This is the sixth part of a fiction serial, in 1040 words.
DS Baker wasn’t having any of it. “I don’t get the boss with his racially motivated thing”. She stopped to bite into the bacon roll, and some sauce trickled down her chin. DC Willoughby smiled at her, pointing at his own chin to indicate what had happened. “Why not, sarge? Seems about right. Rich woman, Pakistani background. Bound to cause resentment, especially with her living in that beautiful house, and swanning around dressed like a fashion model”. Izzy Baker swallowed the lump of roll, and pointed across the desk. “That’s just it. She is one of them, married to a local rich guy, and living like a country lady. Racially motivated attacks are usually against obvious Muslims, you know, burkas and that. I have my own theory, and I will work on it in my own time if need be”.
Sammy wasn’t about to ask her what that theory was, knowing full well she was about to tell him. She put down what was left of the roll, and wiped her face with the back of her hand. She was a good copper, but she definitely had no class.
“It’s got to be another woman. Rich guy, probably got a few on the go. Made promises to leave the wife and kids, then didn’t follow through. Jealous woman decides to splash some acid over her rival to get things moving, then she takes it too far. Mark my words, it will be a woman. Any progress with that CCTV, Sammy?” He inclined his head back, indicating the corridor behind him. “Donna’s on it, she’s using room six”. The sergeant stood up, and pulled her skirt down and straight, adjusting where it had ridden up from too long in the chair. “I’ll go and see how she’s getting on”.
Over sixty miles away, in the incident room of a different police force, Inspector John Meacham was going through the interrogation tapes. Phillipa Watson had let in her attacker, he was certain of that. She had to have known who it was. Early investigations had revealed that she had been with a lot of men recently, most of them met at her local gym. She wasn’t shy about putting herself on offer, and younger fit men were her companions of choice. One of the personal trainers who worked there had come up as interesting. Mario Pelosi’s prints had been found in her house, and he had form. He had been acquitted of two sexual assaults when he lived in Nottingham, and a former girlfriend had accused him of hitting her with a bread board, breaking some bones in her face. She had dropped the charges before it got to court though.
Pelosi had moved south for a fresh start, and worked at the gym on a self-employed basis, being paid by members for one-to-one training. They had got him in for questioning, and he had declined a solicitor. Readily admitting he had numerous sexual encounters with female gym members, he was also happy to agree that he had been to Phillipa’s house on many occasions, at her invitation. He claimed to have nothing to hide, and denied any involvement with her murder. Yes, he had seen her at the gym that night, but he had been busy with a new customer and hadn’t spoken to her. Trouble was, his alibi was useless. He claimed to have left work just after nine, gone straight home, and hadn’t spoken to anyone.
Meacham shook his head. That would tie in with the time that Mrs Watson was killed, and CCTV had Pelosi’s car nearby at close to nine-fifteen. But he only lived a few minutes from her, so that was easily explained. The Inspector didn’t feel it. He relied a lot on instinct, and something was telling him that it wasn’t Mario.
Izzy walked back into the main office waving a printout from some CCTV footage. She beamed at Sammy, shouting loud enough for the whole room to hear. “I told you! A Woman! Look at this! Buying two bottles of drain cleaner in the same area that Mrs Holloway lived. Well, not that far, anyway. That blonde hair looks like a wig to me, and the black spectacles are probably fake too”. She plonked down into the swivel chair, holding the printout close to his face. “Look at her, Sammy. She’s the one. I’m certain”.
She made a phone call to the boss, sounding very confident. After explaining all the details of her theory, she took a deep breath, and made her play. “We should have the husband in, sir. He will know the woman, I’m sure of it. He might even be involved, you know, put her up to it”. She nodded a few times, and turned to Sammy giving him a thumbs-up. “Thank you sir, I will get a warrant and get straight on it”.
It was after ten when Jenny got home that night. The long drive had been very tiring, once the adrenaline wore off. She hadn’t bothered to stop to dump anything, that would have to be done tomorrow. Checking the news on her laptop, she saw that a man was ‘helping police with inquiries’ about Phil’s murder, but when she clicked on the latest report about Tabitha’s case, she slumped in her chair. They had a photo of her from the big warehouse shop, and were asking the public to come forward if they knew the woman in the photo. She thought hard about her arrival at The Blue Boar. She had tied the wig in a pony tail, and wasn’t wearing any glasses. The barmaid had hardly looked at her. That might be alright. As for Mrs Wilkinson, she wouldn’t be describing anyone, but the tape bought at the same time would be discovered wrapped around her head.
Jenny was angry at herself, but she could never have guessed that the police would be onto the blonde woman as a suspect so quickly.
But she should have, she knew that now. There was no doubt about it, she would have to work faster. Starting tomorrow.
Or they might just catch her before she could finish what she had started.