This is the twenty-first part of a fiction serial, in 739 words.
Selina Macmillan couldn’t have looked more different that second time. Wearing a pinstripe business suit, and her hair in a bun, she looked more like the headmistress of a swanky school, than the blowsy party animal of a few days earlier. I had a feeling that she had arrived straight from a date last time. The sort of date where you stop over, and don’t get much sleep.
The two hundred was ready in a sealed envelope, and I handed it over before she had time to ask for it. She dropped it into a desk drawer without counting the notes. I thought that was a nice touch.
“Well, Darren. I told you about the post mortem report over the phone. I have also been through the reports surrounding the police investigation into the accident, as well as the transcript of the inquest and the Coroner’s summation. All of that had to be requested by your mum, and the copies paid for. She must have been quite determined at the time, as she didn’t involve any lawyers, and did it all herself”.
There was no doubt that I was seeing a totally different side of my mother. All of this had been going on before I was even two years old. I was sure that Auntie Jean must have been heavily involved in looking after me back then. Mum would have needed a lot of time to have done all that stuff.
Selina was tapping something on her desk.
“This file from my dad is interesting. You don’t seem to have it in your papers. Sergeant Holloway was in the traffic division of Surrey Police. They investigated his conduct following the accident. Off duty, in his own car, It seems he stopped at the scene which he saw happen on the other carriageway. He claimed the driver was dead, which was confirmed by the medical reports of a broken neck that caused instant death. The passenger appeared to be dead too, but as he was so young, Holloway attempted resuscitation after extricating him from the damaged car with some difficulty, as it had rolled over during the crash. The conclusion is that he did his best, and he was actually praised for his response and professionalism”.
Stopping her before she could go on, I asked about the strangulation, and how Holloway had explained that. She opened another file, and tapped a paragraph on a typed page.
“During his evidence at the original inquest, he had spoken about having to drag your brother out of the car, and having some difficulty attempting resucitation in a confined space. When your mum tried to get it reopened with her new evidence about strangulation being the cause, Holloway made a statement that he might well have damaged Terry’s neck getting him out through the window of the car, and dragging him up the verge to make space to carry out CPR. They believed his version, and refused your mum’s appeal”.
Next I wanted her to explain how Holloway had got involved in an investigation when he was technically off duty. Selina grinned.
“You don’t know much about the way cops work, Darren. He was a trained Accident Investigation Officer. The next available one was tied up on a serious crash involving a lorry, fifteen miles away. So they took the easy way out, which was to let him investigate the accident. The control room showed him back on duty on their record, and other officers helped him start the full investigation. Technically speaking, he wasn’t involved, as he was a witness who had stepped in to help. So by default, they let him investigate an accident that he was later implicated in. So it is no surprise that any appeal was thrown out. Everyone was covering their arses”.
As I took that in, she carried on.
“Remember I mentioned my contacts? Well I dropped a few quid to one of them, and he did some digging. Holloway retired with the rank of Police Inspector. He is sixty-eight years old now, and still lives in the same house in Surrey. His wife died over ten years ago, some kind of cancer. He spends his time playing golf, according to my contact. Rarely misses a day on the golf course”.
My expression must have been blank, as she had leaned forward to get my attention.
“But there’s more, Darren. The best is yet to come”.