She watched him swallow the morsel, and burp. He explained. ‘I’ve just got back from the Bristol mortuary. Another tom ... this time strangled, and dumped in a ditch off the M5. DNA tests on semen are awaited.’ He paused, made sure she was listening. ‘Indications are that it could be our killer.’
Bloody hell. Just what we don’t want. ‘Are we keeping it under wraps, guv?’
‘That’s the problem. It’s not ours ... yet. Bristol CID are playing the territorial game. They won’t relinquish the case until tests prove conclusive.’
‘No you don’t see.’ He looked at his watch. ‘They’re holding a press conference right now. You can guess what Tania Simpson would make of it.’
‘In some ways, guv, it would help.’
Angers face contorted. ‘How the hell can it help?’
‘Murders take priority, right? We can keep a lid on the HIV situation; it’s not headline news right now.’ She felt a cold draught and shivered.
But God help us if there is an outbreak.
Angers was not impressed. ‘Talking of priorities, the DCS turned down your warrant request. Not important, now that the press are involved. He told me to focus our energies on finding the killer.’
Win some, lose some.
‘Thanks for trying, guv.’
Angers nodded, and then started to rummage around. ‘Ah, here they are,’ he said, pulling out a bag. ‘Toffee?’
She shook her head, and got up to leave. ‘Plays havoc with my teeth, guv.’
He waved her back down. ‘I still want you nosing around Harmony estate. Gilbert’s list of women; interview them. They might give us a lead on the killer.’
Groan. More legwork.
The first woman was a waste of time. She stood on her grimy doorstep, holding the scuffed door ajar, seemingly nervous, constantly looking around; wouldn’t look Jackie in the eye. Told her it was private business.
‘So Gilbert didn’t assault you?’
‘He admitted he had sexual intercourse with you.’
The woman cuddled herself. ‘As I said, it’s private.’
‘Has anyone else tried it on?’
‘No ... no one.’
‘Are you sure?’
‘Yes, I’m sure. Stop harassing me. Leave me alone.’
Jackie gave up. She rummaged in her bag for a card with her contact details. ‘Thank you for your full cooperation. If you ...’
But the woman had stepped back inside, and the door was closed.
By late afternoon, Jackie had eliminated the three “actuals”. Not one woman was willing to implicate Gilbert. Obviously, he posed a bigger threat than her. Not that I blame them, she thought. She just hoped that her warning would stop Gilbert from any more molesting.
She couldn’t breach confidentiality, and tell them about his HIV. Not unless anyone would be willing to press charges. And none did. It was like it had never happened. All she could do with the one who listened was to point out the dangers of HIV, and for her to take a test if she felt ill.
What a fucking sick world.
The four “maybes” weren’t any better. The two she could find weren’t talking either. That left Sonja Borski and Precious Mogwase. Neither had answered their doors, and there was no sound from inside. Jackie had peered through their letter-boxes, but hadn’t seen anyone lurking. She tried the adjoining flats, but the inmates weren’t any help. Two she recognised had criminal records for supplying drugs. “Sorry, none of my business” was the politest response.
So much for community spirit, and neighbourhood watch.
She made a note to follow-it up another day.
Back in the MIR, Reilly came bustling in. He stopped when he saw her. ‘Hey Jackie, how you doing?’
‘Working flat out, so I can get an early night off, maybe.’
Reilly laughed. ‘Work brings freedom.’
She looked up from the pile of files on her desk. ‘Eh?’
‘That graffiti you gave me. “Arbeit Macht Frei” ... remember?’
Jackie tried to recollect. ‘It’s been a long day.’
‘That’s what it means. Work brings freedom. I looked it up on Google. The slogan was placed at the entrance of some Nazi concentration camps, notably Auschwitz. The Libertines recorded a song about it.’
She remembered. ‘Not sprayed across lift doors then?’
‘Bloody clever, though?’ said Reilly, as he wandered off.
‘Very artistic,’ she said to his back. That rang a bell. She dived back into the pile of reports and dug Marty’s back out. The interview with Georgina: she skimmed through it. Danny Boy had told Georgina he had a printing job. Posters.
How had they missed that?