This is the twenty-fourth part of a fiction serial, in 785 words.
“Today I would like to talk about the publicity your crime attracted, and the fact that you refused to cooperate with an insanity plea”.
“Well despite my confession, it seems the law was insistent on deciding whether or not I was insane. Not that it would have made any difference to my sentence”.
“That’s not accurate, Jeffrey. Detention in a secure hospital is very different to life imprisonment in a mainstream prison. I am sure that as a former policeman you are aware that you might have got a maximum sentence recommendation, had you not been considered to be mentally ill. You now have an indefinite detention order, which means that you have to convince doctors and other specialists that you are fit to be released at some stage in the future. That may never happen, as you know”.
“Or it may happen. Who knows? Things change. Society’s attitudes change. Or I might escape”.
“Have you thought about trying to escape then? I cannot recall the last time anyone escaped from this facility”.
“My thoughts are my business, and not open to discussion on that subject”.
“Since your arrest, the media has had a field day, reporting your crime. I have seen some of the headlines. ‘House of Hell’, ‘Murder block’, ‘Cop Goes Rogue, Kills Eleven’. There were many more like that. There is even talk of a television series, and a feature film. One book about you has already been published without your cooperation, and you receive around one hundred letters a week, mostly flattering. How do you feel about that?”
“I don’t feel anything about it at all”.
“Really? You are not basking in the attention, enjoying the notoriety?”
“Not at all. Nothing like that. I don’t even read the letters properly. Most have been redacted anyway, as you know. Besides, I am only flavour of the month, something else will come along, and I will be history by next year. I do resent them calling me a serial killer though. They are obviously too stupid to see the difference, or think that designation will sell more newspapers. I also hate being called a rapist, and I am considering legal action against any publication that has called me that. I am planning to appeal my additional sentence for the rape too, as that didn’t happen”.
“But the prosecution argued that Miss Hurst was terrified into having sex with you by the very fact that you had brutally murdered her partner in front of her, and you were armed with an assortment of weapons. I think they used the phrase ‘rape by intimidation’ in court. And with her no longer alive to substantiate your story, I very much doubt the appeal will ever be allowed. Don’t you see that?”
“Of course, but that won’t stop me trying. I have enough money to engage good lawyers to represent me”.
“On the subject of money, I see that you do have substantial savings from your inheritance. But any funds used from your bank account can be subject to scrutiny, to stop them being used for criminal purposes. You would have been told that, I’m sure”.
“My money is not from the proceeds of crime, so was unable to be sequestered by the court. I also own my flat outright, so the same applies to that. Did you know that local estate agents have been bombarded with requests from people trying to rent my flat? It seems many of them want to live in the home of the famous murderer, while I am locked up here”.
“Yes, I did read that your local council was considering demolishing the block, after buying all the flats under a compulsory purchase order. But three owners fought the decision in the courts, and they are leaving it standing. They are changing the name to Churchill House though, in some effort to erase the memory of what happened there”.
“I have heard that people are travelling from all over to take photos of themselves outside the block. It has become a tourist destination in that borough, the only one in fact”.
“And how does that make you feel, Jeffrey?”
“I have no feelings about it at all”.
“You pride yourself in finding out things like that, don’t you? You like to have information about things going on outside?
“It’s easier than you might imagine. For example, I know that you are Doctor Fiona Eccleston, it says so on your badge”.
“Hardly Sherlock Holmes then”.
“No, but I also know that your home address is number five Lilac Close, Gainsborough. That you are divorced and live alone, and that your daughter Poppy attends the University of Lincoln, studying Modern History”.