Looking For The Van
DCI John Clews had his coffee, two boiled eggs on toast with brown sauce and left his house after shouting goodbye to his wife at 7.30 on the dot as usual. He jumped into his Black Jaguar XE R-Sport and pulled off the drive slowly to go and meet up with PC Jack Ashton at the office in the town centre.
He parked his car in the car-park under the police building and made his way up the stairs to the office, nodding to a few people on his way. As he was pulling the seat out from under his desk to sit down, PC Ashton walked into the room.
“Morning Gov!” he shouted hanging his coat on the hook by his desk. Jack took his fags and lighter out of his pocket and placed them on the desk by the phone then collected some paperwork and walked over to John as some other people started to enter the office.
“We had some good news earlier!” John looked up. “They found a hair in the plastic bag that was wrapped around the dead body in the boot. It belongs to Johnson Wilson. We have his D&A on record from the Winston Miller murder in Manchester a few years ago; he was involved though we couldn’t pin anything on him.”
“Ok, do we know where he is now?”
Don’t know yet John, this only came through 15 minutes ago and I’ve just been outside for a fag.”
“Ok, well find him and let me know. At some point, we need to go up to Liverpool, and pay him a visit.”
“Oh, and last night I was informed by a reliable source, that the reason the thumb was cut off the dead body is that he is, or was, a member of an elite group or secret association that deliver things by hand around the country.”
“What kind of things?” John said leaning back in his chair.
“I would imagine money and drugs John, and the thumb probably had a ring on it or a tattoo. They obviously couldn’t get it off so they removed the thumb.
“Good work Jack!”
“One more thing, the red paint on the BMW, came off a ford according to the lab. We were told it was a large van so it would have to be a transit. One eyewitness got part of the registration number ending DKR.”
“My word, Jack you have been busy. Ask Jane to look-up the registration on the transit!”
John leaned forward and clicked on to his computer and sat waiting for it to load up.
“Jack, we know the dead body was Gary Thomson, do we have a more on him?
“Yes Gov, he was known to be part of this group in the London area. He lived in a place called Snodland apparently.”
“Where did you say?”
“Snodland, it is south-east London, the Maidstone area!”
“Oh Ok, get in touch with the police down there, see what they have come up with.
“Yes, will do, Gov.”
“Do we know how he died?”
I don’t believe we do John, I’ll find that out as well!”
John typed his password into the computer and waited again as his Mobile phone rang. “Clews...!” “Oh hi, Sandra you Ok love…?” “I don’t know, I’m just waiting for my computer to load, I’ll have a look and let you know later…!” “While you are on the phone, do we have anything on a woman called Samantha Sullivan lives in Solihull…?” “Thank you, I will look forward to it!” John put the phone down and went through his messages on his computer and read each one in turn. John clicked on a DNA report giving him some information on another case he was working on a couple of days ago.
While he was reading the report his phone rang. “Clews…!” “Ok Sandra thanks anyway love. Oh, and Sandra can you get me James’s phone records please…?” “Thanks.”
When he finished reading the report he clicked on to the one that Sandra told him about. John read it, added a few words of his own, saved it and while it was loading he walked across the room.
“Jack, where’s Richard?”
“Over there Gov.,” he said pointing.
“Are Richard, has anyone interviewed Mrs Sloan, the woman that was kidnapped, do you know?”
“I don’t know Gov; I can call Merseyside police and ask them for you!”
“We need to know where she was held and if she saw anyone’s face apart from the gang members that were arrested in the courtroom on Tuesday. Tell them to find some mug shots of the gang members. Oh and send them a picture of James to add to them. She might recognise him!”
John got himself a coffee from the machine and bumped into Jane.
“No good on the registration mark DKR. The only thing close is a blue transit.”
“Well get someone to check it out and make sure it hasn’t been re-sprayed. Oh and try DKP!”
“Sorry!” Jane said with a frown.
“At a quick glance, it could be an R or a P!”
“Ok Gov,” she said as she turned and walked away.
John went back to his desk with his coffee and sat looking at the screen again. After about 10 minutes Jane walked over. “Well done Gov, 12 transits in total, 4 are red. I’ve narrowed it down to two. HN 12 DKP registered in Portsmouth owner lives in Dorset, and VW 15 DKP was registered in Severn Valley Worcester. Owner Rodger Webb lives in Liverpool.”
“Ok, check out the body repair garages in those areas first.”
“Oh, and Jane, inform the local police stations to keep a lookout for it. Tell them to inform us of any sightings and to keep it on the QT for the time being.”
“CAN’T FIND ANYTHING ON JOHNSON GOV!” Jack shouted across the room.
John looked up and called him over with his finger as he sipped his coffee pulling a funny face. “I thought we were having a new coffee machine. This is bloody awful!” John said as he placed it on his desk and wiped his mouth with his hankie.
“The address on his licence was knocked down a year ago. He’s not on any electoral register and no bank account in that name. It’s as if he doesn’t exist, Gov!”
“Ok keep looking!”
“Oh the man in the boot had his equipment chopped off John, apparently he bled to death.”
“I wonder who he was playing around with.”
As Jack walked away, John sat looking around the room at everyone working on the case. Some of his team were talking to each other and looking at photos, some were on the phone or their computer. The room was alive, like a London shopping centre. Everyone was trying to get results as quickly as they could.
John stood up and walked through the desks again. “What was the name of the woman that worked for James in the shop?”
Jacks head dropped and looked at the floor. “Sandra, no it was Susan, Susan Stratton John.”
“Can you send her an e-mail or better still talk to her on the phone? Ask her if she knows why James had no cameras or photographic equipment in his car when he was travelling back from Liverpool.
Jack looked back at his screen for more information as John walked back to his desk. Then Jane appeared with a piece of paper in her hand. “I sent an e-mail out to all the local garages in and around Liverpool Gov. One came back with damage down the side and black paint.”
John looked up “Oh good, a result!”
“Yeah, I thought we got lucky too. But it was the wrong side and it was a Renault and not a Ford can you believe?” Jane walked off shaking her head.
Then Jack appeared again. “Just spoke to Susan Gov. She doesn’t know anything; she was told by James to shut the shop for a few days on Sunday, he told her he was going away for a while.”
“Phone Samantha and ask her if she knew that he was off for a few days.”
“I have Gov. She didn’t know. They had been arguing and they weren’t talking to each other. But he has done it a few times before with his job, so it’s not unusual!”
All of a sudden there was a loud cry.
“FOUND THE VAN GOV!” The room went quiet. “A red van has been spotted at the bottom of a cliff in Llandudno by the lighthouse on Marine drive. It appears to have been driven through a small wall and whoever tried to get it into the sea. VW 15 DKP Gov. Owner reported it stolen Wednesday at 5.20 pm. He said it was gone when he got home from work.”
“That was Convenient!” John said, looking at his coffee with another strange face and throwing it in the bin.
“The van is a being recovered as we speak Gov!”
“Right its now 12.15,” John said looking at the clock on the wall. “I need to know the destination of the van when it’s recovered, the owners address and I need to talk with Johnson! Do we have his whereabouts yet Jack?
“OK give that job to someone else, we are going up to Liverpool now!”
John collected some bits from his desk and Jack grabbed his cigarettes, lighter and coat.
“Right gang, we are going up to Liverpool. Keep me informed of any new developments and thank you for your hard work this morning. You have all done extremely well!”
They hurried down into the car-park and got into John’s car and drove up to Liverpool talking about the case as they drove along the motorways. The office sent Jack some messages on his phone and information they needed.
When they eventually arrived in Liverpool, John drove to the garage first so they could examine the van.
They parked the car and walked across the forecourt looking for someone that worked there. A man in a blue overall walked past them. “Hi, this is PC Ashton and I’m DCI Clews, we are looking for a red transit van you towed in earlier?” The man pointed to the compound on the side of the garage.
“Thank you, you have been most helpful!” John sarcastically said as the man walked off with his middle finger in the air.
They walked past the garage and saw the van standing alone against a wall. As they approached it they noticed the damage on the driver’s side with black paint and scrapes.
“Looking at the other damage on the van John, It’s a wonder it didn’t burst into flames when it went through the wall and down the cliffs towards the sea!”
John looked at Jack. “It’s diesel, the only diesel vehicles that burst into flames are on the movies, Jack.”
He smiled. “That’s true Gov!”
John peered through the driver door window. “Can you get someone from forensic to come out as soon as possible? They need to go all over the van!”
Jack walked away to make a call and John carried on looking at the van. The first thing he noticed was the keys were still in the ignition, no windows were broken and no visible damage to the doors or locks.
“Can I help you mate?” someone shouted.
As John looked up another man was marching towards him. John reached into his pocket for his ID badge and held it up. “I’m DCI Clews and my colleague over there is PC Ashton!”
“Oh that’s ok, I was told not to touch the van!”
“No that right, we are calling for forensic now to come over straight away!”
“It must be serious then if you got S O C O coming!” The man said.
“Yes, it was involved in a hit and run!”
“I’ll leave you to it then!” With that, he walked off as Jack came back. “They are on there way Gov!”
John Carried on looking around as a grey van pulled up.
A man got out with a black case. “You must be DCI Clews?” He said walking towards John.
“That was quick! You must have been down the road!”
“Yes, I was, I had a call from your office earlier; I was already on the way when PC Ashton just called.”
“Well nice to meet you!” John said holding his hand out. “This is PC Ashton!” As they shook hands he said, “I am Simon Ralphs from the Forensics team! So this was involved in a hit and run was it?” He said walking around the van. John pointed at the black paint. “We need to know the manufacturer of the vehicle that black paint is from mainly.”
“Ok, I will take samples off the red and the black paint and let you guys know later today. I assume you have a sample of the red paint from the other vehicle that was involved in the accident?” John nodded. “Yes, we have.”
“Ok, leave it to me.”
They swopped cards with each other and they left him to it.
They got back in the car and made there way over to the address they were given, for the owner. They found the house and sat outside looking at it for a while.
“Shall I knock the door; see if he is in there Gov?”
“No, no not yet, I’m looking for something.”
PC Ashton looked around the inside of the car. “Can I help?” Jack asked.
John looked through the screen “I don’t know what it is, but I’m still looking for it.”
Jack nodded a few times and sat quietly.
“Are there it is!” John said pointing. John reached for the card he had just been given. “Call Simon and ask him to find out all he can on the piece of wood they used to wedge the throttle open. It’s lying on the floor in the front of the van.”
Jack took his phone out as John sat looking around. Then all of a sudden the next door neighbour’s front door opened. A scruffy unshaven long-haired man walked out and along the path towards the road. “Stay in here Jack!” he said, and then John jumped out of the car. “Excuse me?” The man stopped and turned around to face John. The stench of Alcohol and Filth from the man was awful. “I’m looking for Roger?” John asked, leaning away from him.
The man was trying to focus on John with one eye closed. Then he and said with an Irish accent, “Oh you mean Webby, He lives dere!” Then he pointed to the house next to his.
“Have you seen him lately?”
“Yesterday, why, what’s he done now?”
“Does he work?”
“He goes out a lot but I don’t know where. Why?”
“I was just wondering, I need to talk to him.”
“I know he’s not in the house, he is up da hospital.”
“How do you know that?”
“I talked to him yesterday. He tinks he has broken ribs.
“How did he break his ribs?”
“I don’t know.”
“Does he have a red van?”
“Yes, the friggin thing is always parked here!” The man pointed to the floor.
“Was it here Wednesday?”
“Yes, I saw it bout 6, when I was on my way to da pub.”
“Was it there when you came back?”
“I don’t know! For fuck sake mate, I was pissed!”
“Was there anything different about it did you see?”
“Yes, it was smashed in da side. Mind you, he drove off in it to go to da hospital yesterday, and I haven’t seen him or da van since. I assumed they kept him in for observation!”
“The Royal, Prescott Street.”
“Thanks for your help,” John said, as he walked away.
John went back to the car and got in. Jack threw his cigarette into the gutter standing by the side of the car and as he opened the door, John said, “Put a piece of that wood from the broken fence in a bag will you and photograph the bit that’s missing first for me please Jack.”
As he closed the door, John sat looking around again.
A couple of minutes past and Jack came back and got in the car and placed the sealed plastic bag with the wood inside by his feet.
“The van was here Wednesday night and was driven away yesterday with damage all over the driver’s side,” John said to Jack.
“So it wasn’t stolen Wednesday teatime as he reported, John!”
It was quiet for a few seconds. “Shall we go in? It sounds like we got him Gov!”
“He isn’t in the house apparently.”
Just then, John’s phone rang. “Clews…!” “Hi Richard, What you got for me…?” “A small caravan, did you say…?” “Who fed her…?” “And she didn’t see their face at all…?” “Any tattoos in particular…?” “Did you say a web on his elbow…?” “As in spiders’ web…?” “Ok thanks Richard, good work!”
John closed his phone, started the engine and pulled away and drove to the hospital. He parked the car went in and found the reception. John held his Badge up to the window and said: “Excuse me, love, can you tell me what ward Roger Webb is on please?” The receptionist looked on her computer and said: “He isn’t in a ward as such; he is in outpatients according to my records!”
“So where do we go love?” John asked.
The receptionist gave them directions and as they made their way to the room. John stopped by the entrance and grabbed Jacks arm. “Hold on a minute!” he said quietly. John quickly glanced in the room and saw a man sitting there in a vest with cuts and bruises to his face holding his ribs. John noticed he also had tattoos all the way up his arms. Walking away from Jack a short distance, John phoned the office and told them to phone the local police station for back up. Then he said and tell them to wait by the main entrance. As he walked back to Jack, John whispered: “Sit on his left side!” They walked up to him and sat down. The man looked up at each one in turn.
“Roger Webb?” John asked.
“Yes, are you doctors?”
“No, this is PC Ashton and I’m DCI Clews. We would like a word about your van!”
“Are yes it was stolen Wednesday when I got home from work.”
“Can we go down the station to talk about it?”
“I’m just waiting to go going back in; I have had some x-rays done of my ribs. Can I meet you at my house after?” he said.
John looked at him shaking his head “No. I am arresting you for the murder of James Becket and Margret Pearson!”
“Jack was surprised; John hadn’t asked him a question about the incident.
The man stood up quickly and tried to climb over the chairs as they grabbed him and throw him to the floor. He screamed in agony as he hit the ground. “MY FUCKING RIBS ARE BROKEN YOU BASTARDS!” he shouted.
Jack put the handcuffs on him as John read him his rights and they sat him back on a chair. “Keep your eye on him while I find a doctor!” John walked off and asked a nurse if he could talk to a doctor and when the doctor came over, John explained what had happened and asked the doctor if his ribs were broken. The doctor had a look at his x-rays on the screen and said no they were not. John thanked the doctor and nurse for there help and he returned to Jack.
They lifted him out the seat and holding him by the arms they marched him along the corridors towards the front entrance. As they walked through the reception area everyone was looking and staring at him.
“You had a good look Granny!” he shouted to one lady.
As the doors opened John looked up “Hello lads!” John said as the two police constables walked towards him. “I am DCI Clews and this PC Ashton!” As they took hold of the man, John said, this is Roger Webb. He has been charged with the murder of James Becket and Margret Pearson on the M42 on Wednesday just gone.
The two police constables carefully placed him in the back of their car then John said: “PC Ashton will come with you and I will follow and see you at the station.” With that, they pulled away.
John arrived and parked his car on the front shortly after and made his way into the station where he met up with Jack again. John explained to the DCS that he wanted Roger Webb held in a cell and they would be back on Monday to interview him.
After all the paperwork was done John and Jack left and made their way home.
On the way back down the motorway, John told Jack to phone the office and tell them we got the van driver.
Jack put his phone on loudspeaker and as he told them, John and Jack smiled when they heard a loud cheer.
Did you enjoy my ongoing story so far? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Vaughan WilliamsWrite a Review