CXVI The Beginning of the End (Book 1): A Gripping Murder Mystery and Suspense Thriller (CXVI BOOK 1) (6 page)

BOOK: CXVI The Beginning of the End (Book 1): A Gripping Murder Mystery and Suspense Thriller (CXVI BOOK 1)
12.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Higgson peered at two tiny, faint red marks where
the ligature had been; both equidistance from the two lower, more visible, burn
marks; he looked up at Woods towering above him.

“Just as I thought,” Woods said. “Those marks are
from a hand held stun gun. Hussain didn’t commit suicide; he was murdered.”


Thursday 17
May –
Friday 18


Pauline paced up and down the
corridor outside Dr Damien Rosco’s consulting room. She was waiting anxiously
for an unscheduled counselling session, after the doctor’s insistence they meet
urgently to discuss her sudden mood change.

The door opened and Rosco appeared. He smiled, “Come
in, Pauline.”

She entered the dark oak-panelled room and headed to
the large black Italian leather sofa; she settled, folded her arms and looked
nervously at the consultant seated on the couch to her left.

“What’s happened, Pauline?”

“I’d prefer not discuss it, if you don’t mind.” She
could feel her heart beating faster than normal.


“I’m afraid of the consequences, particularly in my
current state of mind.”

“Tell me what you think the consequences might be.”

“Unpleasant feelings, anxiety, despair, sleepless
nights.” Her eyes flicked down at the dark hardwood floor and straight back up
to Rosco; she had an idea what was coming.

“Alternatively, the consequences could be an
understanding of why you feel that way, a means of challenging the thoughts
that cause those feelings, and a solution to the problem.”

“I guessed you’d say something like that.”

He smiled. “That’s what you are paying me for.”

“We had an agreement, didn’t we? That we’d only
discuss things I felt comfortable with.”

Rosco nodded.

“And you said I could stop at any time, if I was
feeling on edge.”

He nodded again.

“Well this is that time.”

“Pauline, if that’s what you want, you have every
right to walk out of that door, but it’s my view that if we don’t discuss the
things that cause you the most pain, we’ll never resolve the problems. Over the
past few days you’ve made good progress, but something’s happened that’s turned
it all on its head. Now, we can pretend it hasn’t, or we can confront it and
work towards understanding and controlling the detrimental impact it has on

She sighed and pursed her lips. “I… I don’t think I
can talk about it,” she said.

“Would you like a drink?” Rosco asked. He stood up
and walked over to the coffee machine.

“Yes please, a cappuccino would be nice,” she said
unfolding her arms, fully aware that his change of tack was a classic interview

He brought over the drink, together with a small
selection of biscuits and cakes neatly arranged on an ornate silver salver. He
offered them to her, and she politely refused, but he persisted. “Go on, take
one,” he encouraged, smiling, “otherwise I’ll have to eat them.”

She took the Bourbon, and he placed the salver on
the coffee table nearby. He was having a black coffee and chose a large
chocolate muffin to accompany it.

“Why don’t you start by telling me how you were
feeling when you first woke yesterday morning?” he said, taking a sip from the
cup, “and then we’ll take it from there.”

“I was feeling fine, relaxed, confident, and looking
forward to the day,” she replied, holding onto the cup as if it afforded her
some degree of protection.

“Okay, what did you do after waking?”

“Showered, dressed and waited for breakfast.”

“Did you have breakfast in your suite?”

“Yes,” she replied sheepishly, glancing over at the

“I thought you were going to try the restaurant. The
last time we spoke you were feeling more confident and agreed you’d try
socialising at mealtimes.”

“I know and I was fully intending having lunch in
the restaurant, but things changed.” Her expression darkened.

“Okay, how was breakfast? And how were you feeling
after it?”

“Breakfast was delicious, as always; and afterwards
I was feeling content and looking forward to my massage, scheduled for ten.”

“But you cancelled that, around nine thirty, if I’m
not mistaken, and then you cancelled all yesterday’s other sessions.”

Pauline nodded. “I didn’t feel up to them.” She
sipped the drink and nibbled at the corner of the Bourbon.

“What did you do between breakfast and nine-thirty?”

“Stayed in my suite, ordered coffee and read the

“So what triggered you to go from looking forward to
your massage, to not feeling up to it?”

“Something I’d…” she hesitated, appraising Rosco,
who was sitting patiently waiting, his gaze burning into her. “Something I’d
read in the newspaper.”

Remaining silent, he tilted his head and looked
expectantly over the top of his spectacles.

The pause lasted no more than ten seconds, but to
Pauline it seemed like an eternity; she could choose to walk out, or to
elaborate. She nibbled at the Bourbon hoping the sugar content would soothe her
nerves, but the opposite was happening and her stomach muscles tightened as
nausea kicked in. “I’d read a former colleague had committed suicide,” she
finally said shakily.

“Were you close to this person?”

She eyed him carefully. “No, I absolutely hated the
sight of him.”

“Hatred’s a strong emotion.”

Her eyes narrowed and she tasted venom.

“Why do you feel hatred?” he pressed.

“Because that bastard killed my twin sister… And he
got away with it.”



Woods braked, swerved and hit the
horn hard. “Idiot!” he shouted. “Why don’t you look where you’re going?”

Barnes turned around and watched out of the rear
window as the youth safely crossed the road behind them; he had just stepped
off the pavement oblivious to Woods’ approaching car.

“Did you see that?” Woods asked looking in his
mirror, “He’s got earphones in. It’s a wonder I didn’t knock him down.”

“There would have been a lot of paperwork,” Barnes
replied, glancing at Woods, who she could tell had been shaken by the incident;
something she’d not witnessed before.

They were driving out of Huddersfield on the A642
heading back to HQ, after leaving Higgson with the awkward task of explaining
to his Chief Inspector why Woods was reopening the investigation into Hussain’s

“I thought it strange that Hussain suddenly decides
to drive up to the dam and commit suicide, when he’s heading to collect his
son,” Barnes said, changing the subject.

“I know; that’s when my alarm bells started ringing.
Even if his mind was in turmoil, why didn’t he collect his son, drop him off at
home, make an excuse about going out and then head up to the dam?”

“And the sequence of events at the dam appeared

“I agree; he arrives, switches off his phone and
then there’s a gap of just over one hour forty minutes. Did he drive somewhere
else and then return to the dam?”

“But that question remains even if he was forcibly
taken there.”

Woods nodded. “I know it does, but Hussain composing
a lucid suicide e-mail, and adding a puzzle at the end? Come off it, and then
sending it to his mistress, not his wife or family who he’s leaving after
thirty years, his mistress who he’d been seeing for six months. It stretches
the imagination.”

“And why torch the car?”

Woods was nodding. “Vehicles are usually only burnt
out to destroy evidence,” he observed.

“And why — when he could have driven there — walk
two and a half miles to the bridge, in complete darkness, carrying an extremely
heavy 18mm rope?”

“Exactly. And he’d risk someone on the motorway
spotting the fire and telephoning the fire brigade, who’d most likely turn up
before he’d even reached the bridge.”

“There’s another problem too, with the timeline,”
Barnes said. “He sent the e-mail at 11.16 switching the phone off one minute
later; he torched the car and supposedly walked to the bridge. Let’s say it
took him three minutes to set the car alight and thirty-five to walk to the
bridge, which makes it around 11.55. He then tied a six loop hangman’s knot in
the rope, not a slip knot or a noose knot, a six loop hangman’s knot, that must
have taken him at least five minutes, making it midnight - the time the
pathologist said he died. He virtually jumped straight off once he’d secured
the rope. He didn’t sit on the edge having doubts or plucking up courage; he

“I know the knot’s usually a giveaway,” Woods
conceded, “but, to be honest, if I was planning to hang myself I’d use a proper
hangman’s knot, you only have to look on the internet to find out how to tie

“What’s your version of events then?” Barnes asked,
her gaze becoming intense.

Woods was silent for a moment. “I think at some
stage on his journey to Slaithwaite he was stopped, perhaps flagged down by a
hitchhiker. I did at one point consider there may have been an accomplice or
perhaps a few of them in a separate vehicle, but if that was the case there’d
be no need for the stun gun; manpower alone would have been sufficient. So I
think our man was working alone; he overpowered Hussain, zapping him with the
gun, bundled him into the passenger seat and drove up to the dam, where he
seized the Blackberry and switched off.”

“Where did the rope and petrol come from?”

“The hitchhiker’s vehicle in the car park.”

“Okay, I’ll go with that, but why was Hussain held
there so long?”

“I don’t know the answer to that yet. Maybe, as I
said, he was driven elsewhere and then brought back. Anyway, then at 11.12 the
hitchhiker composed the e-mail and sent it four minutes later. He waited
thirty, thirty-five minutes and drove to the bridge, stunned Hussain again, put
the noose around his neck, tightening it in an attempt to mask the stun marks,
tied it to the bridge, made sure Hussain’s fingerprints were on the rail and
threw him off. He then drove back to the car park, burnt the car, destroying
any evidence, and drove off in his own vehicle.”

“Sounds plausible,” Barnes said. “But he must also
have incapacitated Hussain; otherwise he’d have been trying to escape.”

“He could have tied his hands and feet.”

“There were no marks on the wrists or ankles.”

“The ties could’ve been put over his clothes.”

“Um… okay,” she admitted as her thoughts moved on. “Maybe
1116 has more significance, and the time is a red herring, unless something
noteworthy happened to Mateland at 9.16.”

“I’ll get Pete to check that out, but there’s got to
be a link between Mateland and Hussain.”

“Motorway bridges… Similar numerals… Extra marital
affairs… Are we missing something?”

“Listen, Maria, when we get back, can you get hold
of all the CCTV footage from the hospital where Hussain and Noble worked? She’d
said they were very discreet and no-one knew they were having an affair, but someone
did. My guess is they’d followed them, so have a look and see if there’s any
supporting evidence. Also ring Jacobs now, and get him to re-interview Julie
Noble and Hussain’s family; I need to know if there’s any reason they can think
of as to why Hussain was murdered, what significance, if any, 1116 has to him…
and if there’s any link to Mateland, and I. . .” Woods’ mobile rang and he
tossed it to Barnes. “Get that.”

It was McLean with an update after having
interviewed David Brunt and the drivers who had stopped to assist at Mateland’s
crash site; Barnes put the call on speakerphone.

“Aye, four drivers stopped. Three didn’t see
anything untoward; however, the one who’d pulled up just after the bridge
noticed the silhouette of someone moving about up there. She assumed they were
watching events, but unfortunately she couldn’t give much of a description,
other than she thought it was a man.”

“What about Brunt, what’s he had to say?” Woods

“Aye, David Brunt’s fifty-three years old, married
with a teenage daughter. He’s an office manager at an engineering company on a
small industrial estate in Holbrook Green, ten miles from where he lives in Ecclesall.
He’s a spotlessly clean record and claims he didn’t know Mateland. He denies
ever having been to Wakefield, and on the days the Peugeot was recorded
following Mateland he was at work with his Peugeot in the work’s car park;
there’s CCTV footage to confirm this and a number of staff there that can vouch
for it. Re his driving habits, weekdays he leaves home at 7.30 and drives to
work where the car is parked all day; he leaves work at 5.00 and goes home,
usually arriving there at 5.30-ish. He goes to the supermarket every Thursday
evening between 7.00 and 8.15 and to the gym on Wednesday evenings between 6.00
and 9.00, and he uses the car extensively at weekends. I’ve checked the ANPR
and when the Peugeot’s been recorded in the Wakefield area it’s always when
Brunt’s car’s either parked up at work or at home during the night.”

“So the killer’s smart, and the car’s a clone,”
Woods said.

“Aye, it looks that way. Oh, and get this, Brunt’s
tax disc needs renewing at the end of July and if you look closely at the car
following Mateland, so does that… And the reg plates have the same dealer logo
on them.”

BOOK: CXVI The Beginning of the End (Book 1): A Gripping Murder Mystery and Suspense Thriller (CXVI BOOK 1)
12.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

The Tear Collector by Patrick Jones
Kalahari Typing School for Men by Smith, Alexander Mccall
Like You Read About by Mela Remington
Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
A Matter of Honor by Nina Coombs Pykare
Sebastian of Mars by Al Sarrantonio
Two Passionate Proposals by Woods, Serenity