On Wednesday evening of 16 April 2003, two students – Misha Egerton and Bryony Claremont, both aged 20, got on their bikes and cycled almost 2 miles from their flat on Beckwith Street, Birkenhead. They were travelling to a house on Wexford Road, Prenton, where their student boyfriends, Elliott and Jake lived. Tonight the girls, their boyfriends and ten other students were having a party and the guests were expected to bring their own bottles of wine and six packs of lager and beer.
Misha and Bryony each brought two four-packs of Kronenbourg in their backpacks and when they reached the house on Wexford Road at 7.30pm the party had already started. By midnight, everyone was too drunk to dance, and the partygoers all sat drinking what was left and munching on Pringles as they watched a faulty DVD of the teen sex comedy American Pie which kept skipping. Misha said it was the most boring party she’d ever attended. Most of the males present ended up watching the ‘Battersea Bomber’ Howard Eastman defending his British, Commonwealth and European middleweight titles against Scott Dann on BBC1’s Boxing programme.
The programme bored the girls stiff, and so they left the males in the lounge and went into the kitchen to bake some pizzas for themselves. Someone loaded disc one of the Ministry of Sound Trance Nation into the Boombox Stereo CD player on the top of the fridge. The music seemed to renew everyone’s batteries. Bryony found 24 bottles of Peroni that selfish Jake had stashed away in two crates in the cupboard under the sink, and she shared out the bottles with the few girls who were able to continue drinking.
The girls danced in the kitchen and one of them found a disco lights ball in the cubby hole under the stairs, and she set it up in the kitchen and they all laughed and danced. Misha mooched about in the fridge and found a bottle of cuveé Bollinger, she shared it with Bryony, then danced to Scooter, Energy 52, Rezonance Q and Dee Dee but then some of the men came into the kitchen trying in vain to dance and ruined the atmosphere.
Misha had a blazing row with her boyfriend Elliott because he had called her ‘an alky’ and she stormed out of the house, hardly able to walk in a straight line, with Bryony hanging onto her arm. Misha managed to call a private hire cab on her mobile, and at 3am, the cab turned up and passed the house but Bryony whistled at it and the cab reversed to her. The girls almost fell into the vehicle and Misha told him to go to Beckwith Street but to ‘go slow and avoid the speed bumps or I’ll hurl.’ The route to Beckwith Street necessitated travelling through Birkenhead Park via Ashville Road, and as the cab approached this road three minutes into the journey, the cab driver started to cough so much, he pulled over.” You alright mate?” Bryony asked, and the driver turned in his seat and told his two passengers: “Get out of here, quick!” “What?” Misha asked, her hand on her forehead. She felt so dizzy. “If you value your lives – get out of here now!” the cab driver said in a raspy voice, and his hands flew up to his throat. “Haven’t you got an inhaler?” Bryony asked him, and the man wheezed and shook his head to and fro as if he was at the hands of an invisible strangler. “Oh my God, we don’t half get them!” cried Misha. “We’re not getting out here this time in the morning; we’d be raped –” she was saying when the driver turned to face her and Bryony.
At first the girls thought he had on some mask. His face had a sickly bluish tinge, but his eyeballs were black with golden irises, and his nose was dark at the tip. He started to growl like an animal, and Misha let out a scream. “I warned you!” he snarled. Bryony undid her seatbelt, then undid Misha’s too, and she opened the door and dragged her friend out onto a secluded stretch of Ashfield Road that was illuminated only by the full moon. The girls tried to run, but kept falling over, and then they heard a loud howling – like that of a wolf.
The thing that squeezed out of the cab was not human; it had a hunched back, and the head of an animal, and it walked on all fours as it coughed and spat. Bryony dragged Misha to her feet and they ran screaming down Ashville Road. “Hail Mary, full of grace…” Bryony prayed, and car headlights blinded them. It was a private hire cab with Elliot in. He had seen the girls get into that rogue cab minutes before, and then the cab they had called had turned up. He had got into it and told the driver what had happened.
As the genuine cab passed the unofficial cab, something hit the vehicle so hard, the rear window smashed and the driver and passengers saw that thing in the road behind them, waving its fist. It ran off like an animal into the night as the girls screamed. The rogue cab was nowhere to be found when police investigated, and that man – whatever he was – had also gone.