Authors: Michael Fowler
In the darkness of his dingy, damp surroundings Peter Jackson was furious. Earlier, while in the pub he’d taken a call from his mate to say that CID was looking for him and he had also learned that they had turned over his Mother’s house. For the last eleven hours he had kept a low profile finding refuge in an empty lock-up.
As dawn approached he only had one thing on his mind – revenge.
* * * * *
Kim Davies had not slept. Even though that young cop had assured her that the night shift would make regular passing patrols she had become a nervous bundle the moment he had left her flat. She’d secured the door as best she could, even wedging a chair under the handle for extra security – she’d seen it done on the telly – but it had not helped her sleep. She’d twice heard a car below her window and peeked out through the curtains. It was a police car, as promised and yet she still felt uneasy. Finally, as dawn broke, and realising sleep was still a long way off, she slipped on her dressing gown and made her downstairs to the kitchen to make herself a coffee.
At the bottom of the stairs she paused and gazed in the hallway mirror. Her reflection was not a pretty sight.
Rheumy, panda-like eyes stared back. Taking a step nearer she pulled away the collar of her dressing gown and viewed the ugly marks her boyfriend had left behind on her neck. She delicately traced a finger around the tender wheals. They were beginning to bruise. Her scalp was sore as well where he had yanked out chunks of her hair. Pulling back her focus she took in the upper part of her image. A tear formed in the corner of an eye. She blinked it away. How had she put it with this for so long
, the clattering of milk bottles outside her door brought her thoughts back.
The milkman’s here, she thought, and began to drag the chair
away from under the handle.
* * * * *
Back pressed against a tree, clenching and unclenching his hands, Peter Jackson stared up at the flat where his girlfriend lived. He was shaking. Not from the chill of early morning, but from the pent-up homicidal fury rampaging inside.
That bitch had sold him out to the cops
and now it was time to make her to pay.
Fixing his angry stare upon the curtain-closed windows of
Kim’s first floor flat while thinking through how he could get in there without causing too much fuss, and catching her unawares, the whine of an electric milk float going towards the block suddenly gave him an idea.
He launched himself away
from the trunk and broke into a jog.
Slowing his pace, w
aiting for the milkman to enter by the main doors, Peter caught the door before it fastened behind. He entered the ground floor hallway to see the milkman beginning his climb to the first floor.
“I’ll take th
at mate,” Peter said in a low voice, stepping towards him and holding out a hand.
The milkman turned and with a recognising look said, “I don’t normally see you at this time in the morning.”
“Got a new job. Been on nights this week. Soon be tucked up in a warm bed though.”
The milkman removed a pint of milk from his wire basket and handed it over.
Turning back and slipping past Peter he said, “Jammy bugger.”
Peter mounted the concrete stairs quickly and reaching the landing he
glanced downwards. The milkman was nowhere in sight. Knowing Kim’s routine he chinked the bottle loudly against the wall and stepped to one side.
Within a few seconds he heard
a noise behind the door. Something was being pulled back, then, he heard the key turn and the safety chain unlatch.
A tingling sensation coursed through his body and crouching into a squat he tensed.
As the door cracked open Peter launched himself. The force of his thrust spiralled Kim backwards smacking her against the hall wall.
A groan exploded from her mouth as Peter made a lunge. He made a grab for her
short wrap dressing gown but the satin material slipped through his fingers and she slid sideways to the floor throwing him off balance. He tumbled against the staircase and had to snatch a hand over the top rail to stop from falling.
Kim let out a piercing scream.
“Shut up, you fucking bitch,” he yelled and lashed out with a foot. It caught the top of her arm.
He pulled back his foot again
, but before he could deliver the second kick Kim shot up her leg and flat-footed his groin.
It was his turn to groan as he instantly doubled-up
grabbing at his testicles.
Scrambling backwards on all fours,
while trying to lift herself up at the same time, Kim clambered awkwardly into the kitchen.
Recovering quickly and heaving himself forward Peter entered the doorway just as
his girlfriend was reaching out for the work surface to pull herself up. Pain and hate was cascading through him as he eyed her hand clawing for a grip. Beyond her fingers he spotted a glint of metal.
At the same time he caught the movement in Kim’s eyes.
She was following his gaze and had locked onto the same thing he had clocked lying on the work surface.
Her face took on a look of horror as he
Kim only had time to scream “NO” once before Peter plunged the
kitchen knife into her chest.
* * * * *
It was Hunter’s quick change around from Afternoon’s to the day shift. He had got into work at 5.45am that morning and had just put on the kettle to make drinks for the group when Roger Mills bounded into the room.
“No time for that Hunter we’ve got a three
-nines. That domestic you went to last night. Ambulance have just taken a call saying that a young woman’s been stabbed at that address.”
The entire shift turned out and within ten minutes half a dozen police cars had the block of flats where Kim Davies lived surrounded. They even beat the Ambulance Service to the address.
Roger and Hunter
were first through the entrance doors, taking the stairs two at a time. The door to Kim’s flat was wide open.
Hunter spotted a bloodied handprint on the jamb.
Roger called out loudly, “Police” as he stepped over the threshold.
“Through here,” a female voice shouted
Roger and Hunter followed the sound and found a scene of carnage in the kitchen. Blood covered cupboard
s, both floor and wall and a thick pool of dark blood covered as well surrounded a limp form.
Beneath the bloodied mess
Hunter recognised Kim Davies.
Cradling her was a dark haired woman in a dressing gown
. She too was covered in blood and had a towel pressed over Kim’s chest. Glancing up she said, “I’m a nurse. I live downstairs. I heard her screaming. She’s lost a lot of blood.”
“The ambulance is on its way, it shouldn’t be long,” Roger replied, kneeling down.”Is there anything we can do?”
“No, I need to keep the pressure on this wound. Her breathing’s got shallower in the last few minutes.” Lifting her eyes she pursed her mouth and shook her head. It was a look which said ‘it’s touch and go.’
ushing himself up Roger met the nurse’s gaze. “Try and keep her with us. I’ll chase up where the ambulance is.” As he reached the doorway he looked back, “You didn’t see who did this by any chance, did you?”
“That boyfriend of hers
! He nearly knocked me back down the stairs running away.”
In the distance
Hunter picked up the sound of wailing sirens. The ambulance was here. He hoped it wouldn’t be too late.
- ooOoo -
Within a matter of hours
of the attack uniform and plain clothes officers had converged upon Dearne Road, swarming around the tenement blocks, searching for evidence and seeking witnesses. Every manhole and drain cover was lifted and shortly before 11am they had found the knife discarded by Peter Jackson.
Behind the scenes a general call had gone out for his capture, with a full description circulated to every Constabulary together with a
n all-ports bulletin. Peter Jackson was a fugitive on the run.
Kim Davies had been fortunate. The emergency first-aid administered by the neighbour nurse, stemming the flow of blood
from several deep wounds, had saved her life. Surgery, to repair the damage, had taken fours hours and 12 units of blood had been used during her operation. She was currently on life support in a critical, but stable condition.
Hunter and the rest of his group had been part of the initial scene search, but upon finding the weapon had been assigned to house-to-house investigation.
This was his second occasion on a major enquiry and he was in the thick of it, relishing every moment. However, after six hours of banging on doors and gleaning nothing he was beginning to grow weary and by the time dusk fell, with no sign of Peter Jackson being captured, his initial excitement had waned.
During evening de-brief Hunter learned, from DC Harry Hemsworth, that he and Emma’s burglar – Mathew David Smith – had given up Jackson as his drug supplier.
Given this latest information, together with the attack upon Edith Thompson, it was evident that once captured Peter Jackson would be going away for a long time.
Off duty and in the pub that night
, Hunter found the ear of Harry Hemsworth, and after an initial chat about the investigation Harry regaled numerous anecdotes from his years in CID. Hunter found himself hanging on to the seasoned detective’s every word, and four pints later, he stumbled away from the pub and wended his way home to his parents, happy and contented with the career he had chosen and hoping one day he would achieve detective status.
The next morning, nursing a thick head, Hunter listened to the up-date
of the incident. Kim Davies’ condition had improved though she was still sedated. Overnight every known associate and family member of Peter Jackson had been visited and their homes searched. At one of the addresses cannabis had been found and at another evidence from a recent burglary. Hunter learned that this was the usual case during any major enquiry – the detections of crime always went up. As briefing came to an end Hunter was tasked with another day of house-to-house enquiries.
Checking his tray
, that there was no urgent admin, Hunter made his way to the locker room and while getting himself ready he could hear Emma Goodwin’s voice back along the corridor seeking him out. Quickly slinging his equipment belt around his waist and fastening its buckle he answered her call.
She poked her head in through the door. “Phone call for you in the parade room,” she said and disappeared.
Hunter hot-footed it back to the parade room where he found Emma seated at the large table writing in her pocket book. She met his gaze and pointed to a phone, the handset of which was off.
Emma shrugged her shoulders, “He wouldn’t give his name,” she said and went back to her writing.
Hunter picked up the handset. “PC Kerr.”
A muffled but discernable voice said,
“It’s Jud. Jud Hudson. I promised I’d give you a call. You’re looking for Peter Jackson!”
Hunter’s eyes lit up. He transferred the handset to his other ear
, and trapping it to his shoulder snatched up a pen and several scraps of paper from the table and positioned ready to take notes. “What do you know then Jud?”
“Nobody must know I gave you this. Are we clear?”
the faint voice continued.
The voice was so stifled that Hunter had a
mental picture of Jud covering the mouthpiece with a hand. He replied, “Absolutely.”
“And then you and I are straight?”
“We are Jud.”
“No come backs?”
“No come-backs Jud.”
“Good, now take this down then.” In a suppressed tone George Hudson rattled off the location where Peter Jackson
was and upon finishing hung up without a goodbye.
Hunter held the phone trapped for a good few seconds as he finished jotting down George’s information.
In his right ear the receiver buzzed annoyingly. Then, stabbing down a full stop at the end of his disjointed notes, he slammed the handset back on its cradle.
As he snatched up his note he met Emma’s gaze.
She said, “That’s a face that tells me you’ve got something.”
Hunter waved the scrap of paper. “Not many.
I’ve only been told where Peter Jackson is.” Then he bolted towards the door.
Bursting into the CID office Hunter saw Harry Hemsworth at his desk on the phone. Harry looked up, latched onto him and beckoned him forward and pointed to an empty seat at the desk opposite.
Delivering a faint smile Harry held onto Hunter’s gaze as he talked over the phone.
Hunter quickly picked up that Harry was engaged in a private conversation as opposed to a job related one and unable to make sense of the one-sided conversation impatiently drummed his fingers as he waited for the detective to finish.
A couple of minutes later Harry hung up and pushed himself back in his seat.
“Now then young Kerr, you look as though you’ve got something you want to get off your chest.”
Hunter held up the note. “I’ve just been told where Peter Jackson is holed up.”
“Yeah. He’s down on the old
Manvers Coking Plant site.”
Harry’s brow tightened. “Anywhere specific?
That’s a big area.”
, but my snout tells me he’s got a vehicle – a Nissan Bluebird – red.”
“Your snout eh? Six months in and you have a snout!
Can I ask who this snout is?”
Hunter shook his head. “I promised I wouldn’t say. It’s someone who owes me a favour.”
“Okay I respect that.” Harry pushed himself out of his chair and picked up a bunch of keys. “The old coking plant it is then. Come on we’ll go in my car and see if we can catch ourselves a big fish.”
Hunter launched himself up, “What about back-up?”
Harry balled his hand into a fist and held it in front of Hunter’s face. “This is all the back-up we’ll need.”
Inside ten minutes Harry Hemsworth was pulling the CID car off the main road and onto a narrow dirt track which led towards the old coking plant. Overgrown hedges flanked either side of the track, scraping the sides of the car and slowing their progress. The dark blue Peugeot bumped and rocked across dried ruts of mud and coal dust for approximately a hundred yards. There the track opened up to a wider lane with ditches either side. At the end of it, before them, was a pair of battered, half-open, metal gates, an old ‘warning security’ sign hanging at an angle upon them.
slowly edged in the unmarked car, the engine only giving out a purr. Ten yards inside the huge compound he killed the engine and coasted for a few more yards before coming to a halt.
They both wound down the
ir windows and scoped the derelict coking plant site, stretching web-like for hundreds of metres in all directions.
Hunter was just doing a second sweep when, without warning, Harry hissed, “Over there.”
Hunter whipped his gaze sideways to where Harry’s outstretched arm was pointing beyond the driver’s side window. He followed the line, to where fifty yards ahead, he could just make out a red car roof appearing from behind a line of old rusting coal tubs.
“You did say he had a red Blueboard?” said Harry.
That red roofs good enough for me. Shall we see if our friend is with it then?”
Harry started up the car again and hardly touching the accelerator inched the
Peugeot forward towards the old coal tubs idling on red-rusted rails. Twenty yards from their quarry Harry brought the CID car to a standstill. He nudged Hunter and whispered, “Just check it out. If he’s in it give me a shout.”
Hunter hardly made a sound as he gently opened the car do
or. Checking his footing, avoiding a scum topped puddle, he straightened his top coat and zeroed in on his target. Hunching into a crouch he set off at pace towards the coal wagons and throwing himself against the last tub he took a deep breath. He had hardly broken sweat. Poking his head around the wagon he had a view of the rear and offside of the Nissan. He made out that someone was in the front seat, head set back against the headrest, as if in slumber. Half turning Hunter gave Harry Hemsworth the thumbs up and then changed his approach stepping up onto tiptoes, sneaking out from behind the coal tubs.
that the driver’s side window was half down. The driver was still in recumbent position. Taking another deep breath, he dashed forward and grabbed at the door handle, giving it a yank. But the door didn’t open. The locks were down and Hunter lost his grip. Peter Jackson was awake in a flash and reaching for the dashboard.
In an instant Hunter realised why. A knife was parked just above the steering wheel.
Peter snatched it up and thrust it towards him.
The blade shot through the half open window and
thanks to his swift footwork missed Hunter by a few inches. His stomach instantly turned-turtle and without hesitation he yelled back over his shoulder “Harry, he’s got a knife.” Instinctively, taking on a defensive pose, he took a gulp and said, “Just calm down Peter. There’s no need for this.”
“You’re not taking me in,”
Jackson shouted, waving the menacing steel at Hunter.
drew back his arms. “Come on don’t be stupid Peter, this is only gonna make things worse.”
“Back off copper.”
Hunter’s brain was whirling. He locked onto Jackson’s cold bloodied glare. Licking dry lips he said, “Come on be sensible. We can get this sorted out. Kim’s gonna be all right. Just give me the knife and we can forget this ever happened.” He edged one hand forward.
“Fuck off with the bullshit.”
“I’m not bullshitting Peter. There’s only me and you here. Give me the knife and I’ll say you came quietly.”
Hunter saw Jackson’s face change.
The hard granite stare became a blank look. He took a step nearer.
In that instant Peter catapulted himself forwards and with a whiplash movement swung out his arm.
The knife he’d been clutching whizzed through the gap in the driver’s window.
Hunter tried to react, but he had hardly turned before the blade hit
him in the chest. Instinctively he staggered back and let out a gasp.
“You’re fucking lying,” Peter screamed and fired the Bluebird’s engine.
Clawing at his chest, Hunter felt the knife brush the front of his top coat as it fell towards the floor. His eyes snapped down to where the blade had hit and he heaved out a huge sigh as he realised it had struck his radio. He snatched up his eyes again at the sound of grit and gravel being churned up. The Bluebird’s wheels were spinning as it lurched forward.
For a split-second Hunter had to catch himself.
His legs momentarily turning to jelly, but then his thoughts were back to the moment and he became conscious of the CID car tearing towards him. The passenger door swung open as it slowed alongside and Hunter leapt into the front seat, scrambling around for the seatbelt. In front, through a veil of coal dust and dirt he could make out Peter Jackson’s Bluebird snaking haphazardly towards the exit gates. He snatched up the car radio to broadcast their pursuit. But before he had even begun to speak, ahead, he saw the red car swerving violently. For a second he watched it slide sideways and then the rear end started to buck. Hunter could hear the Nissan’s engine scream as an uncontrollable spin followed. Seconds later it smashed into the metal gates, sending fragments of rusting steel every which way, as it careered through the gap and impacted into a grass bank. There was an almighty thump as the Bluebird bounced upwards, spun one-hundred-and eighty-degrees in the air before coming back to land on its roof with a sickening crunch.
The CID slew
ed to a halt yards from the crash and before Harry had even applied the handbrake Hunter was throwing open the passenger door and scrambling from his seat.
As Hunter approached the upturned Nissan he could hear Peter Jackson screaming. The sound reminded him of the time, as a young teenager, he had watched pigs being corralled into a slaughterhouse.
The upside down car was steaming. The roof was crumpled and Hunter had to drop to his knees to see inside. Peter Jackson was hanging upside down, his neck at an awkward angle as his head pressed against the inside of the roof. His legs were trapped inside a squashed bulkhead. Hunter’s eyes were everywhere as his thoughts clawed at prioritising what needed to be done. The situation looked perilous for Jackson. His face was ghostly white.