraph posted a story on Facebook – a press release, essentially – concerning the programme and when it would be on TV and what channel. And then something that hasn’t happened in some time began to happen.
The comments on the Facebook page for Derbyshire Live were as anybody would imagine. Derby is a proud city and here is a programme about a son that stabbed his Dad 60 times and hit him with a hammer 20 times after…it’s hardly a good news story. I read through them; “About time he was shot”, “He’s an evil, sick piece of scum”, “Throw away the key” and so on. The more personal ones made me cringe hard and my thumb started hovering over my phone primed to reply.
Despite everything, I found myself wanting to stick up for Dan. Defending the indefensible. I couldn’t clear from my mind the image of the Dan that I’d had that night out with, the Dan that had put a roof over my head when I had no place else to go.
I started to wonder; “Have I started to forgive?”
I received a text informing me the episode of “What The Killer Did Next” about Dan was on the ‘On Demand’ service. There was no doubt about it, the film I was watching had to stop and the documentary had to be put on. From the moment the text came through, there was nothing else in my mind.
The introduction featured the picture I’d taken at the Old Bell. The reality of what I was about to watch was hitting home. I had a few hopes; I wanted to see how it assessed Dan psychologically and whether that would help me get answers to questions I’ve had for the past two years.
Within literally a couple of minutes, my hopes started to fade. The journalist that was n the show came out with a description of Dan that just didn’t marry up to the Dan that I knew, or the Dan that so many others knew. He described Dan as a person that worked at a care home – which was true, albeit hardly anybody knew that until after the murder – and someone that “wasn’t a big drinker.”
“Well, that’s just bollocks!” were the words that came out of my mouth to Lori. It wasn’t to say Dan was an alcoholic, he wasn’t, but this was a guy that I would go out with on a nearly weekly basis, if not more, and have several beers with. Reading through old messages, we talked about going for a pint regularly…it was a big part of our friendship. And the mention of Dan working at the care home stuck out – not because it was a fact, but because it instantly suggested to me that they weren’t going to mention any of Dan’s lies to his closest friends.
I carried on watching but the frustration grew. They continued to present Dan as this level headed person that was a good son and a good boyfriend – “He always had my back” was one comment that stuck with me. It became very apparent very quickly that no family members had been interviewed, no police had been interviewed and a lot of information…information that I know…wasn’t going to be discussed.
As the programme went on, they continued to display footage very readily available from Facebook and local news, detailing Dan’s actions after. They showed CCTV footage of Dan getting fast food. They showed CCTV of Dan withdrawing money – police footage confirming this was money from Geoff’s account. They then showed CCTV of Dan getting money from his Dad’s account at a Post Office branch, talking to the person behind the counter about the injury he’d sustained to his finger. This cut had come from when he had stabbed his Dad but we’re led to believe he told a story that he had done it making sandwiches.
The show’s psychologist tries to argue that Dan had this chat with the counter assistant because he was “lonely”. I don’t dispute that Dan would have been in a very lonely place at that moment in time, but I sat frowning. Knowing Dan as I did, I know that this encounter will have nothing to do with loneliness or even a need for human interaction…this was Dan playing Dan. He talked to people, that’s who he was.
It then followed Dan’s movements to Cardiff. Interestingly, it is suggested on the programme that police had figured out that he had driven to Cardiff and focused their search in that area…but this also happens to be the same day that I get introduced to the case as police search and question me about where Dan could be. It was two days later that police found the car had gone to Wales. By this point, I was getting annoyed at the factual inaccuracies. They showed the CCTV of Dan getting a train to Scotland, and eventually getting arrested in Scotland.
Dan’s former girlfriend showed text messages that he had sent her saying he couldn’t remember how he’d got to where he was, saying he couldn’t see her and so on. I read some as goodbyes. The psychologist discussed that the fact he’d gone so far with no possessions would suggest he was thinking of taking his own life and I could totally get that. To be honest, I agreed with that. He had nowhere else to go.
The documentary closed by failing to deliver on it’s premise. They didn’t deliver a motive as to why Dan did what he did, but I knew they wouldn’t and I knew they’d get nowhere near from the opening gambit.
The show did what it said on the tin, showing ‘what the killer did next’ but it failed on so many more levels. The documentary felt like a story told by public information and his former girlfriend and, due to that, it could never deliver on a psychological level and it would never come close to a proper motive. It talked about a Dan that was real to the press, to his former girlfriend Zoe and, probably, to a few others.
It totally ignored the fact that Dan had created another life, and was living a whole new life to a large number of people. It totally ignored the fact that Dan portrayed himself differently – would say he had different jobs, for example – to different people. It totally ignored the years of compulsive and pathological lying.
I remember Dan calling me to tell me he’d handed in his notice at the job I met him in. He told me that he had been offered some contractor work in floor laying, a job he had before, and intended to see how he got on with it. I’d always been told that he’d left floor laying because of his knee, but his heart was in it. His plan was that (“if I’ve still got it”) he’d eventually set up his own business.
As weeks passed, and Dan told me more about the contractor work he was doing, he seemed as happy as I’d ever seen him. It was a great time. He’d had such a tough time at his old job, having to have time off with stress and anxiety, and now he was back on his feet. He called me up one day and said, “I’ve got an appointment at the bank. I’m going to ask them for money to start my own business.”
He was successful. Dan told me he had been given a loan which would, in turn, help pay for a van and the parts he would need. He talked through a business model and explained that he’d already managed to get some small jobs in a hotel in Derby that could lead to more work if he did them well. It sounded like he was flying. At one point we even discussed the possibility of me joining in with him but I opted not to, purely because I’m not a floor layer and I was happy enough in my own job and the security the job gave me.
Months passed, and the business continued to boom. Dan told me that one of his best mates was partnering up with him and they’d combine the business to have floor laying and joinery. He told me they’d hired a unit as a showroom on an industrial estate in Burton-Upon-Trent and, as the workload increased, hired trainees. He’d often talk about the one guy, Joe, because he supported Wolves and, with me being a West Brom fan, it incorporated banter in to the conversation although I never actually spoke to, or met, Joe.
As time went by, Dan continued to tell me about his flourishing business and how well he was doing. He sent me pictures of a job he’d done in one of his relatives houses, talked to me about having to go back to some premises to deal with complaints about Joe’s work and explained he was attempting to get contracts on new buildings in London. I was in the process of buying a house and we’d decided we’d want new carpets down. Looking online, out of interest, I couldn’t find anything about Dan’s business.
A few weeks later, we were sat in the pub with Dan asking if I wanted to write words that could be used on a website. We discussed writing press releases in which Dan told me that if they got work from my writing I would get a cut of the profit. I’d offered to do it for nothing but he was adamant that I’d have to have a cut if they got work from my work. I agreed to it, and asked him to let me know what sort of stuff he’d want me to write. Dan said he’d discuss it with his business partner and let me know. I never heard anything back.
Once we’d moved in to a new house Dan offered to do the flooring in the couple of rooms we wanted doing for free; “a moving in gift”. One evening when I was at work, Dan came to the house with carpet samples and he and my ex picked what we would have. A date was decided and it was planned in. I altered my day off and joked that I’d help out by giving him tea.
The day arrived. I waited. No knock on the door. I text. No reply. I called. No answer. I stayed in. He never came.
A few days later Dan finally got in touch with me and apologised, explaining that he had to go to another client because of a complaint on some work Joe had done. Essentially, he had to choose the job that paid over the job that didn’t. I got it, I understood it, but I was angry that he didn’t let us know sooner. For my ex, this was the last straw, and she gave up on him. £500 on new carpets from a local business later, Dan barely mentioned it ever again.
Contracts continued to grow. When me and my ex split up and Dan and his Dad put me up for a few months it was not uncommon to go days or weeks without seeing Dan. When I’d ask where he’d been it was always that he’d been working away.
On 5th October 2016, Dan text me “I’m going down to Southampton for 6 weeks kidda…we’ve got a new housing to do, 152 houses so it may take a while lol” and after that I only saw Dan once more and things started to change.
I had no reason to disbelieve Dan, although I had my own doubts about how successful he claimed his business to be considering there was still no real Internet presence that I could ever find. Perhaps I was gullible. Perhaps I was too trusting. I guess, in all actuality, I couldn’t see any reason why somebody would lie about what they did for work – particularly to one of their best friends…someone they had helped out, put a roof over and spent so many hours and days with.
But it was a lie. I found out after Dan had been arrested that he’d done two weeks of floor laying before giving it up. Two weeks. His own business had existed in my world for about three or four years. The job in the care home was completely unknown to me and several others close to him before the arrest. Why lie?
As time went by after Dan was charged I had numerous people talk to me about Dan and things they knew about Dan and the range in stories was incredible. I don’t know how many of these are true, if any, but I was told stories of Dan being aggressive when rejected, Dan being abused at home when young (though I’d hasten to add that when I was at the house Dan and his Dad seemed to have a good, normal relationship on the surface), Dan being involved in drugs, Dan being knee deep in debt through gambling, Dan stealing from others to fund his own life…it was insane. Every other person that spoke to me about the Dan they knew seemed to describe a different Dan to the one before. The only common ground being that everybody, except those in the family, believed he was floor laying.
And this is what “What The Killer Did Next” missed. It’s an absolutely huge detail – it strays away from the narrative of a good guy that snapped to creating a whole new narrative of a guy that clearly had deep mental health issues, potentially even multiple personality disorder – a disorder that would go some way to explaining why Dan may actually be telling the truth when he says that he “doesn’t remember” committing the murder.
Looking back through old messages has been somewhat harrowing for me, and a few stuck with me. The 21st October to the 24th October 2016 are messages saying Dan had “broken up with Zoe, this time for good.” It’s insane to think that I don’t honestly know if this was true or not now as police informed me during interview that they had spoken with his girlfriend. I find it interesting that Zoe knew what was probably the more “real” Dan and think that he clearly cared for her and her child. I just wish he’d felt he could have been more honest with the rest of us.
There are also a couple of messages that he sent me about feeling down – “I’d like to say I’m good but I’m feeling a bit shit atm. Not really sure why” – and I still hold a bit of guilt because of these texts. Was it a cry for help? Would Dan have opened up? Should I have made more of an effort to get him to talk? Sadly, I’ll never know.
Then, finally, the messages that leave me cold. The last contact I had with Dan, just a few days before he killed his Dad, was one message reading “My Dad hasn’t woken up yet but the doctor is concerned that his blood sugar isn’t rising like it should and his level is dangerously low” and another “No better overnight. Still not woken up. They’ve put him on a new drip this morning because he doesn’t seem to be responding.”
His Dad was never in hospital, and none of that actually happened. Less than three days later, Dan’s poor Dad would never wake up ever again.
“What The Killer Did Next” had a real opportunity to look at these details and try to work out why Dan told these lies. I think the lies about work may have started purely from the basis of feeling like he’d failed, and by presenting himself as this successful businessman we’d be envious of him – it created, almost, a stronger character for him that he’d have felt we’d hold in higher esteem. Reality is, I couldn’t have cared less.
I still find myself thinking of Dan on a regular basis. I miss him. I wish I’d been able to have helped him and I wish that none of it had happened. I wish that he had felt confident enough to be honest with me. I wish. But it happened, and he wasn’t. I still spend a lot of time trying to figure out why he did it and I hoped so much that “What The Killer Did Next” could open up some more doors but it didn’t.
For as much as I read negatives about Dan online and I find myself on the edge of defending him…I know I can’t. I can’t bring myself to forgive Dan for what he did to his own family. I can’t bring myself to forgive him for all of the lies and that is what I tell myself anytime I come close to responding.
I loved Dan, I still do love the Dan I knew…but that Dan is gone and that Dan didn’t commit the crime. The Dan I knew and loved was a made up character, with hints of the real Dan. I don’t doubt that he loved me, I will always be grateful for the support he gave me…but he was a character made up from a lie.
Dan’s tale is sad, but it’s not as sad as Geoff’s, who is now no longer with us, or as sad as his Mum and brother’s, who will live it every single day for the rest of their lives.