“Fuck off.” The emphasis was between the first and second word. Delivered in a loud Northern Irish accent, even a moron could tell that Seamus Glover didn’t want to be disturbed.
A constable was peering through the eyehole of cell number 4 at York Central Police Station. Glover’s clothes had been taken for forensic analysis and he was wearing a white boiler suit.
He sat in the corner with his shaved head between his legs shivering at the onset of withdrawal symptoms from an addiction to heroin. Although five feet five inches tall and naturally slim, the drugs had brought about the loss of two stone in weight leaving him gaunt and puny.
Also, his nose was still hurting from when the arresting police officer had head-butted him.
DI Sykes arrived in a busy custody suite that had been taking a steady stream of prisoners all afternoon from an unrelated and ongoing operation by the North Yorkshire Drug Squad. The Custody Sergeant briefed him, “We have for you Mr Seamus Glover. Aged 25. Local scumbag. He’s currently on bail for thieving pub charity collection boxes for the blind and he’s just been brought in for riding what looks like a stolen motorcycle.”
“Nice lad. Don’t think I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him,” although the inspector thought his name rang a bell.
The sergeant continued to read from a computer printout, “According to Area Intelligence, he’s a prolific house breaker to fund his heroin addiction. He’s got lots of form for street dealing, GBH and theft. Just one conviction for aggravated burglary. Though nothing to suggest any sex offences…”
“So why the call to the incident room?” DI Sykes prided himself on his objectivity and open-mindedness despite his other faults, of which there were many. But the sight of Mr and Mrs Thompson’s suffering had troubled him and he was not in the mood to have his time wasted.
The sergeant’s legendary efficiency at processing incoming prisoners was achieved by barking orders to his constables, while rarely taking his eyes, or pen, off the mountain of paperwork that went with custody records. And when DI Sykes had asked his question, the sergeant, without lifting his head, screamed down the cells corridor, “HARVESTER. SURGEON’S REPORT”.
DI Sykes recoiled as his ears took the full brunt of the noise, “Do you mind?”
The inspector’s weariness was beginning to show.
“Sorry Eddie.” As the sergeant returned to filling out his forms and waited for Pc Harvester to bring the ‘FME’ or Police Surgeon’s report he told DI Sykes how suspicions had been raised about Glover, “Even before Glover requested a solicitor he was alleging police brutality and demanded that he be seen by a doctor. When the FME examined him he saw what he thought were bits of decaying apple on his jumper. So we’ve taken Glover’s clothes and bagged them up for forensics.”
“Good one. Who was the arresting officer?”
“Pc Smethurst. He’s just along the corridor…” the sergeant continued to write, with his head down, focussed only on clearing the seemingly endless backlog of admin.
DI Sykes may have been tired, but he was alert enough to stand aside and avoid subjecting his ears to another bawling.
“SMETHURST,” the sergeant screamed. And when Smethurst approached, “Inspector Sykes wants to know what happened.”
Jesus Christ! DI Sykes was not impressed by the constable taking out his notebook, ready to convey the sequence of events leading to Glover’s arrest. Where do they get these kids from? “Just in your own words son.”
However Pc Smethurst was uneasy about speaking informally to the DI, “Sir. We were doing routine checks on Lansdown Road. We saw Glover on a motorbike and pulled him over just to see what he was up to. He seemed a bit nervous Sir. When we checked the registration plate, it showed the motorbike belonged to someone else, so I nicked him. Sir.”
“Well done. Which cell is he in?”
“Number four, Sir.” A slight pause. “There’s something else, Sir. When we escorted him to the Prisoner Van he dropped a green piece of paper. Well, with the winds we’re having, it blew away. Shirley, er … Pc Lewis, ran after it while I hung on to Glover. But it was gone Sir. Sorry Sir.”
“How long ago did this happen?”
“About an hour and a half, Sir. To be honest Sir, with Glover’s record we thought it might have been something that could incriminate him for drugs. If I’d suspected any possible link with the Rachel Thompson case I would have…”
DI Sykes reached for the phone and began dialling the House-to-House inquiries desk in the Incident Room, “Steve. Eddie Sykes. Have you got any bodies available now that you could possibly spare?” The line went quiet for a short while. Please let me have some luck! “Can you get them down to Lansdown Road ASAP? I’ll meet them there.”
While the inspector was on the phone Pc Harvester brought back the police surgeon’s report, which briefly mentioned Glover’s allegations, “What’s this about a complaint?”
The sergeant kept quiet and let Pc Smethurst explain, “Well Sir. After Glover dropped the piece of paper he was getting a bit difficult to handle and… er … there was a bit of a struggle and I … er … we fell down, and our heads collided, Sir.”
DI Sykes’ look was one of horror, “You mean you hit him?”
“No Sir. He…”
DI Sykes had once been a constable, but now assumed a responsibility to lead by example. He was raising his voice, “If he’s our man and you’ve just given his Brief an excuse to help him walk…”
“But Sir, he was resisting arrest, and I used the minimum amount of force…”
That’s better son. “Let’s hope so for your sake.” DI Sykes exchanged a knowing glance with the sergeant. “Go on Smethurst. Get your coat. You can come in my car.”
Looking sheepish and feeling grateful he had escaped a major rollicking, Pc Smethurst headed off to put on his tunic.
“There might be something else Eddie,” the sergeant was deliberately cautious so as not to unduly raise the inspector’s hopes, “According to Records, Glover was starting a two year stretch at Wakefield Prison just three months after the rape of Antonia Clarence. That means he was free in the seven months leading up to the attack on Susan Hunter. It may be nothing of course…”
“Thanks for that.” DI Sykes knew that as soon as the death of Susan Hunter was no longer treated as a road accident Glover’s name would have been thrown up by the police computer, because of his incarceration between the two incidents. But he also knew that as Glover had no convictions for sexual offences he would have been treated as a fairly low priority. “Thank you very much.”
Five minutes later DI Sykes and Pc Smethurst met up with ten uniformed officers who were waiting inside a police van, keeping out of the pouring rain. The officers had been looking forward to the end of their shift when the order came from the inspector that they had to work overtime, “Listen up everybody. When Pc Smethurst nicked local scrote Seamus Glover, he dropped a green sheet of paper before he could be searched. It could be the only piece of evidence we have in the Rachel Thompson attack.” Bearing in mind the severity of the November weather the inspector thought an appreciation of their efforts would go down well, “I know you’re wet, cold and hungry. But this letter could be crucial to the inquiry. And if I didn’t have to get back to the nick to interview Glover, I’d be joining you.”
The officers knew his comments were genuine. Getting his hands dirty was typical of DI Sykes’ approach. Unlike some of the other senior officers they knew he was never a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ man.
There was still no sign of Glover’s solicitor when DI Sykes arrived back at the station. So the inspector asked the sergeant to do a routine check on him. As the sergeant entered the cell DI Sykes stood in the doorway.
Glover was staring at the floor, “Fuck off. I’m sayin’ nothin’ ’til me Brief gets ’ere.”
“Really son.” The instant DI Sykes spoke Glover jolted upright and looked nervous.
The pronunciation of ‘Sykes’ wasn’t the only reason that the inspector was known in the underworld as ‘DI Psycho’. He also had a reputation for being ruthless in hunting down serious offenders. The way DI Sykes saw it, if that meant transgressing a few legal niceties then, provided he didn’t get caught, so be it.
“I’m not your crim’ Mr Sykes. I ’aven’t done anythin’…” Glover’s tone was now less irreverent.
“So what was on the sheet of paper you dropped?”
“I know the score Mr Sykes.” Seamus Glover certainly knew the system. He was well versed in the procedure from arrest, to being interviewed, to appearing in front of magistrates or before the Crown Court. In the past he had fallen for the promises, the half-truths and the tricks – nearly always mentioned before the tape machine was switched on to record the interview. He had learnt the hard way about the recently introduced clause in the police caution, which said:
‘… it may harm your defence if you do not mention
when questioned something you later rely on in court’.
He subsequently concluded that had he just kept his mouth shut and waited for his solicitor to arrive then he would not have become a guest of Her Majesty’s establishments on quite so many occasions, “I’m sayin’ nothin’ ’till me solicitor gets ’ere.” Glover returned to looking at the floor.
Had DI Sykes been the duty inspector on a quiet Sunday afternoon he might have considered waiting for his withdrawal symptoms to develop and then try a few non-violent, though persuasive, techniques to encourage him to talk. But not in this case. It would be too risky. The last thing he needed would be for a smart-arse defence lawyer to start mouthing ‘oppressive treatment’ to a judge to try to have any case thrown out even before a jury got a chance to hear it. He nodded to the sergeant to lock him up.
When the two men returned to the custody suite DI Sykes asked who today’s duty solicitor was.
The sergeant looked on his file, “Well today’s duty solicitor is David Coupe. But he isn’t the one Glover’s asked for, Eddie. Glover’s solicitor is James Pennington.”
“Oh Shit.” That’s all I need now. James fucking Pennington.