(aka Bike, est. 2007)
Copyright© 2014 Angharad
All Rights Reserved.
Cover design by Rhona McCloud.
“You’ve arrested Neal for the murder of Glo?” I gasped.
“We’ve arrested him concerning the death of his wife.”
“But—he’s hardly in a position to give statements or answer questions. I mean he had a breakdown after it all happened.”
“Our new superintendent of CID feels differently.”
“Well he must be one stop closer to Dagenham than Neal.”
A wisp of a smile crossed his lips before he said, “I haven’t heard that one for a while.”
“I don’t claim to be original.”
“Oh I don’t know, from what I’ve heard you must be very original to carry all the warnings I’ve encountered about meeting you.”
“My reputation travels before me?”
“Indeed it does, especially for finding bent coppers.”
“I don’t go looking, they just cross my path at intervals.”
“So I heard.” He handed me a signed piece of paper. “This is a copy of your statement.” I took it and read it. “Have you anything to add?”
“I don’t think so, she called me asked me to hang on to Lizzie for her and that was it. I didn’t see her or speak to her again. I don’t know anything else except Neal tried to kill himself soon afterwards but we found him in time. He’s not been right since.”
“But you’re funding his bed at a private clinic.”
“He’s a colleague of mine, I fostered his younger sister after their mother died. So he feels almost like family. I’m also fostering his daughter until he’s well enough to do the job himself.”
“I believe you’ve adopted and fostered several children.”
“Is that a crime?”
He blushed, “Um—not as far as I know.”
“Look, I don’t know what happened to Gloria except she died by hanging, whether that was suicide or something else, I don’t know. I can’t believe Neal was involved.”
“Did you know he requested a blood sample for testing the baby’s parentage?”
“He requested a blood sample to check the paternity of the baby.”
“But that was him, surely?”
“I don’t know, the hospital didn’t do it due to the death of his wife.”
I slumped down in the chair and he sat opposite on the sofa. What was he saying, that Gloria killed herself because he questioned the paternity of the baby, or that he actually killed her? Either way I couldn’t believe he’d do it. “I’m not sure what you’re saying—are you accusing Neal of causing his wife’s death or of killing her?”
“No charges have been laid, but we are looking more at the possibility he drove her to suicide, knowing how vulnerable she was—which constitutes minimally manslaughter or even murder. To incite someone to harm someone or themselves receives the same sentence as the person who actually does the harm, even if that harm is suicide.”
“So the crime is incitement?”
“To cause harm, yes.”
“I didn’t even know such laws existed.”
“They do and I’m charged with enforcing them.”
“I still can’t believe that he did that or that Gloria gave him reason to question his daughter’s paternity.”
“I don’t know him so I don’t make assumptions, I work with facts.”
“So do I.”
“As a scientist?”
“Yes, you’ve obviously done your homework on me.”
“When you were described as the pension killer I thought I’d misheard them and assumed they meant passion killer.”
“So you saw my history and assumed I’d look like a man in drag?”
“I didn’t have a chance to think anything except to clarify what I’d heard and then I was told you were a rather attractive woman, so it was pension killer, and it related to some bent coppers getting their comeuppance, and one or two others who didn’t reach pensionable age.”
“I don’t think I can be held responsible for the death of any police officers.”
“No, but you do have a reputation for having police fatalities happen when you are around.”
“So how come you didn’t hand this down to a PC or even a sergeant?”
“I wanted to see if you lived up to your reputation.”
“You’re certainly a very attractive woman.”
“For a man you mean?”
“Lady Cameron, I have no interest in your past unless it impinges upon this case, as far as I am concerned, you’re a woman and married to a peer who owns a bank. You’re also closely linked to the deceased and the accused in this case being a colleague of both and fostering their baby and his sister. You say you have nothing to add to your statement, but I’d be grateful if you do think of anything germane to this matter, if you’d let me know as quickly as possible.”
“If I do, which is most unlikely, I shall let you know.”
“Thank you, now might I speak with Phoebe?”
“She isn’t eighteen yet, isn’t she entitled to have someone sit in with her?”
“As she isn’t a suspect, if she requests support, then I have no objection if she wants someone with her providing they don’t interfere with my questions or her answers.”
I nodded and went to get her. She was slightly perplexed at being summoned to talk to the police but came along and asked me to stay. He asked her the same sort of questions as he’d asked me including reading her statement and commenting upon it. Like me, she couldn’t think of any further information. The inspector then left.
“You don’t think Neal drove her to do it, do you?”
“No, but then this paternity test stuff is something I knew nothing about.”
“Nor me, Mummy. What’s going to happen to him?”
“I don’t know, sweetheart, but I think I’d better speak to Simon and see what help we can offer him.”
“You mean like lawyers?”
Simon agreed I could ask Jason to go and see Neal or get one of his colleagues to do so. When I called him, Jason was busy and up in London, but he’d get a colleague to stand in for him who’d ask all the right questions, including about his fitness to be interrogated by police. I left it to him to sort that out.
After getting the younger children to bed—they all wanted to know why Phoebe had to speak with the police—so I spun them a yarn. They’d possibly question it after a good sleep as the adults did before I got to my bed. They complained that I should have extracted more from the copper, I thought I did quite well already.
“They’ll be expecting you to send in a big shot lawyer like Jason, you realise that?” asked Stella after hearing what Phoebe and I had to say.
“Oh well, I’m glad to have met their expectations then.”
“Unless they think you’re in on it for the baby.”
“I don’t want any more babies.”
“Oh pity, I’ve got two you can have, they’re driving me nuts at the moment.” I shook my head, I thought she was joking, in fact, I was sure she was joking—wasn’t she?
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