Chapter 6

"Oh bloody great!" Katherine shouted when Dan walked into the interview room with Ken. "Which part of 'don't tell him' was confusing you?" She glared at Ken who just shrugged his shoulders. Dan looked at the sizeable bloodstain on the inside sleeve of her denim jacket. "Yes I'm a mess." Katherine snapped.

"Katherine can we keep that jacket?" Dan asked.

"Do you need to?" Katherine asked in surprise.

"It has your attacker's blood on it." Dan pointed out.

"Well yes. Forensics for a failed mugging?" Katherine shrugged out of her jacket. "OK. You're the copper." She handed the jacket to Dan who dropped it into a plastic bag. Katherine's breath caught in her throat and she just stared at the bag and swallowed hard. Dan noticed.

"Any tea in this place Ken?"

"I could do with one too." Ken wandered off.

"Katherine? Are you OK?" Dan asked carefully.

"I remember what happened last time my clothes were put in bags." She looked at Dan.

"I thought that's what was up. I'm sorry. That wasn't very tactful of me." Dan apologised.

"You're going to do me for assault or something, aren't you?" Katherine looked miserable and exhausted.

"Christ no." Dan shook his head. "The whole thing was witnessed by two members of staff. Can you remember anything about him?"

"Not alot, I'm afraid. He had one of those ski masks on. He was wearing a hoodie but that was dark coloured and plain. I think he had jeans on. It's not very well lit in the carpark. I said he was around Watson's height and he told me he was five feet nine. I'm only five feet so everyone looks tall to me." Katherine said wearily. Ken came back with the tea and Dan excused himself. He took the bagged jacket to Hugh's office and put it in his personal fridge, next to his diet coke. He also left a note for Hugh, emphasising that none of this was endorsed from above and if he wasn't comfortable, to return the jacket to Dan. He asked Hugh to check the blood on the jacket with the partial sample. The door was ajar when he returned to the interview room and Dan stopped and frowned when he heard his name mentioned.

"Oh I didn't mean as a copper!" Tessa tutted. "I meant as a man! What do you think of Dan as a bloke?" Dan blinked in surprise. What was all this about?

"I hadn't noticed." Katherine replied.

"Rubbish. You're smirking." Tessa preached. "I think he likes you, you know. Ken said he was fussing like an old hen on the phone and he did come here at ten at night."

"Dedicated officer." Katherine said.

"And single, and fit." Tessa added and Dan almost collapsed. Time for an entrance before his face got too red to ever recover.

"Right! That's that sorted." He said brightly. "Tessa you look like a denture advert. Go do some filing or something." Tessa snorted a laugh and left the interview room. "Come on, I'll drive you home. Do you want me to send for your car, or will it be OK in the carpark for the night?"

"It'll be fine where it is. Thanks." Katherine stood up and went for the jacket she didn't have.

"It's a bit nippy out there. Here." Dan gave her his own leather blazer and it came down to her knees and flopped over her hands. Tessa crinkled her nose and smiled soppily as they walked by. Dan pretended he hadn't seen her.

"Well this is a crappy end to a crappy day." Katherine sighed heavily as Dan pulled up outside of her house. "I'm probably not allowed to ask you in, am I?"

"Probably not, no, which is a shame." Dan shrugged.

"You'd have accepted?" Katherine smiled in amusement.

"Under different circumstances, yes. I do enough to piss off the Super without adding to it." Dan smiled. Katherine took off Dan's jacket and reached over to put it on the back seat, thus bringing herself flinchingle close to Dan's face. "I'll let you know if I get anything from this latest stuff." He coughed and moved sideways.

"You'll be sick of the sight of me." Katherine opened the car door.

"Oh I don't think so. Go get some sleep." Dan waited until she'd let herself in through the front door, then drove home.

Dan saw Superintendant Stone through the station window, which wasn't a good sign, so he drove round the block a few times to avoid bumping into him.

"Dan!" Tessa hijacked him as he tried to dart up the stairs. "I've been talking to Stone."

"I'll call him later." Dan said quickly.

"No listen. He was asking me how many times you'd visited Katherine Harrington. He already knew about the incident last night from the book. I think he meant visits in your own time." Tessa explained.

"Oh? What did you tell him?" Dan asked in confusion.

"I told him I didn't know. CID records are nothing to do with us and I'm not your mother. I just thought you should know he was asking." Tessa nodded.

"Well whatever he wants to know, I'm sure I'll find out eventually. Thanks Tessa." Dan went to his office and found a note on his desk. He turned round and walked stright back out again.

"Was this just a shot in the dark?" Hugh asked, pointing to a computer printout that meant very little to Dan.

"I didn't expect it done this quickly. I owe you one Hugh." Dan looked t the printout anyway, then shrugged his shoulders.

"Amanda has morning sickness at night. She fell asleep at five and I was wide awake." Hugh grumbled. "Anyway, I do have something for you but I'm not sure how much real use it will be. There's no way I can say your sample matches my sample so there's no way I can say if they're from the same person."

"But?" Dan asked eagerly.

"Around fifty per cent match and that's being generous." Hugh said and Dan didn't know if to be astonished or delighted. "That still leaves the other fiity per cent, Dan. I very much doubt it's conclusive enough for the CPS."

"Conclusive enough for now." Dan stated.

"So who's is it? Cliff Davies'?"

"I'd say so, yes. Obviously my sample can't have come from Greg Peters and he was the only other one in the frame for your sample from Andy's earlobe."

"Dan be careful." Hugh said. "Fifty percent is bugger all in reality." Dan thanked him and left the labs.

Dan's impulse was to go and lift Cliff Davies and question him for a few hours in the interview room with the dodgy radiator that didn't switch off. Common sense kicked in, however. If Davies wriggled free then Dan would have a hard time hauling him in again. He decided to go at the case files and rubbish every single word in them.

Katherine had been to work that day, but Andy had the day off due to the last minute shift swap. According to the statements, she left Andy sleeping at eight in the morning. It had been confirmed by co-workers that Katherine did attend work that day. Katherine said that on her way home from work, she stopped at a garage convenienve store for milk, and this had also been confirmed. She arrived home at six and found Andy's body. Her automatic reaction had been to run to him and hold him. Dan wondered, for the millionth time, how they'd got a conviction out of this. Even Katherine's fingerprints on the murder weapon were nothing abnormal. It was a meat tenderiser and it was her own kitchen. The emergency call had been made at six minutes past six. She'd have to have been driving at a hell of a speed to get home sooner from the garage but it was possible. Kennedy had tested it himself and stated that Katherine arrived home at around quarter to six. He'd gone on to say that it was easily possible to batter someone's skull to bits in fifteen minutes. Katherine had actually mentioned a witness who saw her getting home at six, but that had been passed off as a desperation plea on her part seeing as no one had ever been traced. Dan stopped to digest this. At that time of year it would just be starting to get dark and the house was a semi on quite a busy street. It would have been light enough to see any activity yet there were no statements from neighbours at all, even to say they'd seen nothing. He really needed to see Katherine about this but Dan knew she'd react badly to his intrusion. The phone rang loudly and Dan jumped a foot in the air.

"Dan it's Hugh. Stone's on the warpath."

"Oh shit. Are you in trouble? I'll ..."

"No I'm fine. I can bullshit with honours. He sounded like he was going to tell you to drop it, Dan. Just go and hide for shit's sake."

"Thanks for the heads up. I owe you again." Dan hung up, shoved the files back in the box, and ran for the fire escape by the DI's office.

Katherine was just leaving the house when Dan jumped out of the car.

"Katherine! Katherine I have to talk ..."

"Not now Dan, it'll have to wait." Katherine was hurrying down the path.

"It can't wait. On the night Andy died, did anyone see you arrive home?" Dan asked quickly. Katherine stopped dead and looked at him. "I'm sorry. I know I said I wasn't going to bother you."

"So why are you? I have to go." She tried to sidestep him.

"Did anyone see you? Neighbour? Passerby? Anyone at all? Katherine!" Dan said desperately.

"Yes!" Katherine yelled. "A bloke asked me for a light. I smoked back then. They never did find him. Surprise, surprise. Get out of my way."

"Can you describe him? Which way was he going? Was it a neighbour?" Dan kept on.

"No! Just ... piss off Dan. Just leave it the hell alone for christ sake." She pushed Dan out of the way.

"They're going to order me to drop it, Katherine." Dan said and Katherine turned round. "Stone, when he catches up with me. Whoever killed Andy will still be out there and you'll still have a murder conviction."

"Dan I'm sorry." Katherine said desperately. "I can't help you Dan, I'm sorry. I have to look out for what I have now." She set off quickly down the street towards the bus stop.

Dan sat in the office and waited for the explosion.

"What's this shit?" Stone flung the lab report at him from the door. "Who the hell are you to order lab work for a failed bag snatch?"

"That's not why I asked for it, sir. It partially matches the sample found on Andy. Unless this mysterious lover flew over and mugged Katherine last night, it isn't from her." Dan said weakly.

"Partial!" Stone bellowed. "Fifty per cent! It means absolutely dick all! Now you listen to me." He snarled in Dan's face. "I rubbished what you had and you've got nothing since. You tried to connect a mugging with a ten year old murder! Are you insane? Not only that, you had absolutely no basis at all for doing so!" Stone was now purple.

"Sir there was a witness who saw Katherine arriving home that night." Dan was really pushing his luck here.

"Harrington is the only one who mentioned that and no one was found. She made it up, you fool!" Stone roared.

"Sir just a few more days ..."

"God you're a persistant little bastard. You will drop it and you will drop it right now! Think yourself lucky ..." Stone spun round when there was a tap on the door. It was Ken Watson.

"Sorry to interrupt sir. Miss Harrington is downstairs and she says it's urgent." There was an age long silence and Dan willed the Super not to dismiss this.

"I'll sit in, if you don't mind, Foxton. Actually I couldn't give a rat's arse if you mind or not. I'm staying. I'll decide what's urgent and what's not." Stone marched out of the office and Dan deflated in relief and followed him.

It was obvious that Katherine was extremely upset and her eyes were red from crying. She stood up when Dan and the Super walked into the room, then took a tiny step backwards when she recognised Stone.

"Katherine this is Superintendant Stone. He'd like to hear what you have to say too." Dan said quickly, before the Super could open his mouth.

"I'd rather he wasn't here." Katherine's voice trembled.

"I'm sure you would." Stone sat down. "I've given DS Bently the benefit of the doubt here. Make it worth his while."

"Mary Storey died thirty minutes ago at the hospice." Katherine's lip quivered.

"I'm sorry Katherine." Dan sat on the edge of the desk. "Storey?"

"Andy's mother." Katherine said and Dan and Stone just looked at each other in shock. "She knew I didn't kill Andy. She knew we couldn't afford the house and that we were selling up. She was the only one who ever stuck by me and she was never questioned, and never listened to. She suffered a breakdown and she was diagnosed with cancer a month after I got convicted. The stress nearly killed her and I couldn't do a single thing to help her. She had to fight that on her own and she did. She went into remission after two years but it came back. She was told three years ago that it was inoperable yet she was still there for me a year later when I got out. I had no one except her and she was dying. All I had was what she gave me. She was everything to me after Andy died and now she's gone too." Katherine's tears streamed down her face. "Nothing can harm her now. Digging up Andy's death would have killed her sooner, and torturously. That doesn't apply now. The man who saw me in the street that evening was quite average looking except for his tattoo."

"You got a good look at this tattoo?" Dan's heart was thumping in his chest.

"I lit his cigarette for him and it was on his wrist. I comented on how much it must have hurt. It was a spider's web with a heart in the middle of it." Katherine hung her head. Dan wrote on a scrap of paper 'Prison tattoo. Davies has one' and slid it over the desk for the Super to see.

"Katherine that's fantastic. I know it's been a long time but can you remember anything about his appearance? Long hair, short hair, fat, thin?"

"He looked like a skinny version of that American wrestler. Him with the nose. Mary used to love the wrestling, she'd have known." Katherine tried a watery smile.

"I'm none the wiser but I'm sure someone will know. Could you pick him out of a line up?"

"I'm not sure. It was ten years ago. You know who it is? After ten years?" Katherine asked in shock.

"That's what the line up is for. With the Super's permission, I can sort the shots out on the computer." Dan looked at Stone's expressionless face.

"A word please Barker." Stone stood up and left the room, Dan following. "OK set this out very clearly for me. Anything that even whiffs of guesswork and that's your lot."

"Davies was the lookout in the setup with Peters. This will not only corroborate Katherine's arrival time, it'll also put Davies right outside the house at the time of Andy's death. If he was the lookout then Peters was still inside, or had just left. I know the partial sample isn't much sir, but it is when it's put in with the rest of it, especially if Davies also has a fresh facial wound from the mugging." Dan explained.

"We have to have him inside the house for that sample, not outside of it." Stone reminded him.

"And I'm pretty sure he was. Aren't you? Also, Davies doesn't know how much Peters told me." Dan said and watched the Super think about this.

"Once we lift him, we can't hold him forever. See what he has to say for himself." Stone nodded then strode off up the corridor.

"Right you bastard." Dan growled. "Tessa!" He spied her at the end of the corridor. "Tessa can I borrow you for a minute? Katherine's in there and I need someone to stay with her. Cheers!" He ran up the stairs to compile his line up.

Katherine looked at the digital line up and Dan could have cried in relief when she picked out Davies, first time, and with no hesitation at all.

"Are you sure?" Dan was obliged to ask.

"Yes I'm sure. Obviously he's older on there but it's him. I remembered the wrestler too. Hunter something or other." Katherine rubbed her temples. "Headache."

"I'm not surprised after the day you've had. Is there no one who can come and stay with you? Did Andy have any other family?" Dan asked.

"No. Just Mary. I'll be fine once I've confronted the house. Can I go?" Katherine looked exhausted.

"Look you can always phone me any time you like. I all but live here and here's my private number." Dan wrote it on a card. "I'll ask Tessa to take you home. I can't leave here just now."

"I'm OK to drive. I managed to drive here. Thanks Dan." Katherine went to the door. "When this is all over, can you explain it all to me fully? I really would like to know and now it can't upset Mary."

"You deserve to know." Dan said. Katherine nodded and left the station. Dan watched her through the window as she drove away.

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©Alex Harvey 2013