The final slap of the spade compacted the earth to Doug’s satisfaction. The hole was deep and had taken several hours to dig. The remains of Amylou Renners were over 200 yrs old but he could take no risks that the nose of a passing fox or other animal could detect them and decide to dig them up. At 6 feet down and wrapped in the off cut of tarpaulin he was happy they would remain undetected. Prior to coming to this location he had dug up a complete fern and collected a large sack of leaf mould, pine needles and twigs from the forest floor. He dug a small hole into the top of the compacted earth and set the fern into it and then scattered the leaves, twigs and needles onto the floor. It was always gloomy under the trees but the sun was setting and the darkness was intensifying. He’d finished just in time. It would be pitch black here much earlier than in the open. He stood back and inspected his work and felt a snap under his left boot. He glanced down to see he had stood on the branch of a fern and snapped it. The site of the burial looked natural and untouched and although annoyed by his clumsy foot placement he did not think it sufficient to interfere with. It could easily have been a passing animal. He reached down for his spade, stuffed the sack in his small rucksack and began the walk back to the Saw Mill.
The VW Phaeton turned off the lane and through an impressive entrance onto a smooth private driveway. The vineyard was in wonderful condition with avenues of vines, heavy with fruit extending out from either side of the driveway. A substantial broad leaf wood on the right hand side came into view and the lane swung around the tip to reveal a huge baronial style Chateau. The car came to a stop outside the main entrance and Clive Chamberlain stepped out of the back of the car and drank in the exquisite surroundings. The vineyard was a business, a very successful business but it was also a work of art. A polite cough brought his attention back to the present. “I’m sorry Matthew” he said. “I never tire of how beautiful this place is.” Matthew had been the butler of the house for nearly 30 years and was a friend. He smiled in agreement at Clive’s affection for the estate before turning and leading him into the house.
Supt Payne put the phone back in its cradle and blew out heavily. It seemed that suddenly the Renner’s case was making some progress. He pushed his chair away from the desk and putting his hands behind his head stretched out and took several deep breaths and focused thoughts. Inspector Winter from the Met and a small team would be coming up tomorrow. The Inspector had played his cards very close to his chest but it was clear there were some big fish swimming closely to this case. “Priority number one” he said to himself. “Find that Astra van.”
“Clive. It’s lovely to see you. Thank you for coming so quickly. What news do we have?” Clive sat on the sofa adjacent to his employer for the last 30 years. “Things are progressing as we expected but maybe a little slower than we had hoped. As you know we have secured the services of Allie to look after any tax an inheritance complications but as yet there are no papers to send to her.” His employer nodded gently. “Be patient Clive. This matter has taken many years to develop. A few minor delays will not upset me.” Clive knew this would be the response but it was always reassuring to hear it confirmed. “How is the archive search progressing?” asked his employer. “I’ve assigned this research to my most trusted researcher” Clive replied. “His name is Paul McKeever. He is currently scouring the records to locate the information we desire.”
Dave Thomas was on the late shift and was working alone. He’d been a road policing officer for a number of years and was always on the lookout for suspect vehicles or those that needed his professional attention. Many younger officers would return to the station to do most of their writing but Dave was old school tradition. He was sitting in his car parked up on a grassy verge just off the roundabout the that connected the by-pass with two A roads and small B road. Whilst sat here writing he could keep an eye on the traffic passing through the roundabout. The light was fading now and Dave’s attention was starting to turn toward the ubiquitous drink driver. Most traffic was filtering down the A roads and the by-pass which is why a sole vehicle coming out of the B road caught his attention. It entered the roundabout and then took the first exit onto the A road away from the village and passed out of sight. He thought nothing more of it and then within a fraction of a second what he had just seen slotted into place. He fired up the 3.5l BMW and set off after the vehicle.
As he joined the main road he could see the vehicle was about 5 cars ahead of him. He continued to follow and then the road straightened out. With a clear road ahead he pulled to the offside and floored the accelerator. The twin turbo diesel engine leapt into life and surged forward with ease. Passing all the cars he gently slid in behind a red Astra van that was covered in mud. He called in on the radio and confirmed the registration as that suspected of involvement with the Renner’s case. His nearest backup was 20 miles away but on the way. Suddenly the van braked and turned left onto a single track lane. Dave followed but he knew there was nothing down this lane at all and the driver would now know he was being followed. He relayed the details of the vehicle’s progress over the radio but his backup was making slow progress.
Doug cursed himself. The sight of the police BMW racing up behind him had unnerved him. A knee jerk reaction had made him turn off the main road which he now regretted. The BMW was still behind him but making no attempt to stop him. He knew the lane would eventually enter the forest. It was a good six miles as the crow flies from the Saw Mill but it was all land owned by his boss. He considered his options. He had a shotgun in the back. He was licensed and legal but he ruled out use of it immediately. All options meant potentially blowing his cover which he could not afford to do.
A message came over the radio on the car. “WT12. From Supt Payne. DO NOT attempt to stop this vehicle until you have backup. An ARV is also en route.” Dave acknowledged the message and continued to follow the vehicle at a safe distance but it seemed to be slowing. His fears were confirmed when the van came to a stop. His only escape was a long, fast reverse manoeuvre. He stopped about 30m behind the van and relayed the situation to the control room. “Seems you’ve made the decision for me” he thought to himself. “Fight of flight time Dave”. The heavy-set driver had got out of the van and was walking toward him. Dave got out of the car and unconsciously checked his CAPTOR spray was released on his belt and his cuffs were ready. The male continued to approach him, “Officer. Were you wanting me?” he said. Dave’s heart was racing. No amount of training could prepare you for this. “Stand still. Turn around and put your hands in the air” he shouted. The male ignored him and continued to approach. “I’m just doing some maintenance work. What’s the problem?” Dave repeated his instruction in a stronger voice. Doug stopped and did as instructed. Dave stepped out of the protection his car door offered. “Put your hands on your head and kneel down.” The male complied with his request and Dave took hold of his cuffs and made a slow cautious approach. He hit the emergency button on his radio that would create a hot mic on his radio so that the control room could hear what was said without him pressing the PTT button. “Stay exactly where you are and do not move. If you do I have CAPTOR spray and I will use it.”
Doug’s mind was in overdrive but like a regal Swan he was calm and placid on the surface. “You’ll get no trouble from me officer.” he said. “I don’t understand why you are being like this but..” He broke off his sentence as a cuff snapped onto his right wrist. In two short moves he was restrained in cuffs with his hands back to back behind him. Dave breathed a sigh of relief and as he relaxed the noises of his surroundings returned along with the wail of an approaching police siren.
Sixtyfootdoll had taken over from Rural Sgt at 3pm and so far it had been quiet. Not a word she would utter out loud but she had managed to sort out a statement and was now pouring over her magazine with a brew made by her gaoler today PC Wibble. Wibble’s wife had just had their first baby and he had voluntarily accepted some custody duties for a while so that he knew he would finish on time. The buzzer at the main van dock entrance sounded and Wibble allowed access for Dave and the late shift response supervisor Sgt John De-Hayes. Sgt Doll came to the desk. Theft of a body was not a job she thought she would be booking in tonight.
Doug was compliant throughout the booking in procedure. He knew at this stage there was no point in being difficult. The Sgt recorded all his property and worked through his rights. Doug had a protocol to follow to contact his boss if arrested but he was being denied a phone call. The Sgt said he was being held incommunicado and no calls would be allowed. He asked for the duty solicitor and was then taken to his cell by PC Wibble. He was offered coffee which he accepted but regretted instantly. It tasted dire.
Mark took a call from the Duty Solicitor Call Centre and accepted a theft case for a Mr Doug Beattie. It sounded complicated but he was convinced the arrest was linked to the Renner’s case that had been in the papers. He has just settled at home and poured himself a large glass of Shiraz. He’d not touched it yet but decided he would. “What’s the point in being a partner if you can’t delegate to junior solicitors” he said to himself. He picked up his phone and hit speed dial 5 to call Kate Harney, his newest, hot-shot solicitor with a fire in her belly. She was quite a catch from under the nose of his local rival firm and he was pleased to have her onboard. She answered quickly. “Hi Mark. What’s up?”. Mark went on to explain the case and handed it over to her. “Keep me informed if things get complicated over night” and with that he hung up.
Kate looked across her apartment. Her partner has arrived 30 mins ago and was cooking dinner. He had brought wine and a film. The dinner and the film may still happen but the wine was now out of the question. She wandered over to him to break the good news.
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.