Tuesday 27 – Wednesday 28 August 2013
The interview room was cold and reeked of a boozy night out. Scanning the floor before she stepped too far into the room, Audrey looked for signs of the previous guest. She figured that there was bound to be some evidence that a poor, lowly police constable had to clean up the vomit of the last person to be questioned in the room. She noted the cleaner section of linoleum in the back corner, and the unmistakable gloss of a wet floor. She curled her lip in disgust and shot a look at the constable who had escorted her into the room.
‘Sorry, Miss Boyd, it was the only room available. I’ll see if I can find some air freshener. You should have a seat. I don’t know how long the detective inspector will be.’ The constable smiled and left Audrey alone in the vile smelling interview room.
It wasn’t long before Foley and Knight made their way to the interview room, and a less-than-impressed Audrey. The smell caught them both off-guard as well.
‘Jesus, Russell, what the hell is that?’
‘That, Trav, is the smell of a normal Saturday night in police custody . . . but you’ve probably forgotten it, seeing as though you always managed to get out of a rank weekend nightshift,’ Knight replied. Both men ignored Audrey for the moment. It was all part of Travis Foley’s interrogation technique – make the suspect feel worthless by failing to include them in the conversation or even acknowledge their presence.
When he had got himself comfortable, with the Coroner’s file and his own notes in front of him, Foley looked at Audrey Boyd. He pressed the record button of the bulky recorder and set the interview in motion.
‘Interview commenced at eleven twenty seven, DCI Travis Foley and DC Russell Knight present. Please state your full name, age, and address for the tape,’ Foley said.
‘Audrey Boyd, thirty nine, twenty six Worthing Lane,’ she said.
‘You told us on the night that the body was discovered in your house, that you did not know the deceased male. Is that correct?’ Foley asked.
‘Yes, that’s correct.’
He patted the Coroner’s file; she glanced at it, and quickly returned her eyes to meet his.
‘You see,’ he said, ‘the Coroner assigned to the case has done a bit of background investigation for the purposes of her report, and she’s been able to identify the deceased. Are you sure you want to stick with your story of not having ever met him?’
‘Yes. I don’t see why my story should alter. I have never met the man before he died in my front room,’ Audrey replied. ‘Why? Should I have?’
‘Based on fingerprints, dental records and a DNA test – our Coroner tends to be thorough with all of her cases – she’s identified the deceased as your ex-husband, Connor Ryan.’ He watched her face, waiting – hoping – to see some spark of recognition at his name, some show of embarrassment for lying about who the victim was, something that demonstrated that she now had her back against the wall. But there was nothing. Either she really did have little idea about the identity of the dead guy, or she was out and out a cold-hearted lying bitch.
‘That’s the second time today that someone has told me that the dead man from my house was my ex-husband. And I’m telling you that it was not the Connor Ryan that I married. Here,’ she grabbed her mobile phone, unlocked the device, and slid it across the table to Foley, ‘go through the contacts on my phone, find Connor’s number and give him a call.’
Travis pushed the phone to Russell, waited as his partner scrolled through the contact list, found Ryan’s number, and dialled, placing the device on speakerphone so that everyone in the room could hear.
‘For the tape, Miss Boyd has given me her phone which I have, in turn, passed to DC Knight who is now retrieving the contact number for Connor Ryan.’
They only had to wait a few rings before a male voice spoke to them.
‘Ryan Plumbing, Connor Ryan speaking. How can I help you?’
‘This is Detective Inspector Russell Knight. Just a quick call, mate. Do you have an ex-wife by the name of Audrey Boyd?’
Without hesitation, Connor replied, ‘What has that bitch said about me now? Huh? What has she accused me of this time?’
‘Nothing at all, Mr. Ryan. We’re investigating the death of a man who has been identified as Connor Ryan, and he appears to have the same DNA, dental, and fingerprint records as you. Look, sir, is there any possibility that you could get yourself down to Foxby Police Station?’
‘I’ve got a business to run, DC Knight. Do I really have to? Can’t you ask Audrey to identify the body? She’ll be able to tell you if it’s me or not,’ the plumber gave a chuckle to punctuate the end of his sentence.
‘We’d appreciate it if you could come in, Mr. Ryan,’ Knight replied. Ryan sighed loudly enough that the sound was distorted through the phone speaker.
‘Okay, I’ll see if I can rearrange tomorrow’s schedule. I can’t make it today, too much on,’ Ryan said.
Knight cordially ended the call and pushed the phone back to Audrey.
‘For the tape, DC Knight has returned the mobile phone to Miss Boyd,’ Foley said.
‘See? My ex-husband is alive and well. I have no idea who that man is in your morgue, but it’s not Connor. May I go now?’
Foley sighed as loudly as they’d just heard Connor sigh. He was not happy about this development and the repercussions of the misidentification.
‘Don’t leave the village, Miss Boyd. I’m sure we’ll need to chat with you again,’ he said. Audrey retrieved her phone, picked up her handbag, and left Foley and Knight to make sense of the information that they had discovered.
‘Interview terminated at eleven thirty five. Audrey Boyd has left the room.’
‘Well, Trav, I’d say that puts us up shit creek without a paddle,’ Knight said. He rubbed his eyes, and then combed his fingers through his hair.
‘How the hell did that happen? A cock up in taking evidence? What?’ Foley snapped.
‘Can’t be faulty evidence gathering, Trav. Eva used fingerprints, DNA, and dental records. There’s no way she could have been wrong on all three counts. I’d put my money on a faulty database over a faulty Coroner,’ replied Knight.
‘Yeah, you’re right. We need to speak with Eva about this, see if we can’t nut this one out before the ex-husband arrives tomorrow. I’ve got a nasty feeling this case is going to lead us somewhere dirty.’
Travis Foley stood up, gathered the files together, and strode out of the interview room.
. . . To be continued . . .