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From the file

Sweet Bobby | How well do you know the person you love?

Episode 4: Dark triads
Sweet Bobby

Episode 4: Dark triads

Episode 4: Dark triads

In this episode, Kirat deals with the fallout from the confession. Alexi’s investigation reveals the startling true beginnings of the scam, as he tries to work out why this this happened


credits

Gary Marshall – Producer
Claudia Williams – Assistant producer and additional reporting
Karla Patella – Sound design
Basia Cummings – Executive producer


Transcript

Alexi Mostrous: So this is, this is the first time that we are going to try and contact Simran Bhogal. I’ve tried to call her work phone before, but didn’t even get a voicemail. 

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: When I first found out who the catfisher was, it didn’t feel as satisfying as I thought it would.

In fact – I found that I had more questions than answers. Not least – why did she do it? And how did she do it? 

Here was this young bright ambitious woman. A former head girl – a high flier – who created this elaborate world of lies and tricked her own cousin for more than a decade without any discernible motive. 

So I was wondering… could we find out what was going on inside Simran Bhogal’s head?

Because despite the reporting I’ve done, all the people I’ve spoken to, there were still big parts of this story that lay beneath the surface. 

So I had a lot of thoughts. 

But my first thought was: I want to speak to Simran.  

Alexi Mostrous: Now I’m going to try her mobile. We don’t know if it’s still in use but it’s the only one that we’ve got. But it’s the first step in trying to get hold of her to see what she has to say. I mean if she does stay on the phone, I’ve spoken to Kirat about what Kirat wants to ask her, but the key question is why?

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: I’ve been round in my head on this question. Not just why would Simran do what she did, but why did she target Kirat in particular? And why Bobby? 

Alexi Mostrous: Okay, what do I press? This button, okay.

Gary Marshall: Make sure it’s on loudspeaker.  

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: But even as I pressed the call button – I know it’s a long shot. 

I mean, Simran has a lot to lose. Despite confessing three years ago she’s still in her job at a top firm in the city. 

She recently got engaged; she’s going on holidays, to parties, everything you’d expect a 29-year-old woman to do. Which incidentally is the same age Kirat was back in 2010 when Bobby first made contact. So, for all these reasons, I’m pretty sure Simran Bhogal is not going to appreciate my call. 

Alexi Mostrous: Okay. Here we go.

Simran Bhogal: Hi, Simran speaking.

Alexi Mostrous: Hi, is that Simran Bhogal? 

Simran Bhogal: Hi, Simran speaking?

Alexi Mostrous: Hey, sorry. I think we’re getting cut off a bit. Is that Simran Bhogal?

Simran: It is, yes.

Alexi Mostrous: Hey I’m sorry to bother you out of the blue my name is Alexi Mostrous…. 

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: As you can hear – there’s a lot of background noise on her side of the call but she does pick up.

Alexi Mostrous: I’m a journalist and we are writing a story about someone called Kirat Assi. She’s made some allegations against you and as responsible journalists we wanted to make sure that you were aware of them before we publish them so that you can respond to them if you want. I mean, it’s totally your choice about whether you want to say anything, but I just wanted to make sure that you knew what we were going to say. Oops.

[Line cuts off]

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: But then she seems to hang up on me.

Alexi Mostrous: I’ll try it again. She might have cut off.

[Automated phone message: The person you are calling is unable to take your call. Please leave your message after the tone.]

Alexi Mostrous: Well, it’s difficult, isn’t it? Because it’s almost as if she might’ve said something else if we haven’t told her exactly why we were calling. But I guess you have to explain up front what you’re doing. Ah, at least we heard her voice? At least we heard her voice for the first time.

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: It’s frustrating but kind of expected. I send her a follow up text just in case she did get cut off but I don’t hear anything back. 

Alexi Mostrous: Okay so should I record the whole thing?

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: After the call with Simran, I went down into our studio to record an advert for this podcast. 

Alexi Mostrous: So we’re saying “and one woman uncovering the truth”?  

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: And when I was in there, I get a phone call…

[Sound of phone ringing] 

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: So, as you can hear I start to leave the studio to take the call outside until Gary, my producer, starts shouting at me through the glass to get back in front of the microphone.

Lawyer: Hello, is that Alexi Mostrous?

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: And it turns out it was Simran’s lawyer.

Alexi Mostrous: Yes, it is Alexi Mostrous. 

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: So it makes me wonder if – on some level – she’s been expecting something like this to happen. 

Lawyer: I understand that you contacted Ms. Simran Bhogal. 

Alexi Mostrous: I will send you over some questions and, you know, we want to reflect the substance of Simran’s response in our publication, but we also really want to speak to Simran.

Lawyer: Yeah. Okay.

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: The call lasts for about 20 minutes. It’s the last thing I do on that Friday. 

Alexi Mostrous: No worries. Have a good weekend.

Lawyer: Take care now, you too, bye. 

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: And, you know, it feels significant. Now Simran knows exactly what we’re doing. 

And I suppose it leaves her with a choice to make. She could speak to me directly and tell me her side of the story – or she could keep her distance and let her lawyers handle it. 

Alexi Mostrous: So that was interesting. So we sent the text message at 17:07 on a Friday afternoon. 17:45, so basically half an hour later, her lawyers call me up. And so she’s obviously gone straight to them. At least now we’ve got a point of contact. And I suppose that Gary and Claudia and I have to think this weekend about how to respond on Monday in a way that’s not only going to make sure that she responds to our questions but that she actually is incentivised to come and talk to us. I don’t know how we are going to do that.

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: For the moment at least – Simran is refusing to answer my questions. But speaking to Simran isn’t my only option to understand more about her. 

I decided to go back – all the way back – before even Bobby’s first message to Kirat in 2010. Because – as it turns out – Simran had done this before. 

I’m Alexi Mostrous, and from Tortoise Media, you’re listening to Sweet Bobby. 

Episode 4: Dark Triads.

Kirat Assi: Simran, since I’ve known her, has always been the perfect daughter, the girl that we were always proud of. She fits that kind of stereotypical good little south Asian Punjabi Sikh girl. Academically brilliant, well-behaved, quiet, smiles and nods when she need to. But she’s a psychopath. She’s a narcissist, she’s a psychopath, she’s not right in the head. And obviously that was always a part that she played because that’s how she wanted to be seen. Underneath it all I don’t know what goes on, really don’t know what goes on. 

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: Simran confessed to the catfish in June 2018. Standing on Kirat’s doorstep, telling her “it was all me”. And you might think that, for Kirat, this was a moment of closure. 

But she now had confirmation that Bobby and the entire cast of characters that she had been speaking to for over ten years were all fake. Finally, she could get on with her life. But actually, it didn’t work out like that. 

Simran was the one who got on with her life. And Kirat found herself more and more isolated. 

Kirat Assi: I’ve never seen her. I’ve not seen her since that day. I don’t know how I’d feel if I saw her because nobody believed me, because everyone’s wondering what I’m doing with my life, because she made me look like a loser to everybody.

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: Simran only lives 20 minutes away from Kirat in Hounslow, West London. 

So it wouldn’t be unusual for the two to bump into each other. At the temple, the gurdwara, or at a party, or whatever. And yet – despite Simran being the perpetrator – and Kirat the victim – it was Kirat who found herself staying in 

Kirat Assi: It was almost like she had the power to say, I’m going to stay here. If you want to leave, you can. So I wouldn’t go anywhere. On a couple of occasions like, I don’t know, I’ve had a gut feeling like if I go somewhere that she is going to be there and I’ve said to my family, I’m not going. I said, it’s not because I don’t want to go, I want to go, But I don’t know what I’d do if I saw her. I don’t know if I’d fall apart. I don’t know if I’d go for her. I don’t know what would come over me. I’ve not even contemplated seeing her. I feel angry with her and her immediate family for trying to cover it up and not doing the right thing.

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: The same day Simran confessed – her family came round to Kirat’s house. Kirat describes it as a “save our daughter” mission. 

Kirat Assi: It wasn’t a case of actually wanting to do anything to support me, help me and genuinely be sorry. I tried to explain things to them. I explained how she probably needs help. I’d cry and the dad would tell me to stop crying because of his own blood pressure. It was quite cruel. 

Alexi Mostrous: Did her parents apologise? 

Kirat Assi: They were like, we’ll help you, you know, anything, we’ll pay your money back. Everything that she’s made you lose, just don’t please don’t go to the police. And I didn’t say I wasn’t going to, I just said I’m going to do whatever I need to do.

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: And it wasn’t just Simran’s parents. Other members of her community were putting pressure on her too. 

Kirat Assi: Everyone I tried to speak to was like, just get on with it, Kirat, just move on. It’s okay. But nobody was in my shoes. Nobody understood what I’d been through, what I lost, the abuse that I endured. The knowledge that she had about me, of me and my family, the fact that I hadn’t been able to mourn my grandmother, who she knew I was very close to.

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: Kirat was really close to her grandmother, she was one of the few people who knew about “Bobby” from the start. And when her gran got sick from cancer in 2017, Kirat sent “Bobby” her medical reports. He was a cardiologist after all – and he knew other doctors. 

One time “Bobby” even got on the phone with Kirat’s gran to talk to her about treatment. 

Kirat Assi: I’m glad my gran isn’t around to see this. 

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: And when the treatment didn’t work, and Kirat’s grandmother went into hospital for the last time – she wanted to talk about “Bobby”. She asked for forgiveness for not being able to stay alive long enough to see them married. 

Kirat Assi: My gran asked for forgiveness, asked for his forgiveness and for not staying alive long enough to see him on her deathbed. That’s how cruel she was. And she knew she was doing it as well. That’s the worst thing. She knew exactly what she was doing.

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: It was cruelty like this that persuaded Kirat to ignore Simran’s parents. She wasn’t going to give this up: she wanted the police to investigate her case. And Kirat wasn’t the only one. 

Bobby also reported Simran to the police – telling them that she was the person who had stolen his identity. Because a few hours before Simran confessed to Kirat, she had also confessed to Bobby.

Bobby: When she sent the confession, I had to read it twice and it was a bombshell. It was a huge moment of relief, shock. Like this weight had been lifted, but at the same time, so confused. So confused, how is that even possible?

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: Bobby and his family were pretty shaken up. Bobby phoned Brighton police to tell them it was Simran. But they told him that – since she lived in London – there wasn’t anything that they could do. 

In a way, though, it helped Bobby to know that Simran had done it, at least there wasn’t some faceless perpetrator who’d stolen their information. 

So they got on with their lives. Tried to forget the whole thing. But it was actually only after I contacted Bobby that he decided to do some digging himself into how this whole thing started. 

Because Kirat’s nightmare didn’t start with Bobby. 

Remember JJ from episode one? Bobby’s younger brother. As far as Kirat knew, JJ was going out with Simran when they were both about 17 and JJ had messaged Kirat on Facebook in 2009 to ask her for some “big sister” advice. 

But he died suddenly a few months after making contact. It was JJ’s death that opened the door for Bobby to contact Kirat a year later. 

By now you’ll be unsurprised to hear that JJ is in fact very real and very alive. And he still had some text messages from Simran that shed a lot of light on this case. 

Bobby: It was in 2008 or 2009 that she added him on Facebook and he added her. He went to India to study whereas she was here. In May 2010 my brother came over for a holiday where they met for the first time, purely as friends, they liked each other and they decided to keep in touch online. A year goes by, my brother took a gap year to then try and figure out where he’s gonna go, it’s then at that stage that he goes to India and a few months later, this is in March 2011, while my brother and Simran are having this online relationship, my brother gets contacted by a cousin of Simran, supposedly by the name of Nikki – Simran had been in a hit and run accident. A series of messages from Nikki saying how serious Simran’s condition was. The words: unstable, in and out of consciousness, heavily dosed on medication, the next 24 hours critical, lost a lot of blood, these are words that were used in these messages and asking how far are you and can you come to her death bed essentially.  

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: Bobby is telling us two important things here. 

Firstly, back in 2009 – when “JJ” first contacted Kirat for relationship advice, well, he wasn’t going out with Simran at this point. They hadn’t even met in person.

But I guess that’s not that bad – I mean, which teenager hasn’t exaggerated a relationship? “Yeah, my girlfriends really hot, you don’t know her, she goes to another school.” 

But the second thing Bobby was also telling us was even more important.

Bobby: It turns out Simran was not only catfishing Harkirat she was, while in a relationship with my brother, catfishing him at the same time with fictional characters that I can only assume are fictional because of how crazy some of these stories are. 

Something no one knew – not me, not Kirat – no one. 

Bobby had proof that JJ was being catfished by Simran at the same time as Kirat. 

JJ was another victim. 

Bobby: We couldn’t find out which hospital or anything about the situation. So I told my brother to sit tight. He was quite upset but something didn’t add up. 

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: Bobby’s skepticism seemed justified. A few weeks after JJ was told that Simran was on death’s door in the ICU she posts a photo on Facebook 

Bobby: My wife happened to be on Facebook or some social media platform and saw a picture of Simran Bhogal on a profile skydiving in Dubai.

Bobby’s wife: This is the girl everyone is saying, you know your brother is saying he really wanted to come and see, because she was dying. It’s not rocket science – you are not allowed to jump out of a plane if you have a heart condition.

Alexi Mostrous: Okay so then what happened? 

Bobby: Simran makes a full recovery and they continue to chat online. In January 2012, all of a sudden this new character called Jasmeet – a cousin, supposedly a doctor, female cousin of Simran – messages my brother saying that Simran’s health has deteriorated again and she’s back in hospital and in for a procedure that’ll take a few hours. And after that a few messages, there seems to be some misunderstanding that took place between this Jasmeet doctor and Simran. 

Alexi Mostrous: That’s interesting because that happened with Kirat a lot.

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: And what’s interesting here is how much I’m recognising this pattern. A central character becomes incredibly ill – they’re in hospital, maybe even about to die. 

And then, other characters – sometimes family members, sometimes doctors, make contact with the catfisher’s primary victim. For Kirat, her central character was Bobby. For JJ, the central character was Simran herself.

And what I found quite spooky was that the characters that tricked JJ… they felt familiar. So I went back and looked at Kirat’s witness statement: and there they were – the same characters with the same details – cropping up in minor roles in Kirat’s own story. 

So not only had Simran created a world for Kirat – she seemed to have created an entire universe. One where characters crossed over into at least two different catfishing operations. 

Alexi Mostrous: And you met her, am I right in thinking?

Bobby: Briefly, she seemed like this normal, timid, friendly face that not in a million years could do this. You don’t even think this is possible from someone like that. You almost think you could see the type of person, you could almost judge that person by what they look like. But she’s the last person in a lineup I would choose as guilty for this whole story. 

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: So was JJ at the centre of everything? Had Simran – this quiet, timid, academic girl – developed an obsession with Bobby’s younger brother that got totally out of control? 

Maybe something happened between them that set her down this dark path. 

Or maybe it was nothing to do with JJ at all. 

I recently tracked down a friend of Simran’s from her school, someone who knew her at the time when this all started. 

And this friend remembers Simran getting caught setting up other Facebook profiles, nothing to do with JJ, nothing to do with Kirat.

The friend wouldn’t speak on the record – they said they were too scared of the backlash – so I sent them some questions over email. 

And I asked Claudia, who’s been helping me report this story, to read out their responses. 

The first thing I asked was how they found all this out. 

Claudia, reading: Me and my friends only became aware of the fake profiles as Simran would regularly upload holiday photos on her Facebook page. We found it surprising that she managed to travel so much which led us to look into her posts in more detail.  

When we viewed the likes and comments under her posts, we found a number of comments from people with foreign names, which I am unable to remember but it was always the same people commenting and liking all of her posts.   

Most of the profiles had no profile pictures and were only created within the year. Also some of her photos she had uploaded looked way too professional to be taken with an ordinary camera. 

When we looked into these in more detail, we were shocked to find the exact same images on Google images. It was only then that we knew something wasn’t right and that the situation was getting out of hand. It went on for quite some time and again, it was a while ago so I can’t remember exactly how long, but I would say around 8 months.  

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: And then I asked about Simran’s motivations – Did anyone ever ask her why she did it? 

Claudia, reading: I assume it was for popularity. Even though Simran was known by most in our year group I don’t think she felt like she got the attention that some other girls may have done and I think her motivations were to compete with them through achieving more ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ on her Facebook posts. She didn’t admit to her motives or give an explanation but I’m fairly sure it was a cry for attention or popularity. 

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: And finally – I asked the friend if Simran was upset when she was found out? How did she react? It was a short response. 

Claudia, reading: I think she was more shocked that we had managed to find out. She didn’t quite know how to respond or justify her actions and was simply apologetic. 

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: This must have all happened when Simran was around 16, 17, in college. Very young. And to be honest – a lot of teenagers probably exaggerate on social media. 

Plus this was in 2008 and 2009 – in the early years of Facebook, when nobody really knew what they were doing. 

But it’s different now. She’s an adult. And to be honest, I’m not sure that even today Simran realises the fallout from what she did. 

For me, finding out that Simran had catfished before was a huge step towards understanding her character. 

But I still know very little about her motivation. Was it power? Sex? Money? Or something else? 

I’m going to get a bit pretentious now so I apologise in advance. But I want to talk about my favourite play. It’s Othello by Shakespeare. 

And when I was driving around Brighton with Kirat, reliving some of her darkest moments – Othello crept back into my mind. 

If you haven’t seen it, it’s about a military commander who, despite being Black in 16th century Cyprus, rises to become the leader of the entire Venetian army. 

He marries Desdemona, a beautiful and wealthy lady – and for a while it’s all good. But then one of Othello’s officers – a man called Iago – tells him that Desdemona is unfaithful. And he manipulates other characters too to make his story ring true.

Driven mad, Othello eventually smothers Desdemona to death. Iago is exposed – just too late – but he always refuses to explain why he did it. And critics have been puzzling over Shakespeare’s play for years. 

What were Iago’s motivations? Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the romantic poet – this is double pretentious – came up with a theory. Iago didn’t care about any of the usual things – revenge, jealousy, nothing like that. 

He was instead a “motiveless malignity”. Which meant that Iago destroyed Othello for no other reason… apart from he could. 

And look, I’m not saying that Simran is some kind of Shakespearian baddie. No-one was murdered. But nothing that she or anyone else has told me explains her actions. There’s no clear motivation. 

She did get some money from Kirat – but not much. This wasn’t one of those romance scams that drain the victim’s bank account.

And sex might be part of it. We just don’t know. That’s what Harvy, Kirat’s friend, wondered. But then again, that doesn’t explain all the other fake profiles – the other lies. 

So maybe Simran tricked Kirat, a bit like Iago tricked Othello, simply because she could. 

Alexi Mostrous: Do you think this is the most extreme case of catfishing that you’ve come across? 

Chris Hand: In terms of the complexity of the narrative, yes, it’s truly remarkable.

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: Chris Hand – who you heard briefly in episode 1, is a psychology lecturer at Glasgow University. And he said that some catfishers – particularly complex ones – display certain characteristics. And together they are known – a bit dramatically – as “the dark triad”. 

Chris Hand: So someone who’s really high in Machiavellianism, someone who really gets the jollies out of bending people to their will, people that are high in narcissism, that really inflated sense of self and people that are high in everyday psychopathy… Those kinds of classic – they’re called the dark triad of psychological characteristics – those would be your typical catfishers. 

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: I often think back to what we’ve been told about Simran failing to express regret. Kirat and her friend Harvy… they both say that she didn’t apologise when she confessed. And I think about another moment too. 

On the day before the confession, Kirat remembers driving home with Simran from Hounslow police station. Kirat was crying – even throwing up. But right next to her – Kirat says – Simran sat calmly, playing a computer game on her mobile phone. 

Chris Hand: The lack of maybe contrition or empathy or emotional sort of diversity of expression is something that’s fascinating, because again it might tie in with that thing about people not realising the consequences of their actions. They might not care or they may just not perceive that they’ve done anything wrong. That would typically suggest someone who maybe lacks a bit of empathy, maybe has problems with emotional intelligence, maybe scores a little higher in some of these “dark triad” dimensions. But at the root of it could just be that they genuinely don’t see that what they’ve done is problematic. 

Alexi Mostrous: We spoke to Kirat’s best friend, Harvy, and she has a theory that this was so complex and so well put together that it had to involve more than one person. How likely do you think that that is?

Chris Hand: I think we do look for ways to make ourselves feel better. It would be a good psychological defense mechanism to try to build this narrative about multiple perpetrators because in that case you’re probably more likely to receive sympathy if you’ve been targeted by multiple perpetrators. You’re maybe less likely to be victim-blamed. But it is entirely possible that a single perpetrator with sufficient motivation and the intelligence, the cognitive flexibility, the problem solving skills, and a little bit of technical nouse, it’s quite feasible that a single person built this narrative. 

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: I’ve spent a long time looking at the thousands of messages sent between Simran and Kirat. And, to me, these messages show a manipulator working at the top of their game. 

Whenever Kirat starts to doubt “Bobby”, Simran tells her how much he loves her, tells her she’s spoken to him personally, or promises that he’s just about to propose marriage. It seems to me incredibly manipulative. 

This is just one of many examples: Kirat texts Simran “I am angry at how much effort he goes to to get what he wants and to deceive me.” And Simran replies, “he loves you like crazy. He does. And you know it.”

Even after the confession – Simran doesn’t seem to take responsibility for her own behaviour. I recently found this text that she sent to Kirat a month later. 

“I hope you’re okay and being the strong person that you are. I’ve genuinely lost a big sister and a best friend”. And again – I’m thinking – there’s no sorry in that. 

Alexi Mostrous: We were trying to look hard at motivation because there’s almost no clues as to motivation in this case. And I’m genuinely torn between thinking, well, maybe there just is no motivation… or trying to look for one quite hard and wondering, you know, is it financial, is it psychological, is it sexual, is it, is it all three? How important is motive in these cases? 

Chris Hand: Motives are absolutely crucial for two reasons. One, because I think we know that victims need to understand why they’ve been victimised, that’s an absolutely crucial part of the process. But also as researchers and legislators and as members of the public, we need to know about motivation too.

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: What Chris was saying was that there’s a value in speaking to perpetrators like Simran to understand directly what makes them tick 

Chris Hand: Research tends to focus much more on the victims but we don’t yet know enough about perpetration.

Alexi Mostrous: We’re gonna make quite a big effort to try and find Simran, the perpetrator, and talk to her. What kind of things do you think I should ask her? 

Chris Hand: Oh, that’s a bit of a wishlist, isn’t it? I mean, I would be interested in finding out whether they would do what they allegedly did again, to either the same person, or to another person. I would be interested in finding out if they recognise why the alleged victim is upset. I would be interested in finding out if they had at any point considered stopping what they were doing. 

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: Usually when you try to find out about a person as a journalist, the general rule is: if you keep going, you’ll get there. Something almost always comes up. Social media, videos, something. 

But with Simran – despite weeks of looking – we found almost nothing. 

And that was almost certainly intentional. All her social media accounts are either closed or have been made private. 

There were little clues online: she describes herself as a traveller, a workaholic, a gym goer…

Her instagram profile reads – a bit spookily – Simran Bhogal – the world through my lens.

And we’ve picked up some clues from the real world too. One person who went to her engagement party remembers Simran asking everyone not to post anything online. 

But apart from those breadcrumbs, there’s very little. 

So despite being head girl at her school, a university student, an employee of several blue chip companies, despite all of that basically Simran is a ghost. 

[Sound of car driving]

Alexi Mostrous: Okay, slow down for a second as we’re going past. Okay, yeah, I think that’s her house. All the curtains are drawn. 

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: I’m outside Simran’s house in west London. It’s a nice area – big suburban roads, tall trees, smart cars. She lives here with her family. 

I’m here a few days after episode three of this podcast has gone out. The one that names Simran as the perpetrator… because I’m hoping that now she might speak to me face to face. 

But if not, I’ve written her a letter which gives her some options of how she can get in touch if she wants to tell her side of the story. 

Alexi Mostrous: I’m quite nervous. 

Gary: Why?

Alexi Mostrous: Because potentially it’s been quite traumatic for them. Potentially there’s been quite a lot of pressure on Simran and her family. Suddenly this thing that they’ve kind of avoided talking about for three years is out in the public. And so I imagine there’s been some kind of heated conversation in that house. And I feel like I’m stepping into that.

Gary: What do you think the dad might say if he opens the door?

Alexi Mostrous: I think the dad might be really angry that we’ve turned up at his doorstep wanting to speak to his daughter who he’s probably quite protective over. We were told that Simran is the apple of his eye. But I suppose what I want to try and make him or Simran or whoever answers the door understand is that this isn’t about confronting them. This isn’t about accusing them or getting their reaction for any dramatic effect, this is genuinely wanting to know Simran’s side of the story because we do only have Kirat’s side at the moment.

And we have no reason to doubt anything that Kirat says but knowing about what Simran’s state of mind was at the time, knowing anything about the background of her actions will help us understand it, help the listeners understand and it might even kind of turn her from being this sort of, I don’t want to say villain, but like two dimensional character into someone that’s human and someone who we understand a little bit better than we do now. But I still don’t think they’re going to be friendly – shall we go and do it? 

[Sound of seat belt unbuckling and door shutting]

Okay we’re at the door and I’m going to ring the bell.

Next week on Sweet Bobby we take Kirat’s case to a specialist barrister and ask why the police failed to investigate. Plus Simran’s lawyers play hardball.  

Alexi Mostrous, narrating: While making the series, Simran’s lawyers gave us this statement on her behalf:

“This matter concerns a family dispute over events that began over a decade ago, when I was a schoolgirl. As far as I am concerned, this is a private family matter that has been resolved, and I strongly object to the numerous unfounded and seriously defamatory accusations that have been made about me, as well as details of private matters that have been shared with the media.”

Thanks for listening to this episode. 

Sweet Bobby was written and reported by me, Alexi Mostrous, produced by Gary Marshall, with additional reporting and production by Claudia Williams. Sound design is by Karla Patella. The executive producer is Basia Cummings. 

Next in this file

Episode 5: (In)justice

Episode 5: (In)justice

After the confession, Kirat goes to the police. But their reaction to her case isn’t what she’s expecting. Plus: Alexi tries a new approach with the catfisher

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