Author: Paul Harrison
Print Length: 389 pages
Publisher: Urbane Publications Limited (October 4, 2018)
Publication Date: October 4, 2018
The first thrilling book in the Will Scott series.
In a sleepy northern seaside resort, The Eastborough Police Force is shocked into action when a heavily mutilated body is found in a quiet suburb. Murder rarely happens in these parts. Within a short space of time, the body count begins to rise rapidly, as a serial killer runs amok.
DI Will Scott is tasked with finding the murderer. In so doing he treads paths he never expected to traverse and uncovers a web of deceit where no one can be trusted.
The killer relentlessly continues to strike terror across the community, but without warning, the killing ground changes. Where will the killer strike next …?
About the Author
Paul Harrison has spent much of his professional life working within the UK’s criminal justice system, primarily as a police officer. Working closely with the now-defunct FBI Behavioural Science Unit in Quantico, he gained a unique and remarkable insight into the minds of some of the world s most violent criminals. His conversation portfolio reads like a Who’s Who of murderers. As an author, he s penned thirty-three traditionally published books (mainly true crime) and completed his first novel last year. A seasoned event speaker, Paul is popular across the entire crime genre (fiction and non-fiction). He s in discussion with several TV production companies across the globe for future Crime related television series. Paul currently lives in Leeds.
As he turned into Bessingby Gate, Will was confronted by a crowd of people who were standing across the road and effectively blocking it. Most of them were morbid onlookers satiating their sanguinary desires, and hoping to get a snippet of detail, no matter how farfetched, that they could turn into fact.
‘Why the fuck are these people here?’ he muttered to himself, giving his car horn three distinct blasts in an attempt to get people to move. The assembled throng begrudgingly parted, allowing his car to slowly move between them and up to the police cordon. As he parked up and got out of his car, he heard a voice he instantly recognised, ‘Will, Will, DI Scott.’ Looking up, the detective saw Lucien Palmer, local journalist on the Bridlington Free Press. The two men had grown up as friends, both respected each other’s professional position and never pushed the respective boundaries. Lucien wanted a story, whereas Will didn’t yet have a story to give him. He gave a nod of acknowledgement as he ducked and moved through the ribbon of blue and white police cordon tape.
It was a warm humid night which didn’t help with the crowd’s behaviour. Many had been drinking and were full of Dutch courage, shouting obscenities at the officers guarding the property. Jeff Powell, an experienced uniform sergeant, moved forward to greet the detective. ‘Sorry to call you out sir, but we had no option.’
‘No problem Jeff, we need to get this crowd well away from the scene, get the dog handlers down here to help move them.’ Both men moved slowly towards the front garden of the property.
‘Run me through what’s happened, who was first on scene and make sure we have full details of everyone who has been inside the house.’
‘The first officers to arrive were PCs Smith and Gaskell. They’re at the front gate if you need to speak to them. The only people to have entered the house are those two PCs and myself.’
Will approached PC Smith and asked what he knew.
‘Sir, pardon my French, but its fucking grim in there,’ he nodded towards the house. Will frowned and thanked Smith for his thorough appraisal of the situation.
‘Jeff, can you arrange for a forensic tent to be erected outside the front door. Without seeing the internal layout, is it worth having a second one set up at the rear?’
‘Yes sir, I’ll get forensics to sort that once they get here.’
The detective was deep in thought. ‘I don’t suppose you know who the victim is, it’s probably going to be one of our usual CRO’s isn’t it? So next of kin are bound to be local. Can you get someone to speak with the immediate neighbours on each side of the property, Jeff? Once they know anything, come directly to me, I
don’t want loose talk so the officer is to tell no one else.’
‘He’s not CRO sir, I’ve never clapped eyes on him before this evening. I’ll get all of that done straight away. Do you want me to take you to the crime scene and show you the body?’
Will was showing some reluctance in entering the house, he wasn’t good with the unique smell of murder nor with dead bodies, yet he knew he had to confront this one as senior investigating officer.
‘Yes please, Jeff, go and get an officer to speak with neighbours and visit those premises I mentioned, and I’ll grab us a couple of Tyvek suits.’
Minutes later, Scott and Powell were donning the high-density polythene forensic suits., They were far from flattering, but they were super-efficient at keeping crime scene areas sterile and free from cross-contamination. As they walked towards the bright red front door, Powell grabbed the detective by the left arm and stopped him in his tracks. ‘Sir, it’s like PC Smith said, it’s fucking gruesome in there, and it stinks to high heaven.’ Will nodded but in his own mind he thought the sergeant meant the house was unclean and smelled dirty.
He followed his colleague into the house, first passing along a tiny front hall and through a door on the left that led to the living room. He was surprised at how clean and smart it was, he couldn’t smell anything and wondered whether the uniform boys were taking the piss out of him. As he moved into the central area of the room, Jeff Powell stepped to one side, and pointed to an area directly in front of Will. ‘Here he is, the poor bastard’s really suffered.’
The detective’s eyes darted around the room, scanning his surroundings until they finally came to rest on the back of a man’s head. The body was seated in a wooden chair facing away from him. ‘Christ, what’s that fucking smell, has he burnt his bacon sarnies under the grill or what?’ Will gagged before stepping closer to the body, edging to a position where he was standing in front of the corpse. The sight caused him to take a deep breath. ‘Fucking hell Jeff, what is this? It’s like a scene from a slasher movie.’ He ran from the room, out into the front garden and doubled over, projectile vomited his spaghetti Bolognese dinner into the manicured green grass.
Jeff Powell emerged from the house soon after, and stood beside the detective, giving him a reassuring pat on the back, ‘I told you it was bad sir, it’s a little bit easier to stomach the second time you see it, you can kind of prepare yourself for the horror. Sir, DS Wright is here, I think you need to stand up.’
Daisy Wright was Will’s sidekick. The pair had worked together for almost two years. She slim with blonde hair neatly tied in a bun on top of her head. Daisy had transferred on promotion to Eastborough from Northamptonshire Police two years previously. Like Will she was sharp, eagle eyed and intuitive – very little got past her.
‘You okay boss?’ she asked as she approached the doubledup form of her DI. ‘What do you think?’ he replied sarcastically. Jeff Powell walked away and left the detectives to talk between themselves. Daisy was writing down notes on a clipboard.
‘What have we got here, boss? Drug related? Have you heard about the other body in the mortuary? The police surgeon was examining it and discovered it’s got no hands and the tongue has been cut out.’
‘Christ, that sounds extreme,’ exclaimed Will ‘Two in one night. As you say, both probably drug related and territorial.’
Daisy nodded. ‘Yes, the other body was found on the beach, naked and tucked under the sea wall. Some kids found it. Poor buggers.’
Will took a deep gulp of the warm night air. ‘Daisy, this crime scene is anything but normal. Fuck, to be honest, I’ve never seen anything like this before.’ He shook his head in disbelief. ‘Get suited up, we’re going back inside. But be warned, this is the most disgusting sight you’re likely to see – this bloke is a real mess.’
Daisy had never seen her boss so shaken up and couldn’t imagine what the scene must be like to affect him so badly. Within moments, the pair entered the house, this time Will led the way. As they moved through the rooms, Daisy busily took down notes and points of interest that were identified by her boss. These areas would be further examined by forensics when they arrived. Reaching the body Will tentatively moved around the corpse until he was standing directly in front of it. He then gestured to Daisy to join him, warning her to get out of the house if she thought she was going to be sick. The smell was overpowering, it wasn’t bacon as flippantly suggested by Will a few minutes earlier but burning human flesh.
‘Think of it as an object, not a human being,’ he told his sergeant. ‘Try to detach yourself from your emotions.’ He glanced towards her and was surprised to see that she didn’t seem fazed by the horrific state of the body. ‘What do you reckon, what’re your thoughts?’
There was so much to take in. The corpse had been nailed to the chair and the floor, two large nails through the back of each hand and a further two through his feet through the carpet and into the floorboards. The body was naked, the clothes neatly folded on a sofa behind him. Dark red blood covered the groin area and pooled on the seat of the chair before dripping onto the carpet beneath. Moving up the body, Daisy noted the victim’s stomach had rows of symmetrical gouges. Both nipples had been removed, cut away, probably with a knife or scalpel. His face was simply a mess. Protruding from each eyeball was a slim wooden kebab stick, not that the eyeballs were recognisable, they had been burnt like the rest of his face. On a table nearby was a small kitchen blow torch, the obvious cause of the burning. Beside that was a cheese grater with what appeared to be human skin hanging from its rough cutting blades. The remains of the eyelids were open, only because they had been stapled into that position. As Daisy looked more closely, she thought his mouth had an odd shape about it. ‘There’s something in his mouth I think,’ she said as she pointed to a small trickle of blood running down the dead man’s chin. Both officers knew not to touch anything until the forensics’ team had done their work.
Daisy took countless photographs of the scene and of the body in situ. She knew that forensics would be hours taking the crime scene and surrounding area apart, so it was useful to have something to work with. As she photographed all areas of the room she saw a flicker of light on a table full of papers. A laptop.
The computer lid hadn’t been closed properly, the machine was still on. She called Will. The two officers carefully opened up the screen part of the laptop, gently lifting it away from the keyboard, causing it to spark into life.
‘See if you can see what it is he’s been looking at, it might give us a clue what this bloke was up to.’
They saw a word document that held lists of names, dozens of them, none of them readily recognisable. ‘We need to seize this Daisy. Take plenty of photographs of it as we found it, make sure you record its exact position on the desk. This is so fucking weird, this guy must have been a dealer I reckon, maybe that list is all of his clients? I can’t think of anything else that might warrant such a bloody awful death.’
Daisy agreed. Jeff Powell walked in.
‘Sir, I think we have a name for the victim,’ he said. ‘He’s not
CRO but he is known to us.’ ‘Who is it?’ enquired Daisy.
‘Will looked bemused. ‘Who the fuck is Allan Roberts when he’s at home?’
‘He’s a local councillor sir, you must know him. He’s the Crime and Disorder portfolio holder, a Conservative I think?’
‘Do we have a wife, a family, any relatives?’ asked Will.
‘Not that I know of sir, the neighbours say he lives here alone, although he does have regular visitors, but they don’t seem to stay long. He was last seen alive at about 3pm yesterday afternoon, carrying shopping from his car into the house.’
Behind Powell, a crowd of forensic officers all suited up arrived at the front door. A gruff Yorkshire voice enquired, ‘Who is the SIO here? What have you got for us?’
Will stepped forward and ushered everyone outside the house, while he briefed Mark Daniel, the senior crime scene officer. He instructed that the body should remain in situ until he authorised its removal.
‘I want you to give this place a thorough going over please. The offender or offenders must have left their DNA all over that room. The victim has been tortured, suffering serious injuries. There is no way on earth that all of those injuries could be inflicted without leaving some trace behind. I’ve seized a laptop computer from a table in there. It may help us identify the killer or killers. I’ll show you where it was Mark, okay?’
Daisy returned to the police station ahead of Will. The forensics team were left to their scientific processes. The sheer logistics of the crime would create manpower issues for the general policing of the town and the place was packed with tourists. The presence of a second body at the mortuary added to the mayhem.
Acknowledging this, Will again approached Powell. ‘I want uniform to protect this scene until further notice, 24/7. Have we got any PCSO’s on duty or can we call some specials out to cover this Jeff. We can clear away the onlookers, take the road cordon right back in all directions and control entry and exit for the locals. I’d better get back to the nick, make some calls and arrange a press briefing. I’ll get some CID and spare uniforms down here for house to house. They can liaise with you.’ Powell nodded.
In the crowd Will saw his friend Lucien, still waiting to speak to him. He beckoned him through the cordon, away from prying ears. ‘Lucien mate, how are you?’ he said gripping the journalist’s outstretched hand.
‘I’m fine Will, how about you? I take it you’re duty officer this weekend? What’s going on – surely with all this fuss it’s got to be a
murder, another druggie I suppose?’
‘I’ll be honest Lucien, I don’t know. It’s early stages, we are obviously treating it as a suspicious incident, but I can’t say any more. I’m heading back to organise a press conference. I’ll get the press officer to give you a call when it’s arranged and we have something to say. Please don’t promote any theories about murder or anything else. We don’t want panic, the bloody town’s busy enough already. We don’t want the curious and the morbid swarming in. I promise, once we know anything, you’ll be made aware. I have to go – my superintendent is waiting. Be safe, mate.’
As he made his way back a hundred thoughts were spinning through Will’s mind. Primarily, he needed to let Mel know he wouldn’t be home until tomorrow at the earliest. As he pulled into one of the police parking bays in Ashville Street, a pale-looking Daisy Wright was waiting for him.
‘Christ boss, I’m shaking like a leaf. What we saw back there has just hit me. Who the hell would do something like that?’
With his arm on her shoulder Will and guided her up to the CID office.
‘Well, what the hell do we do now. Who do we notify first?’ she asked.
‘First things first Daisy. We have a mug of tea, and then we call home. Your fella needs to know that you won’t be home until God knows when, and I’m going to ring Mel. Then we prioritise our calls thereafter. We need a script to report it to the Chief and the
governors. They’ll ask the same questions and want to be absolved of any ownership or responsibility for the investigation, so we make it clear that everything is under control and that we’ll keep them updated. Don’t complicate matters by mentioning the other
body in the mortuary. We’ll deal with that shortly.’
‘I tell you what boss, if it is that Councillor Roberts, there’ll be loads of media enquiries, political interest and without doubt, interference.’
Will agreed and questioned the motive for killing a mere councillor in such a horrific manner.
‘If it is him, then he must have seriously pissed someone off. It’s not like his position is full time or controversial even, he’s an amateur politician living in a little Yorkshire seaside town. He’s hardly likely to be involved in anything of national importance. I always think that people connected to the local authority tend to be a bit wishy washy. Once we’ve notified everyone who needs to know we can start digging into his background. It would be a whole lot easier if he had previous for something.’
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