Tough choice for a morning, start my standard cold call enquiries in a pub or head to the local grocery shop in Castleknock. To be honest they were still long shots, though we’d had a positive from Connolly on her getting onto the quarter to one train, we still didn’t know for sure that she got off at Castleknock. I stood outside the pub, called McCarthy and asking him to send on the details of Aisling to Coolmine and all other stations on the line from Connolly and see if they turn up anything with the photo. It was good to note he didn’t bear grudges.
It was getting on for late afternoon a couple of hours and this place will have in the usual after work drinkers. Some of them will go home, some won’t, but I guarantee they’ll all drive from here. At the moment though it’s quiet and the Chinese girl behind the bar runs off to get the manager at my request.
Unfortunately, there were no incidents of note on Saturday and so any CCTV will probably have been wiped over by now with Sunday’s business. They only had a small camera behind the bar, more to dissuade employees from dipping into the till than to record comings and goings in the pub. I did say it was a long shot. None of the Saturday staff were on today, though he did give me a list and contact numbers. Another job for uniform, I’ll also get them to come in and speak to a few regulars see if they remember anything.
The shop was even less helpful. After a call back to McCarthy, he says the stations are ready with the tapes and he’s arranged for them to be picked up. I head over to Castleknock Station to see what they have.
The answer is not a lot, other than a very grainy picture taken at specific time intervals so that people appeared to jump across the platform. We did have some luck though given it was early afternoon the amount of people who were actually coming back from town at that time was relatively small because most were heading into to town rather than out, or sat in watching the match. With this being the case the amount of people therefore waiting on the Maynooth side platform was also minimal. Now it was a matter of scanning it frame by frame to see if we could spot her.
“That her?” Freeze picture. Scan photograph. Look back at screen. “No” and so on.
Even without the picture for back up I knew it was. “Yes!” There she was leaving the back of the train and heading down the platform and out the station. So we have her at Castleknock Station at five past one. She’s on her own though and as far as we can tell from the cameras, nobody followed her. It’s a start though.
A quick call to Fran and he ok’s me to go back to her house and talk to the rest of the housemates. I turn down the offer of him also sending a Ban Garda to accompany me.
As I was led through to the kitchen by Maeve her two other housemates were at around the kitchen table, they were all red eyed and drinking coffee. I accepted again another offer for more coffee and realised I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. I decided that depending on information from here I’ll make this the last call and head home. It was nearly six o’clock anyway and even if I dropped the car back or not, I’d be looking at a hell of a journey home.
Maeve seemed to be the one of the three who was most together so I directed questions to her.
“It’s only a couple more questions, just some loose ends we need to tie up.”
“That’s fine,” she said, “I understand.”
“One that we can get out they way now is did she have a boyfriend?”
“No, she was definitely single. She’d had a couple of short term boyfriends since living here but noting serious.”
“It’s only procedure, but do you have their names?”
“Sure, I’ll write them down for you, I think I may still have their numbers somewhere.”
“Thanks, and do you know if she kept a diary or kept any kind of journal?”
“Not that I know of, didn’t you search her room anyway?”
“We did, but sometimes things like that are hidden well away, never mind. Lastly, one thing that has been bothering me is that we see that she got the train to Castleknock, but wouldn’t Coolmine be the easier or a much handier station for home?”
“They’re both the same really, maybe Coolmine is a bit nearer or more direct, but sometimes she used Castleknock. She would get claustrophobic on the train and was convinced all the men were perving at her, so sometimes she’d get off the stop early and walk that way.”
“You’ve obviously not used the Maynooth Commuter. It’s packed, I don’t just mean no seats, I mean Calcutta packed with people hanging off the roof. I’ve no idea how she stuck it day in day out.”
“I see, but on Saturday the train was pretty empty, any idea why on this occasion she would have used Castleknock?”
“I’m sorry I don’t know, maybe habit?”
“Maybe. Did she ever mention arranging to meet someone on Saturday? Anything at all?”
“No sorry, she never mentioned anything.”
She walked me to the door as her friends continued to look into space in the kitchen, “Thanks for the coffee, “ I offered, “If you want I can arrange for someone from Victim Support to come around and talk if you’d like. I was deliberately looking at the two in the kitchen.
“Thanks, maybe we’ll take you up on that. I just think we’re still in shock, but the best thing you could do is catch the bastard and see to it that he never pisses straight again.”
We both knew that the chances of the former at this moment in time were small, let alone anyone being able to get near him enough to kick the shit out of him.
“I’ll by some steel toe-capped boots especially for it.”
At least she smiled.
Heading back home to Jamestown Road, though currently stuck in traffic in Phoenix Park, Fran calls. Before I even have time to give him an update he simply cuts through with “Pint?” How could I refuse?
Still without car he took my route and got the LUAS to Goldenbridge. We met up at the Black Horse. At this stage in proceedings there’s always so much information flying around that it can be easy to loose threads in the pile. Over the years Fran and myself have found that a couple of pints drank initially in silence while we develop or thoughts. Then we share information, fill in the blanks in each other’s charts, and look to see which threads need closing off.
At the second pint, we talk.
“You seem keen enough on this Lyons guy.”
I had debated whether to keep him to myself, if only to stop any ridicule I may get, but then if it does go through to court, it’s best to show we’ve had him in mind for it from the start and why.
“He knows too much. Fran, if someone comes to you with specific information on a murder, what’s your first thought? They’re the suspect or they’re psychic?”
"Hasn't he got an alibi though?"
“And Eddie Rockets.”
“Hang on, We’ve missed something.”
“What? And what’s this we?”
“You’re in charge, if I screw up, we both get blamed for the stink. Anyway, what did he say about why he collapsed?”
“She bumped into him.”
“And what time do we have him in the diner?”
“Between four and half past.”
“But we also have Aisling, coming off the train at five past one. What was she doing back in Phibsborough? Why would she need to go back into town?”
“Maybe she fancied Eddie Rockets?”
“There’s one in the Blanchardstown Centre.”
“I don’t know then.”
“Shit this is going to keep me up all night. Same again? Guinness?”
“My round, Smithicks again?”
It wasn’t his round, but it gave him a chance to go and stand outside for a smoke. I was annoyed that I’d missed the hole in his story. Maybe it’s not his story, maybe it wasn’t Aisling on the platform, even though she was wearing the same clothes, maybe she did go down to Phibsborough after getting home. Maybe Lyon’s is lying.
After several mentions, of “Just one more” and “Last one” we ended up after six pints and a couple of jemmies going back to mine. Fran had missed the LUAS back to town to get the train out to Meath where he lived. Rather than face the taxi fair he decided to accept my offer of stopping at mine and then face the wrath of his missus tomorrow. Brave man.
We couldn’t think of any answers to the questions we had left, best then not to dwell on it and to pick it up tomorrow when we could stop speculating and try and find some answers. Fran was snoring away to himself in the back bedroom, but it was the image of Thomas Dent stood smirking at the end of my bed that was really keeping me awake.