O’Toole said he’d scan the rest of the front door CCTV footage after Aisling left to see if he can spot when exactly David Savage left, he’d call me as soon as he had a positive. I cut through Coolock and Beaumont on my way back to town eventually finding parking within the IFSC.
Inside it’s a different face on reception than yesterday. She asks who should she tell Mr Savage is calling and I tell her. She looks as if to ask if it’s regarding Aisling, but just calls Savage.
Another five minutes and a corporate brochure read that states nothing specific and factually proves how great the company is without any actual statement of fact. They’ve put a picture of Aisling in reception and have opened up a book of condolences. It seems pretty full already.
“Detective, how are you.”
“I’m fine Mr Savage, I was wondering if I could have a quiet word?”
“Sure, you want one of the meeting rooms again?”
“There or back at a station.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Maybe it’s better you come with me for the time being, shouldn’t take too long.”
“But, I’m at work, can’t it wait?”
“Mr Savage, this is the easy way. I say can we go to a station, you say yes and we’re happy. All that means is that the lovely lady here gets curious and happens to chat about it as soon as you’ve gone. The hard way involves me calling for back up and we do it the old fashioned way.”
“Can I at least know what it’s about first?”
“All will be made clear at the station. Is there anyone you should tell, just so nobody misses you.”
“No, I’ll give that a miss. It’s near to lunch time anyway, so I’ll take my break now.”
Despite the cold, he didn’t bother with a coat, he probably thought the car was out front, or he just didn’t want to go back into his office knowing full well in the period of leaving reception and getting to his office, the receptionist will have emailed half the company.
I decided for ease and “scene setting” I’d take him to Store Street and use their interview rooms. That and I was still trying to avoid the office. Fortunately, they had one spare for my use.
“Do I need a Lawyer?”
“You’re not under arrest, so at this point in time there’s little need. You can of course get one if you wish.”
“No, no. Let’s just get this over with.”
“Why did you lie about what time you left on Saturday?”
“I never, I left at four, you checked that out.”
“We also checked out the camera at the front and you never left at four. In fact we have you leaving at ten to one.” O’Toole had come back with the time while I was letting Savage sweat for a bit in the interview room. It looked like Regan was leaving, possibly for lunch and he let Savage out with him.
“So I got off a bit earlier than I told my boss. I don’t get paid overtime or even get time off in lieu, so I wasn’t robbing anyone of anything.”
“So why did you do it?”
“I don’t know, I just wanted to give the impression I was in all Saturday and missed the games. I could use it for ammunition come our pay reviews in March. But that’s it, and it’s not illegal.”
“No, but it is a crime to be giving false information during a murder investigation. You see David the problem is that to us we now have you unaccounted for during the time line that we know Aisling was alive. That’s a problem.”
“But I never saw her.”
“Where were you?”
“At home, watching the match.”
“Anyone who can back that up?”
“No, not until later. All my mates had gone to the pub in the early afternoon. I was going to try and get away earlier and join them, but I couldn’t get away from work. I then just went home and watched the match, had a shower and got changed and joined them in town.”
“But nobody can back up your alibi?”
“Where you anywhere near Castleknock on Saturday afternoon?”
“No, I live out in Dundrum. I drove straight there.”
“Would you still have the clothes you were wearing on Saturday?”
“Which: work or evening?”
“Yes, they’re both in the laundry, I haven’t washed them yet.”
“Good, I’ll get one of the guards to take you across to your home to get them.”
I should be going with them, but I decided it would be better to go in if we have to with a warrant. I’d need more than what could be a simple lie to get that. He volunteered to the clothes, but there’s no guarantee he hasn’t washed them first or that they actually are the clothes he wore. At the moment we’re relying on a lot of good faith.
I suppose it was time to fill Fran in on the events to date and see how the press conference was going. Fran said he was finished and said he’d meet me over in Castleknock if I can make it for some lunch and a discussion.
On the way to Castleknock my phone rings, ”Byrne.”
“Detective, its Peter Lyons.”
“Oh “the client”? Thanks Peter, you’ve raked up a whole load of shite.”
“Look, don’t blame me, it was Kelly, he said he was going on television to discuss the topic generally. He asked if he could mention that he was working with a client at the moment and I said yes, but no names. I had no idea he was going to say all that.”
“Peter, we’re going to have to talk, not just about this stuff that Kelly’s said today, but about other stuff. I may not hold much by the psychic stuff, but I can’t very well ignore what could be a possible crime in the future. I may be sure that what happened to you had nothing to do with Aisling, I just need to make sure it’s nothing to do with something else that could happen.”
“Anytime. I worked through the night and I’ve only just finished, but I’m happy enough with the first draft of the book. Can we leave it until later? I need some sleep and I also need to go and see the mother at some point.”
“I’ll call you tomorrow.”
Fran picks another pub for our lunch. A new one and it has a pleasant decking area over looking the canal. Of course it would be more pleasant in the summer rather than in January and even with the patio heaters, the cold is still taking any benefit out of the vegetable soup I ordered. No matter what the weather, if there’s any hint of an outside smoking area with seats, that’s immediately where Fran heads.
“How’s it gone so far?” I asked
“Not as bad as I thought, couple of journalists stopped me at the conference, but they were more interested in ripping into Kelly.”
“So they don’t believe him?”
“No. Thank god you’re average Irish journalist is still a cynical bastard.”
“Anything from the conference?”
“No, we did the usual and asked for the public’s help. How about you?”
“Maybe some better news. We’ve found that Savage, the facilities guy at the bank, he didn’t leave when he said he did. I’ve got a uniform from Store Street collecting his clothes right now, but I’d like to see if we can get a warrant.”
“We got anything else on him?”
“No. Only him chatting to her in the office, but impossible to see what he said. He could have asked her out for a date.”
“Good work, but we’ll have to wait and see what the clothes come up with before we can get anything like a warrant.”
“And the psychic?”
Now this is something at this point Fran doesn’t need to know about.
“Good, lets keep it that way too.”
We finish off our lunches with small talk. Fran’s putting arrangements in place for the reconstruction. They’ve selected someone for Aisling, but didn’t know what to do about the guy. Eventually the lounge girl at Myos was able with some coaxing to give as good a description of the guy who was with her as she could. All we really had was a guy in a green woollen hat similar to Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and the guy wore some form of rugby shirt, blue, later identified as the Leinster Shirt. Well it was enough to get someone dressed up for the reconstruction.
I tell Fran I should really speak to the girl again, this time with a picture of Savage to see if it jogs her memory. He thinks it’s worth a go.
Two missed calls on the phone, one from Store Street and one from Good Man Garda Mick. First voice mail tells me that they have the clothes from Savage’s house and nothing there. Secondly, Good Man Garda Mick says a taxi driver who did a drop off in Castleknock thinks he might have some information.
I call the taxi driver. He tells me that he’s out in Tallaght, but can meet me anywhere I want as he’s on his way back. I tell I'll meet him later.
We had no choice, we had to let Savage go as a suspect. But I still wanted the formality of an ID parade and checking with the barmaid. Fran didn’t seem too concerned, as he was feeling positive about the reconstruction. The press conference had already been out on lunchtime news bulletins and calls were flooding in to the incident line. Nothing as of yet that seems to be of any real interest. Oh yeah, and some psychics have called in as usual.
The taxi driver didn’t have that much more either, though he did confirm that he thinks her saw her and a guy in a Leinster Shirt outside Myos. According to him he was at the lights by Myos and they turned down the College Road. Once he’d realised they weren’t going to want his business he lost interest in them, but he did remember Aisling, and at least we now know she was probably killed soon after leaving Myos.
One of the things about any lamentation regarding the changes in this city is that I’m part of that change. I’m one of the people I’ve grown to distrust. I may be a guard first, but I’m a landlord second. So while efforts are concentrated on official matters, unofficially I decide that as it’s rent day, I’ll head over and collect. I’ve sometimes thought about realising the capital in the house in Clonsilla and buying again, but for what purpose? I could build up a good portfolio, I could collect the rents from my numerous properties in my brand new four by four and then head of to the Abbey in my best threads to watch a play about Dublin in the rare aul times with all the other middle class beneficiaries of the new economy, though none of us really remember or were ever that affected by the old economy in the rare aul times. Then so what? I retire, I die and there’s a couple of properties floating around with no one to take possession. The last will and testament of Jim Byrne “I leave everything to no one because I have no one.”
One of the three lads who rent rooms in the house is in, he works from home so is usually in.
“Jim, come on in.”
“Go on, I’ll have a coffee cheers.” This is how it goes, they’re all professional lads, they look after the place well and it’s always tidy. Tim, who does some kind of work in computers, is handy enough around the house so he looks after any break-downs and I just pay him for any materials he had to buy. Today’s not much different to other rent days, the other two lads have left the full balance and Tim’s, as it can be, is a bit short.
“I’ve arranged for the gas man to come out and service the boiler, I think it’s due.” I say as I take a sip of the coffee.
“Oh, right cheers, just let me know when he’s coming, I’ve a couple of jobs to do in town, but I can arrange to be here. I meant to call you, what’s the story on these girl?”
“Yeah, it’s a headache. We’ve a few leads though, but it looks like we’ll be over to the public to give up any information they have.”
“I think I knew that Aisling.”
“Yeah? How’s that?”
“She drinks in Myos and was always in the West Bar afterwards. Me and Alan tried to chat her and her mate up one night.” Alan was one of the other lads in the house.
“Ah nothing. Usual, nice to meet you and exchanging of numbers. She still said hi when we bumped into her and she’d still chat.”
This isn’t that surprising. There’s plenty of pubs in the Dublin fifteen region, but Myos was still the main hang out, even though it involved a long taxi ride for many. It’s not that surprising that any young person in this area would be seen in there at some point.
“Did you ever notice Aisling in there talking to anyone else?”
“Well, she was always in with some fella, for a while, but then they must have split up because we never saw him that often again.”
“He wasn’t local?”
“Originally he was and his folks are still here, but he lived elsewhere. I seem to remember one time, must have been when the World Cup was on, soccer that is, he was in and we got talking as he was sat at our table. He said something about living out in Maynooth, he was a lecturer at the University or something.”
“You’ve some memory, pity you’re never that quick to recollect on rent day.”
“Ah come on Jim, it’s just after Christmas, we’re all a bit short right? You always get it at some point. But yeah, I do remember. She was an attractive girl, getting to know the boyfriend could have been a way in, you know there to pick up the pieces when it goes wrong and all that. Shoulder to cry on.”
“You’re a dirty bastard Tim.”
“That reminds me, I’ll need a new bed, that one’s knackered.”
And guess what? Even I laugh at that. “Sure, listen forget this month's rent then and get the bed out of that,” I take out my wallet. I’m a cash man and have no cheque books, credit or debit cards, so I’ve always got a couple of hundred in my wallet, at least, “and add this to it. Should do you.”
“Thanks Jim.” He walks over to “his” press and takes out some chocolate hobnobs. ”Help yourself.”
“I don’t believe you.” I say, dipping in to the biscuits.
“You waited until you had cash out of me and only then got the biscuits out.”
“This is the only food I’ve left until I get paid. Anyway, you up for a pint this weekend?”
“Doubt it, still got a lot of work on.” Occasionally I’d go out with the lads and kip on the sofa.
“Never mind, it’s been a while though.”
“Aye, I will when this is over though. You’ve no money for food, but you’ve still money for a pint?”
“No, that’s why I asked if you were coming, you could get them in.”
“Nice try Tim, listen I’ve got to go soon. When was the last time you saw the boyfriend in Myos?”
“Weeks ago now.”
Think about it, Aisling studies at Maynooth and lives in Castleknock. She’s seen with a guy who’s from Castleknock and works out at the University at Maynooth. Her housemates don’t know because he could get sacked if it gets public they’re seeing each other. Think about that. Motive, she wants more and threatens to go public.
Even though it’s only just gone half four, I decide to head home. As productive as today may have seemed at the start, another thread has led to another dead end for the time being. It’s like climbing one sheer wall only to find that there’s another one as soon as you get around the corner.
I call Fran and let him know the news from Tim. He’s going to make the calls and still doesn’t trust me after the morning news. He’ll let me know if he needs me.