Detective Sergeant Tom Harding looked at the girl sitting in front of him. She had her arms wrapped protectively around herself as if to keep her mind from realising the truth.
“Sally, right? I'm sorry for your loss” he said gently. “I'm DS Harding. Would you like to take your coat off? OK. Could you walk me through what happened tonight, please?”
“But I told the officer...”
“I know but that was when you were still in the first shock. I was hoping you might be a bit calmer, now, be able to remember more of the details.”
“I don't know...”
“Well, let's try, and see how far we get. What time did you get to Mike's house?”
“Er... it was sevenish. I went straight from work, as usual.”
“And what was the first thing you noticed?”
“The fact that my boyfriend had just been shot.” For a moment, the grieving girl was gone, replaced by someone harder.
“How did you know that he had just been shot?”
“Well, you arrive at your boyfriend's flat and find him lying on the floor. How did you know how long he had been there?”
“He... he was still warm. I don't see the relevance...”
“OK. When did you notice the car outside?”
“I don't know. It must have caught my eye when I was calling the police, I suppose.”
“And what stood out for you about that particular car?”
“Well, the two people in it were sort of slumped over...” her lip was trembling but she was holding it together.
“And you could see that from a window across the street in the dark...?”
She glared at him. “I suppose I must have, mustn't I?”
“And you didn't recognise either of them?”
“No, I'd never seen them in my life before.”
“And you didn't see anyone else moving around the street? Or driving off?”
“No. It was as still as a cemetery.”
It was a joke, poorly timed and in worse taste. Harding ignored it and instead ran through his notes again, letting the silence stretch.
“Will that be all?” Sally asked, grabbing her handbag and preparing to stand.
“What? Oh, nearly. Are you sure you don't want to take your coat off?”
“No, I don't. I just want to go home, have a hot bath and try to make sense of all this.”
“That's what I'm trying to do, too, Sally. I was just refreshing my memory on the details of the couple in the car. Do you have any idea why they would want to harm Mike?”
“No,” she said quietly, fresh tears in her eyes. “Like I said, I didn't know either of them.”
“Well, it seems that the woman... er... Julie Watson... was holding the gun used to shoot Mike and the man... Leo Watson... was holding the gun used to shoot her. Of course, we'll have to wait for ballistics but that's our first analysis.”
“But who shot Leo?” She was leaning forwards, eager for information.
“That's the curious thing, Sally. It looks as though he was shot with the same gun as his wife.”
“So, he shot himself?”
“Perhaps. But he was shot outside the car. I don't know everything but I've yet to see a dead body get itself inside a car.”
He looked across at her. Suddenly, he said, “Those are pretty earrings.”
Her hand went straight to her ear. “Oh, er... Mike bought them for me.”
“Well, actually... I should say, 'That's a pretty earring'.” He pulled an evidence bag out of his pocket, containing an earring that exactly matched Sally's. “We found that inside the Watsons' car. Can you explain how it got there?”
She shook her head, letting her hands fall into her lap,defeated. As she did, her coat fell open, revealing the blood stain on her shirt.
“Sally Thompson, I am arresting you for the murders of Leo Watson, Julie Watson and Mike Shearing. You do not have to say anything...”
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