A Theory Too Far – Part 11
DS Jill O’Sullivan spent most of the forty-five minute journey bringing Barney up to speed with the investigation so far. To Barney’s mind, she had spent forty-five minutes explaining why there was no information, other than the families had been attacked by large dogs.
They pulled up in the narrow street and parked behind a patrol car that had arrived at the scene before them.
They stepped from the car and walked up the road, approaching a police officer who was standing at the bottom of the driveway. O’Sullivan left Barney and approached the officer to talk with him. He pointed out the common approach path to her as he nodded and responded to her comments.
Barney slowly walked up the path looking at everything around him, making mental notes before he reached the front door, where another officer stood guard, looking faintly uncomfortable under Barney’s gaze.
“Officer, did the deceased have a car?” he asked, looking up the driveway from where he had just walked.
“Yes, sir, it is still in the garage” the officer looked at him, “Why do you ask?”
O’Sullivan walked down the safe path along the driveway, regarded Barney with an inquisitive stare.
“There is a fresh oil spot on the driveway, suggesting a vehicle was parked there recently.” he replied indicating the black mark on the light grey gravel driveway. “What colour and model is their car?” he asked the officer.
The uniformed officer thought for a moment, “Silver, Ford Focus, about three years old” he replied giving a succinct report.
“So there was someone else parked on the driveway recently then.” Barney replied, speaking more to himself than to anyone else.
O’Sullivan tilted her head, “How could you possibly know that?” she asked, her tone was aggressive, she didn’t like Barney taking over her case.
“There!” he pointed at the red brick pillar at the entrance of the drive, on top, about six feet above the ground was a square concrete slab which over-hanged the pillar by about three inches all the way around, it was marked along one side with a blue streak. “Looks like a blue van of some kind, maybe a Sprinter or Transit or something similar.” Barney turned his attention to the officer at the door, “Are the SOCO here?”
The officer nodded, indicating the inside of the house.
“Get one of them out here to get paint and oil samples, get a uniformed officer to find out if any of the neighbours saw a blue van parked here too.”
The officer leaned in to the house and called for a SOCO officer to come out, he then reached for his radio and called one of the door-to–door team, telling them to ask the questions and report to Barney.
A few moments later, a young man dressed head to toe in a white crime scene suit stepped out of the house.
“Yes?” he asked, blinking in the daylight.
“I need you to take samples from the pillar over there, the blue paint on top, you see it?” Barney replied. The man squinted and nodded, “I also need photos of the oil spot over there – “ he pointed to the oil stain in the gravel “ – and take some samples too.” the man nodded and went back in to the house collect his equipment.
A uniformed officer was approaching them, running down the driveway towards Barney.
“Sir!” she cried as soon as she was in earshot, “The neighbours, there” she pointed to the house that overlooked the driveway, “They saw a Blue Transit Van parked there this morning, it was gone by half seven though. The woman was getting ready for work and saw it on the way to her shower, when she got back, it was gone. It hadn’t been there when she went to bed at ten last night!”
Barney smiled to himself and thanked the officer, He knew that the statement would be documented by her and her team.
“Henderson!” called a voice from in the house, “Is that you out there, you old bastard?”
Barney leaned past the officer at the door and called in to the house, “Alex! How is it in there?” he asked.
“Bad! come in, we are pretty much done here, there are suits in the hallway for you!” Alex called out in his nasal voice, muffled slightly by the face mask he would be wearing.
“Be with you in a minute then!” Barney called as he stepped through the doorway. He turned to O’Sullivan, “You joining us?”
She glared at him in response and followed him inside the house.
Barney and O’Sullivan walked into the living room after struggling into the white crime scene suits, their footsteps making a crinkling sound almost as though they were wearing cheap plastic bags. The scene within the living room was horrific, O’Sullivan felt her gorge rising and turned away within seconds of crossing the threshold. Barney steeled himself as he examined the scene carefully, two bodies lay in the centre of the room, male and female, both naked and covered in deep wounds. Their blood surrounded their bodies, staining the expensive pale cream carpet a deep crimson. The stench within the room was abominable, Barney recognised it immediately as the stench of the intestines, which could be seen in the open torso of the male victim.
“Jesus!” he muttered to himself, scouring the scene. At the feet of the victims were two pairs of boot prints, a pattern he recognised as ex-army desert boots, two distinct pairs, one set of prints was slightly smaller than the other.
The prints had rulers alongside them and one of the SOCO team was taking photographs for evidence.
“Alex, what have you got?” Barney asked, ignoring the young detective behind him as she retched into a bag out in the hallway.
“Looks like dog bites, see there?” he indicated a wound on the woman’s shoulder, clearly showing a wide jaw had inflicted the wound.
“Dogs?” Barney queried, looking around the devastation before him. “How big?” his eye raking the floor around the bodies.
“Very big, think wolfhound sized, plus we found this- “ he picked up a bag which was sealed and labelled as ‘Dog fur’. It contained a handful of wiry, iron grey hair.
“Interesting.” Barney said, meeting Alex Kelly’s deep blue eyes, “No paw prints?”
Alex looked around the scene, his face, what could be seen behind the face mask and under the hood of his suit, turning red. “I hadn’t noticed, we found the men’s prints, but no sign of the dogs.”
“You suggesting these men held large dogs while they mauled the victims?” Barney asked, a hint of sarcasm in his voice.
Alex shrugged, “That’s for you to work out, I just give you the evidence to work from, old boy!”
Barney grinned, “What about the kids?” he asked.
Alex looked up at his friend, his face blanched, his eyes becoming distant. “Trust me, you don’t want to see them, I will be having nightmares for weeks!” he warned.
Barney nodded, “What happened?” he asked, stepping closer and crouching next to Alex, knowing what he had to say would be sensitive.
“Both were savaged, torn limb from limb, I have never seen anything like it, not in fifteen years doing this, they were left in a pile in a corner of their bedroom. Barney, these guys, whoever they are, they are seriously screwed up!”
Barney placed his hand on Alex’s shoulder, a reassuring gesture for his friend. “I have a phone-call to make, don’t worry, we will get these buggers!” he stood and walked from the room, stripping the crime scene suit as he entered the hallway, throwing it in the disposal bag before leaving the house. O’Sullivan was waiting outside for him, she stared at him with an uncomfortable look in her eyes.
“How could you go in there?” she asked him, her voice quavering.
He looked at her, seeing her pale face, pale green eyes and streaked mascara where she had been crying. He offered her a pack of disposable tissues from a pocket before responding to her question. “Because I owe it to them to see everything, care enough to want to get their killers. Someone has to!”
She sighed and shuddered at his angry and bitter tone as he walked away from her, taking his mobile phone from his coat pocket and dialling Anna’s number.
“Anna,” he said when she answered, “Two men, Driving a blue Ford Transit, one smaller than the other. They attacked with dogs, but no paw prints were seen around the victims. What do you think?”
There was silence on the end of the line for a few moments.
“Goddess!” she muttered, “Where are you?”
He gave her the address, there was a faint clicking sound as she typed in the address. “I’ll be there in an hour, I will be in a red Fiesta.” she said. “I will be bringing a friend!” Barney could hear rustling over the phone line as she grabbed her coat and bag.
“What are your thoughts, Anna?” he asked her again.
“I am thinking Lupites” she replied before hanging up.