“Bloody Hell.” Jean Innocent took in the mess of the room. “Do we have any idea what happened?” She directed the question at Hathaway who was starting to look a bit frantic. Very bad then.
“We arrived to check the house. After we confirmed there was no one in, I headed upstairs while Inspector Lewis checked downstairs. I heard a commotion, came down the stars to find the front door lying open. A door slammed and I heard a car taking off. I managed to catch a partial plate before heading back into the house. That’s when I noticed the Inspector was missing and his phone was lying on the floor.”
The whole speech was said in a monotone and Jean barely held back from swearing.
“All right. I want you to head back to the station, dig up all the information you can find on this,”
“Jones character and get someone to dig up old case files of Lewis’. I’ll stay here and see if I can hurry forensics.”
Hathaway nodded and looked a bit relieved to be actually doing something. She grabbed the nearest PC, Smith or Wilson, she wasn’t very sure, and had just started directing him to take neighbours’ statements when Laura Hobson rushed in. She opened her mouth to say something but Jean managed to beat her to it.
“We’re doing all we can to find him, Laura.” She laid a hand on her shoulder and squeezed reassuringly. “Now I need you to go back and start the post-mortem on Jones.”
“Laura, whoever killed him is our chief suspect at the minute. Robbie was investigating that when he was taken.” She paused to let her reasoning sink in.
Laura nodded her acceptance and Jean grabbed the remaining PC (the Smith or Wilson that wasn’t taking statements, they both looked too alike for her liking) and pressed him into taking Laura back to the morgue. She looked around the room again then snapped a pair of gloves on and began searching through the drawers.
Jean arrived back at the station to find chaos - no different than she expected. She dropped the few objects she had brought back with her – some photographs, his computer – off at the lab and then stopped by her office briefly, held back only by a phone call from the ACC. How he had found out so quickly, she had no idea but to give him his due, he let her go quickly with only minimal threats about breathing down her neck.
A fortifying deep breath later and she was out again, into the hub of activity that was the main murder inquiry office. The case files she had asked for earlier arrived as she did and she co-opted two passing PCs into going through them. “Keep a particular eye out for anyone who has just been released or died recently.” Space was quickly found for them and she then ignored them in favor of Hathaway. “What do we know about Jones?”
“Ma’am,” He was beginning to look a touch more like normal.
“We need a suspect, James.”
“Yes, Ma’am. Jones has no family in the area, just his dad who his neighbour thinks is estranged. He’s 25, works in computer sales and we haven’t found any enemies so far. We’ve also just found the girlfriend, one Sarah Weir.”
Jean nodded and handed him one of the photographs she had collected. ”You and McCallan do the notification, see if that’s her in the photograph and if she knows anything.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” Hathaway sprinted off, barely slowing to grab his jacket.
Jean stood still for a minute, reading the hastily assembled board that contained all they knew about the Jones case. Someone had scrawled over parts of it with questions about Lewis but there were no answers yet.
She sighed. Waiting on results was always the worst part of the job but it seemed especially bad today.
Right, she thought, time to annoy CSU.
Annoying CSU didn’t yield any results apart from making her feel better, temporarily at least.
By the time she returned to the office, information on Jones’ life insurance came through. She called Hathaway. “How’d she take the news?”
“Life insurance information just came through. She’s the beneficiary of the hundred thousand pound policy.”
“Ah. We’ll do some more digging, Ma’am.”
“Good, there’s not much else we can do until we get the post mortem back. Tell me what you find when you get back.”
She hung up just as Laura came bursting in. “Preliminary results on Edward Jones.”
She didn’t need to ask before Laura was explaining. “Looks like he died of a broken neck. There was no water in the lungs but I still need to do a thorough examination. Time of death sometime this morning, again I’ll need,”
Jean nodded. “It’s alright, it’s just preliminary. Thanks, Laura.” She smiled grimly at her before she rushed out the office again. She dialed Hathaway again. “Bring the girlfriend in. We need to her to properly identify him as well as some more questions. Has she any idea where he was this morning?”
“She said she last saw him on his way out to work.”
“Bring her in anyway, we still need some more information in Jones.”
She glanced at the clock. Only 3pm. She sighed and moved to help dig through the old case files. It was better than sitting waiting.
Her stomach rumbled and she looked up from the files, eyes getting bleary from all the fine reading, to see three hours had passed. She was saved from further reading when Hathaway beckoned through the open door.
“We’ve put her in room one, she’s just identified the body.”
“Good, give her a cup of tea and twenty minutes, then I want you to start asking her questions.” She frowned. “How is she holding up?”
“She’s quite upset, but there’s something not quite right.”
“I’m not sure, Ma’am, it could just be wishful thinking on my part.” He was frowning.
“I’ll watch the interview behind the glass, and we’ll see. Now go and get something to eat before you collapse.”
He smiled faintly at that and she moved away before he could ‘Yes, Ma’am,’ her again.
She took the time to grab something for herself from the canteen and to quickly phone home. Everybody was perfectly understanding of why she was late and she was thankful of one less thing to worry about.
Standing behind the glass, watching Hathaway interview Sarah Weir, she could see what he meant. The movements, the words, were all a little, well, not quite right. Experience told her Weir wasn’t telling them everything but she was distracted by Laura sliding into the room beside her.
“Proper results.” Laura told her as she handed her a file.
“Definitely a broken neck then.”
Laura nodded, transfixed by the scene on the other side of the glass. “From the bruising it looks like he fell, or was pushed, down a set of stairs.”
“Anything from the bruising to say which?”
“No but I did find some paint scrapings underneath his fingernails. The same colour as the hall in his house but the lab hasn’t confirmed that yet. Also the time of death is between 8am and 10am. The water makes it harder to be more specific.”
“It’s certainly enough to get Miss Weir to talk anyway. Thank you, Laura.” With that she knocked on the interview room door, leaving Laura watching. She let Hathaway read the post-mortem report and they both entered the interview room.
“Miss Weir, I’m Chief Superintendant Innocent. I’d just like to ask you a few questions. “
“Is this really necessary? I just lost Eddy and I’ve already been asked questions.” The young woman dried her eyes on a tissue and Jean tied to soften her voice.
“I know that, Miss Weir, it’s just some new information has cropped up.” She sat down opposite Weir.
“What time did Edward leave this morning?”
“The same time he normally does, ten past eight.”
“And did he come back at all?”
“No, I was in the house all morning and he didn’t come back.”
“Yes,” Something seemed to occur to her and she changed her story. “Well I might have nipped out for milk, I suppose he could have popped back then.”
“It’s just that our tests reveal that Edward didn’t drown.”
“Oh?” Weir looked shocked but they could see the cracks beginning to appear in her façade.
“In fact, he broke his neck after falling down the stairs in the house that you said you never left all morning.”
Weir let out a sob and Jean and Hathaway exchanged a surprised look. It seemed too easy.
“It was an accident!”
“Then how did he end up in the river?” Jean tried not to be sarcastic.
“It was P-paul’s idea!” Weir began to cry in earnest now.
“Paul?” Hathaway was impatient now that Weir had cracked.
“My brother. I panicked when Edward fell and phoned him. He said if we put him in the river, it would look like murder and I would still get the money.” Weir let out another sob. “That’s what we were arguing about when he fell. All our debts, and I thought I might not get the money to pay them off if it looked like I pushed him.”
“So instead you dumped him in the river, wasted police time and then kidnapped an officer?” Hathaway snapped.
“W-what? There were no police until you arrived at my work.” Weir looked bewildered and Hathaway looked ready to punch something.
“Where is your brother, Miss Weir?” Jean demanded.
“He-he said he was going to the pub,”
“The Black Bull.”
“Stay here.” She rose and a split second later Hathaway followed. As soon as the door was shut behind her, she said, “Find the brother, bring him back here and try and get some information from him on the way back.”
Hathaway nodded unhappily and took off again.
She slipped back into the observation room to find Laura still there. “Bugger it.”
Laura turned to face her. “You don’t think they’re involved.”
“Her reaction when I mentioned Robbie was the first truthful one she gave.” She leaned back against the wall. “James is away to find the brother anyway.” She briefly closed her eyes. “Do you want something else to keep you occupied?”
“God, I would love that.”
Jean smiled. “We could always use an extra pair of eyes going over the case files.”
“Take me to them.”
Some kind person had set the coffee maker going again and they drained their cups before setting down besides the frazzled looking PC’s.
“What have we got so far?”
“Three prisoners have been released in the last year but we contacted their parole officers and they are all accounted for. We’re only as far back as cases from the last two years though.”
“We’ll take over from here. Tell two of your colleagues to join us when they come on shift.”
“Ma’am, we’d like to carry on if it’s possible.”
Jean looked them over and smiled slightly. “Very well, come back in an hour once you’ve had a break and something to eat.”
Another half an hour passed as they read the files and the only interruption was Hathaway returning, looking rather forlorn.
“You found the brother then.” Jean could tell by his body language that it wasn’t good news.
“He was indeed in the Black Bull pub, and the bartender confirmed that he had been there since they opened at 11 this morning. “
Jean watched as he threw his coat down and winced as he kicked the desk. “We’ve managed to get through a couple of years of case files so far. Why don’t you go and look at the list of number plates the DVLA sent over? See if any of them seem familiar?”
“Yes, Ma’am.” Really, he sounded like he was sulking, which wasn’t helping at all. She went in search of more coffee, leaving him to his task.
She returned to the case files and had a stroke of luck. She was working through some of his older files, from back when he was first made Inspector, when she found a case that fit the bill perfectly.
The Stevenson case, two murdered little girls, the killer an Angus Lloyd who happened to have died in prison three months ago.
Trying not to get too excited, she flipped through the pages to the trial proceedings.
Robbie’s testimony had sealed the deal so to speak, and he’d been turned down for parole twice.
“James, is the name Colin Lloyd on your list?”
“No but there is a Colin Templeton.”
Templeton, Templeton. Why did that sound familiar? Yes, there it is! Templeton was Lloyd’s partner’s name.
“Yes! James, I need you to track him down. Now.”
There was the squeak of chair wheels and when she turned around, Laura swiftly following, she saw him frantically typing.
“He’s in the system for a drunk and disorderly last week, checking his file.” The whole room seemed to pause, waiting anxiously. She and Laura peered over his shoulder and it was a sign of his anxiousness that he never even twitched.
“He’s got Angus Lloyd listed as his father!”
“23a Elm Street.”
“Right, I want a SWAT team ready, and,”
“Ma’am, it’s currently under investigation by the arson squad.”
“The whole building burnt down to the ground last week and there were suspicious circumstances.”
“Damn.” She stared at the screen for a moment before turning back around to stare at the case file.
“If his father died recently, and this is revenge, where would he take him, especially if his house had burnt down?”
Laura joined her looking at the case file, whilst Hathaway continued searching on the computer. Jean frowned. “His father used to own a farm.”
“Did he inherit it?” Laura asked.
“No, it looked like his mother had to sell it after Lloyd was imprisoned.” Hathaway spoke up.
“If this is revenge, and he blames Robbie for everything, then is it possible he took him there?”
Laura shrugged her shoulders. “It’s certainly possible.”
“James, look up the address and phone number then contact the owner, see if there has been any suspicious behaviour in the last week.”
She rushed out of the office, towards her office to grab her coat.
“I’m coming with you.” Laura was insistent.
“I didn’t expect anything else, Laura. I’ll meet you out the front in five minutes.”
She stopped by the main office on her way out and Hathaway joined her. “The owner said there had been signs of trespassers the last couple of days but they just thought it was kids messing about. I told him to stay inside since he was done for the night.”
“Good. You know the way?”
“Yes, Ma’am. We’ve got cars standing by and an ambulance is meeting us there.”
“Let’s just hope we don’t need it.”
She didn’t keep to the speed limit on the way there, but then that was a surprise to exactly no one. Three full squad cars followed, their lights and sirens off as they approached the farm.
She knocked on the farmhouse door, explaining the situation to the owner who looked rather shocked and quickly gave his consent for the farm to be searched.
“Any place in particular that has been disturbed lately?”
“The old barn. It’s just been storage for the last couple of years, that’s why we thought it was just kids messing about.”
Jean nodded. “I don’t mean to be brisk, but could you show us the way?”
“Certainly, I understand perfectly.” He quickly led them across the farm to the barn, standing back to let the officers take over when they approached it.
Jean and Laura barely held back long enough for the fully armoured officers to sweep through before them. The barn was large, filled with equipment and their eyes barely had time to adjust to the different light when they heard a scuffle. Hathaway rushed past them, taking after the fleeing man who was running out a door at the other end of the barn.
They left him to it, letting some of the younger officers help in the pursuit and instead rushed over to the corner they had disturbed Templeton from.
She heard Laura swear under her breath and was tempted to do the same when they caught sight of Lewis. He was standing mostly upright, his jacket off, wrists bound together above his head, rope tying them to an exposed beam. Blood spattered his shirt which had come untucked from his trousers and his tie was askew. His nose and mouth both had trickles of blood dripping down from them and one eye was swollen shut.
Laura rushed under one of his arms, supporting his weight on her shoulder and helping him stand upright. Jean turned to the uniformed officers but they had foreseen her question and one handed her a knife. She reached up on her tiptoes and sawed through the rope, grunted as it gave and Lewis slouched completely onto Laura. She quickly ducked under his other arm and together they lowered him gently to the concrete floor. Two paramedics came pushing through the crowd of officers and she had to take a step backwards to let them near Lewis.
She exchanged a smile with Laura and then moved outside, leaving them to it, and followed the sounds of commotion to find Hathaway finishing reading Templeton his rights. He had wrestled him to the ground and was in the process of getting up when he spotted her. He stood aside to let two of the uniforms help Templeton up and take him to one of the squad cars. Jean smiled at him. “You did good, James. Why don’t you go inside and see him? The paramedics will probably have him in the ambulance by now.”
Hathaway nodded and dashed off, leaving Jean alone in the cold. She rubbed her hands together, wishing for her gloves and she sighed. “Well, all’s well that ends well.” She snorted, glad there was no one around to hear her and moved inside to the warmth.
She could hear Lewis grumbling from out in the corridor. She took that as a good sign and knocked on the open door before heading in. Laura was helping him get back into bed and gave her an exasperated look at his antics.
“How are you feeling, Robbie?”
“Fine, Ma’am.” Lewis replied but he winced as he said it.
“I can see that.” She shared an amused smile with Laura and carried on. “You’ll be glad to know Templeton has been formally charged with kidnapping, aggravated assault and resisting arrest.”
Lewis snorted at the last bit. “Has he said why? All he kept saying to me was that it was all my fault.” He settled back into the pillows and looked expectantly at her.
“Well after his father died, he started drinking. Then last month he lost his job and last week his flat burned down. It looks like he snapped and he seemed to think that if you hadn’t put his father away, then none of that would have happened.”
Lewis sighed, wincing again at the movement. “Laura said the farm used to be his father’s?”
“Yes. His mother had to sell it after he went to prison, which seems to be a sore point with him. He says that’s why he took you there, some sort of poetic justice.” She sighed. “Anyway, I just popped by to see how you were doing and to let you know we’re not expecting you back for another three weeks.”
“Three,” Lewis protested.
“I’m sure Dr Hobson agrees with me that you need time to recover.” She exchanged a smirk with Laura, who promptly took over.
“You need to rest your ribs. And you could do with a holiday,”
Jean smiled as she left them to argue, relieved that everything was on its way back to being normal.