Chapter 33 (RITA LE ROUX)
It was nearly ten minutes since his phone conversation with Rita le Roux and a thousand thoughts still ran through his head. There was a light knock on the door and Mae entered. One year later and he still found it hard to believe she’s his wife!
Brownie point Deric Offbach!
‘Did you talk to Rita le Roux? What did she say?’ Mae wanted to know.
’Quite a lot. If her hunch is on the money, we’ve got a big problem.’ Deric said as he gather the notes he made. He planted a soft kiss on her cheek as he brushed passed her, ‘Let’s gather the troops in the incident room.’
Deric made a few bullet points before turning around.
‘Okay,’ he said, this is what Rita le Roux had to say and, might I add, it’s a mouthful.’
Sheffield was in attendance again as he was intrigued by this case. Luckily he hadn’t had to deal with the press on all this. Not yet anyway. However, if it plays out as Brenda Blignaut wanted it to, the press will only know at a later stage. That’s one little light in the darkness of - what is known - as the “Ice-Cream Club”-case.
Deric rely his conversation with Rita le Roux to a stunned audience, ‘So, according to Mrs le Roux,’ he went on, ’any of the remaining three friends who had, up to this point in time an airtight alibi, could’ve done the deed. She thinks one of them returned that night. Although she pointed out that it was only a hunch and that half the male-student population wore the same aftershave at the time; the fact that she was only vaguely aware of the aroma in the chalet, she said she can’t shake the feeling that it was one of the so-called four - or rather three musketeers – seeing that the fourth was exonerated after ten years. She again emphasized the fact that she has NO proof of this. According to her, she even might’ve dreamt or imagined it all. So, either Martin van der Westhuizen-’
‘…As in Doctor Van der Westhuizen?’ Jim said stunned.
‘As in the Doctor, yes, who was at his own admittance stone-cold sober; apparently the only one to have been so. Which make him a very good suspect with, might I add. The three of them had airtight alibis at the time. Ned Dunn died in 1998 – which I presume Brenda Blignaut was aware off – so he can be clearly eliminated, otherwise she wouldn’t have gone to all this trouble. That leaves the Doctor and…hmm…Rodney Gust.’
Sheffield unfurled his arms, ‘You mean as in…?’
Deric nodded his head, ’As in Judge Rodney Gust, otherwise known as the husband of the well-known artist Mirna de Wet.’
‘O.M.G.’ Latisha mimicked her teenage daughter, ‘or as she called him – Gussie!’
’Monty, does that work. I mean, the letters on the so-called “dark side”?’ Mae suddenly asked as she got up.
Tim Monty leaned over his laptop. Deric swore the computer was secretly attached to him by an invisible umbilical-chord.
‘Yes, it does! Actually, both the names can be scrambled with these letters - Ned Dunn as well as Rodney Gust. It certainly does not work with Martin or Van der Westhuizen. However,’ Monty looked perplexed, ’we didn’t have this information before, but now that I think of it…the word “gavel” is a dead giveaway – no pun intended.’
‘What do you mean?’ Danny asked.
’Well, we at first thought it was something to do with the justice Brenda Blignaut was seeking for her daughter – which, of course, is true – it seems now, however, it has a double-sided meaning, given the fact that Rodney Gust is a Judge…’ he let the words hung in the air.
‘O.M.G,’ Latisha let go again, ’how the hell do we warn a Judge that his life might be in danger because of a murder he might’ve committed thirty odd years ago? And how do we obtain his DNA without getting the book thrown at us?’
She was verbalising aloud the thoughts of everyone in the room.
Brooke Sheffield looked at all of them before he answered.
‘I think, at least, have him under surveillance is a start. Discreetly, of course. It won’t be that long if you’re calculations are spot-on. Let it play out a little, see what happens?’ It was more an order then a question, ‘We don’t have to tell a soul about all this until the necessary time, of course. In the meantime, we’ll have to try and sort out this whole mess and check the Judge’s background. I don’t have to add, very, very discreetly -’
’We can do that, Supt, although I think his “afterlife” Deric inverted with his fingers, ‘will be pristine. Without knowing what Brenda Blignaut had planned for him, or who the assassin is going to be, it will be tough to keep him out of harm’s way.’
‘I can understand the predicament, but for now we don’t have a lot of options. Unless we want to stare at each other from behind bars, for contempt or whatever charge, if and when all this surfaced. We’ll keep it under cover for now.’ He gave a nervous laugh.
‘What about Doctor Martin van der Westhuizen?’ Jim wanted to know.
‘Well, there’s no way these letters spell out his name.’ Monty said with certainty.
Let’s keep an eye out for him as well, just for in case.’ Supt Sheffield said as he rubbed his chin, ‘Deric, I’m assigning a few extra guys to you. Let’s come up with a credible story why we want them to keep an eye out for the Judge. That is, without spilling the beans. Can we do that?’
‘Yes, I think so Supt,’ Deric said, ‘we’ll come up with something. In the meantime, we’ll need the DNA in the data-base as soon as possible. I mean for comparison once we have something, or would that be someone, to compare it too. Mae, Monty, that’s something you and Doc Hargraves can see to. We don’t want anything suspicious reaching the Judge’s ears. Nothing coming up on computer screens in any other police-station or even his computer. We don’t know what he’s been up to, up to now. If he is the culprit he sure is keeping an eye out for anything like that, maybe not so regularly as he use to but still…’
‘Yeah, keep it under wraps until such time we can prove what the dirty, rotten scoundrel had done… sitting there like Zeus…’ Latisha was in her stride again.
‘Okay, okay, Sgt Jacobs,’ Sheffield held his hand up like a stop-sign, ‘let’s not jump to conclusions. Just look what happened to Burger Steenkamp, or rather Le Roux, by jumping to conclusions. Just look at the Tsunami it already created the last thirty-five years. All the people who died because of one incident.’
‘Not incident, murder!’ Latisha said vehemently.
’Brenda Blignaut must’ve really hated this guy’s guts! I wonder how long she was walking around with this knowledge – I mean about him specifically. Knowing who killed her daughter and had to keep it to herself. Well, she’d bloody well wanted to make sure others knew, that’s why she’s so forthcoming with all this info - killing-spree and all!’ Jim said deep in thought.
‘Can you blame her?’ Monty said softly.
They all stared for a few minutes at nothing before Deric brought them back with a, ‘Right then, people, so let’s come up with a cover-story for the guys who’d to do the stake-outs.’
‘Threats against a live is usually the easiest, and it stays close to the truth.’ Danny said.
‘We’ll go with that. Danny, you and Monty work out the details,’ Deric said, ‘Latisha, see what you can found out about the Judge – discreetly. Mae, you and I are going to see Doc Hargraves.’