This is the thirty-sixth part of a fiction serial, in 772 words.
Sergeant Ross was a clever lady. The solicitor spoke to me before she came into the interview room and advised me to stay quiet, saying nothing as was my right. Ross and her colleague brought me in a cup of tea in one of those flimsy plastic cups that bend as you pick them up. I left it untouched on the table.
She started by showing me lots of different clips of CCTV. My car following Julian’s car. Me walking past his office. My car parked on the street where his house was, and then my car parked outside the flat of his new lover. When I stayed silent as she questioned me about why I was there, she just smiled.
Then she played her ace, by arresting me on suspicion of harrassment of Julian Tolliver. It wouldn’t stick in court, as I could probably find reasons for being in those places, but it gave her the legal right to take my fingerprints, and a DNA sample by swabbing inside my cheek. Ignoring the protests of my solicitor, she then authorised my detention for twenty-four hours to enable them to carry out a search of my flat by warrant, and to ‘pursue an investigation into other crimes’.
As the custody constable led me off to a cell, I had to give it to her. She was bloody good at her job.
The DNA would sink me, I knew that well enough. I had got away with everything up to then, as I was not on any police record system. But the DNA and prints taken at the time would still be on file somewhere, and I knew that Ross would be fast-tracking my sample, then cross-checking everything while I languished in a cell until the following afternoon.
They left me alone, and I slept as best as I could on the thin plastic-covered mattress, listening to the shouts of the drunks in nearby cells, and some angry prisoner banging his cell door until he was exhausted. The next day at two in the afternoon, they came to get me, with one hour left in the legal detention period.
The solictor had been called in, and was looking glum. Whatever he had been told had taken the shine off his mood. Once again, he advised me to stay silent. Ross didn’t mess around, and she looked triumphant.
My DNA had been matched with a semen sample found in Maria Malone during the post-mortem. My fingerprints were on what was left of her gas cooker. Ross charged me there and then with Maria’s murder, as well as the murder of Liam Malone, and the old lady next door who had been killed in the explosion. Her eyes were bright as she summed up.
“You will be kept here until tomorrow morning, then taken to the Magistrate’s Court to be remanded in custody pending a trial. I am going to object to bail on the grounds that you may harm others, specifically Julian Tolliver, and also that you may be a flight risk, attempting to leave the country. Have you got anything to say?”
Trying not to smile, I shook my head. I wanted to tell her she was good at her job, but that didn’t seem appropriate.
A brief time was allowed with the solicitor before I was returned to my cell. He told me that he would instruct a Defence barrister to appear on my behalf when the case got to Crown Court. As he left, he shuffled his paperwork.
“It’s not looking good, I have to tell you. DNA is irrefutable”.
Ten minutes was all it took for the Magistrates to detain me on remand, pending trial. I was taken to a remand unit in the nearest prison, and given a cell shared with a young burglar who regarded going to prison as a necessary evil of his chosen career. It turned out that being on remand charged with three murders made me something of a celebrity, so nobody bothered me at all.
Six days later, a warder came and opened the cell door. He nodded at me. “You have vistors, look lively”.
Frances Ross sat in the room with a different cop. I soon found out that he was a Chief Inspector. My solicitor sat next to me, as the new man started speaking.
“I am going to put further charges to you, in the presence of your solicitor. You don’t have to say anything, but anything you do say will be recorded and used in evidence”. He opened a file with one sheet of paper inside.
It had a lot of typing on it.