Douglas Thmopson - Author and International Journalist

The FBI Academy -- which featured in Jodie Foster Oscar-winning role in 'Silence of the Lambs' -- plays a recurring role in Cromwell's novels. Scarpetta's niece Lucy works their on classified computer files and is compromised by having a gay affair with a co-worker in 'The Body Farm' adventure.

In real life it was Marguerite Bennett's domestic as well as her professional life that has been upset. She left the FBI and is now a police lieutenant in charge of security at the North Virginia Community College . At present she is on 'leave' as authorities investigate a shooting incident between her and her husband.

It happened in the Manassas suburb of Washington at a Methodist church called the Prince of Peace. The possibility of violence had been building for months. Cromwell had said she was a victim of a stalker and was carrying guns and had installed video cameras at her home. Authorities says she really feared Eugene Bennett.

He had left the family home in 1993. It was a bitter break-up. His wife told the FBI that he had stolen $17,000 from them. He admitted falsifying expenses and obstructing justice and spent a year in jail. All along he had ranted to anyone who would listen that his daughters, aged seven and nine, were going to be 'brought up by lesbians'.

It was in that unsettled mood, say his lawyers, that the former FBI 'G-man' called his wife's minister the Rev Edwin Clever and asked to meet him at the Prince of Peace. He said he had a donation for the church. When the minister arrived he was faced with a .45 pistol and a masked Eugene Bennett who bound him and tied packages he said contained explosives around his waist. He then told him to call Marguerite Bennett to the church. Armed with a .38 handgun a suspicious Mrs Bennett arrived 45 minutes later.

She saw the minister handcuffed and strapped to a chair with the masked Eugene Bennett hovering behind him. She got off one round from her pistol and that was enough -- her unhurt husband ran off.

He was arrested four hours later following a tense stand-off at his nearby home. His only words:' I don't want that woman to have my children.' HIs fears were realised in late June when a court gave his wife temporary custody of the children. Another court remanded him on custody on charges of abduction and using a firearm.

Police say they are still trying to determine if Bennett had intended to murder his wife whose gunplay is also being investigated.

His lawyer Jeffrey Gans said his client was 'disorientated'. In what appeared an attempt to build an insanity defence he also said Bennett was being manipulated by a bad alter-ego called Ed. Gans said his client told him that he had only been able to give up to police after he was able to lock 'Ed' in the garage and added: 'It wasn't the ravings of a madman but he was disorganised and confused.'

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