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Evil Games
  • Текст добавлен: 4 октября 2016, 23:14

Текст книги "Evil Games"

Автор книги: Angela Marsons

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Текущая страница: 2 (всего у книги 23 страниц)

Ruth’s face was slack. Alex was tempted to offer her a cigarette.

She allowed a couple of minutes to pass before speaking.

‘Are you okay?’

Ruth nodded and tore her gaze away from the letter opener.

‘Do you feel any better?’

‘Surprisingly, yes.’

‘It’s a symbolic exercise that gives you a visual representation of taking back control of your own life.’

‘It felt good, almost like I feel cleansed,’ Ruth admitted with a wry smile. ‘Thank you.’

Alex patted Ruth’s hand. ‘I think that’s enough for today. Same time next week?’

Ruth nodded, thanked her again and left.

Alex closed the door behind her and laughed out loud.


Kim strode into the station, her mind whirring from the phone call. There was a suspicion nagging at her stomach but she hoped she was wrong. Surely no one would be that stupid.

With more than 11,000 employees, West Midlands Police rated as the second largest in the country, second only to the Metropolitan Police in London. The force was responsible for Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton and the Black Country.

Divided into ten Local Policing Units, Halesowen came under the Dudley LPU and was one of four police stations under the supervision of Chief Superintendent Young.

Halesowen wasn’t the largest station in the pack but Kim preferred it to any of the others.

‘What the hell happened?’ she asked the Custody Sergeant. He coloured instantly.

‘It’s Dunn. He’s had a little ummm … accident.’

Her suspicion had been correct – clearly someone was that stupid.

‘How bad an accident?’

‘Broken nose.’

‘Jesus, Frank, please tell me you’re testing the theory that I can’t take a joke?’

‘Certainly not, Marm.’

She swore under her breath. ‘Who?’

‘Two constables. Whiley and Jenks.’

She knew them both. They lived at opposite ends of the police force age range. Whiley had been a police officer for thirty-two years and Jenks for just three.

‘Where are they?’

‘Locker room, M—’

‘Call me Marm once more Frank and I swear …’

Kim left the words unsaid as she keyed herself into the station and turned left. Two PCSOs walked towards her. On seeing her expression, they parted like the Red Sea to let her through.

She stormed into the male locker room without knocking and followed the maze-like direction of the cabinets until she found her targets.

Whiley stood against an open locker, hands in his pockets. Jenks sat on the bench clutching his head.

‘What the hell were you two thinking?’ Kim cried.

Jenks looked up at Whiley before he looked at her. Whiley shrugged and looked away. The kid was on his own.

‘I’m sorry … I just couldn’t … I have a daughter … I just …’

Kim turned her full attention on Jenks. ‘So has half the damn team that worked night and day to catch the bastard.’ She took a step closer and leaned down, bringing her face closer to his. ‘Do you have any clue what you’ve done, what you’ve jeopardized?’ she spat.

Again he glanced at Whiley, who looked pained but did not meet Jenks’s gaze.

‘It happened so quickly. I don’t … oh God …’

‘Well, I hope it was bloody well worth it ’cos when his clever barrister gets him off due to police brutality it’s the only punishment he’s ever gonna get.’

Jenks’s hands cupped a shaking head.

‘He just fell …’ Whiley said, without conviction.

‘How many times?’

He closed the locker and looked away.

A vision of Leonard Dunn came to her. Him waving goodbye with a smile as he walked away from the courtroom. Free to abuse again.

Kim considered the hours of work her team had sunk into the case. None of them had needed to be told to disregard the rota. Even Dawson had been first to his desk on occasion.

As a group they worked on a variety of cases ranging from assault to sexual crimes to murder and every case became personal to one of them. But these two little girls had become personal to them all.

Dawson was father to a baby girl that had somehow wheedled herself into his limited affections. Bryant had a daughter in her late teens, and Kim herself … well, seven foster homes didn’t leave anyone without scars.

The case had never left them for a minute; in or out of work. Off-duty, the mind wandered to the fact that the girls were still trapped in that house with their so-called father, that every minute spent away from the office was a minute prolonged for two innocent lives. That had been more than enough incentive for the long hours.

Kim thought of the young teacher who had summoned the courage to report her suspicions to the authorities. She had risked her professional reputation and the derision of everyone around her but she’d been brave enough to do it anyway.

The possibility that it had all been for nothing was a wrecking ball to her stomach.

Kim looked from one constable to the other. Neither looked back.

‘Don’t either of you have anything to say for yourselves?’

Even to her own ears she sounded like a headmistress chastising a pair of schoolboys for putting a frog in her desk drawer.

Kim opened her mouth to say more, but even she couldn’t continue to shout in the face of such abject despair.

She gave them one last glowering look before turning on her heel and leaving the room.

‘Marm, marm … hang on a minute.’

She turned to see Whiley rushing towards her. Each one of his short grey hairs and inch to his waist had been accrued throughout his career in the police force.

She stopped and folded her arms.

‘I … I just wanted to explain.’ He nodded back towards the locker room. ‘He just couldn’t help himself, I tried to stop him but he was too quick. See, we went there once … a while back. It was a domestic disturbance and he’s beating himself up ’cos we saw ’em, you see. The little girls … huddled up on the sofa. I tried to explain that there’s no way we could’ve known … stopped it …’

Kim understood the frustration. But damn it, they’d had him.

‘What’ll happen to Jenks now? He’s a good officer.’

‘Good officers don’t beat up suspects, Whiley.’

Although she’d been tempted herself once or twice.

There was a part of her that wished every courtroom was fitted with a trapdoor that opened and released child abusers to a special place in hell.

Whiley dug his hands deeper into his pockets.

‘See … and I’ve got one week to retirement and …’

Aah, now she got it. What he really wanted to know was how the whole episode was going to affect him.

Kim thought about Dawson’s face when they had entered the cellar in Leonard Dunn’s house and the first DVD had paralysed them all. She pictured Bryant ringing his missus to cancel a trip to the theatre because he couldn’t leave his desk. She was reminded of Stacey’s frequent sniffing and trips to the bathroom. As the newest member of her team, the bright, young detective constable had been determined not to show the depth of her feelings to the rest of the team.

And now the case might not even get to bloody court.

She offered Whiley a shake of the head. ‘You know something, Constable; I really couldn’t care less.’


Satisfied after her session with Ruth, Alex stood before the framed certificates that her patients found so reassuring. The MBBS from the UCL Medical School, the MRCPsych, ST-4 and Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training represented the most arduous years of her education, not because of the hard work – her IQ of 131 had breezed her through that – it had been the tedium of the study and the sheer effort of not exposing the stupidity of her peers and professors.

By far the easiest qualification she’d achieved was the PhD in Psychiatry. The only certificate on her wall that her clients really understood.

Alex felt no pride in her paper achievements. There had been no doubt in her mind that she would reach her goals. Her qualifications were displayed for one reason only: trust.

Following her education, Alex had embarked on the second part of her master plan. She had spent two years building a history; writing papers and case studies within the stymied boundaries of the mental health profession that would earn respect. The opinion of her peers couldn’t have been less important to her – the only motivation had been to construct a reputation that would be unquestionable in later years. For when she was ready to begin her real work. For now.

During those years she’d been forced to whore out her expertise to the court system, providing psychological assessments on the great unwashed embroiled within the judicial process.

A distasteful necessity, but one that had brought her into contact with Tim; a teenage victim of a broken home. He’d been an angry, mean-spirited individual, but a skilful pyromaniac. Her assessment had held the power to commit him to a lengthy sentence in an adult prison or a short-term stay in a psychiatric unit.

Always resourceful in using the skills available to her, Alex had forged a partnership with Tim that had benefitted them both. He spent four months in Forrest Hills Psychiatric Unit, after which he started a fire that had produced two fatalities and an inheritance to set up the private practice she still enjoyed now. Where she could pick and choose the subjects she wished to see. Thanks, Mummy and Daddy.

Tim’s eventual suicide ensured that he had tied up his own loose ends quite fortuitously on her part.

Nothing in those years had been wasted. Every patient had served a purpose in building a better perspective of people driven by emotions; their strengths, their motivations and most importantly, their weaknesses.

At times she had been tormented by her desire to commence the research, but the timeliness had been governed by two crucial factors.

The first was the construction of safety nets. The impeccable reputation she’d built would throw doubt on any later accusation of misconduct levelled at her.

Additionally, she’d waited patiently for suitable candidates to present themselves. Her experiment required individuals easily guided and with a subconscious desire to commit unforgivable acts. The sanity of the subject needed to be intact but with the potential to be unhinged if she so chose that extra layer of insurance.

Alex had known that Ruth Willis would be perfect for the study from their very first meeting. Alex had felt the desperation within the woman to take back control of her life. Poor little Ruth wasn’t even aware herself just how much she needed that closure. But Alex knew – and that was all that mattered. Months of patience had led to this moment. The finale.

She had chosen a subject whose allegations would, should anything go wrong, be dismissed. She had taken the time to ensure that she would not fail. There had been other prospects along the way, individuals courted for the privilege of being chosen, but ultimately Ruth had been the one.

Her other patients were irrelevant, a means to an end. They had the pleasure of underwriting her enviable lifestyle whilst she conducted her real work.

Alex had spent many hours nodding, soothing and reassuring her patients whilst mentally preparing her shopping list or developing the next part of her plan; all at a cost of £300 per hour.

The payment for the BMW Z4 was funded by the wife of a Chief Constable suffering from stress-induced kleptomania. Alex enjoyed the car, therefore it was unlikely that that particular patient would be recovering any time soon.

The £2,000 per month rent for the three-storey Victorian property in Hagley was paid for by the owner of a chain of estate agents whose son was experiencing paranoid persecution complex and came to see her three times per week. A few well-chosen words, dropped casually into conversation and yet subconsciously reinforcing his beliefs, dictated that his recovery would also be slow.

She stood before the portrait that took pride of place above the fireplace. She liked to look into the depths of his cold, unfeeling eyes and wonder if he would have understood her.

It was a rich oil painting that she had commissioned from a grainy black and white photograph of the only ancestor Alex could trace in whom she had any pride.

Uncle Jack, as she liked to call him, had been a ‘Higgler’, better known as a hangman in the 1870s. Unlike the town of Bolton, which had the Billingtons, and Huddersfield, which had the Pierrepoints, the Black Country had no family dynasty that performed the gruesome task and Uncle Jack had stumbled upon the trade by accident.

Jailed for not supporting his family, Uncle Jack had been incarcerated in Stafford Prison during a visit from William Calcraft, the longest-serving executioner, with a record of around 450 hangings of men and women to his name.

On this particular day, Calcraft arrived to perform a double hanging and so needed a volunteer. Uncle Jack was the only inmate to offer. Calcraft favoured a short drop which produced a slow, agonising death, requiring the assistant to swing on the legs of the convicted to speed up death.

Uncle Jack had found his forte and thereafter travelled the country as an executioner.

Standing before his portrait always gave Alex a sense of belonging, an affinity with a member of her distant family.

She smiled up into his harsh, emotionless face. ‘Oh, if only things were as simple as in your day, Uncle Jack.’

Alex seated herself at the desk in the corner. Finally, her magnum opus was underway. Her journey to find the answers to questions that had puzzled her for years had begun.

She let out a long, satisfied breath and reached into the top drawer for the Clairefontaine paper and the Mont Blanc pen.

It was time for her own form of recreation.

Dearest Sarah, she began.


Ruth Willis stood in the shadows of the shop doorway, her eyes trained on the park. The cold seeped from the ground up through her feet and into her legs like a metal stake. The odour of urine surrounded her. The plastic bin to her right overflowed with rubbish. Crisp packets and fag ends had spilled onto the tarmac.

The visualisation exercise was crystal clear in her mind. Alex was beside her.

‘You are not skulking in the shadows and you are not frightened.’

She had no fear; only nervous anticipation last experienced right before her A-level results. Back when she was a real person.

‘You are not dreading him leaving the pub, you are anticipating it.’

Had he felt this way on the night he’d taken her light? Had he shivered with excitement as he’d watched her walk out of the supermarket? Had he felt the sense of righteousness that coursed through her body right now?

A figure exited the lower park gate and stood at the crossing. The light from the street lamp illuminated a man and his dog. There was a lull in the passing traffic but the dog walker waited for the crossing to beep before traversing the dual carriageway. Following the rules.

‘You are not a victim. You feel strong, confident, righteous.’

As the figure levelled with her, he paused. Ruth stilled. Ten feet away he leaned down and placed the handle of the dog lead beneath his left foot as he retied the lace on his right shoe. So close. The dog glanced in her direction. Could he see her? She didn’t know.

‘You are confident and in control.’

For the briefest of seconds she was tempted to rush forward, to drive the kitchen knife into his arched back and watch him fall face first to the ground, but she resisted. The visualisation had climaxed in the alley. She must stick to her plan. Only then would she be free. Only then would she retrieve her light.

‘You are a lone female behind a grown man and you are not afraid.’

She exited the shadows and fell into step a few paces behind him. Her trainers made little sound against two cars racing along the stretch of road.

In the alleyway, the sound of her footsteps was exposed. His body tensed, sensing a presence behind him, but he didn’t turn. He slowed slightly, as though hoping the pedestrian would pass by. She would not.

‘Your hand is wrapped around a knife in your coat pocket.’

Halfway into the alley, at the exact spot she’d visualised, her heartbeat quickened with her step.

‘Excuse me,’ she said, surprised by the calmness of her tone as she repeated the words Alex had given her.

His body relaxed at the sound of a female voice and he turned with a smile on his face. Big mistake.

‘Do you have the right time?’ she asked.

Her expression remained open when confronted with his face. He had raped her from behind and his facial features meant nothing to her. It was the sound that transported her back. His breathing was laboured from walking the dog. It was a sound she remembered well in her ear as he had split her insides open.

He used his right hand to uncover the watch beneath the elasticated cuff of his jacket.

‘I make it half past …’

The knife plunged into his abdomen with ease, traversing its journey through flesh, muscle and throbbing organs. The blade turned north and met bone as she thrust upwards. She turned the knife slowly, mincing anything in its path, like a kitchen blender. Her hand rested briefly against his stomach and could travel no further.

‘Feel his flesh against yours but this time on your terms.’

A sense of achievement washed over her as she withdrew the blade from his stomach. The thrust and turn needed to overcome resistance had been satisfying.

‘You watch the blood puddle and you know that his control over you is gone.’

His legs wobbled as his right hand clutched the wound. Blood ran over his splayed fingers. He clutched harder. He looked down, bewildered, and then into her eyes and back down as though unable to comprehend the unrelated incidents: her presence and a knife wound.

‘You take back your own control, your destiny, your light.’

He blinked rapidly and for a second his vision cleared and he stilled.

Every sense she had charged into life; a truck thundered past at the end of the alley. The sound lit her ears on fire. Her stomach heaved as a thick metallic smell filled her nostrils. The dog whimpered but did not run.

‘You take back your own control, your destiny, your light.’

Ruth drew back the knife and plunged it in again. The second penetration was not as deep but the momentum forced him backwards. A sickening thud sounded as the back of his skull met the concrete.

‘You take back your own control, your destiny, your light.’

Something hadn’t gone quite right. She’d missed a crucial detail. In the visualisation her body was suffused with peace, calm.

She towered over his writhing body and thrust the knife into his flesh again. He groaned, so she stabbed him again.

She kicked at his left leg. ‘Get up, get up, get up,’ she screamed but the leg lay inert like the rest of him.

‘You take back your own control, your destiny, your light.’

‘Get the fuck up,’ she aimed a kick to his ribs. Blood spurted from his open mouth. His eyes rolled back in his head as he squirmed like a demented mammal. The dog ran around his head, seemingly unsure what to do.

The tears rolled over her cheeks and fell. ‘Give it to me, you fucker. Just give it back to me,’ she ordered.

The body went still and the alley silenced.

Ruth drew herself back to her full height.

As the blood pooled like a paint spill beneath the lifeless body, Ruth waited.

Where was her relief?

Where was her salvation?

Where the hell was her light?

The dog barked.

Ruth Willis turned and ran for her life.


It started with a body, Kim thought, getting out of the Golf GTI.

‘Nearly got him there, Guv,’ Bryant said of the uniformed officer who had jumped out of the way to avoid the bonnet of her car.

‘I was miles away from him.’

She ducked under the barrier tape and headed for the bunch of fluorescent jackets milling around the white tent. The Thorns Road, a dual carriageway, formed part of the main link from Lye to Dudley town.

One side of the road was primarily made up of a park and houses. The other side was dominated by a gym, a school, and The Thorns pub.

The mid-March day temperature had almost broken double figures but the darkness had sent the mercury plummeting all the way back to February.

While Bryant confirmed their credentials, Kim ignored everyone and headed for the body. A dark gulley ran along the side of an end terrace that stretched up towards Amblecote, one of the finer parts of Brierley Hill.

To the left of the pathway was a plot of land overgrown with weeds, grass and dog shit, currently being trampled by crime scene officers or car body shop workers.

She entered the white privacy tent and groaned.

Keats, her favourite pathologist, was bent over the body.

‘Aah, Detective Inspector Stone. It’s been too long,’ he said, without looking at her.

‘I saw you last week, Keats. Post mortem of a female suicide.’

He looked up and then shook his head. ‘No, I must have blocked it out. People do that with traumatic events, you see. It’s a self-preservation mechanism. In fact, what’s your name again?’

‘Bryant, please tell Keats he’s not funny.’

‘Can’t lie to the man’s face, Guv.’

Kim shook her head as a smirk passed between them.

Keats was a diminutive figure with a smooth head and a pointy beard. Some months earlier his wife of thirty years had died unexpectedly, leaving the man far more bereft than he would ever admit.

Occasionally she would allow him a little fun at her expense. Just now and again.

She turned to where a Border collie cross sat patiently beside its prostrate master.

‘Why’s the dog still here?’

‘Witness, Guv,’ Bryant said smartly.

‘Bryant, I’m not in the mood for …’

‘Blood spatter on the fur,’ Keats added.

Kim looked closer and saw a few spots on its front leg.

She blocked out the peripheral activity and focussed on the most important part of the crime scene: the body. She saw a white male, early to mid-forties, overweight, wearing Tesco jeans and a white T-shirt that had been washed so many times it was the colour of cigarette ash. A stain of crimson coloured the front of the garment, which was littered with slash marks. A pool of blood had seeped from beneath. Looking at the ground, he had fallen backwards.

His jacket was a new, medium-quality leather bomber that clearly didn’t stretch across his stomach. Fastening the two sides of the zipper was nothing more than a pipe dream. A Christmas present from someone who loved him and was blind to his increasing girth, probably his mother. The garment had offered no protection against the penetration of a sharp object.

His hair was peppered with grey and too long. His face was clean-shaven and still bore a look of surprise.

‘Murder weapon?’

‘Nothing yet,’ Keats said, turning away.

Kim leaned down and made eye contact with the forensic photographer. He nodded, indicating that he’d taken the shots he needed of the body. He turned his attention to the dog.

She carefully lifted up the sodden T-shirt. One stab wound would have been responsible for most of the blood.

‘I’m guessing the top one is the fatal wound,’ Keats added. ‘And before you ask I’d say kitchen knife, five to six inches.’

‘It won’t be far away,’ she said to no one in particular.

‘How do you figure? It could be anywhere. He could have taken it with him.’

Kim shook her head. ‘The attack may have been planned: late night, dark alley, but there was frenzy involved. There was emotion in this attack. The first injury did the job but there are three “stay dead” wounds.’

She continued to stare down at the corpse, feeling the fury that had accompanied the attack as though it had been captured in the air around her.

She lifted her head. ‘The killer was blinded by rage while committing the act, but once it’s finished that adrenaline recedes and then what?’

Bryant followed her logic. ‘You see what you’ve done and what’s still in your hand and you want to discard the connection as quickly as possible.’

‘Stabbing is very personal, Bryant. It requires a closeness that is almost intimate.’

‘Or it could be a mugging gone wrong. There isn’t any wallet on him.’

Kim ignored his last comment and lowered herself to the ground to the left of the body. She lay on her side and placed her feet right next to the victim’s. The cold gravel path bit straight through her clothes.

Keats looked on, shaking his head. ‘Oh Bryant, every day must be a challenge.’

‘Keats, you really have no idea.’

Kim ignored them both. She pulled back her arm and then lunged it forward in a stabbing motion. The trajectory put the wound at the centre of the breast bone. She tried to match a swipe from her arm to the wound but the momentum wasn’t there.

She shuffled along the floor and did it again. Once more the trajectory was off by an inch or more.

She shuffled just a touch lower, closed her eyes and blocked out the curious gazes around her. She didn’t care what they thought.

She thought of Daisy Dunn standing in the middle of that seedy basement. She pictured that frightened, shivering child dressed in an outfit of her father’s choosing.

This time she swung her arm with anger. With the rage of someone who was ready to kill. She opened her eyes and leaned over. Her index finger was right on the wound.

She looked down and their feet were no longer level. She had dropped by a good four to five inches to achieve a comfortable, natural stabbing position that matched the trajectory of the wound.

She pushed herself to her feet and dusted off her jeans.

She subtracted the difference from her own height. ‘Murderer will be no taller than five three or five four.’

Keats smiled and stroked his beard. ‘You know, Bryant, if Carlsberg made detectives …’

‘Is there anything else I should know?’ Kim said, moving towards the exit flap of the tent.

‘Not until I get him home for a proper look,’ Keats said.

Kim took a moment to survey the scene. Crime scene officers were searching the area for evidence, constables were going door to door, statements were being taken and the ambulance was awaiting the release of the body. Her presence was no longer required. She had everything she needed. It was now up to her to pull it all together and establish what had taken place.

Without speaking, she exited the tent and walked past the two officers guarding the end of the alley.

She was ten feet away when she heard the mutterings between them. She stopped short, causing Bryant to almost crash into the back of her. She turned and headed back.

‘What was that, Jarvis?’

She stood before the DS and thrust her hands into her trouser pockets. He had the grace to colour.

‘Would you like to repeat what you just said? I don’t think Bryant heard you.’

The tall, reedy officer shook his head. ‘I didn’t …’

Kim turned to Bryant. ‘DS Jarvis here just called me a “cold bitch”.’

‘Oh, shit …’

She continued to talk to Bryant. ‘I mean, I’m not saying his assessment is completely wrong but I would like him to explain it.’ She turned back to Jarvis who had moved back a step. ‘So, please, go on.’

‘I wasn’t talking about …’

‘Jarvis, I would have far more respect for you if you could find your backbone for long enough to actually qualify your statement.’

He said nothing.

‘What would you have me do, eh? Am I required to burst into tears for the loss of his life? Would you like me to grieve for his passing? Say a prayer? Lament his fine qualities? Or should I just put the clues together and find whoever did this?’

Her eyes held ground with his. He looked away.

‘I’m sorry, Marm. I shouldn’t have …’

Kim didn’t hear the rest of his apology, as she had already walked away.

By the time she reached the cordon, Bryant was just behind her. She ducked under the tape and then hesitated. She turned to one of the constables.

‘Can someone make sure that dog is taken care of?’

Bryant guffawed. ‘Jeez, Guv, just when I think I know you.’


‘There are constables being abused ’cos of diversion signs, first-time officers who’ve never seen a crime scene, a DS with his nuts chewed off, and you’re bothered about the welfare of the bloody dog.’

‘The dog didn’t figure this into his career plans. The rest should’ve done.’

Bryant got into the car and checked his seat belt, twice.

‘Cheer up, it might not be a simple mugging gone wrong.’

She pulled away from the scene without speaking.

‘I can see it in your face. You look like someone stole your Barbie doll and boiled it.’

‘I never had a Barbie doll, and if I had I would’ve dismembered it myself.’

‘You know what I mean.’

Kim did know what he meant and he was the only detective that could say it and remain unscathed.

Bryant took a pack of sweets from his jacket pocket. He offered her one and she refused.

‘You really should try and cut down on those things,’ she said, as the aroma of menthol filled her car.

Bryant had become addicted to the extra strong cough lozenges after kicking a forty-a-day smoking habit.

‘You know they help me think.’

‘In that case, have a couple.’

Unlike Bryant, she already knew for certain this case was no mugging, so other questions needed to be answered: who, when, how and why.

The ‘How’ was straightforward enough, a blade that she guessed to be somewhere between five and seven inches. The closest ‘When’ would be confirmed at the post mortem. That left the ‘Who’ and the ‘Why’.

Although establishing the ‘Why’ was of paramount importance to the investigation of a crime, for Kim it had never been the most essential part of the puzzle. It was the only element that could not be corroborated by scientific means. It was her job to establish the ‘Why’, but the last thing she needed was to understand it.

She recalled one of her earlier cases as a detective sergeant, when a child had been knocked down on a zebra crossing by a woman whose blood contained three times the legal alcohol limit. The seven-year-old boy died slowly of horrific internal injuries caused by the bull bars on the front of the woman’s jeep. It transpired that the woman had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and had spent the afternoon in the pub.

This information had no effect on Kim whatsoever, because the facts remained the same. The woman had still chosen to drink; she had still chosen to get behind the wheel of a car; and the seven-year-old boy was still dead.

Understanding the ‘Why’ of an action brought with it an expectation of empathy, understanding or forgiveness, however brutal the act.

And, as her past would bear out, Kim was not the forgiving kind.

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