It was Saturday morning. The force control room was the last place Jenny Clay wanted to be. It was bad enough on weekdays but at weekends and the threat of redundancy hanging over police staff her mood was particularly low. A new incident appeared on her screen. A request to see Rob Harrison and collect some CCTV that may be relevant to the graveyard case. She read further into the detail on the log and concluded that CID had better handle this. She pushed her chair back and wandered over to the control room Inspector. Pete Chisholm had been the force incident manager for some time. She relayed the circumstances of the incident to him. “Thank you for bringing this to me Jenny. Call CID and get them to collect the footage. They will no doubt want this on CD in a variety of formats immediately. I’ll turn out PC Hell from home to come in and sort it.”
John Bish was on attachment to the CID as a result of the Renners case and was despactched to collect the CCTV footage. He was instructed by DS Bruce to collect it and convey straight to HQ where a CCTV specialist had been called in to process it.
DS Bruce sat at his desk drumming his fingers. The CCTV evidence was a massive lead and he was impatient to see it. It was early and the CCTV specialist had been called in but it would be at least lunchtime before it could be viewed. A knock at his door caused him to look up. A young officer stood in the doorway. “Are you DS Bruce?” he asked. “Yes. What can I do for you?” he replied. The officer stepped into the room. “I’m PC Richard Stanley and I have some ANPR data for you.” PC Stanley went on to explain the data contained within the print-out. DS Bruce quickly lost his patience. “Richard. It was Richard wasn’t it? Cut to the chase. Is the vehicle I’m after caught on the cameras?” PC Stanley had been enjoying the dramatic build up and was disappointed to be pulled up short. “Yes Sarge.” He dropped four 10×8 glossy prints onto the desk. DS Bruce snatched them up and poured over them. The shots caught only the front of the vehicle and the VRM plate dominated most of the image. There would be no ID of the driver from these shots. He glanced up at PC Stanley. “Tell me more” he said as he indicated for him to sit down. “It was taken on the by-pass Sarge. No speed or excise offences but it has no insurance. We’ve run checks on PNC and it’s a red Astra van with no current recorded keeper. It doesn’t feature on our local intelligence systems so we know very little about it.” DS Bruce stared at the images willing them to tell him something. The only thing staring back at him was the complete registration. “Richard. Do me a favour. Get this vehicle circulated on PNC straight away.” At that he stood up and headed for the briefing by Supt Payne.
Jane Hamilton stood in the churchyard. The grave had been filled in. It had a very simple headstone and the grass around the base had grown dense and was covering the bottom 6 inches of it. Considering the wealth the Scholes family the grave was very understated. She placed her camera bag on the floor and crouched down by the headstone. She read the basic text over and over but nothing leapt out at her. She stood up and looked at the back of the headstone. The grass on this side was little longer and she pressed it down with her foot. Years of grass growth and cutting had encrusted the bottom of the headstone in a layer of dried grass. As she looked there appeared to be some sort of symbol embossed on the back. The dried grass was obscuring it so she crouched down and picked away at it with her finger. It came away easily. The stone was actually tilted forward through age and it looked like the symbol would have been below the ground when first fixed. Pulling a lens cloth from her bag she worked away the rest of the grass to reveal a small rectangle outline with the image of a key embossed within it. She had no idea what this was. “Probably the Craftsmans mark” she thought to herself.
She stood up and looked around the churchyard. The Scholes family had been associated with the Calder Estate for generations. There must be a family grave somewhere. The sun caught her eyes as she wandered around the back of the church. She held her hand up above her head to shield her eyes and tucked in the far corner of the graveyard there appeared to be a small mausoleum. She walked toward it. The boundary of the churchyard was surrounded by conifers and low branches festooned with pine cones swooped over the top of the mausoleum. It was somewhat quieter in this corner and even the birds seemed to have stopped singing. Notwithstanding the bright sunshine the whole area felt cold and sad. The burial chamber was quite large and surrounded by a decorative railings. Alongside the chamber there were also some individual headstones. She was in the right place. The Scholes name was on most of them and many she recognised from her research of the family. One in particular caught her eye. She read the inscription and the name “Edward Charles Scholes” but it was something else that caused her heart to skip a little beat and set her journalistic mind into overdrive. On the front of the headstone toward the bottom but clearly visible was a small icon of a key surrounded by a rectangle.
Doug Beattie dropped the package onto the floor. He had carried it deep into the forest. He had thought long and hard about how to dispose of the body. His intial thought had been to weigh it down and and throw it in the lake but he couldn’t take the risk of it surfacing for whatever reason. He abandoned the idea and settled for a basic burial in the ground. The forest belonged to one of the subsiduary companies owned by his boss. There was no public access and it was as secure as anywhere could be from intruders. The silence of the forest was only broken by the sound of the wind gently soughing in the tops of the trees. This was as a good a place as any. The hole would need to be deep and would take some time. Taking off his coat he placed his foot to the spade and began to dig.
To be continued………..
This post is fiction but the characters are people I follow on Twitter and by referencing to them I recommend (#FF) them to you. The story is just a different way of #FF’ing that gives me some pleasure. The personalities of my Twitter characters portrayed in this tale are hypothetical and in no way reflect their true professionalism and personal qualities.. it’s meant to be fun.