Authors: Carole Pitt
'How did they take the news?'
Yeats seemed reluctant to answer her question. 'Extremely surprised and
talking about sending two of their officers over here.'
handed Elizabeth a folder. 'This is an interim report on
common failures at Park Road. Study it carefully. I want
a plan for implementing improvements by Monday. We'll look
at the more serious statistics next week. My overall impression
is that your team doesn't seem to understand the
meaning of the word target. Maybe it's time you
Elizabeth knew it was pointless defending her position. '
I'll start on it tonight. I had plans for
He couldn't object and he knew it. If
he'd hauled most of the squad in, she wouldn'
t be needed.
'As long as I see changes by
the end of the month.'
Elizabeth took a sideways glance
Patterson. She wondered why he hadn't said anything else.
She looked down at her feet encased in black suede
court shoes. They weren't exactly stiletto heels and certainly
not as lethal but would do the job. She inched
closer to him, slid her foot towards his, and stood
firmly on his toe.
Patterson didn't even flinch, but
he got the message. He leaned against the wall and
wiped his hand over his eyes. 'I knew a few
staff members at Grasmere. I didn't go there but
loads of my mates did. Wilson was a nice bloke
and it was a shock when I heard what happened.
I hope you've got the right person.'
not obliged to keep you up to date Sergeant if
that's what you're after. Hasn't it sunk
in that you're not on the case?'
had enough. 'Why did you ask Tony to come in
just to humiliate him. You've given us our orders,
so if that's all, I'm off back home.'
She made for the door and Patterson followed. Yeats had
remodelled Daly's office well but had overlooked the broken
door hinge. She remembered slamming it on numerous occasions after
they'd rowed. Looking back it was a miracle it
hadn't fallen off long before now. Patterson went out
first and Elizabeth grabbed the handle tight. This time, with
a bit of luck, it would.
'Wait,' Yeats shouted. Someone
overheard Morven arguing with Wilson at around two thirty that
afternoon. And the murder weapon wasn't a knife, it
was a carving tool used by Nisga'a people. Wood
carving tools are easy to buy here but I checked
it out and this particular one isn't available in
the UK. I tracked it down to a Native American
gallery in Vancouver. So add this up. Morven resides in
British Columbia. He flew from a place called Terrace to
Vancouver where he stayed for two days before boarding a
flight to Heathrow. You're detectives, work it out.'
had no answer as Yeats seemed to have tied what
little he had quite neatly together. Did he have absolute
proof the Canadian was the last person to see Wilson
alive? If Yeats arrested a high profile foreign national without
concrete evidence, he'd face diplomatic repercussions. However, she wasn'
t about to leave without having the last word. Elizabeth
moved back into the office. 'What about the all-important
question, a motive?'
Yeats fell silent for a moment too
long which Elizabeth interpreted in the only sensible way. As
yet he hadn't come up with one. She watched
him search for a suitable answer.
'We all know what
can happen when an argument spirals out of control,' he
Yes, Elizabeth thought, and often leads to murder, only
not necessarily in this case Detective Chief Inspector Yeats. But
you're the one who has to prove it, I
She didn't slam the door after all.
Not now she'd partially regained the upper hand.
May 13th 8.30 am
Elizabeth cursed as she pulled
into the car park behind Gloucester and Cheltenham County Court.
According to a large advert, a food festival was taking
place at Gloucester docks which accounted for the lack of
spaces. With only a few minutes before her meeting with
one of the district crown prosecutors she reversed back to
the rear court entrance and waited. Leaving the engine running
she quickly checked the paperwork. In her mind there was
sufficient evidence to take the case to court. However the
Crown Prosecution Service followed a strict code issued by the
Director of Public Prosecutions, setting out the general principles they
must follow when deciding which cases ended up in a
courtroom. Elizabeth hoped she'd met the two main considerations,
a public interest to prosecute and sufficient evidence likely to
lead to a conviction.
She looked up and stared at
the busy docks. Right now she'd prefer to join
the crowds wandering past the food stalls or stopping to
buy kitchen equipment. What she most wanted to do was
relax, but that state of mind and body seemed as
elusive as ever. She went back to the file. On
paper the case against the brothers looked good. Even so,
experience had taught her not to be overly optimistic. Plenty
of grey areas existed within the law and a good
defence lawyer knew exactly how to breach them. Her appointment
today was with a new district prosecutor, a woman called
Francisca Montero. Elizabeth checked her first name. Francesca was obviously
the English version; the surname Montero gave her origins away.
She was probably Spanish.
A knock on the driver's
window startled her. The car park attendant wanted her to
move. She opened the window and flashed her ID. 'I'
ve got an important meeting in the court.'
hurry there's a space. One of the judges is
just pulling out.'
Elizabeth thanked him and quickly moved the
car forward. Then she waited patiently until the elderly driver
manoeuvered his Bentley out of the bay. She hurried up
the steps and pushed open the double glass doors into
a busy reception area. Reorganisation inside the courts had taken
place since her last visit and she wasn't quite
sure where to go. She spotted a security guard and
he directed her to the third floor. Instead of waiting
for the lift she ran upstairs and surprisingly wasn't
out of breath by the time she reached Ms Montero'
Francisca Montero stood up as she entered the
room. 'I see you managed to get a parking place,'
she laughed, pointing out of her window. Judge Hollins is
a terrible driver. I've only been here a few
months and already I've heard him bump into other
vehicles. One of these days I'm going to have
to report him to the police.'
'Only if he kills
someone,' Elizabeth replied. 'I'm sorry I'm late.'
I'm sorry I can't offer you coffee. My
machine gave up yesterday'.
Elizabeth remembered another coffee machine, but
put it out of her head. 'I'll get one
on the way out.'
‘I've heard about you Inspector
'Nothing bad I hope.'
Francisca Montero focused her beautiful
brown eyes on Elizabeth. 'Quite the contrary, you're a
Cheltenham legend. Now, I don't want to rush you
but I do have another appointment, so can we get
Elizabeth handed over the file. She went through the
procedure in her head hoping not to have missed any
crucial points. Before determining a case should go to court
the CPS ask the police to consider the evidential stage
and the public interest stage. Both must pass a specific
code first, otherwise the prosecutor will not submit the case
to court. The vital test was not to waste taxpayers'
Elizabeth felt sure she'd prepared the report carefully.
The Faraday brothers both had previous convictions none of which
would be admissible in any future trial. To save the
prosecutor's time the first page of her report outlined
a précis of the case for an initial opinion. As
Ms Montero turned the page Elizabeth noticed a square cut
diamond on her engagement finger. Probably just as well, she
thought. Men outnumbered women in this branch of the CPS
and the elegant Ms Montero wouldn't go unnoticed. Elizabeth
guessed they were about the same age, although the woman
in front of her was far better groomed. She wore
a simple grey nineteen forties style suit and her glossy
black hair hung straight to her shoulders.
While Montero concentrated
it gave Elizabeth time to rehearse what she wanted to
say. Having a woman prosecutor might sway the decision. Much
of BDSM philosophy focused on female domination and although this
particular case didn't involve women, it still highlighted those
practices dangerous to the female anatomy.
Francisca Montero stopped reading. '
You have a very good case Inspector. However, whether we
can bring a charge of manslaughter is debatable. I see
you mentioned defrauding the Inland Revenue. I advise you to
concentrate on this side of the Faraday's business. As
soon as you have conclusive proof, bring it to me.
We can't always prevent unscrupulous dealers distributing dangerous products
but we can prosecute them for tax evasion.'
prepared herself for disappointment so was heartened by Montero's
objective viewpoint. Now she could focus on putting the Faraday
brothers away, rather than obsess about Yeats and the Wilson
murder investigation. She liked the Spanish woman's positive attitude
and hoped they'd continue to get along.
do that, and thank you. We see the worst side
of human nature in our jobs.'
'We also see justice
served, which is why I do this one,' the prosecutor
replied and slipped the file into a briefcase.
reception, Elizabeth searched for the vending machine. Why keep moving
them, she thought, I'm desperate for a cup of
coffee. Eventually she spotted it tucked away in an alcove.
She had just enough change to buy a chocolate bar
as well. Although the reception area was less busy she
only spotted one vacant seat right at the back of
the room. Fortunately it was at the end of the
row. She placed her cup of coffee on the floor
and took out her mobile to check for any messages.
A sense of relief came over her, and she decided
to stay there for a while and watch the world
go by. Courts were fascinating places. The legal system affected
everyone one way or another during their lifetime and often
people felt nervous on their first visit. From bankruptcy to
murder, Elizabeth pondered, and everything in between.
names were called she tried to guess why they were
there. Two disgruntled youths didn't pose any problems. A
middle-aged woman wiping her eyes and blowing her nose
seemed slightly more difficult. Either here to apply for divorce
papers or appear in court on a shoplifting charge. Her
eyes moved to a tall elderly distinguished man who she
thought she recognised. While she wracked her brain trying to
remember his name she stared in disbelief at another man
standing behind him.
'Oh my God,' she whispered.' What's
he doing here?
Of course, her brain had frozen and
she'd forgotten Calbrain freelanced for an insurance company. He
was probably in court as a witness. Elizabeth picked up
her coffee and made her way to the alcove where
she knew he wouldn't see her. I'd rather
not have to face you right now Mr Calbrain, it'
s not convenient. She was almost there, when over the
babble of conversations she heard her name called. It was
no good, the alcove was a dead end. In order
to exit the building she had to cross reception.
are you?' Calbrain asked.
'Been to a meeting with the
CPS. What are you doing here?'
Calbrain's face changed.
Suddenly he appeared uncomfortable and Elizabeth was puzzled. 'I'm
At that moment Francisca Montero approached and slid
her arm through Calbrain's. 'Inspector Jewell, I thought you
would have left by now. Anyway it's nice to
see you again so soon.' She turned to Calbrain. 'You
know each other?'
Elizabeth couldn't speak and her legs
had turned to jelly. Their body language said everything. This
was a situation where she had to pull herself together.
Yes we do,' Calbrain said. 'Inspector Jewell and I met
during the Lily Jerome investigation.'
'I remember the case. I
was still in London back then.'
Elizabeth finally found her
voice. 'Are you in court Nick?'
Before he could speak,
Francisca interrupted. 'We're going out to celebrate.'
help you with a case too?' Elizabeth couldn't help
'No, he suggested a different partnership.' She held up
her left hand where the diamond sparkled under the lights. '
He asked me to marry him.'