Monday 4 – Sunday 10 June 2018
Steven Benson had been moved from the rank cell he’d be kept in for the last few days to Gates’ office. The air was fresher, the chair more comfortable, the coffee smelled good and he happily devoured the canteen lunch Gates had arranged for him.
‘Finally coming to your senses are you, Detective Gates?’ Benson said in between bites of his bacon sandwich.
‘Just hurry up and eat your lunch, Mr. Benson.’ Gates glanced out into the corridor. Claire Miller would be making her way here any moment now. He’d have her paraded past Benson and hope to God that one of them would crack and give him the information he needed to clear up Harry Miller’s death.
‘You know, Benson, we found Claire Miller. Well, the Coast Guard found her. They’re bringing her in today.’ He watched the expression on Benson’s face change. Was it relief he just saw? ‘Which one of you, do you think, is going to be the first one to give us what we need?’
‘Don’t know what you’re talking about.’ Benson pretended not to be worried about what Claire might say. After all, she had already put the blame on him. What else might she be inclined to tell Gates and his partner to barter for her freedom?
‘She’s had some time out on the open ocean to consider how else she can frame you for her husband’s murder. Do you seriously think she’s going to recant everything she’s told us about your involvement in his death? No! She’s going to fit you up even better. You’ll be in prison for the rest of your life.’
Benson considered his options as he ate the remainder of his lunch. It didn’t take him long to decide on a course of action. He was going to shit on Claire the way she’d done on him.
‘What do you want to know?’ Benson asked.
* * * * *
‘Are you sure you want to stick with that story, Mrs Miller?’ Turner quizzed their new suspect. Gates had handed control of Claire Miller’s interview to Turner in the hope that she’d be able to get something new from the woman. Claire said nothing, simply stared at Turner. Turner pushed a little harder.
‘Steven Benson’s given us some interesting information regarding the death of your husband. He’s implicated you. Actually, if I’m completely honest, Benson said your murdered your husband.’
Claire didn’t flinch.
‘He’s done a deal with us, Claire. Given us information in exchange for immunity from prosecution.’
Gates winced. Turner had played their card too early in the interview. He could see the smirk growing on Claire’s lips.
‘He’s going to get off scot-free and you’re going to spend the rest of your life in prison.’
Unmoved by Turner’s comment, Claire maintained her calm and made her first demand.
‘I want a lawyer.’
Gates immediately suspended the interview. He looked at Turner and his expression alone told her she needed to get out of the room quickly.
‘Who’s your lawyer?’ Gates asked Claire.
‘Whoever is called, I guess,’ she replied. Gates nodded and walked out. An unimpressed constable was left to supervise Claire.
He walked through to his office to find Turner pacing around the room. He shut the door behind him and sat at his desk.
‘For the love of God, Turner, sit down. Stop wearing a path in my floor.’
She did as she was instructed, seething as sat.
‘You played our hand too soon, that’s why she clammed up, Turner. You shouldn’t have mentioned Benson and his deal.’
‘Can’t do anything about it now. Might be advantageous to us yet, though. She’s lawyering up and that means she’s got something to hide.’
‘What do we do now?’ Turner was itching to get back in and interview Claire.
‘I have to make a call to get her a lawyer, and then we wait.’ Gates picked up the phone handset and dialled an outside line. He glanced at Turner with a wry smile on his face. ‘Dial a lawyer. Only the best for our suspect.’
* * * * *
Gates melodramatically draped himself over his desk. Turner looked like a wounded warrior slouching in the chair opposite her partner’s desk.
‘It’s bullshit,’ mumbled Gates.
‘What?’ snapped Turner in reply.
Gates lifted his head enough for Turner to hear. ‘I said, it’s bullshit.’
‘Of course it’s bullshit. She’s going to get away with it. Murder. Why is that allowed?’
‘Because she has something that someone else wants.’
Turner scoffed at Gates’ response. ‘Do you think it’s true?’
‘What she told her lawyer?’
Gates shrugged his shoulders. ‘I don’t know. She put all the blame on Steven Benson but we know she was in it up to her eyeballs. I don’t know. It’s out of our hands now.’
‘You think Narcotics will get anything out of her?’ Turner asked.
‘If they don’t, she’ll be handballed back to us. I think she’s quite the actor and she’ll give Narcotics enough to keep them running around in circles for a while.’
Gates flipped through the file that some suit from Narcotics had thrust in his general direction an hour or so after Claire’s lawyer arrived.
‘According to this, Harry Miller had been transporting drugs for years. He’d only come to their attention about six months ago.’
‘So why hadn’t they brought him in?’ Turner was put out. They’d expended energy, time, money and resources investigating Miller’s death and it had now all amounted to nothing. Claire Miller had fluttered her eyelids, whispered a few words to some cheap lawyer, and walked away from a murder charge.
‘Not that they’ve given us much with this dossier, but I suspect Narcotics had Harry Miller under surveillance. They figured he’d lead them right to the guys higher up the chain. What they didn’t count on was Claire deciding to off her husband.’
‘Shame they didn’t catch that on any of their surveillance,’ Turner replied.
‘That’s a very good point, Turner. A very good point indeed.’ Gates turned his thoughts to what Narcotics might have been able to learn during their surveillance of Harry Miller.
‘I know what that expression means, boss. What are you up to?’
. . . To be continued . . .