This is the fourteenth part of a fiction serial, in 1200 words.
Leonora Quigley and Ivor Jones
For the two days it took to discover Mel’s body, Jenny rested at home and did some more research. Leonora Quigley had been the captain of the netball team, and though she had hardly ever spoken to her, let alone touched her, she had also been the ringleader and chief instigator of the bullying. As far as Jenny was concerned, the reason was clear enough. Leonora, who liked to be called Leo, had an Irish mother, and a decidedly absent Jamaican father. Obviously mixed race, she had made sure to bully someone else, rather than face the prospect of being bullied herself.
Her role had been to whisper instructions or suggestions, then stand back and look on, with a self-satisfied smirk.
Over the years, it had been easy enough to follow what had happened to Leo. She was supremely talented at Netball, making the junior team, then the senior squad. She could have gone on to become a star, perhaps even a coach, and much lauded in her country. But like Tanny, she made a bad choice of boyfriend. Errol was a gangster of the highest order. Armed robbery, dealing drugs and guns, even dabbling in people trafficking. He had become one of the most notorious characters in the town, but Leo loved him, and stayed unswervingly loyal, despite what that connection did to her sporting career.
Then one day, she had been stopped in her car, and an automatic pistol had been found under her seat, with her prints all over it. Not just any pistol, one proved to have been used in a robbery, and fired too. Refusing to implicate Errol, Leo had been given seven years in prison, completely destroying her life. Finding her now was going to be difficult.
Unknown to Jenny, Leonora had come out of prison, and walked straight into a life of organised crime. Errol had been killed in a revenge shooting while she was inside, and she looked up and reorganised his old gang, taking up where he had left off. She no longer had any contact with her mother or her siblings, and lived in a state of complete paranoia, fuelled by large amounts of cocaine, and a cannabis habit that was on a par with smoking cigarettes. She resided in a house that was as good as fortified, spending most of her time indoors with her new boyfriend, Tarr.
She had never got around to asking him why he had that name.
Mel’s body had finally been found after she had failed to keep five more tutoring appointments over two days. Five calls to the police expressing concern for her welfare had resulted in a forced entry by two uniformed police officers. They made up their own minds about the discovery, and just as Jenny had hoped, they wrote it off as a sex game gone wrong.
But when the detectives became involved, Sergeant Ivor Jones took the case. He was a Welshman, a little isolated in that large town’s police force, a long way from his rural home. But he had a knack for crime. His colleagues called him ‘The Welsh Ferret’. He had an obsession for detail, and it took him no time at all to make the connection to the school. After all, it was all there, in black and white, with Mel’s website testimonials, and her previous experience as a teacher for anyone to see.
As soon as Sergeant Jones circulated the details of the crime, he started to get a lot of attention. Many women who had once gone to the same school had recently been killed, in suspicious circumstances. There was no avoiding the fact. They had a serial killer targeting former pupils and staff at a girl’s school.
It was time to start sharing information between a few police forces. Mel’s killing had opened a Pandora’s Box, and it wasn’t about to be closed anytime soon.
Izzy Baker rushed into her boss’s office after taking the call. She had tidied her hair and touched her make-up first. After all, she still had the hots for him. “Sir, great news! We might have a connection to our outstanding cases. We have just had a request from an officer down south. He wants to know if we have any unsolved murders relating to a particular school. This guy is really on the ball. That acid attack killing, the victim comes back to having attended that school. Do you think we should drive down there, ask a few pertinent questions?”
His reply deflated her. “Leave it to him for now. It might be a stab in the dark. If it comes to nothing, let him show himself up, not us”. Izzy nodded. She couldn’t disguise how pissed off she was. “Okay, boss. It’s your call”.
Sensing a big case, Ivor Jones’ superior quickly moved in to take over everything. He would keep Ivor doing the donkey work, then claim all the credit. Detective Superintendent Steve Upshaw had a reputation for doing little or nothing, and claiming all the glory. It never bothered him in the least, and he was quite happy to do it all again now. He made an appointment with the Assistant Chief Constable, and laid out his plans to her. They would combine all the investigations into one, and lead the hunt for the female suspect. It would cost money, and a lot of resources in terms of manpower, but how often did you get a female serial killer operating? He couldn’t remember any, in his long career. The media would love this case, and their force would get all the glory when they caught her.
Catherine Harris hadn’t got as far as she had in her career by being impulsive. Not many women made the rank of Assistant Chief Constable, even in this day and age. She had managed to buck the trend, and even her very public sexuality, going so far as to marry another woman, had not harmed her prospects. She had even adopted her wife’s name, Harris.
But she didn’t like Steve’s proposal, not one bit. He just didn’t understand her reluctance, and could not hide his frustration at her reply. “There are numerous forces involved here, Steve. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We should allow them to carry on with their investigations, and be happy to share information about the Silletoe case. If they reciprocate with their own information, so much the better. Meanwhile, I don’t want a word of this released to the press. Not a word, you hear me? The killer will run, and we will never find her.”
Back in his office, Steve kicked his chair around, and punched the desk. The ACC had shot him down in flames, that bitch. He walked down the back stairs to the car park, and took his phone out of the inside pocket of his jacket. An old contact on The Daily Mail was discreet and reliable, he would slip him some information about that Ivor Jones and let him do the hassling.
Two hours later, and speculation about a serial killer connected to a school was on the newspaper’s website.
By six that night, it was also on the BBC TV News.