When you've been involved in something like this, no matter how long ago it happened, no matter how long it's been absent from the news, you're fated nonetheless, to always search it out. To be on alert for it, somehow, every day of your life. For the small item at the back of the newspaper. For the stranger at the cocktail party or the unfamilliar letter in the mailbox. For the reckoning pause on the other end of the phone line. For the dreadful appearence of something that in all likelihood, is never going to return.
Soon after three o'clock on the afternoon of April 22nd 1973, a 35-year old architect named Robert Maitland was driving down the high-speed exit lane of the Westway interchange in central London. Six hundred yards from the junction with the newly built spur of the M4 motorway, when the Jaguar had already passed the 70 m.p.h. speed limit, a blow-out collapsed the front nearside tyre.