Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Sunday, January 24, 2016

"Skydiver's death plunge likely suicide"/ Spencer West

Dec. 20, 2015 "Skydiver's death plunge likely suicide, inquest told": I cut out this article way back in Mar. 17, 2005:

Police mounted a huge investigation after it was found that the lines to Stephen Hilder's main and reserve chutes had been deliberately cut.

Yesterday the facade of a happy college student with a steady girlfriend and glittering Army future crumbled as it emerged that Mr Hilder had run up debts of £17,000, was struggling academically and his relationship with his girlfriend, Ruth Woodhouse, was on the rocks.

The hearing was also told that Mr Hilder's jumping colleagues, Adrian Blair and David Mason, who were pallbearers at his funeral and said to be his best friends, in fact had a "deep dislike" for him. They were later questioned on suspicion of murder.

Mr Hilder fell to his death during the British collegiate parachute championships at Hibaldstow airfield, near Brigg, Lincs, in July 2003.

The three students, who attended the Military Defence Academy at Shrivenham, Wilts, and who made up the successful Black Rain team, had jumped several times in the previous few days.

On the last jump they spent several minutes performing manoeuvres together before Mr Hilder's parachute failed to open and he smashed into a cornfield at 120 mph, dying instantly.

Humberside police launched a murder inquiry but, despite interviewing 3,000 people and delving deep within the skydiving community, struggled to find a motive.

The inquest heard that they even infiltrated the gay scene to see if Mr Hilder had a secret life, and quizzed the military about secret work he might have been involved with. After 10 months, officers concluded that Mr Hilder was responsible for his own death after fibres from the cut cord were found on a pair of scissors in the boot of his car and his DNA was on the scissors.

The inquest, in Scunthorpe, also painted a stark picture of the skydiving culture, which included drinking, drug taking and sexual promiscuity. The night before his death, Mr Hilder and his friends had worn women's clothing at a karaoke party and so much alcohol had been drunk that people couldn't say how he had spent his evening.

When police searched the bar later they found a magazine detailing how a skydiver's parachute had been sabotaged.

Stewart Atkinson, the coroner, heard how Mr Hilder, from Hereford, had once told Mr Blair that if he ever planned to kill himself he would jump out of a plane. He had told another friend that if he took his own life he would die "doing something amazing".

Det Insp Barry Longstaff told the hearing: "He did not want to be a failure and you could speculate that he died in a manner that was an honourable death to him."

The inquest was told that Mr Hilder had excelled academically at school and at Welbeck Military College. He applied to Cambridge University but failed the entrance exam and went to Bristol University, where his interest in skydiving began.

As it turned into a passion, his studies for a civil engineering degree suffered to such an extent that he started missing lectures and even failed to turn up for one exam.

He failed his first year and reluctantly left for the defence academy, but continued to struggle academically, and had even talked about transferring to the Royal Navy.

He had mounting debts and two weeks before his death had been called before a major at his college to discuss a bounced cheque, which he had used to pay a £223 mess bill.
While at the military college, Mr Hilder began seeing Miss Woodhouse, a fellow cadet, but at the time of his death they had agreed to separate.

In the hours leading up to his death, there was nothing to suggest that Mr Hilder planned to kill himself and even on the flight from the airfield he was behaving normally, the coroner was told.

Det Supt Colin Andrews, who led the investigation, said it was obvious from the start that Mr Hilder's equipment had been sabotaged but it wasn't known if it was done deliberately or as a prank.

He said: "Eventually the picture emerged that he had not been murdered and it was debatable that he had committed suicide." Three potential suspects emerged and they were questioned and eliminated from inquiries.

He said that Mr Mason and Mr Blair, both 21, who had lied in their witness statements, portrayed Mr Hilder as a dear friend but he said: "We found out that they had a deep dislike for him." There was an "unsavoury incident" between them which resulted in the two men being arrested and questioned on suspicion of murder.

Det Supt. Andrews said that police had even considered the possibility that a killer had sabotaged the student's equipment and then made his death look like suicide.

He said there was no evidence that Mr Hilder had been murdered but there was a "strong possibility" that he could have taken his own life.
The inquest continues.

Dec. 23, 2015 Borders closed down: I cut out this article "Closing the book on old-fashioned browsing" by Melissa Dunne in the Metro on May 9, 2014.  It talks about bookstores closing like Borders.  That closed down in 2011. 

Here's an article:

Jan. 13, 2016 "Fake a baby website probed after scam": I cut out this article on Sept. 3, 2015 in the Edmonton Journal.  Here's the article if you want to read about a teen girl who pretended she was pregnant with triplets.  This girl got all these free gifts and baby showers for the non-existent babies.  You should read it:

"Subway CEO built a global sandwich empire": I cut out this article by Robert D. McFadden in the Globe and Mail on Sept. 17, 2015.  Here are a few excerpts:

Fred DeLuca, who in 1965, at 17, borrowed $1,000 to open a sandwich shop in Bridgeport, Conn., to help pay college expenses and parlayed that experience into building Subway, the world’s largest chain of fast-food franchises, died on Monday. He was 67.

Subway’s business tactics drew lawsuits, government investigations, run-ins with regulatory agencies, disputes with landlords and complaints by franchisees of being misled or defrauded.

Federal investigators found that many franchisees were young couples, business novices or immigrants who invested life savings, although some were unable to understand Subway contracts requiring minimum investments, royalty payments on gross sales and fees for advertising and other services. Subway provided few guarantees, even against other franchises moving in nearby. Regulators and lawsuits have challenged Subway product claims and said its franchise sales force misled some owners about their prospects.

Subway over the years settled many claims, paid fines and reviewed and modified some of its business practices. But it also produced thousands of success stories among franchise owners, many with no previous commercial experience, who profited from the company’s training, marketing and business guidance.

Spencer West: I cut out this article called "Lovato opener an inspiration" by Tom Murray in the Edmonton Journal on Oct. 3, 2014.  It was a good interview, but I can't find it.  However, I did see West is part of Me to We:

Spencer’s charisma and dynamism captivate audiences every time he speaks. Whether addressing corporate leaders, nonprofits or the education world, listeners are mesmerized as Spencer describes his journey after losing both legs from the pelvis down at the age of five to last year, when he climbed, and summited, Mount Kilimanjaro using his hands and wheelchair. Spencer is a top-ranked keynoter, author of the best-selling book Standing Tall: My Journey, and star of the documentary Redefine Possible: The Story of Spencer West, which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2012.

Spencer is loved by television and conference audiences alike for sharing his life lessons on how every individual or organization can tackle mountains and redefine possible.

Jan. 17, 2016 "Why Fluffy is such clickbait": I cut out this article by Caitlin Dewey in the Edmonton Journal on Jun. 22, 2015.  Gall Myrick says: "These findings...promote the idea that viewing Internet cats may actually function as a form of digital pet therapy and/ or stress relief of Internet users."

Jan. 20, 2016 A wedding donated to homeless people: I found this on Facebook/ Hungersite.  It was very happy and good news:

This bride got stood up by her groom — so she donated her wedding to homeless people instead

My opinion: That's good.  The homeless people got a free dinner, a live band to dance to.  The bride did something deep and meaningful.

Jan. 21 Pizza hero: This pizza delivery woman Angela delivered pizza to a homeless guy Lee who lives in a little trailer with no heat or running water.  It was the summer and then it came fall.  So she bought him a heater.  Then she created a Go Fund Me page and raised money so a construction company can build a small house for him.


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