Monday 9 – Tuesday 10 September 2013
She noted that Foley hadn’t been gone five minutes before returning to triumphantly slap a folder on the table with enough force that her mobile phone rose about an inch from the table where it had been sitting and came to rest closer to her hand than it had previously been. Knight had only just finished cautioning her, and hadn’t yet got around to explaining the crimes that he’d charge her for.
‘You can stop looking so smug, Miss Boyd. I’ve got enough information in this file to put you away for a very long time,’ Foley sneered. He knew there was nothing in the folder that Eva Noland, Coroner-extraordinaire, had given him, but Audrey Boyd had no idea about the folder’s true contents.
Her eyes lingered on the folder under Foley’s hand. He knew she was sizing up her chances of getting out of here without being charged. Russell Knight silently watched on. It was why Foley had always preferred to work with him: Knight knew when to speak and when to shut the hell up.
‘Harry Morley,’ Foley said. He watched her face for any flicker of recognition, and thought he saw it as she briefly averted her eyes from the folder.
‘Harry,’ she whispered, ‘good ol’ Harry. Car accident you said? Stupid bastard never was a particularly safe driver.’
Knight joined in, knowing the precise words to push Audrey into an explanation of events at worst, a confession at best. One question that would force the woman to reveal the truth.
‘So that’s two murders I should charge her with, is it, Trav?’
Audrey snapped her attention away from Foley and the folder, onto DC Knight. The look in her eyes reminded DC Knight of the look a wounded animal has when it knows its death is imminent. For the first time in this case, Audrey Boyd looked genuinely terrified. Foley’s bluff was working. Still, there was a hint of hesitation in her voice as she spoke.
‘Fine. Connor Ryan wasn’t coming to meet with you today. That was my friend’s husband, Harry Morley. Harry, his wife Eileen, Connor, and I . . . we’ve all known each other since university.’
‘As fascinating as the history lesson is, I only want to know how Connor Ryan, the real one, came to die in your front room, and why Harry Morley was happy to conspire with you to pervert the course of justice. I’m losing my patience with you. Get on with it,’ Foley demanded.
‘There’s no thrilling story behind it. The divorce proceedings took so long that they wiped us out financially. We were broke. The lawyers took everything we had.’
Foley sat down in the chair he had occupied earlier that morning, during the first part of the interview with Audrey. He signalled for her to stop speaking, and turned his attention to Knight as two concerns came to mind.
‘Did you caution Miss Boyd?’
‘Yep,’ Knight replied.
‘Are you recording this interview?’
‘Yep,’ Knight replied again.
Foley slumped further into the chair. His partner had covered two important aspects of a police interview while Foley had forgotten all about them in his push to get to the truth. He felt his body release tension that he hadn’t even realised he was carrying. It made his joints ache, and he had to bite back the groan of pain that was threatening to escape.
‘Okay, keep going,’ he forced out in place of the groan.
She continued the story as though Foley had not interrupted.
‘He wasn’t supposed to die. He wasn’t meant to die.’
Knight laughed. ‘They never are.’
Foley shot him a look that told the Detective Constable to shut up.
‘Our divorce started out messy and nasty. Back then, I really could have killed Connor. But after the court proceedings, we ended up where we’d started in university. Friends. Good friends. Things started to click again for us. The trouble was, we had no money. So Connor came up with an idea –’
Knight interrupted, ‘Insurance?’
‘Yes. Connor’s father taught him the value of a good insurance policy. When we got married, Connor took out a policy for himself and a policy for me. The final day of the divorce proceedings, Connor and I went out for coffee afterwards. Coffee became dinner, and dinner included a conversation about the insurance policies and how we could get access to that cash. It was his idea.’
* * * * *
Connor leaned in closer to Audrey. The conversation that they were having wasn’t one that he wanted the entire restaurant to be a part of.
‘If we plan it properly, Audy, we can minimise any risk to either of us. We’ll figure everything out before we do it. What do you think?’ he asked. She took no time to reply.
‘No, absolutely not. It’s wrong on so many levels. No. NO.’
‘Come on, Audy. Between to two of us, with the policies we took out, we’re home free. There’s four million with the two policies. We can survive on that for, I dunno, the rest of our lives. And hey, we do this and you can go live in the south of France like you always wanted to. New life, new beginning where no one knows us. How much will you have left after you pay your lawyer? I’ll bet it’s close to nothing.’
She nodded. Once her lawyer’s account had been settled, Audrey would be left with fifty-five cents in her bank account.
‘So, if I agree to this, and I’m not saying that I will, how would we do it?’ she asked him.
‘We’d fake the death of one of us. The other would collect the insurance, and we’d split that cash. Then we leave the country, wait a bit, and then the other changes the beneficiary of their life insurance to someone else. We make up a new identity for the new fake beneficiary. Maybe there’s a tragic accident, and the fake beneficiary who happens to be one of us, collects on the second insurance policy, and we split that as well.’ He was confident enough in his presentation that Audrey wondered how often Connor had considered this method of gaining finances.
‘Thought about this often, have you?’ she asked.
‘Actually, quite a lot in the last few months, when I realised that the lawyers were bleeding us dry and that neither of us would end up with anything to show for it.’
* * * * *
Experienced detectives, Foley and Knight sat silently, allowing Audrey to run with her story. Had they interrupted her with even one seemingly insignificant question, it would likely had caused her to clam up, and they would be hard pressed to find out the whole truth.
‘Connor planned every detail of it. Every detail. I don’t know how he ended up dying in my house. I swear to God, I don’t know.’
. . . To be continued . . .