This is a completely new genre of writing for me. I am taking it slowly as I want to set down information in such a way as to build up the suspense.
Here is the introduction.
"Congratulations on your promotion Sir. I know I speak for all of the team when I say how proud we are to be a part of this new initiative."
"Thank you Sergeant," detective Chief Inspector Graham Warner smiled. "I know I have a very good team but with just five members in The Major Incident Team let's hope any incidents are not too major !"
It had been the brainchild of Thames Valley's Police and Crime Commissioner, an initiative not completely supported by the chief constable which could be why there were just five team members, Warner, Detective Sergeant Theresa - Terry - Abbott and Detective Constables Dave Mc Dermott, Stuart Miller and Bill Coldrich.
"As you know we go operational tomorrow so let's get the office organised today, no doubt something will be assigned to us tomorrow."
Nothing was assigned to the team on Thursday 12th January. It was a day for marking time, twiddling thumbs and kicking heels. Not that any team member wanted a serious crime to be committed, every officer had crime prevention within his brief, surely with Thames Valley Police's area of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire there had to be something that needed the attention of the newly formed Major Incident Team. Never before in their separate careers had any of the five ever had a day when there was nothing to do.
Warner suggested the team assemble the next day at nine but every one of them was in the office by eight. The call came at eight fifteen.
"A particularly nasty murder in North Bucks," Warner announced to his team. "Our first case. We'd better take two cars, Terry you come with me, Dave you take the others in your car. The address is on the incident page on the computer."
"I'll get it Sir," Detective Constable McDermott clicking to print out the address. "Milton Keynes, even with lights and sirens it'll take at least forty minutes to get there."
"I doubt the deceased is in any hurry," Warner said as the team speedily left the office to heard for the cars.
"This looks particularly nasty," Terry said as they raced to the scene.
It was nasty. A man in his thirties laying face down, shirt pulled up to his neck, trousers and underpants to his knees, stomach ripped open. The local officers had secured the area and crime scene staff were in attendance.
"I'm Jim Lapworth," the white plastic-suited doctor said, "forensic officer."
"Pleased to meet you, Graham Warner."
The two needed but did not shake hands.
"Rather nasty, head's bashed in, lower abdomen ripped wide open."
"Cause of death ?"
"One of them but which I can not tell you until I get him back. I can fit in a post mortem at one if that would suit you."
"One is fine."
"Who is he ? Any ideas ? Sergeant Terry Abbott - Terry with a y not an ie," Sergeant Abbott introduced herself.
"There was a wallet in his right trouser pocket, it's been bagged up and uniform have it for you. I also bagged up a Stanley knife placed on his chest, almost certainly it did this." Lapworth cast an arm about the semi-naked and mutilated corps."
"Murder weapon ?"
"Possibly but until I get him back I'll not know if it was the knife or the blow to the head that killed him. Not found yet anything that could have been used to hit him."
"Excuse me Sir," a uniformed sergeant approached. "Sergeant Cort, Thames Valley D Division. I can be your liaison with the local station if you wish."
"Thank you Sergeant. What is this place ?"
"They call it The Blue Lagoon, Sir. It's an old flooded clay pit from when there was a brickworks here. The council turned it into a nature park but very few people come here, there's no parking you see, just a few fishermen and the off dog walker."
"It was a dog walker who found the body ?"
"Yes Sir, one of my officers has taken him home to leave his dog then will drive him to the station and take a statement from him."
"Very good Sergeant. No sign of the weapon used to hit the victim on the head ?"
"I'm afraid not Sir, we have searched."
"And who is our victim ?"
"I have his wallet bagged up for you Sir, there was a Halifax debit card and a Tesco employee card there in the name of Anatol Sawicki."
"Any address ?"
"I'm afraid not Sir."
"Too much to hope there's any CCTV anywhere about."
"Not a thing Sir. I can organise a house to house if you would like but as you can see the nearest houses are not exactly close by."
Warner pondered. "Looks like a planned murder," he said. "Sergeant Cort can you have your men make another search for the weapon that hit the victim on the head ?"
"Of course Sir."
"DC McDermott, you come with me. We'll set up an incident room in the local station and then go to the post-mortem. Terry, you take DC's Coldrich and Miller, go to Tesco and Halifax, see if you can find out who our victim was and where he lived. You'll have to break the news to his family."
"We'll meet up at the local station for say, three o'clock. Where is the local station Sergeant Cort ?"
"Divisional Headquarters is in the city centre but the local station, that's where my team is based is only just up the road. Come out of the park, turn left and its right in front of you. Less than quarter of a mile up the road."
"A murder quarter of a mile from a police station !"
At five minutes past three British Airways flight BA0287 made its way down the runway at London's Heathrow Airport bound for San Francisco. In the first class cabin one particular passenger smiled as he mentally waved good bye to England for the next few weeks. He would be back.
Warner had commandeered space in the local police station and set up the team's incident room. The post mortem confirmed death was due to blood loss caused when the victim's abdomen had been torn open. The shape of the incisions were congruent with cuts made by a Stanley knife. small fragments had been found in the skin suggesting he had been hit on the back of the head with a lump of concrete. The blow stunned him, it was not possible to say if he was conscious or not when his belly was ripped open. Sergeant Cort's men had not found the concrete weapon.
"So what have we found out about our victim ?"
"As we know," Sergeant Abbott began, "his name is Anatol Sawicki. He was a thirty-two year old Polish immigrant. He has no family in the UK. It would appear he was taking a short cut through the Blue Lagoon Park to his home, he rents a room with a Polish family on an estate at the southernmost tip of the town. He finished work as a shelf stacker in Tesco at two in the morning, it's short walk so he would have been where he was attacked at about twenty past two in the morning."
"That fits with the post mortem suggested time of death."
"Shelf stacking was one of two jobs he had, the other was a day job working as a traffic warden."
DC McDermott scoffed.
"What was that ?" Warner asked.
"Traffic warden Sir, not going to be short of people who could have attacked him."
Warner was about to reprimand his constable for being flippant then saw something behind his casual remark. "Constable first thing tomorrow get a list of every ticket he issued in the last six months then run it through the database to see if there are any likely suspects."
"The Polish Community isn't exactly held in high regard locally," Cort added.
"Poor sod didn't have a lot going for him." McDermott added.
"Our murderer planned this carefully," DCI Warner said as he shared thoughts coming into his mind. "Deserted area, no cctv anywhere, nobody about at that time of night, no houses adjacent to the park entrance. The killer was waiting for him."
All team members nodded in agreement with Warner's thinking.
"So," Terry said, " that must mean the killer knew his routine and must have followed him, or at least observed him, on previous nights."
"We need to check and find out if anyone saw anything on previous nights."
"What about an appeal Sir ?"
"Sergeant Cort what's the local press like ?"
"Weak Sir, there's a free newspaper but hardly anyone reads it anymore. You would be better with TV."
"We'll see what tomorrow brings then try a TV appeal if we have to."
"The entrance to the park," Cort explained, "is on the edge of the town's Moslem community, unlikely any of them saw anything. If they did they are not going to come forward."
"We could still put up some appeal notices, witnesses wanted, at the entrance."
"I'll arrange that," Cort said.
"The people he rented a room from say he had no family here in England, he gave no next of kin or emergency contact number with either if his employers," Sergeant Abbot said, "I have given his name to the Polish Embassy for them to advise relatives he had at home."
"Friday the thirteenth was not his lucky day," Warner continued. "Our first case so let's solve it quickly. "Back here for nine o'clock tomorrow morning everyone. Sergeant Cort, make sure if anything significant comes in overnight the station staff call me at home."
The new major Incident Team was not going to be respecter of time, week-ends were not going to be off duty times. Warner had to establish his team and so the solving of this gruesome murder had to be accomplished within one or at the most two days.
Shortly after one on the morning, five in the afternoon, British Airways flight BA0287 landed in San Francisco. One particular first class passenger emerged into the California sunshine and smiled.
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