We break so Kelly can check his messages at his office and get to anybody on the verge of psychological collapse. As I potter around the office Maura calls.
“Sorry to call you at work.”
“You don’t have to apologise. It’s ok.”
“I just wanted to check something first.”
“Would you mind if I went home and picked up some stuff, clothes and women’s things so on?”
“Sure, why you even asking?”
“Jim, this is the first night we’ve spent together, I didn’t want you getting home and suddenly panicking thinking I’d moved in completely. Honestly, I won’t be here long, I’m just a practical girl and need my things.”
“Look: it’s fine. And don’t wait up, it might be late around here. I’ll let you know.”
“No need. I’ll be ok. I’ll wait up though if you don’t mind.”
Wow. How polite and disturbing was that conversation?
I’m stopped in my thoughts by McDermot, “Byrne, where you been?”
“I’ve been looking all over for you. I’ve got those photos for you to look at. Kenny’s guys.”
“Bring ‘em down, I’m in my office.”
McDermot comes down with a huge folder and lands on it with a thump on my desk.
“So how’s Cunningham?”
“Still in hospital, but doing well. He’s a bit on the quiet side though.”
“Understandable, not as if talking to us did him any good. What about Kenny?”
“He’s lawyered up and quiet as a mouse. DPP seem very interested in even the basics we have. Could be promising.”
I look at the huge volume on my desk, “He knows all these people?”
“Either directly or they’re connected to him in some way. I was going to pick out his known closest associates, but thought we might err on the side of caution and view everyone.”
It was slow going trawling through the photographs. After a while I was really only looking at every one in five or six properly. Occasionally at the end of a page, I’d realised that I couldn’t remember even looking at the others on the page and would have to go back.
I was pretty sure I’d remember Jackie, I saw enough of him, so I really should have just skimmed through until I found the picture, but McDermot was determined we do it properly. We hadn’t done this task yet with Maura and Ray wasn’t up to it. I was hoping I’d see him and make it less of a requirement for Maura. Ray, I didn’t really care about. He might not like it, but he’s our star witness. In his current condition, no jury in the land would let Kenny back on the streets.
Already there had been media attention about Kenny being in custody and already television crews had been up to his home town and found numerous people to interview who all stated he was an ordinary business man who did loads for the community. Even if we had him on video committing his crimes, these people would still proclaim his innocence.
About halfway through the book, among all the pale stares of various criminals and associates one face stands out head and shoulders above all others. A thin and square face. His hair, prematurely grey and shaved into a flat top and eyes looking through the camera and deep into the head of the photographer and viewer. Jackie.
“Couldn’t be more positive.”
“His name’s not Jackie.”
“Didn’t think it was likely to be.”
“James Owens just so you know.”
“Where’s he based.”
“We’ve no real idea. He’s usually permanently on the road until Kenny needs him. But after the warehouse he’s probably gone into hiding near by until Kenny can get him away.”
“Is he likely to?”
“You saw what he did to Ray. One whisper about Owens is that the only reason Kenny keeps him so close is because he’s the only person on this planet he’s actually afraid of.”
“Seemed like a kitten to me.”
Kenny comes back from checking his messages to say the emails have arrived from Maynooth and he’ll work on comparing them.
“Will it take you long?”
“Should only need twenty or so examples, hopefully from as big a time period as possible. Maybe two hours.”
“Just those tasteless biscuits brought in with the coffee.”
“I’ll arrange some lunch for you. Any preferences?”
“Even polystyrene would be a flavour feast compared to those biscuits.”
“I’ll get in some sandwiches. I need to pop out anyway.”
I still have to be cautious and one thing I’ve learned with caution is that I can’t be contacting the Dents willy nilly. Maura may just about be tolerated, though I’ve yet to even decide whether to tell Sheridan, but a record of calling Danny Dent on my work provided mobile could possibly be put down to stupidity.
I organise for a local sandwich shop to deliver a platter, courtesy of Sheridan, to HQ and for the attention of Dr Kelly. I head down towards town and find a mobile phone shop.
Is it possible that we need a choice of this many phones? I end up picking the most basic one in the shop, the only one that's just a phone.
“Sure, that doesn’t even have proper ring tones.” The sales boy whined, probably thinking more of his commission than any potential implications of yours truly walking around with a socially unacceptable phone.
“But it still rings when someone calls.”
“Then explain the problem to me.”
“Well this one here,” and he points to one resembling the very first pocket calculators that only fitted in the pockets of those jump suits made for chronically obese people, “you can store up to a hundred of your favourite songs and set each one as a ring tone for different people.”
“I only know one person. And they never call me anyway.”
As he packs up, I notice the till area is covered by CCTV cameras. I have a mild panic at the thoughts that if anyone did trace back the phone to this shop, they’d see me buying it on CCTV. Then there’s conflict. A sudden panic conflicting with a sudden eureka. If they have CCTV here, then so will the shop the murderer bought their phone from.
“Tell me, lad. Is your manager in?”
“Look, mister, I didn’t mean to offend you trying to sell you other phones. There’s no need to get me into trouble.”
“You’re not.” I show my badge.
“Yeah we record everyone.” The manager is younger than the kid who was serving me. He shouldn’t even be trusted to be on his own with scissors, let alone run a shop.
“What happens to the footage?”
“These days we store it on a computer hard drive and then burn the files onto DVD. We store them pretty much forever. Well, as long as I’ve been here.”
“How long have you been here?”
“And you’ve two years of CCTV footage?”
“Sure, the files sizes aren’t that big and you can get loads onto the DVD. We send them off to head office at the end of the month and they archive them all.”
I still needed to use my new phone, but I guess some sense of prioritising kicked in and I called Fran and asked him to check up on when and where the phone was purchased, as there’s a chance we could have a better image and asked him to check on the progress with the search at the library. Then I called Danny.
“Mr Byrne, I didn’t recognise the number.”
“It’s private you mean?”
“This phone call is.”
“Will you be keeping the number?”
“I haven’t decided yet.”
“So to what do I owe the pleasure.”
“Information that’s of mutual interest. Check out the name James Owen.”
“I know of him already.”
“His reputation and his more legitimate public face.”
“A security consultant.”
“For pubs and clubs?”
“More industrial. Does a lot of work for one of your old pals.”
“Don’t bloody say Tommy O’Toole.”
“How’d you know?”
“You want us to deal with this?”
“He hurt me too.”
“No disrespect Byrne, but taking Maura and what he threatened to do takes precedence over your beating.”
“I was referring to Maura.”
“Oh. I understand. I’ll call you when we have news.”
“On this number.”
Back then at the office three things happen at once. Firstly Kelly says the emails are very revealing. They reveal that Delaney can’t possibly have written the letters and this would suggest he isn’t the murderer. Fran stormed in during talking to Kelly to tell me that the phone shop had a major result and still had footage of the sale. They could come over with the DVD in less than an hour and the colleges won’t be far behind with the library information. And while all that was going on my office phone rang,
“Detective Byrne speaking.”
“Hello, is that the guards?” It sounded like an old man.
“Yes sir, how can I help?”
“It’s about that girl, the young one murdered. I may have information, are you the person to talk to?”
“Yes sir, what information do you have?”
“I think we’ve got her on camera, with the man you were looking for.”