(I say these words to make me glad),
But something answers soft and sad,
They come, but often come too late.
Violet Fane (1843-1905) - Tout vient qui sait attendre.
Katherine Harrington sat in a police interview room and looked at her watch for the twentieth time.
"Are we boring you, Miss Harrington?" Sergeant Ken Watson referred to himself and Constable Joanne Bell.
"No but I do need to be elsewhere." Katherine replied. "I told you what happened."
"We're still talking to the car driver." Sergeant Watson told her. "So you'd been shopping. Sales?"
"Just a pair of jeans." Katherine sighed wearily. "I was walking towards the bus stop and someone ran at me from behind and tried to snatch my bag."
"That would be your black canvas shoulder bag, not the bag containing your jeans." Ken said ponderously.
"My shoulder bag, yes. It has my purse in it and all my payment cards for my bills." Katherine said, yet again.
"Then what happened?"
"I've told you. The bag wasn't just over my shoulder, it was over my head and across my body. He almost dragged me over and he lost his balance. I booted him in the balls, screamed at him, then ran towards the bus stop. I turned round when I heard a car screeching and when I looked into the road, I saw he'd been hit by a black BMW. There were at least fifty other people in the street. Go and ask a few of them." Katherine said irritably.
"We intend to." Ken said, just as Sergeant Tessa Frost entered the room and spoke to her colleague. "The BMW driver also says that our snatcher lurched into the road clutching his groin."
"Well a Doc Marten to the balls would do that, yes." Katherine said patiently. "Can I go? I really don't want to be here."
"Seeing as the other witnesses back up your story, yes. I hope we haven't inconvenienced you too much, Miss Harrington." Ken smiled warmly. Kathrine smiled falsely and left the interview room.
"Tough girl." Joanne commented. "Hopefully he'll think twice about mugging again."
"That's if he gets chance to." Tessa said seriously. "He's critical and in the ICU."
"So we'd better get down there and talk to him." Ken decided.
Detective Sergeant Dan Buckley was concentrating on his backlog of paperwork. He actually didn't mind it if he was left alone to it and just now, he was the only one not busy with other matters. A ringing phone at the other end of the office was starting to annoy him.
"Can someone answer that bloody thing?" He shouted, before remembering that he was the only one there. He sighed in exasperation and looked at the clock. 6:30pm and that phone wasn't letting up. Dan weaved his way through the clutter filled desks to put it out of its misery. "Buckley."
"Oh." The caller sounded a bit disappointed. "It's Tessa Frost from downstairs. Something odd has cropped up."
"Oh good." Dan rolled his eyes. "Did you want anyone in particular, or will I do?"
"You'll do, I suppose. I'm in office three." Tessa hung up. Dan saved his work on the computer first, then set off to find office three and Tessa Frost. He briefly thought about having a moan at the uniformed Sergeant, until he saw her. Dan was thirty two and Tessa could give him another ten years. Dan could tell just by looking at her that she wouldn't stand for any nonsense.
"Sergeant Frost. I'm Dan Buckley." Dan took a seat in office three. Tessa began laying papers on the desk.
"We had a car accident earlier today. Greg Peters tried to snatch a young woman's bag and she hoofed his nuts up his back for his troubles. He staggered into the road, clutching his tackle and Mr Terrance Cross hit him with his BMW. It was on the main road so although Cross wasn't speeding, he had no reason to be crawling along slowly. He hit Peters with quite a bit of force and he's in a pretty bad way in the ICU. Sergeant Ken Watson took Constable Joanne Bell and they went to talk to him. This is where it gets odd." Tessa sat on the edge of the desk and looked at Dan. "He asked for Johnny Kennedy."
"Johnny Kennedy." Dan frowned in concentration. "Sounds familiar."
"Before your time. I've been here forever and so has Ken Watson. Johnny Kennedy was the DI here before Maggie Price." Tessa explained.
"Before DI Price?" Dan said in surprise. "How long ago was this?"
"He retired about ten years ago. Peters is in his late fifties so their ages fit. We do have a problem though. Johnny died three years ago. I went to his funeral." Tessa shrugged her shoulders.
"Well that's that buggered. Did Sergeant Watson tell Peters this?"
"Given Peters' fragile state, and not knowing exactly what his connection to DI Kennedy was, Ken just told him it wasn't possible. Peters told Ken to make it possible because it concerned a murder." Tessa said and Dan blinked a few times in shock. "That was all he could get out of him so he phoned me here to get on to you lot. DI Price is on berevement leave, isn't she?" Dan nodded. The DI's father had died suddenly in Spain so she'd flown out immediately.
"How bad is Peters?"
"Bad." Tessa said ruefully.
"I'd better get over there. I'll contact the Super tomorrow if I need to. Peters had better not be pissing about here." Dan stood up.
"It wouldn't be worth it to him, if he's in that bad a shape." Tessa said. "Do you want me to do anything here?"
"If you don't mind, yes. Would you pull up Peters' information?" Dan asked and Tessa nodded. "Thanks, Sergeant."
It was a miserable night and rain drizzled down constantly for the thirty minute drive to the hospital. Ken Watson met him outside the ICU and introduced himself, and Joanne Bell.
"He's pretty bashed up in there." Ken nodded towards the door.
"What did he say, exactly?" Dan asked. Ken took a notebook from Constable Bell and handed it to Dan.
"Joanne wrote it all down. He told me to get Johnny Kennedy. I told him that wouldn't be possible but I didn't tell him why. I'm pretty sure he knew Kennedy because he was a villain but I wasn't absolutely certain that was the only way. He could be a distant relation for all I know and I didn't want to give him any shocks. Anyway, he said anything was possible in the police force. I told him again that it wasn't possible. He told me to piss off and make it possible if we wanted a murder cleared up. I called Sergeant Frost at the station. It's all in Joanne's notebook."
"It says here that his voice was laboured. Whispering?" Dan asked.
"I had to lean in close to hear him. Joanne was at the other side." Ken nodded.
"And he definitely mentioned a murder?"
"Definitely." Ken replied.
"Absolutely." Joanne said at the same time.
"I think if he'd been a relation, then either you or Sergeant Frost would know about it. I'll go and see him." Dan tapped on the door and walked quietly inside. A young doctor looked up from a chart and shook his head slightly, indicating Greg Peters' failing health.
"Kennedy?" Peters whispered from beneath a mass of tubes, bandages and monitors. He had one arm in plaster and his skin was blotched with black bruises.
"I'm DS Dan Buckley, Mr Peters." Dan moved closer to the battered patient.
"Get me Johnny Kennedy." Peters hissed.
"Johnny Kennedy died three years ago. He'd already retired six or seven years before that. We have a new DI but unfortunately she's out of the country just now." Dan said clearly.
"Died? Kennedy's dead?" Peters looked at Dan through swollen eyes.
"He is, yes. Anything you wanted to tell him, you can tell me. I'm in the same department that he was." Dan urged.
"I don't suppose it matters a bugger to me now." Peters closed his eyes and struggled to breathe. "I killed Andy Storey."
"I'm sorry? Can you repeat that?" Dan leaned in very close.
"Andy Storey. I killed him. Me and Cliff." Peters whispered.
"Mr Peters? You and Cliff killed Andy Storey. Is that what you said?" Dan asked and Peters nodded. "Who's Cliff?" Three alarms went off at once and the doctor sprang into action. "Damn it! Mr Peters?"
"Excuse me please." The doctor elbowed Dan out of the way and the crash team moved in.
Tessa had pulled Gregory Peters' files. He had a sheet a mile long and two convictions for burglary, but nothing relating to violence and certainly no mention of any murders.
"Do you remember any murders of any Andy Storeys?" He asked Tessa and her mouth opened wide in surprise.
"Good God! Is that what he said? Andy Storey?"
"You remember it?"
"I certainly do. I don't believe it! I don't know many official details because I was only a plod back then. Andy Storey was a Sergeant right here in the station. He was found murdered in his back kitchen. His ... Oh shit!" Tessa had to sit down. "His girlfriend shared the house with him. She was convicted and jailed for the murder."
"What? Wait!" Andy screwed his eyes shut. "There was a conviction?"
"There was and that's not all. It was Katherine Harrington and we had her in here this afternoon. It was her who's bag was almost snatched. Holy hell I didn't even click on to the name!" Tessa said in astonishment.
"Back up a bit here." Andy wafted his hands at Tessa. "She was in here today? How can she be here if she was jailed for the murder of ... Hang on. How long ago was this?"
"Ten years ago. DI Kennedy had the case." Tessa shook her head in wonder.
"Bloody hell. So how long has this Harrington woman been out?"
"I've no idea. She was only nineteen when she killed Andy. Andy was twenty eight. So what did Peters have to say about that?" Tessa asked.
"He confessed to killing Storey." Dan said and Tessa was dumbstruck. "He told me him and someone named Cliff killed him."
"Bull! Katherine Harrington was banged up for it! How can he have done it?" Tessa exclaimed.
"You said yourself he has nothing to gain by bullshitting. The doctors say he'll be lucky to see the morning." Dan tried to organise a few thoughts in his head.
"So you're taking this confession seriously? Won't that mean re-opening the case?" Tessa asked.
"That would need a higher authority than me. Just now, that would mean the Super." Dan involuntarily grimaced. "I'll have a poke about by myself first. I appreciate your help today, Sergeant. Pre Price names mean nothing to me." He referred to the current DI. "Home time, I think. I can't poke anything at this time of night."
"Single man, aren't you?" Tessa smirked and left the office.
Book Index To Those Who Wait Next
©Alex Harvey 2013