Alice chooses a lawyer for Neil
Prior to the interview with Neil being reconvened, he had an opportunity to speak with a legal representative – which had been organised by Alice. It was indicative of the state of the household that, Neil should choose to use her as his ‘go to’ person, since on a normal day, she would be the very last person in the world that he would choose to spend time with. She scared the life out of him because she was very unlike any woman he had ever known before.
She had arranged – nobody, only Alice, knew whether deliberately or not – for Mrs Deborah Ryan-Collins to join him at the police station. Neil was taken aback to have to put his fate in the hands of a woman. And not a young, attractive, easy influenced woman that he could manipulate, but a smart, stern 50-something lawyer that was good at her job, but down to earth and efficient.
Their meeting lasted some 35 minutes. Neil found himself treating Mrs. Ryan-Collins with the mixture of dislike and fear such as he would with a schoolteacher. He found himself outlining the entire story – warts and all. She was taken aback by that and warned him to try to be less forthcoming during the formal interview with the police. He was advised under the circumstances to reply ‘no comment’ to all questions. He was still charged – and would be tried – on the assault charge on the WPC, but if he answered questions giving the information he had divulged to her, Mrs.Ryan-Collins said that he would lay himself wide open to very serious charges, and a substantial prison sentence.
So the formal interview with Neil was reconvened, this time with legal representation, and with Dillon in charge accompanied by Lucy Arnold.
“So, Neil, now that you have had time to think and to consult your lawyer, is there something you would like to say – anything you would like to get off your chest.
“No comment”. Dillon was saddened, but not surprised. Mrs. Ryan-Collins heaved a sigh of relief.
“What do you know about the attempt on the life of your partner, Georgia Taddei?”
“No comment”. So far so good.
Dillon then realised from talking with Giovani Scarletti that Neil’s Achilles heel was Francesca Taddei. He may have little interest in the fate of his partner, but was, apparently, ‘besotted’ by Francesca.
“So why then Neil were you not able to save Francesca from ….let me read out the findings … being ‘beaten savagely, stabbed through the hand, stabbed through the lower stomach, and finally killed by a fatal blow into the heart’. How come you didn’t feel compelled to stay and try to save her?”
That was much too much for Neil. As Dillon had hoped it would be.
“Fuck you, Dillon! I know I should have done something. I was a coward … all right is that what you want to hear me say … I was a coward.”
His lawyer tried to put a hand on his sleeve and interrupt, but he shoved her hand away and shouted angrily at Dillon.
“It wasn’t like that … It was a fucking mistake. The stupid, stupid bastard wouldn’t stop … he just wouldn’t stop.”
Dillon tried to not let his euphoria show on his face, and new that Lucy was bemused, and the lawyer was horrified. She knew that she had absolutely no chance of shutting her client up now.
Neil – maybe for the first time in his life – started to cry, and through the tears he told them the whole story.
He had arranged with one of his more shady acquaintances – a fellow card player who also had a dire need for cash to pay off decidedly unpleasant people – to break into the flat and in the course of a ‘burglary’ kill Georgia. Unfortunately this man, Costas Sophoriou, had never met Georgia. He merely knew her name was Taddei.
Costas had called at the house and rung the bell tagged ‘Taddei & Bamford’. Francesca had come down from the attic flat, and he had said ‘what’s your name’ and she had said ‘Francesca Taddei’. He had immediately punched her several times and forced her back inside the flat, where she had sustained the cut on her palm when she tried to deflect the knife that he was then wielding. Hearing the commotion, Neil had come out from his ground floor flat, and tried to tell Costas that it was the wrong woman, but Costas by that time was too caught up in the moment, and had lashed out at Neil with his fists and the blade. Neil had run back into his flat and slammed the door shut, leaving Francesca at the mercy of Costas. After that, Neil had no idea what had happened, but thought that despite her wounds, Francesca had tried to get back up to her flat, and Costas had followed her up and she had finally died where she fell.
“So are you telling me then, Neil, that it was a mistake? It was all a tragic error? A case of mistaken identity!”
Before his lawyer could interrupt and stop him, Neil immediately replied
“Exactly! I didn’t want Francesca dead. I loved her. I was going to give her everything she could ever want.”
“But in order to do that, you needed Georgia’s money?”
“It was all a fucking cock up! Now I have nothing. No money, No Francesca. Is Georgia dead? Do I get the insurance money? …. That would be something, I suppose.”
Mrs. Ryan-Collins visibly wilted. She rolled her eyes in exasperation and closed the file. What more could she do?