Moving book relives Emerson Park shooting

A TRAGIC suicide in Emerson Park and its lifelong effect on a friend has become the subject of moving book about triumph over adversity

Mary Hayward has spent more than three decades coming to terms with that fact her friend Joyce Curtis took her own life while lodging at a detached house in Woodlands Avenue on October 30 1978.

The pair, who were both 30 at the time, had been virtually inseparable since their school days, making a packed to escape impoverished and troubled lives and enjoying some wild anhd care free moments along the way.

But on the night of her friend’s birthday, Joyce, who had recently split from her husband and handed custody of her beloved son to him, decided there was no point in carrying on and shot herself with a rifle she had stolen.

Mary, who was living in Cameron Close, Brentwood, but now lives in Cornwall, has now told the story in her book Invisible Child.

She said: “We had a plan from a very young age. I grew up in very bad poverty and neglect and she had her own problems, we had a plan to get out of it and she died and I carried that on really and I went on through a couple of marriages, drifting without really knowing what I was doing really.”

It took two weeks for Joyce, who was visited daily by her friend, to finally die in hospital from suspected blood poisoning brought about by her injuries.

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The shooting and the resulting inquest was reported in the Romford Recorder in 1978 after police her found at 3am with a gunshot wound to the chest.

She was taken to Harold Hill Hospital for an operation to remove a bullet from the base of her spine but she later died despite the efforts of doctors.

The death caused reverberations through Mary’s life and she was finally prompted to tell the story after a near death accident in Florida and chance email from Friends Reunited.

Mary said: “It might sound a bit depressing, it’s quite shocking isn’t it, but there’s a lot of fun in the book too. It’s about how you overcome great adversity, how you can cope on your own and get out of there and get it done. I have written it for my friend Joyce and for other women out there that need to overcome.”

Mary Hayward’s book, co-written with her husband Mike, is available from Amazon, WH Smith and other high street books shops.

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