Sunday 3:55 pm

Someone else had shot Sir Geoffrey, but he was going to be blamed.

Thousands of fans had watched in horror as they saw Sir Geoffrey fall off the platform onto the field. He had been shot straight through the heart.

After the shot rang out, for a few seconds, there was complete silence in the ground while everyone took in what had just happened. Then panic erupted. 

Bill was on the side of the pitch and he ran towards the fallen Sir Geoffrey, while most of the dignitaries on the platform, including Chief Superintendent Barrington, ran the other way to safety.

Bill felt for a pulse. There was no doubt about it, Sir Geoffrey was dead. He gave the order that all exits from the ground be locked.

D.C. Petersen, who was now at his side, said that it was too late as the crowd was now streaming out of all exits in panic. He was in for a long night.

Monday 8:00 am

On Monday morning, Bill met with his team. There was going to be a lot of overtime with two murders to solve. The team had been working all day Sunday gathering information and background material for the meeting.

After seeing that everyone was comfortable with coffee or tea, Bill called for their attention.

“We are going to be very busy in the next few weeks, so I don’t want any of you to be taking time off, and don’t even think about getting sick! Let’s start with yesterday’s shooting at Stamford Bridge. As expected, it was the headline story in all the papers. You can find all you need to know about Sir Geoffrey in the papers, but as D.C. Lee spent so much time preparing her report, let’s hear what she has to say about Sir Geoffrey. Go ahead, Cecilia.”

“Most of the following information I gathered from Sir Geoffrey’s autobiography, the Internet, Who’s Who? and today’s papers.” 

D.C. Cecilia Lee stood up and confidently began reading her report. 

“Sir Geoffrey was born in Swansea, South Wales in March 1962. His parents had built up a very successful transport business after the war and they had the resources to give their son a good education. When Martin was ten…”

“Martin?” Interrupted Bill. 

“He didn’t use Geoffrey, his middle name, until he was nineteen,” said D.C. Lee. “Maybe he thought that Geoffrey was a better name for a lawyer.”

She continued, “…by the time he was ten, his mother had died of lung cancer and his father shipped him off to a boarding school called Radcliffe House, in west London, and later to Merchant Taylor’s School, another independent school, up in Hertfordshire. 

Seven years later, his father also had cancer and when he was eighteen, both his parents had died. As an only child, he inherited his father’s estate which included the business, a big house in the Mumbles seaside district of Swansea and a detached house in Edgware, North London, which had once belonged to his maternal grandparents. He became a very wealthy teenager.

He did well at Merchant Taylors' School. He had four A levels — English, History, Geography and Russian, all with top grades. He was offered a place at Oxford University, but didn’t take it. He was still mourning and needed to sort things out in Swansea. He moved back to Swansea for a year, and with the help of his father’s accountant sold the business. He kept the house in Mumbles and still owned it at the time of his death. 

In his autobiography, “On the Straight and Narrow,” he says that he had always wanted to be involved with law. He had a fascination for crime and an admiration for what he called “elite” criminals, who always managed to keep one step ahead of the law. He wrote that reading crime thriller novels in the lonely evenings at boarding school inspired him to become a lawyer.”

D.C. Lee looked around to see if there were any questions. There were none, so she continued.

“In June of 1981, he began his professional career when he took up articles with John Quick Solicitors in North Acton. He chose to spend five years training there, and study for his exams while working, rather than going to university full time. He believed in practical experience and he passed all his exams with flying colours. After qualifying, he joined the firm Hooper Jones & Carter Solicitors in 1985.”
“Nothing very exciting so far,” said Bill. “What about his political career, how did he become an M.P.” 

D.C. Lee shuffled through her notes and continued.

“He joined the Labour Party in 1984. In 1994, he became Honorary Treasurer of Edgware Labour Party, which later elected him Chairman.

He was elected Member of Parliament for Hendon in a by-election following the sudden death of Harold Bull, after the Labour Party’s 1997 landslide election victory. Sir Geoffrey had been Bull’s campaign-manager for the 1997 General Election campaign. 

During his political career he has sat on the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Select Committee and its Environment Sub-Committee. He was strongly against the expansion of Heathrow Airport.

In 2004, he lost a lot of support from his party, due to his opposition to Britain’s involvement in the Iraq War.”

D.C. Lee continued with her prepared report.

“After a year with Hooper Jones and Carter, he started his own practise. Many of his former clients followed him and he already had the beginnings of a successful business when he opened his new office in Whitehall. His political career has been helped by the funding from some of his wealthy clients. 

He had chosen the site of his new office very carefully. Whitehall was a convenient place to be — walking distance from Parliament — and it also gave him a prestigious address on his firm’s letterhead. He was ambitiously planning for his future in politics. 

Whitehall also placed him close to Soho, which, as we all know, was home to three-quarters of the criminals in London. He was intrigued with criminal law and he gradually employed highly qualified assistants who would deal with the hierarchy of the criminal world. He also represented petty criminals, as their cases would help pay the staggering rent and taxes on his office. 

In the early 1980’s, the government had already cleaned up the sex shops and porn cinemas in Soho, but illegal activities were still taking place, they were just driven underground. Sir Geoffrey knew there would be no shortage of day-to-day business in Soho.

Criminals weren’t the people who would later support his campaigns. The well-paying clients were those who owned businesses. The commercial side of his practise consisted of public and private limited companies and his personal specialty was company law. He knew the Companies Act inside-out and helped many supposedly failing businesses. His big-time clients set up massive companies with one objective, to get as much credit as possible, strip the company and let it go into liquidation with debts of hundreds of thousands of pounds. The name of the brains behind the operation would never be on paper. The ownership of the companies would be hidden by having other companies holding the shares and even more companies holding the shares in the holding company with…”

“Okay, Cecilia. Thanks, but I think that’s as much detail as we need for now. The question is ‘who would likely have had any motives for killing Sir Geoffrey?’

It seems it could be a political enemy, a criminal he has encountered, or a business contact,” said Bill.

“The papers seem to think that terrorists were responsible,” said Detective Sergeant Hawkins. 

“There’s another area we should be looking into,” said D.C. Petersen. “He has been to Russia twice in the last few months. He was part of a trade delegation.”

“I was getting to that,” said Cecilia, a bit put out with all the interruptions.

“Okay, tell us about the Russian trips,” said Bill.

Cecilia looked down at her notes again and continued with her report. “The last trip he made was to St. Petersburg a couple of weeks ago. It was a business deal, nothing to do with politics. A Russian oligarch, called Ivan Petrov, bought ten vases at a Christies auction last month. They were originally a present from Emperor Nicholas I to his daughter Grand Duchess Olga. Petrov paid two million pounds for them.”

“Two million for ten vases!” said Petersen. “That’s two-hundred grand each.”

“Each vase is 1.5 meters tall and made of fragile porcelain,” explained Cecilia.

“Anyway, Petrov was advised that getting a lawyer, who was also a Member of Parliament, to arrange the packing, handling, shipping and insurance would be a way to cut through the red tape both at UK customs and Russian customs. He was well advised as the vases were delivered safely to Petrov’s palace in St. Petersburg without any problems. Sir Geoffrey was with the shipment throughout the journey­­. In the company of his driver, Michael Contee and the insurance company Managing Director, they watched the vases being packed, guided them through both sets of customs and saw them being unpacked at Petrov’s palace.

He received 10% of the sales price for his trouble.”

“£200,000 for a couple of days work. Not bad,” chipped in Petersen.

“How did you get the information about this Russian deal?” asked Bill.

“He cleared it with the HMRC before-hand to avoid any conflict of interest. It’s public knowledge.”

Cecilia continued. “He was also in Moscow and St. Petersburg a couple of weeks earlier as part of a trade delegation. That was an official visit organized by the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation.”

“Thanks, Cecilia,” said Bill. “Did you come across any threats to Sir Geoffrey from terrorist organizations, or any business deals with countries that harbour terrorists?” 

“No, nothing like that, sir. It seems he always steers clear of anything too controversial.”

“Hawkins, can you give us a quick summary of what you found at the ground. The forensic report won’t be ready for a few days, but tell us what you saw,” asked Bill.

Hawkins opened his notebook and began to read slowly and precisely. 

“After interviewing a few of the fans who stuck around, we ascertained where the shots came from. It was a small storeroom above the stands. A hole was drilled in the wall to accommodate the barrel of the weapon. There was a wooden chair, but more important, there was fresh vomit in a paint can and a soiled paper tissue. I think forensics will have fun with that lot,” said Hawkins.

He continued in his formal manner.

“…and an expensive fountain pen was found on the floor near the door. It looks as if the sniper dropped it in his rush to get out.”

Bill was about to speak when his phone rang. He let it ring, but the caller was persistent. He eventually picked it up. It was the front desk. He yelled, “I told you I wasn’t taking any calls. What do you want?”

“I think you’ll want to hear this, sir,” said the desk sergeant.

“There’s been another murder, and it’s a big one. The Governor of the Bank of England was found stabbed to death at his home in Chiswick.”

2 thoughts on “Chapter 8”

  1. Tuesday, 08 February 2022 20:44

    Starting with the third from the last paragraph "When he opened his eyes, he saw Sir Geoffrey fall. He’d been shot. He looked at his gun. It hadn’t been fired! Someone else had shot Sir Geoffrey."  This is the same as paragraph 2 in chapter 8. There should be a better flow between the end of chapter 7 and the beginning chapter 8. Some redundancy between the end of Chapter 7 and beginning of 8. It doesn't flow logicallly.


  2. Wednesday, 09 February 2022 11:07

    Good point, Lawrence. Now changed. Thanks.