Helga cut around the scalp and peeled off Candice’s face, making comments into her Dictaphone as she went. She gave a lurid description of broken bones and lacerations, all carefully measured and detailed by her assistant. Severe trauma to the brain was the primary cause of death. Next, the body was slit open from neck to navel; internal organs, all weighed and packed. Severe bruising and some internal bleeding following sexual intercourse, but no trauma. Samples of blood underneath fingernails, and semen collected for DNA testing.
Helga let her assistant sew up the body, and make Candice presentable for viewing. Helga seemed to acknowledge the attending police officers. ‘Any questions?’
DCS Adam Forsyth was first off the blocks.
‘You told us a blunt instrument was used to batter her brains in. Any guess on what it might be?’
Helga folded her arms across her chest.
‘I don’t do battered brains, and I don’t do guesses.’ She held up a hand to stop the DCS from interrupting. ‘What I said was ... her brain suffered severe trauma from a blunt instrument. Hopefully the lab tests will shed some light on what this could be.’
DCI Angers removed his mask and flung in a curve-ball.
‘When would you know?’
Helga drew herself up to her full six feet one; more if she was wearing high heels. Intimidates men, she had told Jackie.
‘Don’t worry Inspector, you’ll be the first to hear,’ she replied, an acid tone to her voice. ‘Maybe tomorrow. Is that soon enough?’
Angers shut his mouth. Jackie sensed he wasn’t going to ruffle her with the DCS there.
‘Well if there are no more questions, I am sure we’re all busy people.’
Jackie spent the rest of the morning back at the nick writing up her notes from the previous night between visits from DCI Angers, who wanted a progress report on her interview with Carol – he was disappointed to learn that Councillor Winterbotham had not been fingered.
The DCS was particular for punctual reporting. Especially as there was a hastily arranged press conference at lunchtime. Candice’s HIV blood test was negative, that was one relief. DC James came in with regular cups of tea, and padded around her as if waiting for a biscuit, but she ignored him.
The incident file was now a couple of inches thick. She leafed through to last night entries, searching for Marty’s statement. There it was; a brief note hand-written, and signed by him and DCI Angers. She read it. He’d caught Candice in a honey trap the same night that Jackie trod DC James’ head in to the dirt. He only knew Candice by her first name and didn’t know if she had a partner or family. He warned her, then gave his number; told her to call him when she met a punter. But she never did.
Jackie stopped reading.
She went back over the site transcript. No personal effects were located there.
Then another thought came into her head. What if Candice had met a punter? Her killer? What if she had called Marty?
Too many “what ifs”. She had to share her concerns, and find out. Even if it meant flouting procedure and obtaining a network transcribe on Marty’s phone calls.
And she knew just who to ask.