Read about the day that DCI Phil Hounsell meets his new sidekick DS Zara Wheeler in this excerpt from Chapter 8:-
‘Will someone please track down his passport photograph? He holds a British passport; he only got one at the last minute so he could get away to The Gambia with his boss when we were closing in on him over the Gibson girl’s murder. At least it will give us something useful to match against any CCTV images we can come up with.’
Phil Hounsell was warming to his task now; he could feel he had the room with him, there were no heads looking out of a window or staring at the ground, indicating that they thought this was a waste of time.
A young female officer spoke up. She was seated at the back; Phil couldn’t remember her being introduced when they arrived perhaps she had crept in while he was in full swing earlier.
‘It would be useful to get a credible image of this man out to the police authorities immediately surrounding our patch. He won’t be sitting around in the city waiting for us to pick him up. Our role in this investigation could well be all but over.’
Danny saw that Phil was about to explode; he stood up and walked forward to stand shoulder to shoulder with his old boss.
‘We didn’t come all the way up here to pass the ball on to someone else, okay?’ he said, fixing the young woman with a stare, and then looking at each of the other officers in the room ‘This is personal for us. We know this guy. You would all walk by him in the street without a second glance. He’s invisible; which makes him extremely dangerous. Phil Hounsell touched Danny Bevan on the arm, a silent thank you for the support, but also a signal that he was back in control of his emotions and ready to continue. He carried on Danny’s theme.
‘We had our suspicions about the deaths of both of his parents; sloppy police work and Bailey’s cunning and intelligence left us with very little except suspicions. After Sharron Bailey’s death her parents both went off the rails for some time, who wouldn’t? Karen Bailey hit the bottle and her husband was cheating on her with his boss Sue Owens. In 2003 a local councillor started a campaign to clean up the gang culture that was rife in the town and was shot dead by a member of one of the gangs. We believe now that Colin Bailey had some personal grudge against this councillor and when someone else took him out, this was the final straw and nine people were killed inside a couple of hours only a few days later.’
‘We were persuaded to believe at first that it was the two gangs flexing their muscle, but one of the dead men was the doctor who had delivered Sharron Bailey fifteen years previously and had performed a hysterectomy on her mother. Subsequent inquiries by the medical authorities suggest that this doctor was rather too keen to subject patients to the knife and eliminating the possibility of Bailey’s wife ever having any more kids was almost certainly too hasty; knowing what we know now about Colin Bailey’s attitude towards people who have caused him grief, then this doctor was yet another long term target.’
‘Karly Gibson was a young girl who, like many of her generation, was footloose and fancy free. There was no evidence she was particularly promiscuous, but she had friends and boy friends like I have Indian takeaways. She was also pretty much the age his daughter would have been if she had lived. Colin Bailey killed her. We could prove that. She met Bailey in a pub and chatted to him when she felt like it and ignored him once too often. It was as simple as that; I don’t believe he was attracted to her sexually; I reckon she reminded him of Sharron and he would have taken her under his wing like the daughter he had lost.’
‘We were so close to picking him up! He got away by the skin of his teeth and joined his boss in The Gambia. She had sold her home, her business, cashed in everything so they could be tucked up in a safe haven while we were left powerless to react. How much she knew about what Colin Bailey had done, who knows? If she did know and helped him escape then they must have had some incredibly strong bond. What sort of woman could love a stone cold killer like that?’
The room fell silent.
The young female officer spoke again ‘Are you on his radar Sir?’
Phil Hounsell looked at her again. She wasn’t much more than twenty five, maybe five foot five and about seven stones wringing wet. She blinked at him from behind her distinctive red rimmed glasses.
‘I didn’t catch your name, sorry’ he said.
‘Mouse, Sir’ called out Dave Butcher one of the senior members of the local team. Several of the other people in the room laughed. The young girl blushed.
‘DS Zara Wheeler, Sir’ she replied.
‘I’m afraid so Zara’ answered Phil.
‘We had better find this Colin Bailey then, before he finds you’ Zara said, blinking again.
Whet your appetite? ‘Don’t delay; download today.’
I think I’ve got a catchphrase! Should I patent it?