Dan now had Greg Peters at the crime sceen just before the murder. He needed him there at the time of it, Cliff Davies there with him. These two had worked together for many years, and obviously were ten years ago. Peters used false names to get on viewing lists to check out properties and size them up, then Peters and Davies returned later to burgle them. Andy wasn't supposed to be there. He'd swapped shifts. What if he'd surprised Peters and Davies? He cursed Greg Peters again for dying, then realised where his wanderings had taken him. He'd taken the outskirts roads to avoid the traffic and was now driving along Fallows Avenue. As he drove past the home of Katherine Harrington he saw her and the nurse escorting a very frail and sick looking woman into a car. The woman was late middle aged and dressed in pink pyjamas and dressing gown. Dan slowed down without really thinking and even noticed a green tubed oxygen mask in the sick woman's hand. When he looked away from the woman, he saw Katherine and she was glaring daggers at him. She pointed at his as a warning not to speed off, then finished helping the nurse with the invalid. Dan watched the nurse's car drive off and Katherine planted her hands on her hips and glowered at him until he got out of the car.
"When I said privacy, that included you." She snapped.
"I was on my way to the station, not to bother you." Dan explained.
"Bollocks. You couldn't have drove past at a more interesting time either, could you?" Katherine indicated the now gone nurse's car.
"How could I have possibly planned that? I've been in town and now I'm going to the station. It's not the first time I've used this route." Dan sighed heavily. "You've obviously got your work cut out just now. I'll be going."
"You're a pain in the bloody arse." Katherine snapped and sat on the wall.
"I've been called worse." Dan shrugged his shoulders.
"I thought you were snooping. You saw how sick she was. Any more stress will kill her." Katherine said sadly.
"I'm sorry. Yes she did look sick."
"I don't want her upset in any way. I want her away from just about everything, even a nice man like you." Katherine smiled her apology.
"My mother cared for my father for three years after he suffered a stroke. She found it really difficult and she had me and four daughters to muck in." Dan told her.
"I'm sorry to hear that. Is he still here?"
"No he died eight years ago. Don't take on too much, Katherine. Let people help you. I don't mean doctors and nurses, I mean friends."
"Friends? What are those?" Katherine rolled her eyes. "I better get a move on. I've a few things to do before visiting time."
"Take care." Dan watched her go up the path and into the house, before returning to his car.
Dan got straight on the phone to Hugh when he got to the station.
"Anything on that sample?"
"I did warn you that it was degraded. I only have a partial profile. It isn't Andy's and it isn't Katherine's. It would be pretty hopeless trawling the computers because it's only a partial profile." Hugh told him.
"Greg Peters and Cliff Davies have both been banged up. Peters was into drugs later on in his life so hopefully there'll be a DNA profile for him. Davies, I'm not too sure about. Could you run it against those two?" Dan asked.
"I'll see what I can do." Hugh said. "Are you getting anywhere with it?"
"Yes but I don't know where. Cheers Hugh." Dan hung up and turned round to see the Super standing in the doorway looking straight at him.
"DNA profiling? We're a local cop shop, Henley, not bloody CSI Miami."
"We really do need this cleared up sir. It proves that someone else was there between Andy getting out of the bath and his death." Dan stated the obvious.
"Look lad, this sample was a saliva sample found by Storey's left earlobe. Storey and Harrington were going through a split and Storey was found dressed only in his boxer shorts. Given the location, and the fact that saliva comes from the mouth, it's not hard to work out that another lover was on the scene." Stone explained patiently.
"Another lover? I saw nothing of that in the reports." Dan could hardly believe his ears.
"It fell flat. Bear in mind the limited technology. We did manage to find a woman who Storey 'socialised' with on a very regular basis after alot of legwork and sifting through his associates. As it happened, the woman had an unshakable alibi. She was at work with twenty other people to verify it." Stone shrugged his huge shoulders. "Added to that, she denied everything quite forcefully. Married woman and all, you know?"
"Could we get a sample from her now? We have the means to test it even against a partial profile." Dan was, again, astonished. Every revelation regarding this case astonished him.
"Not possible. I knew you'd ask so I took it upon myself to discover her whereabouts. She's been in Canada for six years. If Andy Story had showered, rather than bathed, that sample wouldn't have been there at all. It was a remnant of a meeting with his married girlfriend, Bolton." Stone stated. Dan resisted the urge to scream 'Bollocks!' in the Super's face.
"So are you telling me not to run this sample against Peters and Davies?" He succeeded in keeping his temper in check.
"I can't really see either of those two characters slobbering over Storey in such a fashion. Can you?" Stone said shortly.
"Sir I have a witness who puts Peters at the murder scene! I have to check that sample against those two." Dan said desperately.
"Why are you hell bent on resurrecting all this?" Stone said darkly. "It's done with. Charged, convicted, and released. I'll tell you something for nothing, it would be a very bad move to cause all this upheaval to discredit me."
"W ... what?" Dan stammered in disbelief. "Discredit you?"
"I worked on the damned case and you know I did!" Stone barked. "Johnny Kennedy and myself had enough evidence to put the Harrington girl away five times over."
"With respect sir, the science we have now would dispute that. It's even in her files that she should be released from prison with a good behaviour stamp before a half decent solicitor told her to appeal against the conviction." Dan said angrily. It was clear that the Super was warning him off and even threatening him. Dan didn't like being threatened one little bit. "Sir I'm not trying to discredit anyone. That's just ridiculous. I'm a detective with up to date facilities at my disposal, something you didn't have. I have good reasons to believe that Andy Storey's killer has been out there free for ten years."
"Coppers like myself and Kennedy don't get it wrong, son." Stone said ominously.
"Greg Peters thought differently, sir and he wanted to tell DI Kennedy just that." Dan argued.
"And that's the level of what you've got. One villain trying to get another villain in the shit." Stone looked evenly at Dan. "Davies gave evidence against Peters on a burglary charge and I don't think Peters was best pleased. You with me? It didn't matter a bugger that he dropped himself in it too, he was dying. All that mattered was that he fingered Davies for a big crime and you don't get much bigger than that one was. Cop killer cases are always juicy. What else do you have? Oh yes, the character assassination of Davies by his successful brother. That means jack shit and you know it. He nicked the kids' christmas presents for shit's sake! Of course he's going to call him a bastard! Speaking of characters, next we have Irene Peters and isn't she a gem? She'd say just about anything to trash Peters and not herself. She was involved in some way, with many of his earlier scams but he always took the can for it. Lovely Irene gladly let him. These are bitter people slagging off thieves and arseholes, not slagging off murderers."
"I also have Martin Benson, sir." Dan said and wished he hadn't.
"I'm pleased you brought that up." Stone glared holes through Dan. "Martin Benson, armed robber, up for parole. You offering to put a good word in for him didn't influence him at all I suppose."
"That's not how it went." Dan said defensively.
"I don't care what your interpretation of it is! Benson reckons you and him have a deal. Don't even consider using this information or I'll haul your skinny arse over every hot coal in the cosmos!" Stone shouted.
"The strangulation ..."
"I said don't. I do not need complications with the parole board or with the prison. Don't make me suspend you Baxter." Stone growled.
"The estate agent." Dan changed tack. "She puts Peters at the crime scene."
"At the worst, he conned her to get in the house to case it. As far as we can tell, no follow-up burglary ever happened. You need to wrap this up and return it to the vaults where it belongs. Tie up your loose ends, Butler. Everything you have is useless." Stone left the office and didn't even bother to close the door. Dan was furious. Stone and Kennedy had bulldozed this case to get a quick result. It reeked from here to heaven. He snatched the ringing phone from the hook.
"Whoa! A tad tectcy?" It was Hugh.
"Sorry Hugh, I was just a bit preoccupied." Dan apologised.
"No worries. Well Peters' DNA profile is on record. The drugs, as you said. Davies' isn't though."
"Bugger. Well at least we have one to work on." Dan swore.
"Tomorrow OK? Some of us do have pregnant fiancees to go home to." Hugh laughed.
"Now you're just gloating. Tomorrow's fine Hugh, thanks. Sorry for biting your head off."
"Oh I'm used to it." Hugh hung up.
Dan decided to take a detour on his way home, and visit Cliff Davies' bedsit. This time he was in it but kept Dan outside on the step.
"What now?" Cliff grumbled.
"The burglary scam you had going with Greg Peters." Dan said.
"I told you, I hadn't seen him for years."
"But when you were seeing him you had quite a system going on, didn't you? Greg cases houses on the market by getting himself on viewing lists then the two of you go back and hit the place. Ring any bells?" Dan said nastily.
"Look, I was never a big part of that." Cliff ran his fingers through his greasy hair. "Greg was always the brains, you know that. I did as I was told and stood where I was told and that was usually outside watching for coppers."
"Lookout? Oh get real Cliff!" Dan heaved.
"It's true! Occasionally I'd drive the van but that was usually Greg too." Cliff objected.
"So you never went into any of the houses? You just left it all to Greg even though it would have been faster with two? Bullshit!" Dan snarled.
"Faster and messier. I was never in that house!" Cliff shouted.
"Which house?" Dan pounced straight away. "I didn't mention one in particular. Which house, Cliff?"
"Which one do you think?" Cliff was seriously rattled. "You were on about it last time you spoke to me! I wasn't in there. OK?"
"But Cliff was? Did Andy Storey interrupt him?" Dan badgered.
"You're trying to trip me up." Cliff's eyes were darting in all directions. "We never went near the place. Never got chance, did we? Next we heard, the bloke was dead."
"So the microscopic DNA sample that was overlooked the first time but now we're testing will be of no concern to you, will it? Sleep tight." Dan stared Cliff down then marched back to his car.
Dan actually found himself peeping round his curtains looking for convicted pixies in the street. The street remained deserted. He told himself to belt up and get real. She'd been pretty annoyed with him that afternoon. He was in the kitchen, warming up tinned beans, when the phone rang.
"It's Ken Watson at the station here. I'm sorry to bother you at home."
"It's fine. What can I do you for?" Dan licked a splatter of sauce from his finger.
"It's Katherine Harrington. She's here with Tessa." Ken said and Dan's stomach lurched.
"What's happened? Is she OK?"
"Someone tried to mug her again. She doesn't have much luck with that, does she?"
"Again? When and where?" Dan shook his head. No, she didn't have much luck with that.
"We don't know who but it was in the hospice carpark. Some bloke knocked her flying and tried to get her car keys off her. She dragged the keys down his face then hoofed him in the bollocks. There was a night porter and two nurses saw the whole thing. It was over in a few seconds. One of the nurses called us but he was well away by the time I got there. She really did not want to come back here with me for the paperwork. The first thing she asked was if you were in. I told her you weren't and she said I hadn't to tell you." Ken explained.
"So you did. Good man." Dan smiled.
"I probably wouldn't have if she hadn't made the point. The doctor at the hospice and our duty doctor here says she's unhurt, just shaken. Should I let her go? She's a bit of a sight with the blood." Ken said.
"Blood?" Dan's head began reeling.
"From where she got the bloke with the keys. I've notified hospitals incase he goes anywhere for stitches." Ken informed Dan. The last time Katherine had been covered in blood she'd been jailed because of its forensic value. Forensics. DNA. Dan had just mentioned DNA to Cliff Davies. How spooked had he actually got?
"Ken did she give a description of him?"
"Such that it was. Five nine-ish, dark clothing and the bugger wore a ski mask. She thought his eyes were dark but the carpark's lights are those pissing sodium jobs. Not much use really." Ken conceded.
"OK Ken keep her there and keep her away from other people. I want a sample of the blood she's has on her." Dan instructed.
"You do? For a failed bag snatch?" Ken asked warily.
"I'll handle it, Ken. Don't worry. See you soon." Dan hung up, switched off the stove and ran out of the house. He was going to have to push Hugh's loyalty here. There was no way he'd get an endorsement to test that blood under these circumstances. The Super most definitely wouldn't support a gut feeling.
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©Alex Harvey 2013