Fletcher finally pulled up outside the entrance of the mortuary hospital where Robert stood. Addison noticed that he was stubbing out another cigarette butt on the ground and then shoving his hands into his trouser pockets.
“Why does he do that?” Addison started. “There is a bin right next to him,” Fletcher laughed as they both got out of the car.
“What took you so long? And don’t even comment on my fag butt kid.” Robert said. Addison raised an eyebrow but kept her mouth shut. Fletcher went inside with Robert while Addison tagged along from behind. They passed through the silver entrance doors and by the reception desk. No one was there so they continued down the corridor.
Addison watched as Fletcher and Robert engage in an animated conversation. Fletcher had to duck his head down after each door frame. He was taller than Robert, Addison hadn’t noticed that until now. Fletcher was filling Robert in with all the information they had gathered from Mandy Phillips and the children. Robert glanced back at Addison of the mention of the children, she hadn’t asked or informed him of their plans, and she was now wondering if she should have told him.
They arrived at the mortuary examination room. Fletcher opened the door and Robert entered first, Addison waited for Fletcher to enter, but he didn’t.
“Ladies first,” Fletcher gave her a cheeky wink. She smiled and entered the cold room. The shape of a body was laying on the large metal table, covered by a white sheet. Robert strolled around the table, peeping under the sheet. The smell was strong. Addison tried to fight back the heave that was bubbling in the back of her throat. Fletcher noticed and handed her one of his strong minty chewing gums. She took it and shoved it into her mouth. The mint overpowered the smell which settled her gag reflexing stomach.
An older man entered the room with a clipboard in his hands. The big round glasses sat on the tip of his nose while he studied the paperwork on his clipboard.
“I see you have a new partner, Robert.” He said. He put the board down beside the covered body and pushed his glasses up with his index finger. Robert watched the little old man move towards Addison who was stood at the back of the room. He put his hand out to her. “I’m sorry I didn’t get to formally introduce myself at the scene, I was a little pre-occupied. I’m Dr Charlie Richards, don’t hesitate to ask any questions.”
“Yes sir, I’m DS Addison Scott. Pleased to meet you.” She shook his hand.
“Charlie, get on with it.” Robert said. Fletcher went and stood next to Addison.
“Charlie has been doing our murder cases for years, the old bastard refuses to retire. But he’s one of the best at his job,” Fletcher laughed. She nodded and moved forward along with Fletcher, standing in front of the covered body. Charlie picked up the clipboard and placed himself next to Robert.
“Wendy Willis is her married name. Phillips is her maiden name, born 23rd March 1975.” Charlie told them. He pushed his glasses back up as he carried on looking through her file. “Female, obviously, she’s white and was born in Hertfordshire.” He put the clipboard back down, rolled the sheet and stopped at the body’s shoulders. “There is something that may shock you, but we will come to that in a few minutes,” Charlie mentioned, as he glanced at Addison.
“She’s a healthy woman, kept herself in shape, she has no tattoos. She used different chemicals on her skin to keep it looking young. Her last meal was…” He glanced down at the clipboard and lifted a bit of paper. “Lasagne, probably what they had for dinner with her children.”
Charlie Richards was talking rather fast as Addison struggled to keep up with him. Robert and Fletcher were both nodding their heads along with the elderly man, understanding everything he was saying to them.
“Come, look,” he waved them closer and they all leaned in. Addison held her breath as she leaned in over the dead body to see where Charlie was pointing. “Your girl was injected with something, here, there is a puncture wound just on the nape of her neck. The killer put her to sleep, that’s why the children didn’t hear any screaming because there wasn’t any.” Charlie explained. Addison moved away as the other two stayed close. She watched from behind, chewing on her gum rapidly. She even got a sneering look from Robert.
“We are still waiting for the toxicology results to come back. As soon as they do, I’ll get them sent to you as soon as possible.”
Charlie rolled the sheet down, setting it on the body’s belly. There was a large stab wound in the middle of her chest.
“She died instantly. One stab to the heart. To the killer, this was easy. There doesn’t seem to be any signs of sexual activity. The stab wound was done by a 10-inch knife, most likely a carving knife.” Charlie explained.
“So, he injected her in the neck and then stabbed her in the heart?” Addison questioned.
“Yeah, the killer wanted to get this over and done with. There are no defense wounds, no fighting back, just cutting to the chase.” Charlie told her.
“That’s quite a boring kill, no torture or rape?” Addison said. Everyone stopped and looked at her. Her hands were behind her back as she started to stroke the scar on her wrist, but nobody could see her doing it.
“We haven’t finished yet. The fun part comes next.” Charlie said. Addison stayed quiet as Charlie rolled the sheet down past her knees. Addison gasped.
Robert moved closer to look. Fletcher turned away cursing under his breath. Addison moved closer to see the word ‘shh’ carved into the stomach of Wendy Willis.
“Did the children see this?” Addison asked. Robert moved around the table and grabbed a magnifying glass to inspect the carving as Addison watched from behind. Fletcher stepped towards the body to have a look. The tissue of the stomach was ripped, and dry blood crusted around the wounds. The marks were horrendous, it wasn’t a clean cut, very unprofessional.
“Do you think they knew?” Fletcher asked. Addison shrugged her shoulders. Robert put the glass down and straightened his jacket. He glanced over to Addison who was still looking closely at the wounds.
“Do you know roughly what time she died? If she died instantly, could there be an accurate time?” She asked. She looked up to see Robert studying her. She ignored him and turned her attention to Charlie.
“Time of death is between 9.15pm and 9.45pm.” Charlie said.
“Do you know if this was carved into her stomach before or after she was stabbed in the heart?” Addison asked. She watched as Charlie started to stroke the white goatee around his chin. “Because it would explain the injection in her neck, she would have still been alive when he did this.” Addison threw in her theories as she circled the table. Charlie followed her as she glanced at the puncture wound again, taking the magnifying glass for a close look.
“You are right detective, she was alive when that happened to her.” Charlie admitted. He turned to Robert and gave him a little nod.
“It would have seemed odd to inject her with something to put her to sleep and then stab her, which killed her instantly.” Addison voiced her thoughts. “But what was the motive behind his method?” Addison questioned.
“The key is the children.” Robert said.
“But what does the killer have against the children?” Addison asked. She directed her question at Fletcher as Robert ignored her and left the room. He shrugged his shoulders and followed Robert. “Would you mind sending me that full report as soon as possible?” She asked Charlie.
“Of course, my dear,” Charlie smiled and covered up Wendy with the white sheet. Addison left the room and hurried after Robert and Fletcher. They were both standing outside waiting for her. She saw Robert was smoking another cigarette. They were engaged in a serious conversation until she turned up, they went silent, it made her think it was about her, no doubt. Robert was probably checking up on her, making sure she wasn’t doing anything she shouldn’t be. She hoped Fletcher was telling him good things.
“I want you to go to Wendy’s work, find out who she was close to, who she wasn’t close to, I want you to find her ex-husbands, both. I want to know if the father sees his children often.” Robert started as he stomped out his cigarette butt.
“What about you?” She asked.
“I’ll be going down to forensics to see what they have for me.” He told her.
“Fine. Come on Fletcher, let’s go.” She headed towards his car and he followed behind her. Robert stood with his hands in his trouser pockets while he watched them get into the car.
“Why does he have to be like that? He treats me like a child.” Addison said as soon as she closed the car door. She placed her seat belt around her and glanced into the rear-view mirror. She watched Robert walk over to a motorcycle which she assumed was his own. He removed his navy-blue blazer jacket and replaced it with a black leather one. He straddled the bike and roared the engine.
Fletcher reversed out of the parking space and she couldn’t see Robert in the mirror anymore. Fletcher watched her from the corner of his eye.
“Do you like him now because he rides a bike?” Fletcher teased.
“What, no, don’t be silly? I’m trying to figure out what type of guy he is. He’s so moody all the time.” Addison sunk into her seat.
“You will never figure him out. I’ve worked with him for three years and I still can’t figure him out.”
“You’ve known him for a bit then, is he like this all the time? Did he ever have a partner he liked?”
“He’s a stubborn bastard, I’ll give you that.” Fletcher laughed. His attitude suddenly changed. “He did have a partner, she was a newbie like you.” He mentioned. Addison saw that his grip on the steering wheel tightened.
“Where is she now?”
“She died, almost a year now. She was killed in the line of duty. Robert blamed himself for it and have done ever since.”
Addison didn’t say anything else. She didn’t want to get into something that would make her feel lonely. Robert didn’t want her because of what happened to his old partner. “Her name was Leonie Collins,” Fletcher mentioned.
“Were you close? With Leonie, I mean?”
“We were dating.”
“She fell in love with Robert. She told me she didn’t want to see me anymore.”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“I had noticed a bit of tension between you and Robert.”
“Was it that obvious?” Fletcher laughed. The two both fell silent as they arrived at Ford cars where Wendy Willis worked. They drove inside and parked the car outside the entrance. Fletcher opened the door and let Addison through first, he followed her inside as they headed to the reception desk. They both flashed their police badges to the receptionist.
“We would like to talk to the manager,” Fletcher said.
“He’s just out in the showrooms, I’ll go and inform him that you’re here.” The young woman jumped up from her seat and went inside the showroom. She came back within seconds followed by a tall, grey-haired man. He looked young to have grey hair. He greeted them with a smile and shook both of their hands.
“My name is Harry Thompson. How can I help you?”
“Harry, we are here about Wendy Willis,” Fletcher said.
“Wendy Willis, she’s not here at the moment. She is working tomorrow if you come back…” Harry started but Fletcher stopped him.
“Wendy Willis was murdered last night,” Fletcher told him. The woman behind the reception desk gasped. Harry’s eyes were wide with sudden shock.
“Wow, she was killed? Did you catch the killer?” Harry rushed.
“We are still working on the case, but we wanted to get an inside look at her work life,” Addison added.
“What do you want to know? She was a very quiet worker; she didn’t involve herself with others very much.” He started.
“Did she ever bring her children in?”
“She has a lovely little boy, Jake. She had brought him to work once. He had an inset day at school, and she asked if I minded if she’d bring him in. He was as good as gold.”
“What about her daughter?” Addison asked. She saw Fletcher moving around, glancing through the glass into the showrooms. He noticed a couple peeking into the window of the Ford cars.
“I didn’t know she had a daughter,” Harry said. Fletcher watched as she started jotting down everything into her little notebook.
“Was there anyone she was close to that worked with her?”
“Lily Sampson normally works at the same time as her. They always go out for their lunch break together. She’s not in today, but she will be working tomorrow if you want to drop by to speak to her?” Harry offered.
“We will drop by tomorrow to speak to her. Here is my card if you think of anything else that could help us with the investigation.” Addison gave him her little white card with all her details, email address and phone number. Fletcher nodded for her to hurry up as he headed for the door.
“Oh, DS Scott,” Harry called for Addison. She stopped and looked around while he quickly jogged up to her.
“We had a problem with her ex-husband about a month back. He came in shouting at her and we had to call the police because he wouldn’t leave her alone. I don’t know what happened after that though. I thought you might want to know.” Harry mentioned. Addison nodded and thanked him. She left with Fletcher and got back into the car.
“Let’s go and find her ex-husband,” Fletcher said as he put the car into reverse and left the car dealers.