He focused on DCI Hillock. ‘We have the press camped outside the Chief Constable’s door, which he’s not ecstatic about. Our expectations are high, yet we haven’t made an arrest.’ He rapped the table with a metal ruler. ‘Amongst all the evidence we have collated ... the interview reports, the forensics, and our various lines of enquiry ... is the answer.’ He looked up expectantly. ‘Lean on your informants and dig a little deeper; widen your net to clamp down on brothels and detain their punters ... with any luck we’ll find our killer amongst them.’
Jackie switched off during his sermon; it was becoming predictable. Not that a foot of snow would stop Hillock from giving her door to door enquiries.
She became aware that the DCS was looking at her. He had asked a question.
‘Sorry, sir, could you say that again?’
‘DS Steel, for the benefit of those of us who are paying attention, have you found your Danny Boy?’
My Danny Boy?
‘Our enquiries are ongoing, sir. It’s a priority.’
He frowned. ‘That’s a no, then?’
Jackie had been there before. ‘Several known sex offenders have been eliminated. We’re getting nearer to a positive ID.’
He nodded. ‘As I just said, keep up the pressure ... something will break.’
And something did: at 12:08 that morning, to be precise. That's when Albert logged the call on the desk, and passed it on to the MIR. Jackie picked it up on her way back from the coffee machine. At first glance it looked like another routine report from an anonymous do-gooder.
They're always anonymous.
Except she realised with a rush of adrenalin coursing through her veins, this wasn't routine. This could be the breakthrough she’d been waiting for.
Jackie rushed out to accost Albert. She held up the report in front of him.
‘Tell me about this caller.’
Albert shrugged. ‘Wasn’t me; Tony took it.’
Jackie kept her impatience in check. At times, Albert had all the attributes of a plod.
‘Where is he?’
‘Having a lunch-break.’ Albert glanced at the wall clock. ‘He’s due back soon.’
‘Albert, this is important, like in imperative. Can you reel him in? Now; or sooner would be good.’
He gave her an old-fashioned look; the one that older males bestow on young women upstarts. ‘Cool your heels in the interview room. I’ll call him.’
While she waited, she read the report. Her first impression was that the caller was an educated male, possibly elderly. She glanced up when Tony rushed in, looking a bit red-faced.
He belched, and wiped a streak of gravy off his chin. ‘Sorry Sarge.’
Good lunch, then; she felt hungry.
She ignored her empty stomach and waved him to the chair next to her; handed him the report. ‘Talk me through it; any idea who called?’
Tony blinked and screwed up his eyes as if trying to recall the exact conversation. ‘He had an upper-class voice; sounded like he had a plum in his mouth. But he wasn’t going to tell me his name ... I did ask.’
Jackie nodded. ‘That’s the impression I got. It says here … after you identified yourself ... your notation, Tony ...’
“...Listen carefully ... take notes, because I’m only going to say it once. I was apprehended outside 17 Railway Road a few weeks ago by a miscreant called Boyson, who said he was the lady’s minder ... I understood it to be a reference to the lady inside the house. He started to threaten me. I wasn’t going to argue with him; he was being hostile, so I abandoned ship. But last week I saw the police photo-fit at one of my client’s premises. It was him.”
Jackie stabbed her finger at the name. ‘Boyson. Are you sure that’s what he said?’
Tony rubbed his nose; recapped. ‘Bravo, Oscar, Yankee ... yes it was definitely Boyson ... I’m sure of that.’
Danny Boy? Slang name for Daniel Boyson?
‘And that was it. Nothing else?’
‘No Sarge. He said his piece, and rang-off.’
The man with the plum in his mouth. One of Georgina’s punters? Or somebody else? ‘We've got to find him. A positive ID could blow the case wide open.’