Fellow queuer Ivy Bunnett could scarcely believe what she'd just heard. "I could scarcely believe what I'd just heard," said Mrs Bunnett, 94. "I lived through two world wars and nineteen series of Noel's House Party and I never saw or heard of anything even a fraction as atrocious as this. I actually swallowed my false teeth when she said it."
Reginald Mossop, 96, was also in the post office queue when Ricketts made her disgusting comment. "I'm a little hard of hearing so I'm afraid I didn't hear exactly what Queenie said. I'm outraged at whatever it was though, obviously. Especially as her husband, Seymour, had perished in the great flood of 1953."
Jobbing builder Dave Plankton, who'd just discovered that you can't buy road tax in the Little Wittering branch of the post office and instead you have to go to the town centre branch in Stowold fifteen miles away, couldn't hide his contempt for Ricketts's sick outburst. "I told her that she was a callous bastard for joking about something that hadn't actually happened yet and that ultimately didn't affect this part of the world too badly, and that she should apologise immediately," he explained, before adding, whilst raising the back of his right hand, "Then I gave her one of these."
Staff members acted quickly to defuse the situation, as manager Briony Muesli, 47, explains. "As soon as the lady said what she did I jumped over the counter and performed a citizen's arrest. Some people will call me a hero but that's not really for me to say. It's just at times like that you only have a split second to react and, although she put up a struggle initially, my colleague Brian (Addams, 56), who also works as a special constable, intervened on my behalf and between us we managed to wrestle her to the ground. I'm just glad Brian had his taser with him."
On her release from hospital Ricketts was arrested and charged under the Public Order Act of 1986 and released on bail until 2017. She subsequently issued a grovelling apology but this came too late to save her job of forty-seven years as a volunteer at the local RNLI station. Her family have since disowned her.