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Open and Shut
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Ken Orford

Crime

PG

The second case for JJ and Jackson.  An RTA starts a murder investigation...


“Right! That’s the third time this week. I’ll have someone’s balls for this.”

 
The three CID officers in the room looked like Meerkat’s as their heads popped up over the office dividers to look at their leader. DI Jennifer Jones, JJ, might only be five two but she certainly ruled her roost of two Detective Sergeants and four Detective Constables.
 
“Some bastard on the nightshift has used my mug again. The thing that gets me is why anyone would want a pink mug with ‘The Best Mum in the World’ written on it.”
 
The pink mug had been a joke present a couple of years ago when she was still a DS. The three DC’s she looked after had given it to her as a token of their affection. Like all good “parents” JJ was firm but fair, and they really liked her. She had joked back that “mum” was fair, because they all behaved like kids. Not that she had any real experience on that front!
 
Back at her desk, she reflected on the day ahead – after the bad start with the mug it was only going to get worse. Admin all day. Reports, statistics, figures – when would she ever find the time for real police work?
 
The duty sergeant came into her office with usual sarcastic comment about how easy life was for CID compared to the uniform boys. And girls, he added hastily.
 
“You’ve got an RTA to go to”, he told JJ.
 
“Come off it, Phil. Car crashes are for Traffic and you lot, not CID.”
 
“But someone’s dead in this one.”
 
“I refer the sergeant to my earlier answer. Job for the Black Rats.”
 
“Okay, I’ll tell the Traffic cops at the scene that CID aren’t interested in the dead body in the boot.” The Sergeant’s twinkling eyes enjoyed watching her reaction.
 
“Har, har! Come on Jackson,” she shouted across the office to one of the Meerkats that had all overheard the conversation and jumped up again. “You’re the murder expert, let’s go!”
 
His colleagues both looked seriously hacked off. Ever since DC Jackson had solved Dennis Evans’s murder, he seemed to get the plum jobs. So much so that he had even lost his Jackass Jackson nickname.
 
The galaxy of flashing blue and red lights was visible from some distance, several police cars, a Fire Engine and an Ambulance were all present. As she ducked under the Police tape cordoning off the area, JJ could see why. The car, a 55 reg Vauxhall Vectra, was crumpled under the weight of a lamp post. The right hand side of the car, where the driver had been, was completely flattened. The heavy post had crushed the car so the boot had distorted and opened up a gap at the left hand side. That’s how the body had been discovered.
 
The senior traffic cop came over and introduced himself.
 
“The driver was cut out by the fire brigade and sent to hospital, but the paramedics are pretty sure he’s a gonner. They checked the one in the boot, and the fire brigade will have to lift the post off before they can get him, but he’s very dead. Looks like he has been for a while.”
 
“What do we know about the car and the driver?”
 
“Registered to Daniel James Foxton, and the driver’s wallet implies that he was Foxton.”
 
JJ turned to Jackson about to tell him to contact the station and get searching, but he had already dialed and was asking for the Duty Sergeant.
 
“The boy’s coming along, thinking for himself! Whatever next?” she thought, but she was quietly pleased. He may have lucked out on the Evans case, so this would give him the chance solve something by methodical police work. 
 
By the time the Fire Brigade had lifted the concrete lamp post, the low loader had arrived. But before they moved the body and the car JJ asked the Police photographer to take as many photographs as possible. That done, the paramedics lifted the body out of the car to take it to the morgue for a Post Mortem. For the first time everyone got a good look at the naked man, and at the large patch of matted blood and brains on his head.
 
“Looks like the cause of death was Blunt Force Trauma,” Jackson said to no-one in particular. The Traffic Cop looked at him:
 
“In my day they called it being smashed on the head with a baseball bat.”
 
“And in my day they call that jumping to conclusions.”  JJ’s tone was pensive rather than a reprimand. Truth was, she was damn sure the poor guy had been hit over the head with something like that, and that the blow had killed him. Still, pathologists are paid to tell us the definitive answer. She turned her colleague:
 
“So, tell me about the crash. Do we know what caused it?”
 
“Doesn’t look like it’s foul play if that’s what you mean. The chap over there saw the whole thing. Dog ran across the road, he swerved to miss, so instead of killing a dog, he killed himself.” JJ nodded:
 
“Okay, can you let me have the preliminary report asap? Treat it as a priority, and if your boss has a problem with that, then tell him to call me.” The Traffic Cop nodded and turned away, clearly not at all happy about being given orders by a female version of Napoleon.
 
Jackson watched the exchange with some amusement. He knew what the Sergeant in his day-glo yellow jacket was thinking, but he’d seen enough of his DI to know that inside the hard exterior was someone who had got to her rank and avoided becoming the stereotypical cynical, bitter officer and she still cared about people. You only had to have seen the way she reacted when they found Mrs Evans to realize that.
 
As they arrived back at the station, they found Duty Sergeant Phil Hodgkiss waiting, with a knowing smile. JJ turned to Jackson, and asked him what he could deduce from the Sergeant’s demeanour.
 
 “Oh I suspect that the Sarge has uncovered something interesting about the recently departed driver.”
 
JJ grinned and said that as she’d missed her early morning cup of coffee, he could break the news to them in the canteen. As they sat round the plastic surfaced table, Hodgkiss produced Foxton’s file.
 
“Single, no kids – next of kin his mother who lives in Birmingham. First off he’s no major criminal, but he has been arrested on quite a few occasions. He’s a leading figure in the local animal rights group. Been done for Criminal Damage, Threatening Behaviour – all the usual stuff associated with groups like that.”
 
“I assume he’s been involved in the recent stuff.”
 
Jackson was referring to the recent activity, not targeting the Animal Research Facilities themselves, but targeting the individuals who worked there. The local TV news had picked up on it – bricks through windows, car tyres slashed, and even children threatened on the way to school.
 
“Oh yes, cautioned twice, and charged once. He was due in court next week. Would probably have got a custodial sentence. Though given the new sentencing guidelines, maybe not.”
 
JJ shook her head.
 
“Not sure I agree with you on the major criminal comment. In my book anyone that threatens schoolchildren is an arsehole and should get put away. Okay, let’s keep digging – known associates in the animal rights group, all that stuff. Can you get us a warrant for his house? I’ll get someone to talk to the neighbours and his workmates. But the highest priority has got to be figuring out who our friend in the Vectra’s boot was. So off you go to the morgue, Jackson, and see what they’ve found out. And don’t come back without a good photograph.”
 
Jackson looked at her as if to say “any other obvious requests?” but kept his mouth shut as he set off. JJ finished her coffee and resigned herself to admin until things started to come in.
 
It was late afternoon when information started to materialise. First back were the team that had been to visit neighbours and work colleagues. It seemed that Foxton was not particularly popular, and kept himself to himself. The neighbours hadn’t noticed anything unusual but they did comment that he often had people round and they often left in the middle of the night. To JJ that sounded like the Animal Rights group coming and going. No-one seemed particularly upset to hear he had died.
 
“Any particular friends? Girlfriend? Boyfriend?”
 
“There was one couple that seemed to be there all the time. A bloke and a woman. He’s described as tall and weedy looking, whereas she’s short and stocky.”
 
Next back was Jackson:
 
“Cause of death confirmed as a massive blow to the head, and they’ve sent blood samples off to the lab at Abingdon for analysis.” He threw a handful of photographs onto the desk. JJ picked up the face on view of the cleaned up victim.
 
“Get this out and about and see if anybody recognizes him.” Then she picked up the photo of the left side of the victims head – God it was a mess. The skull had been smashed from just above the ear, and the hole in the back half of the skull was deep.
 
“Any idea of the weapon?”
 
“Sounds like the Black Rat was right, Most likely a baseball or cricket bat. Certainly not untreated wood, as there weren’t any splinters. Oh, and he did say that whoever did it was either a very strong woman or a man. It was a very hefty blow.”
 
At that moment Sergeant Hodgkiss appeared, grovelling an apology that it had taken so long to get a warrant for Foxton’s house. JJ shook her head and raised her eyes in mock disappointment, turned to Jackson and asked him to lead a team in searching the house. She told them to especially look out for signs of blood or anywhere that had recently been cleaned or bleached. She turned to Phil and handed him the photo of the full face view of the murdered man, and asked him to do the usual with missing persons and find out who the hell he was. Unidentified bodies were becoming an epidemic – this was turning into a regular Midsomer Village.
 
“Oh, and Phil – there’s a couple in the Animal Rights group – he’s tall and skinny and she’s smaller and stocky. They seem to have been particular friends of Foxton’s. Can you see if anyone recently arrested fits that bill? Thanks.”
 
It was knocking off time when the two CID officers who had been trying to interview various known Animal Rights members came back. They’d managed to speak to all but two of the group, Andy Townley and Jo Beecham.
 
“Right bunch of tossers! Really unco-operative until we explained Foxton had died in a car crash. They pretty much spoke of him as the group leader. They were all pretty upset. All seemed really shocked that he’d had a body in the boot. They knew he was a bit wild, but all of them said the line would be drawn well short of murder though.”
 
Despite the fact her admin was barely half complete, JJ felt the urge to do some real police work. She asked for the other two contacts’ details that they hadn’t managed to speak to. She’d go and interview Townley and Beecham – then come back and nail the admin. After all, there was only an empty flat and a cat to go back to. And she strongly suspected the cat was in the process of cultivating the couple next door for a new home.
 
As she was going out of the door to the car park, she heard Phil calling her. She turned to see him beaming proudly.
 
“We really lucked out – got an id on your victim.”
 
“Bloody Hell that WAS quick. I am impressed.”
 
“Yeah, one of the lads realized he’d spoken to him a couple of weeks ago. Some Animal Rights nutter had thrown paint over his car. Turns out he is, or was, Dr James Martin, quite a senior bloke at the Research Lab, not a dancing chef.”
 
“How senior?”
 
“Senior enough to drive a Mercedes 500SLK!”
 
“What else do we know about him?”
 
“Age 38, married, no kids – wife called Amanda – here’s the address. You want a WPC to come with you?”
 
“Please!” then she looked up and smiled. “Good job, I love it when a plan comes together.”
 
JJ and WPC Atkins parked at the front of a very nice five or six bedroom house and slowly walked up the drive. The first thing their trained eyes noticed were the two alarm systems. Atkins pointed up to the small TV camera that was scanning the front of the house:
 
“There’s a lot of security, even for a nice house like this.”
 
“I bet you’d add extra security if you’ve had a brick through your window and paint thrown all over your car.”
 
They rang the bell, but there was no movement inside. All was dark and quiet. JJ tried the side gate – locked.
 
“Come on Atkins, you’ve got trousers on, hop over and check round the back.”
 
The DI was very impressed that she didn’t even have to give her a leg up. The WPC easily pulled herself over the wall and JJ heard her footsteps fading off round the back. A minute or so later her head, followed by the rest of the agile young woman’s body reappeared over the wall. On the way down she started talking:
 
“No one home. All quiet and peaceful back there.”
 
JJ nodded, and set off to check with the neighbours. The residents of the four houses either side all said the same thing – essentially the couple kept themselves to themselves and were nice enough, but the neighbours all wished they would move away and take the animal rights idiots with them. No one had seen Amanda Martin for a couple of days, though someone remembered seeing his car leave yesterday morning.
 
It was the house across the road that bore fruit. Although not close to the Martins, the people there did hold a spare key for them, and knew a little bit more. They knew how to disable the alarms etc, and knew when they went on holidays or long trips. Mrs Martin had left a couple of days ago to visit her sister in Canada for a week. They didn’t have a contact number. JJ asked if they would let her and the WPC into the house.
 
“I will, but I’ll ring the police station first to check who you are. You can’t be too careful. Just because she’s got a uniform doesn’t mean a thing.”
 
The WPC congratulated them on their fastidiousness while JJ allowed herself a smile. A few minutes later they were in the house across the road. Everything seemed okay. JJ wished her house was half as tidy. The only surprise and hint that anything may be out of order was in the study. A small digital camera sat on top of a sheet of A4, which had a handwritten note on it:
 
“In the event of my disappearance, please view the video on this camera.” The note was signed “James Martin” and dated yesterday. JJ asked the WPC for a couple of evidence bags, put on some gloves and popped both items into bags and sealed them.
 
Simultaneously, over the other side of town, Jackson and his colleagues had just got into Foxton’s small semi-detached house. Jackson allocated areas of the property to each and started the methodical search. First he located the ‘phone and dialed 1471, noting down the last number that had called – a mobile at 11.05pm. He then dialed 1571 and listened to the only message, one from Foxton’s mother two days ago, complaining she hadn’t heard from him in a week. She’d have to wait a whole lot longer was the thought that flashed through Jackson’s mind.
 
There was a call from the garden, where one of the DC’s was searching. Although there was still some light, Jackson could see the DC was using his torch. The DC was stood with his torch pointing at the ground. There were patches of what looked like dried blood in the pools of light.
 
“Good spot, Wardy. Get some uniforms down here to cordon off the site. Let’s clear out until we get some lab boys and plastic suits down here then we can’t be accused of contaminating a murder scene.”
 
“It might be that the neighbour’s cat just killed a mouse here.”
 
Jackson looked at him and shook his head.
 
“Yeah, right!”
 
Back at the station, Jackson and JJ sat in her office. Everyone else had gone home. The admin was still not done.
 
“I wanna watch it again.” Jackson clicked the mouse on the “Play” button.
 
The timestamp on the video read 7:19 last night. It showed an empty chair in the office in the Martins’s house. James Martin entered the picture and sat down facing the camera. His voice was Oxford English, precise and clearly spoken.
 
“If you are watching this tape, it means something has happened to me on or around 15th May. An hour ago I had a call from a man named Daniel Foxton, who claimed to be a member of the Animal Rights group that threw a brick through my window, and paint over my car. That doesn’t worry me too much, but anyone who threatens children – and some of my colleagues’s children have been threatened – might do anything. Foxton said he wanted to meet me to see if he could convince me peacefully. He said if I agreed to come then I would be spared further harassment. So I have decided to go. When I asked him about assurance of my safety – he suggested writing a letter saying where I was going. I have done that, and posted it to Dr Andrew Wilson, a friend and work colleague. But I have also made this video.”
 
“Well, if the blood on the patio is Martin’s, then I’d say this is an open and shut case.”
 
JJ looked at Jackson:

“You reckon? No, things are wrong all over everywhere. If you are going to kill someone, why do you tell them to leave some evidence incriminating you? Did you find out who called Foxton at 11:05 last night?”

 
“Pay as you go mobile bought two days in Stratford. I’ll send someone to the shop tomorrow to see if they remember anything. Bet it was paid for by cash. As far as telling Martin to leave a note – he was probably gambling on Martin trusting him.”
 
“Yeah, but this was a research scientist. Belt and braces. Note and a video. Okay tomorrow I’ll go and see the other two Animal Rights people.”
 
They made small talk for a while and then left for their respective homes. When JJ got there she found a note from her neighbours:

“TRIBBLE seems to have adopted us. Feel free to come and collect him as soon as you like. He is no trouble though.”

 
JJ looked at the note, read it for a second time, and with an air of resignation thought that even her cat had now deserted her! She was a real Billy No Mates. She couldn’t even hold on to a male cat, never mind a male human.
 
The next morning was bright and clear, the kind of May day that gives a hint of the possibilities to come in midsummer. Despite losing Tribble, and despite the looming shadow of her mountain of admin, JJ felt pretty good as she knocked on the door of the terraced house. The Anti Fur Trade poster in the window assured her this was the right place. The six foot tall, grubby looking twenty something that peered round the edge of the door asked her what she wanted. JJ flashed her Warrant card, checked he was Andy Townley, and asked if she could come in.
 
The inside of the house was as untidy as the man in front of her. His tatty tracksuit bottoms and Alice Cooper T shirt had clearly seen better days. A woman’s voice called out from upstairs asking who was at the door.
 
“It’s a cop. I guess she wants to talk about Dan.”
 
“I’m really sorry about your friend, but we do need to ask you a few questions.”
 
She started off with more routine scene setting questions, how long had he known Daniel Foxton, what was he like? After a couple of minutes a short stocky, tough looking woman came into the room. Her eyes were red, and she had obviously been crying. JJ smiled at her:
 
“You must be Jo, I’m really sorry about your friend. I know this is a difficult time, but we need to get to the bottom of this.”
 
The tiny DI could tell that on another day, these two would be a nightmare to question, but they were both clearly emotionally drained, and didn’t seem to have the will to embark on an argumentative interview.
 
As they talked about themselves and Foxton, to JJ’s surprise she found herself starting to like them. Then they got onto the subject of the Animal Rights movement, and it was as if a switch had been thrown, and JJ recalled that these two would be in court next week for Threatening Behaviour – these two had been getting at parents through their children. They both became animated, angry and emotional. Like most people JJ had some sympathy and respect for their views but not for their extremist actions.
 
JJ let them rant for a while, and then asked about Daniel Foxton’s attitudes and the lengths he’d go to. Andy Townley shook his head.
 
“That’s why Dan was such a good leader. There are some real basket cases in the group, you know, the kind of idiots that want to plant bombs – treat it like a war. Dan was great at keeping them in check. He’d even thrown two complete nutters out of the group.”
 
Jo Beecham glared at her partner, still full of emotion from both their animated comments of a few moments ago, and also from the loss of her friend:
 
“You always were a whimp when it came to real action. Dan was the best, but things are getting drastic, and we need to be even more active.”
 
JJ had been around enough bereaved people to know when things were a reaction, just lashing out, and when they were something from the heart. Beecham’s comments definitely fell into the latter category. She asked them about the two characters Dan had thrown out, and got them to talk a little. But they didn’t know much, except they thought they came from the Solihul area.
 
Finally she asked about when they’d last seen Foxton. He’d been at their place the night before last, the 15th, and Jo gave him a lift home because he’d been drinking. They left around ten or ten-thirty. It was a habit thing – every Wednesday he came round and had a takeaway curry and a beer.
 
JJ thanked them both for their help, and asked them not to travel too far, and write down their various contact details. She watched carefully as they each wrote down a list of people, places and ‘phone numbers,
 
Andy Townley looked up:
 
“You know, helping you lot like this is the last thing I’d normally do, but I don’t believe Dan did it, and I want you to clear his name.”
 
JJ just smiled a non committal smile, thanked them and left.
 
“Well, that’s one suspect eliminated”, was her thought as she set off to knock on a few neighbours’ doors to check their stories about the details of the night before last.
 
By the time she’d got to the station, it was mid morning. Jackson was waiting for her.
 
“Did you get it?” she asked.
 
“Yes, on it’s way to be processed.  And we also got the Path report. He puts ToD at between 9pm and 11pm on the 15th.”
 
“OK.”
 
“And the Home Office managed to find Mrs Martin’s sister in Canada yesterday, and she got the flight back last night. She should have landed by now, and she’ll be coming in this afternoon.”
 
“I can tell there’s something else. Out with it!”
 
“Hidden in the garden shed at Foxton’s – a baseball bat. Looks to have been wiped down recently. It’s at Abingdon being checked for blood and prints.”
 
“Hmm, maybe it is open and shut after all.”
 
“Dunno, like you said – something’s not quite right.”
 
JJ’s assault on her admin was interrupted at lunchtime when the report on the bat came back. There were no prints but tiny traces of blood had been found, but not enough to make a positive match to the victim.
 
Phil, the Duty Sergeant poked his head round the office door a couple of hours later and announced Mrs Martin had arrived, along with a Dr Wilson. JJ recalled he was the colleague and friend who had been sent the letter by James Martin as a back up to the video recording.
 
Mrs Amanda Martin was in her mid thirties, very well spoken, very well turned out in a designer suit, and in very good shape. She also wore tinted sunglasses to cover her red eyes. Dr Wilson was a little older, probably early forties, and was dressed in a Savile Row suit, collar and tie. JJ felt like she was wearing something from the Oxfam shop in comparison to these two.
 
First off, Dr Wilson held out an envelope:
 
“I think you ought to see this. I think once you have, then what happened will be pretty clear.”
 
JJ smiled and asked him to place it on the table, then she turned to Jackson and asked him to get some gloves and an evidence bag. Then she turned to Dr Wilson:
 
“Yes, thanks for bringing it in. We already knew about the letter and what it says.” She turned to Mrs Martin and smiled:
 
“Your husband definitely wanted to make sure we would find out if anything went wrong.”
 
The informal interview continued, with JJ and Jackson asking all the usual questions. After about half an hour, Dr Wilson interrupted:
 
“Look, why are you wasting our time? It’s been all over the news that James’s body was found in a car belonging to one of the animal rights idiots that was arrested for harassing us at the lab. All you’re doing is making Amanda even more upset, and I think I’d better take her home now. Remember she’s suffering from jet lag and is very tired, and this is very stressful.”
 
JJ nodded her agreement:
 
“Yes, you are quite right and I apologise. I’d like to chat again tomorrow. Are you staying at the house Mrs Martin?”
 
Amanda Martin and Andrew Wilson glanced at each other.
 
“James and I have known Andrew for years. I’ll be staying with him for the next few days. I don’t think I could bear being in the house alone.”
 
“Okay. Dr Wilson can you jot down your address, and you need to sign a receipt for the letter too.”
 
JJ and Jackson watched from the first floor window as the couple crossed the car park to Andrew Wilson’s BMW.
 
“What do you reckon Terry?”
 
“Did you see the way he held her hand throughout that interview. It looked a bit more than good friends to me.”
 
“Oh look at that eye contact as she got into the car… maybe there is something there.”
 
“Well I don’t blame him. I would.”
 
JJ raised her eyebrows and shook her head.
 
“Right, as there aren’t any cold showers available, there’s a couple of things I’d like you to do.”
 
“I know, I know. One – go to Foxton’s workplace and two, go to the mobile phone shop.”
 
“I’ll make a detective out of you yet. Well, what are waiting for?”
 
Two hours later he was back.
 
“Well, you were right about Foxton.”
 
“Hardly – the statistics were on my side. What about the phone?”
 
“Well the sales assistant did remember simply because it was a really cheap ‘phone and hardly anyone ever gets a bottom of the range phone like that. She said it was a woman, and when I asked her to describe her, you could have knocked me down with a feather.”
 
“Thought so. One more thing; dig out the contact details and ask the mobile phone company and get them to check where the ‘phone was when it made the call.”
 
It took Orange a couple of hours to get the information and respond. So it was gone nine-thirty when they drew up outside the house, with the BMW parked outside. Jackson rang the bell and Andrew Wilson appeared in his dressing gown. JJ apologised for the late hour but said there was something important that needed to be cleared up.
 
“Can’t it wait?”
 
“I’m sorry, no.”
 
Wilson reluctantly said that they had better come in. He shepherded them into the pleasantly furnished, and softly lit lounge, where they found Amanda Martin in an expensive silk dressing gown.
 
“We were just having a nightcap,” explained Wilson.
 
“We’d just like to ask you a couple of questions. Mrs Martin, a woman answering to your description bought a mobile phone on Monday.”
 
Jackson’s hand in his pocket hit the green “Dial” button on his phone and then he crossed his fingers and hoped.
 
“Phone? What mobile phone?”
 
From somewhere in the hallway came the unmistakable sound of a Nokia ringtone.
 
“That mobile phone”, smiled Jackson.
 
“Oh that, Andrew asked me to buy him one. I have no idea what it was for.”
 
Well Dr Wilson. Seeing as Mrs Martin was very conveniently three thousand miles away on Wednesday night, can you tell us why you were making a call using that phone in the vicinity of Daniel Foxton’s house at around 11pm?”
 
“This is ridiculous. I want to see my solicitor.”
 
JJ nodded:
 
“Very wise, I think you should too Mrs Martin. Jackson?”
 
DC Jackson cautioned them both, then suggested they both go and dress as they had a long night ahead at the station.
 
Andrew Wilson cracked with comparative ease. He’d held out until just before dawn, but he crumbled when presented with the evidence of James Martin’s blood stained clothes that had been found in a black bag in his loft. He insisted that it was all Amanda’s idea, that they were in love and she wanted her husband dead so she could inherit his wealth. She had signed a pre-nuptual agreement that she would get nothing in the event of a divorce, so that was out of the question.
 
Amanda Martin was a much cooler customer though, insisting that she and Wilson were only friends. As for the phone, it was as she’d said. Andrew knew she was going into Warwick to do some antiques shopping, and asked her to pick it up for him. In the end, they released her through lack of evidence.
 
At 8am Jackson and JJ sat in the office having a celebratory cup of coffee. Jackson was in full flow, flushed with their success:
 
“So once you’d eliminated any right handed people that left only Jo Beecham and Andrew Wilson.”
 
“Yep, that blow could only have been delivered by a left hander. Must admit though, there was strong circumstantial evidence against Beecham. She’s a lot more hardcore than her partner.”
 
“So the two possibilities were that Foxton had arranged the meeting, and Jo Beecham had disapproved and hit Martin. Then in order to protect his friend and save the Animal Rights movement’s name, Foxton was going to dispose of the body when the dog ran out.”
 
JJ nodded helpfully and Jackson continued:
 
“But in fact, it was nearly a perfect murder. When the lab had been under regular attack from the AR mob, they had hired a security firm to keep tabs on the group. Andrew Wilson had read the report and knew Foxton was out every Wednesday night. So he pretended to be Foxton, invited Martin over and killed him. He hid the bat in the garage and took the clothes to plant later as further evidence if he needed to. He then waited for Foxton to return, rang him using the mobile, and told him he’d been framed and that he should get rid of the body. Enter the dog, because without the crash Foxton might well have successfully dumped the body.”
 
They sipped their coffee in silence, then Terry Jackson asked:
 
“What do you reckon of Mrs Martin?”
 
“Oh she fixed it up. No doubt in my mind about that. She just used Andrew Wilson, and he fell for it! Going to Canada was brilliant. That’s one hell of an alibi! I wouldn’t be surprised if in six month’s time she’s not living in Spain with her Personal Trainer. Anyway, enough of that - now for the other important case.”
 
Jackson laughed:
 
“I think you need to make this arrest. Come on.”
 
They walked over to the kitchen area where the remnants of the nightshift were talking – mainly about the day’s football fixtures.
 
“DS Bennett, you look glum. What’s the matter? Missing your favourite mug?” and JJ held up her mug in an evidence bag.
 
“You see I had it checked for fingerprints, and yours were all over it. So if you like your balls being attached to your body, you’ll not touch it again. Okay?”








© Ken Orford, 2008


© CoolShortStories.com, 2010