> Guest Character
Damon Gaffney Richard Morgan
Damon Gaffney 2000
Occupation: Teacher, Website Designer
When Michelle Scully and Bianca Nugent were looking for jobs to do during Lend A Hand Week, they became intrigued by a house with an overgrown garden. The lady next-door, Dorrie Walker, as well as local Coffee Shop owner Harold Bishop, told them not to go near the house, and Harold mentioned that the owner had suffered a bereavement. Michelle decided to post a flyer through the door anyway and was surprised when it came back filled in, asking her to clean the windows. After completing the job, Michelle received another envelope with payment, along with a gold bracelet. She couldn’t decide whether to keep it, but was intrigued as the owner never showed himself, only communicating by switching the porch light on and off to show that he was there. Desperate to find out what was going on, Michelle borrowed Bianca’s video camera and tried to film the activities of the house owner. After deciding that she couldn’t keep the bracelet, Michelle went back to the house alone, and found the front door ajar. She went inside and was shocked when a man caught her and asked her to stay for a chat. Michelle ran off, leaving the video camera behind and once again was forced to return, where the man again asked to simply chat to her. Michelle ran away again, but this time she decided to phone him and got his email address. They communicated by email for a while, but once Michelle’s parents realised what was going on, they forbade her from going to the house again.
However, having built up a friendship with the man, Damon Gaffney, a freelance website designer, Michelle asked her older sister, Flick, to visit the house with her. Flick reluctantly agreed, and the sisters found out that Damon was a former English teacher. This gave Michelle the excuse to carry on visiting, by asking Damon for help with an assignment and she told Flick that she was going to try and build up the man’s trust. A few days later, she returned to his house to chat about her essay and, when he left her alone in his study, she had a look around and found a necklace. Unfortunately, Damon caught her, but it gave her the chance to ask him about the bereavement he’d suffered. He explained that both his wife and daughter were killed in an accident three years ago and that he was to blame, as he’d been driving the car. Michelle then tried to broach the subject of Damon never leaving the house, but realised that she was late for school and was caught out by her parents, who’d been contacted. Despite being banned from seeing Damon once again, Michelle returned to see him and borrowed a CD of classical music, though she failed to get him to open up about his agoraphobia. Michelle then decided to show him a website she’d found about the condition, but Damon grew upset with her meddling and asked her to leave and not visit again for a few weeks.
Michelle later found out that that day would have been his daughter’s birthday and she decided to find out more about the accident. After getting her sister’s boyfriend to look up the car crash on the computer at the Erinsborough News, Bianca reported back to Michelle that Damon had been charged with drunk driving after the accident and had spent time in prison. After speaking to her teacher, Tess Bell, Michelle realised that she should stick by Damon, regardless of his past and she went to see him and told him that she knew everything. Damon finally opened up and admitted that he’d been out celebrating his wife’s new job before the accident, and that he’d found being in prison quite easy. He said that the most difficult thing had been returning home afterwards and that he found it easier to stay inside, as he was still in control of everything. Michelle agreed to help Damon by collecting groceries and even tried to get him to attend a self-help group, which he told her he’d already tried. It wasn’t until Michelle was delivering the groceries one day, and a vicious dog broke out from the next garden, that Damon suddenly stepped outside to help without realising what he was doing. Although Michelle was delighted with the breakthrough, Damon had to go back inside as he suffered a panic attack. The next day, Michelle returned to introduce her mum to Damon. Lyn thanked Damon for all of his help with tutoring Michelle and he announced that he’d finally taken a big step by going outside and he had contacted a counsellor to help him to move on.
Biography by Steve