This is the twenty-sixth part of a fiction serial, in 1290 words.
Abby watched as her boss read through the story on the screen. They had taken some better photos of Eduardo, and would use some of the Conroys from Lucy’s social media. Abby had found a great shot of Sergeant Wilcox on Facebook, walking in the Gay Pride parade, and managed to copy it. She hadn’t cared for the man. He had been ready to give a lot of lurid details about his long affair with Lucy Conroy, most of them unsuitable to use. She had soon gathered that he was simply manipulating the woman, and never actually liked her. He tried to make himself out to be the victim, used by a rich woman as a sexual plaything. She had been pleased when he had collected his cheque, and left the building.
Derek read it twice, then turned to the young woman. “This is solid enough, Abby, but we need an angle. This woman risked a comfortable life to carry on an affair with this man, and also risked discovery by having sex with him at work, and going to his room. He claims she was going to leave Conroy, and they were planning a life together. But what interests me is that she takes him away for the weekend on the very night that the murder occurs, then dumps him for no reason, after all that. Why that weekend? Why not the weekend after? And why dump him, when she had been the driving force behind the affair for months? Have a re-write, let’s see some suggestion that she might be covering up something, by absenting herself on the only weekend that a murder happened in Waterloo Close. And that Sally Wilcox, was she the real lover? Had she really been trying to groom Lucy for evidence, or had they known each other a long time, perhaps planning something to implicate Lucy’s husband?
Jazz it up a bit, and I will approve it before I leave”.
Abby thought for a moment. “So maybe Lucy and Sally planned it a long time in advance. Sally does the deed, and Lucy is away with the guy so that she cannot give Mr Conroy an alibi. Is that about the size of it? Do you think that might have actually happened?”
Derek smiled at her, seeing something of his younger self in her naivety. “I don’t have the first clue, Abby. But it will make a great front page”.
Neil Williamson had a headache that had lasted for three days now, and was beginning to realise how Mullins must have felt. He had been running the case with his team for over a week, and nothing had happened. He called a meeting for that evening, after Mr Singh had left. He spoke to each member of the team in turn as they sat in the incident room. Trying to stay calm; using first names, smiling, and requesting they tell him everything they had discovered. As each of them in turn told him they had nothing new, the pounding in his head got worse. By the time he got to Sergeant Ronnie Ford, he was having trouble keeping his temper. Ford was one of the best detectives on the squad, and Neil had given him the responsibility of reviewing all the CCTV. “What about you Ronnie? You must have something for me? Ford looked tired, because he was. He had hardly gone home in three days, and his eyes were hurting from the endless hours of staring at the flickering screens. “Sorry, boss. Nothing new”. Williamson was trembling now, the pain in his head felt like someone screaming in his skull.
Composing himself, he walked to the back of the room, their eyes following him. “Anyone got any ideas then? If you have nothing new, then I suppose some of you must at least have a theory”. They looked at their shoes, trying hard not to be the one picked out. Out of the corner of his eye, Neil noticed a raised hand. It was young Roland Fullerton, the bright spark who was good with all the tech stuff. He was more like a schoolteacher than a cop, but very handy when it came to computers. “Speak up then, Roland. And put your hand down, you’re not in school anymore”. Everyone turned to look at their young colleague as he spoke, but he held his nerve. “Well sir, I have been over everything, much of that in my own time, and also viewed most of the CCTV images. I think that Mrs Conroy going away for the weekend is just a coincidence, and agree that she was never involved. The burglary is purely for show, and unconvincing, as far as I am concerned. This is not a random murder, in my opinion. I am certain that the victim was chosen, and the crime planned by someone in advance. Someone with a meticulous thought process, and great attention to detail. It has to be the work of a psychopath, perhaps a serial killer. As for who could have been in the right place, and have the mental skills required to leave absolutely no clues, then I am left with one name. Alexander Conroy. I have to say that detective Henderson had the right idea”.
Everyone had turned away from Roland, not wanting to be associated with what he had just said, even by being seen to be looking at him. Sergeant Ford slumped in his seat. He had some inkling of what would come next. Neil put his hands on his hips, and stood shaking his head. “Nobody goes home this evening, you got that? I want you to start from the beginning, and go over it all again”. He walked out, without replying to Roland.
Emily had sent Sally a letter. An actual paper letter, in an envelope, with a stamp on it. She had smiled at that, just the sort of thing Emily would do. It was short and sweet. She was staying away until Sally could find somewhere else to live. There would be her share of what the flat was worth, paid into her bank as soon as she had signed an agreement to that effect. Emily’s solicitor would be contacting her soon, it said in the letter. There was nothing emotional in it. No outrage, recriminations, or allegations of betrayal. That was it, they were over. Sally would get more than enough to buy a small flat, and she could take whatever she considered to be hers. She was asked to never contact her again, unless something at work necessitated it. Sally opened a bottle of Frascati, and sat down to ponder the positives of this break-up. When she couldn’t see any, she opened a second bottle.
As they drove home from the supermarket, Karen was excited at the prospect of moving, getting away from the town, and the associations it held for her. They had found a lovely Park Home, and when she had nodded at Tom, he had given the man a deposit there and then. Close to the beach, a shop on the site, and only a fifteen-minute drive to the nearest small town. All they had to do now was sell their flat, and the profit would easily cover the cheaper price of the new place. As they got close to home, Tom spoke without turning, keeping his eyes on the road. “Karen, I just had a thought. Remember that Sergeant Wilcox who was on the case? I have a feeling she might be looking for an affordable place in town. I might contact her, see if she’s interested”. Karen patted his leg. “Whatever you think, love”.
To be continued…