Friday: 8:10 am

Bill sensed excitement as he walked through to his office in Scotland Yard. Everyone seemed in a good mood, which wasn't usual for an early Friday morning. Before going to his office, he asked Sergeant Hawkins if the forensic report from the Bistro Killing had arrived.

"Not yet, I’ll give them a call if you like," he said.

"No, I’ll call them. It’s supposed to be a rush job," said Bill.

"You’d better let me do it, sir," said Hawkins. "The Chief said that he needs to see you urgently — as soon as you came in."

Bill was anxious to read the forensic report, but knew he shouldn't keep his boss waiting. However, he couldn’t resist his customary cup of strong coffee before he went to Chief Superintendent Barrington's office.

"Ah, Bill, a bit late this morning; traffic problems?" Asked Barrington as he motioned for Bill to take a seat.

"The Kings Road was chock-a-block, I think I'll start walking in," said Bill.

“You’ll have to get up an hour earlier if you are going to walk in from Chelsea. It’s not going to happen, Bill,” said Barrington.

Bill was thinking — “The one day I'm late, he wants to see me first thing.” He quickly changed the subject.

"What do you want to see me about, Tom?"

"I need to go over the schedule for tomorrow's ceremony. We don't want any cock-ups, it's going to be live on TV," said Barrington.

"What ceremony is that, Tom?" Asked Bill.

"For God's sake, Bill, sometimes I think you're getting senile! DC O'Brian is getting his medal at Stamford Bridge tomorrow."

"Yeh, I know, just kidding," lied Bill, who had completely forgotten about the ceremony. He had more important things on his mind.

There was to be a special ceremony to award the Queen's Gallantry Medal to DC Dermot O'Brian. A couple of months earlier O'Brian was on duty at Chelsea’s home game against their London rivals, Arsenal. In the midst of thousands of fans, he spotted two suspicious looking characters entering. He couldn’t quite say what had made him curious but he followed them into the ground. The game had already started and most of the tardy fans were rushing to their seats, but these two made straight for the toilets.

O’Brian followed and watched them both go into the same stall. He tiptoed into the adjoining stall, stood on the toilet and peered over the partition. He was not surprised to see both the men handling what he could see was an explosive device.

O’Brian accidentally set off the automatic flush. One of the men looked up, spotted O’Brian and quickly drew a gun from his jacket. He fired through the wooden partition, shattering O’Brian’s kneecap. He fell to the floor, and in spite of the pain, pushed open the stall door and called for help.

Three burly Chelsea supporters, who luckily happened to be members of the Army Reserve, saw what was happening and enthusiastically overcame the two terrorists. No one really got hurt, other than a few missing terrorist teeth and a couple of black eyes, but poor O’Brian would be left with a limp for the rest of his life.

In recognition of his act of bravery O’Brian was to be awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal by the Metropolitan Police. The owner of Chelsea Football Club had asked the local MP if he would be kind enough to come to a future match and present the medal at half time. Sir Geoffrey Fender had no hesitation in accepting the invitation as he was an avid Chelsea fan and he thought he would probably also get to meet some of the players, not to mention the favourable press coverage.

"This ceremony has to go smoothly," repeated Barrington. "There are going to be 42,000 screaming fans at the ground, and I don't know how many millions watching on TV. It’s our responsibility to make sure that Sir Geoffrey will be safe at the ceremony."

Barrington passed a couple of sheets of paper to Bill.

"Here's the schedule for tomorrow and some plans of the ground. The game starts at three o’clock, which means that half-time will be about ten to four. They've allowed us ten minutes for the ceremony, so it’s a good thing that old Sir Geoff has agreed not to make a speech. He’ll just award the medal. I'll be up there on the platform with Sir Geoff and the Chelsea big wigs. I know it’s not really your thing, but I’d like you to be there to help make sure that nothing goes wrong."

Bill wasn't happy about having to go to the ceremony. He had planned a quiet afternoon at home with his feet up, sipping a glass of Chardonnay, listening to jazz and puzzling over the Daily Telegraph cryptic crossword. He may have watched the half-time ceremony on TV but had no interest in football. Rugby was his game.

“Counter Terrorism Command is taking care of the security arrangements. They’re doubling up on our usual street patrols around the ground and putting special officers in the crowd in case of trouble. They’ll be doing a last minute search with sniffer dogs before the gates open,” said Barrington.

“How is Sir Geoffrey getting to the ground?” asked Bill.

“He’ll be driven to the ground in his own car, but CTC will be discreetly following with armed officers. We’ll leave nothing to chance,” said Barrington.

“I’m going to let you into a secret, Bill, I just heard about it yesterday. When Abromovitch bought the club he negotiated with the owners of the ground to have a secret tunnel created which leads directly to his private box and to the V.I.P. lounge. It has a concealed entrance in a terraced house that he bought next to the ground. They’ll be using that to get Sir Geoffrey in and out without any risk from hooligans. We’ve got everything covered,” said the Chief Superintendent.

Bill thought he’d better sound interested. “Our intelligence team reports zero risk from terrorists, if you can believe that. I always say there’s some risk everywhere from those bastards these days, but intelligence says there’s no chatter about the football match.”

He went on, “I don’t get involved too much in politics but from what I’ve heard this Geoffrey Fender bloke seems to be doing more good than harm, so they think risk is minimal.”

“Well, CTC know their job, Bill, and as long as we’ve done ours,
I’m happy,” said Barrington.

Bill knew he couldn't get out of it, so he tried to sound positive. "Okay, Tom, what time do you want me at the ground?"

"We will be getting there well before kick-off. Why don't you come with us. You won't have to worry about parking and I'll introduce you to Sir Geoffrey," answered Barrington.

"I've met him once before, but I doubt if he'll remember me. It was a few years ago when his law firm was defending that Irish villain, Nobby Nolan. I think he got five years so it shouldn't be too long before we'll be running into him again."

"Alright, enough reminiscing, I've got a lot to do," said Barrington.

Bill took the hint. "See you tomorrow," and made his way to the door.

"Oh, before you leave," said Barrington, "how's the Bistro killing investigation going?"

"The preliminary forensic report is not in yet. It looks like a gang killing though. Hardly a crime of passion at seven in the morning! Judging by the way he was stabbed I’m pretty sure we’re dealing with a professional. One stab wound directly into the lung to stop him from squealing and the next into the throat with the precision of a bloody surgeon! This bugger was no amateur. I’ll give forensics a call and update you when I see you tomorrow,” Bill said as he walked out.

When he got back to his desk, Bill racked his brains trying to think where he had heard the proverb:

“To the living we owe respect, but to the dead we owe only the truth.” It didn’t come to him.

He saw that there was a stack of fax sheets on his desk. It was the preliminary report from Forensics.

”Autopsy” is derived from the Greek word autopsia meaning “to see with one’s own eyes” and the description of the stab wounds inflicted on the victim brought the whole crime scene back to him. Bill felt as though he was in the bistro men’s room again, looking at the lifeless body.

“Poor bugger,” he muttered to himself.

He picked up the report and started to read. The report was written in technical jargon, including angles of incision for both stab wounds but it added little to what he already knew about the of cause of death. The victim had been attacked from behind and by a right-handed assailant who would have had to have been at least six feet tall to be able to pass his hand, holding the weapon, over and around the victim.

“That’s narrowed it down a bit!” he thought to himself. “Let’s see what else we have.”

Standard procedure had included examining and looking for a long list of items, and Bill had to make sure that nothing was overlooked. He read the report very carefully so as not to miss anything. Nothing jumped out at him.

As an experienced detective, Bill knew that someone close to the victim carried out the majority of murders, but he was pretty sure that it wasn’t the case here. This was no crime of passion carried out by a jealous partner who had discovered an “indiscretion,” although he could not absolutely rule out a more cunning partner who might hire a paid killer. Somehow this didn’t have that kind of ring to it. He had a strong suspicion that that the victim was the subject of revenge over a business deal that may have gone wrong or a scam that the victim may have pulled.

He ordered a full-scale enquiry into the victim’s business affairs.

2 thoughts on “Chapter 5”

  1. Saturday, 12 February 2022 02:47

    DC O'Brian is getting his medal - doesn't need a new paragraph.

    One of the men looked up, spotted O'Brian and... Gives it more urgency than with two "and" s

    Spelling of discreetly. 

    Bill took the hint. "See you tomorrow 



  2. Monday, 14 February 2022 10:58

    Many thanks for the great proofreading, Carrie. The changes have been made.