The Cuckoo Murders

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Chapter 29

First thing the following morning Thomas called his team together in the canteen. It was at best utilitarian, but it provided much needed sustenance twenty-four seven. The decor did little to lift it, a dull grey non-slip floor, pine tables, tops covered with red plastic veneer, pine chairs. An open plan kitchen served a selection of fried foods and sandwiches. A chilled drinks machine, and a coffee maker dispensed beverage. The place stank of fried foods.

Each team member bought their own coffee. The sludge provided by the machine tasted of dishwasher. They found a quiet table in the corner next to a window with a view of the abattoir next door. Awesome planning.

‘Yesterday was dramatic.’ Thomas said.

‘Yes sir. It seems that someone wanted Boucher dead. Four men turned up armed with pistols. They arrived just as our team was moving in. Boucher was shot and killed sir, plus one of the attackers. We managed to detain the rest.’ Giordano said.

‘Must have been a hit sir. I can’t imagine any other scenario.’ Grey offered.

‘That’s definitely possible sir. He had packed his bags and his passport. He had a collection of those by the way, all in different names.’ Giordano said.

‘So, it sounds like he got wind of what was about to happen?’ Thomas asked.

‘An hour earlier he received a call from an unknown number.’ Grey said.

‘Do you think he was tipped off?’

‘Possibly sir or threatened.’

‘We know he was a gang boss; we know Hall was a gang boss, and we know McVey is a gang boss. That makes the three gang bosses we know about, all out of commission.’ Thomas summarised.

‘Two dead, one under arrest after being set up.’ Grey said.

‘We know something about the structure of this organisation. We know each controlled a section of the county. Boucher the east, McVey the west, and Hall the rest.’ Thomas continued.

‘And we know each had a right-hand man. Boucher had Riley, who we arrested for murdering a competitor. McVey has Cameron who is a bit of a shadowy figure, and Hall had a young thug, Foal.’

‘Only two of them left, Foal and Cameron.’ Grey said.

‘Do we know anything about Foal?’ Thomas asked.

‘One conviction for assault as a youth sir, and a couple for shopkeeping. We have a photograph from a few years ago.’ Giordano said.

‘On Boucher’s phone we found a text message. It was a video showing a young man who looks like Foal exchanging money with Mumtaz Khan.’

Thomas looked surprised. ‘A video you say. Why would someone send a video to Boucher?’

‘As a warning perhaps. Maybe Foal was dealing on Boucher’s patch sir.’ Giordano said.

Grey took a sip of her cappuccino, set her cup down and scratched her head. ‘I can’t help thinking that all these murders and betrayals are connected to a gang war sir.’

‘Go on.’ Thomas said encouragingly.

‘Well sir if they are connected, then who benefits? And how does it help us solve the Markovic case?’

‘I agree, we are in danger of taking our eyes off that investigation.’ He said.

‘The problem we’ve had with Markovic is lack of motive. But we know that somebody tipped Ronnie off about McVey. We suspect that the Khans were murdered because they had been dealing on Boucher’s patch. Now we have a video showing Khan exchanging money with Foal. That is motive for Boucher to have Khan killed, but it’s also motive for having Hall killed. We know that Foal worked for Hall. It isn’t much of a stretch to suspect Boucher also killed Hall because of the video. He would have held her responsible because Foal worked for her.’ Grey said.

‘Ok that makes sense, remove the competition, but why would somebody kill Boucher?’ Thomas asked.

‘Revenge sir?’ Grey offered.

‘But it doesn’t explain Markovic. He’s the key surely.’ Giordano said.

‘And it doesn’t explain who tipped Ronnie off or why.’ Grey admitted.

‘Let’s stop theorising for a moment. Let’s look at the facts.’ Thomas said. ‘Fact one is that Ronnie received an anonymous tip off about McVey’s stash. So, whoever tipped him off knew two things. Firstly, that he was a snout. Secondly, that the product was in Nether Heyford, yet hours before it had been in Stenson Street. Who knew except McVey?’

Grey thumped her hands down on the table, spilling everyone’s coffee. ‘Oh, sorry. Of course! Cameron. It had to be Cameron.’

‘Yes, and he’s one of the two left standing.’ Giordano said.

Thomas nodded. ‘And what does that tell us?’

‘That it’s Cameron making a play for the big time. It all makes sense. He sets Foal up knowing that Boucher will blame Hall when he receives the video. He snitches on McVey. He sends a gang to get rid of Boucher.’ Grey said.

‘And Markovic?’ Thomas asked.

‘Must have seen something.’

‘But what?’

’We’re not seeing what’s staring us in the face. Foal would not have been dealing with Khan. He’s a thug, not a dealer. But by all accounts, Cameron is intelligent. What did Micky say? More like an accountant. So, it was not Foal. It was Cameron. He was supplying Khan. McVey was too drunk to notice he was losing stock. Cameron probably asked Foal to do him a favour and took a video of him receiving money from Khan.’ Giordano said.

Thomas nodded. ‘Cameron killed Markovic because Markovic saw him dealing on Boucher’s patch. He had to get rid of him before he told Boucher.’

‘Glory be!’ Grey exclaimed.

‘We need to talk to this Cameron.’ Thomas said.

‘We have DNA from Markovic sir and Hall. If he did Markovic we will know.’

Thomas said. ‘Let’s find this Cameron and bring him in.’

As if the laboratory had overheard their conversation, seconds after the meeting broke up, Giordano received another report explaining that the DNA from the hair found on Markovic matched the DNA from the hair found on Hall’s body. The same person had murdered both. Within a minute she updated Thomas and Grey.

Thomas believed it threw cold water on Grey’s theory, but Grey was not dispirited. She believed she had her man.

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