Rough Diamonds

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Chapter 63

Stuart Thomson

Stuart’s career as a lawyer was progressing well. He still had to write his exams before he could appear as an advocate and represent his clients in court. It would be many years before that happened.

The phone rang.

The call was transferred by the receptionist, and there was a voice at the other end of the line. It sounded like a white male.

The man spoke hurriedly, like there was somebody standing next to him: “I’m Jako Retief and I’ve been arrested as an accessory to murder.”

Stuart thought he’d heard that voice somewhere before.

“I’ll come and see you.” Stuart knew where the jail was.

“I can pay,” he reassured Stuart.

There was a click at the end of the line as the call was rudely terminated - by a policeman, Stuart assumed.

Mike had just read about evidence given at a trial that took place in Leicester in the United Kingdom in 1986, the previous year. It involved DNA testing, which was revolutionising the process of deciding on a guilty verdict.

“We’d better move fast. Get two DNA test kits from this person.” He showed Dianne a cutting he’d removed from the paper a few weeks before. “He lives overseas.”

Stuart didn’t know it yet, but there were some big implications to the blood smear on the bracelet.

Stuart was invited to the jail where Jack was confined. He was told that Kate-Emily would be allowed to visit her father twice a week. He saw that she was, in fact, at that moment, with her father. He guessed that she had just turned three.

It was the first time that Stuart had seen the inside of that jail. It was hardly a suitable environment for anyone, let alone a child. The paint was peeling; there were a mixed assortment of tatty chairs and tables; and there was litter on the floor. It was an untidy and rough environment.

In contrast, Stuart was dressed in a smart, dark-grey suit, a sombre grey tie and pressed white shirt. He had a neat, but long, trimmed beard. He greeted them both.

He noticed the bracelet that Kate-Emily was wearing. He bent down to her level and said: “That’s a pretty bracelet.” He studied it. He didn’t let on that he had one that matched it.

Kate nodded shyly in agreement.

“Can I see it, please?” he asked.

Kate held up her wrist to show him.

“Why does it say ‘Kate-Emily’? It’s badly scratched.”

“My Daddy had a sister... ” Kate choked mid-sentence.

Stuart urged her to continue.

“Dad had a sister, who was sick and died at an orphanage. It was hers.”

Stuart felt sorry for her, and was about to hug her and console her, when she spoke some more.

“Daddy said that had she known I was her niece; she would have wanted me to have it.”

He was taken aback by the maturity of the three-year-old child.

“I never knew her because she died before I was born,” Kate-Emily finished.

He asked Jako about his background. “I’m your lawyer and you’ve put your faith in me, so please tell me everything,” Stuart said.

Jako recounted his time in the bush and the meeting with Christmas; the source of Christmas’s name; the wonderful times with Liz; and that joyous event of the birth of Kate-Emily; as well as the loss of Liz.

Stuart could feel Jako’s love for Liz and could see that the man was still keenly feeling the hurt of the tragedy. Jako had to stop briefly.

He continued after a moment: How he’d left Kate-Emily in the care of the servant; his anguish on the discovery of the kidnapping; the retrieval of the diamonds at Scallyclare; how he’d got stuck in the cave and had to wait until he’d lost weight to squeeze back out; and the call to Christmas to help.

Jako continued to recount everything up until the murder. “That’s about everything.”

Stuart mulled on the facts. Something stirred deep down inside him, which he wouldn’t recognise until much later on.

Stuart didn’t reveal the bracelet under his sleeve to Jako because he was interrupted by the police officer shouting: “That’s enough talking! You can carry on some other time.” Nor did he have an opportunity to tell Jako about the blood-covered bracelet.

Stuart saw that Kate-Emily was taking strain. She was once again being pulled away from her father. The serious-looking squat woman was waiting to whisk her away. Despite Stuart’s protests, the woman carried her away and swiftly exited the jail doors.

It struck Stuart that the three bracelets appeared to be from the same batch.

He went back to the office and carefully looked at the blood covered bracelet that read: “Jako”, which had been returned from the pathology laboratory. The other one that read “Mike” was in his possession, and Kate-Emily wore the final one.

They were certainly from the same batch. This revelation shocked him. What was the relationship between the children? Was there any relationship at all?

He changed subject. He was troubled by this recent case. Two males.

Christmas Ndlovu, was allegedly seen at 14 Smith Street, Eshowe. He brutally murdered Madelaine Roderick by beating her over the head and shoulders, the police alleged. Jack, the other male, was instrumental, although not on the site of the murder, in spurring Mr Ndlovu on to commit murder.

The police alleged.

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