Diane and the Copper
Copyright© 2010 by Texrep
The next day was a rest day, so when the phone rang at just after seven in the morning I was not particularly happy. I stumbled out of bed expecting to hear from the Superintendent on duty asking me to come in and substitute for an absent colleague. At first I didn't hear anything so repeatedly announced my name. Then I heard a groan and my policemen brain switched in.
"Who's there, this is Inspector Anderson. Are you in trouble? Tell me your name please?" The groan came again then a pained voice whispered.
"Pug. It's me, Diane. I'm hurt." Used as I was I could recognise pain in a voice and I heard it then in Diane's voice...
"I'm on my way. Can you open the door?" There was silence for a moment then she said.
"Back door is unlocked."
"Ok. Don't move. I'll be there as soon as possible."
I dressed faster than ever before and was out of the flat in five minutes. Not caring about speed limits I was at Diane's house in fifteen minutes. The habits of the job had kicked in and on the way used the in car phone that the force insisted was fitted to senior ranks personal cars. I called in and told the Desk Sergeant what I knew and suspecting that Diane needed medical help I told him to get an ambulance there. Mr. Fearnly was outside the house when I arrived. He hurried to give me a report.
"The neighbours reported that there was a disturbance here early this morning, shouting and screaming. You got here quickly, I'm impressed, as I have only just called the police." I didn't bother to disabuse him of that impression.
"Would you stay here and keep the road clear for my colleagues and an ambulance?" He eagerly agreed. I ran up the drive heading toward the back gate beside the garage. It was locked. I took a step back and lunged forward, kicking the gate with my foot flat just under the lever. The gate swung back, the screws holding the bolt having ripped from the jamb. I followed the path round until I came to the back door. Normally at this point a policeman would announce his entry calling loudly who he was. I didn't bother, just opening the door and stepping into the kitchen. I quickly checked the downstairs rooms, a precaution in case there was someone on the premises that could be dangerous. I found nothing, so went cautiously up the stairs. I found Diane lying on the carpet at the top of the stairs; her face was bloody and seemed out of shape, her right forearm was bent with a swelling at the point of the bend. Someone had had beaten her up, badly. She was only wearing a nightgown. She lifted her left hand and I grasped it in mine.
"Pug! Thank God, you're here." Her voice was distorted.
"Don't talk for the moment; the ambulance is on its way. We'll get you to hospital and they will sort you out." She shivered. "Are you cold?"
"A bit." I went into the bedroom. The phone was on the floor, probably where Diane had left it after calling me, the carpet was scuffed, either her attacker or her crawling to the landing. I pulled the duvet off the bed and covered Diane with it. The lessons of the compulsory first aid course we all had to take reminding me that she shouldn't be moved. My cursory look around down stairs had me believe that this wasn't the result of a burglary gone wrong. I was convinced that this was Terry's doing. I knelt by her side and caressed her hand. She tried to smile but winced with pain instead.
"I love you, Pug." I put my finger to my lips.
"Shush Diane. I love you too." I was trying to think what I could do to help. "I am going to open the front door for the ambulance men. Oh by the way I have broken your side gate."
"Fuck the side gate!" I smiled, she was fighting.
I opened the front door just as the first responders came up the path. Two uniformed officers, one a policewoman. I told the policeman to have a good look around outside. The policewoman I directed upstairs. I was turning to go back upstairs when another car arrived. It was Bob Parrathwaite; it was evident that he had dressed as quickly as I did.
"What happened, Andy?" I filled him in with as much as I knew. "No signs of break-in? He asked.
"Not as far as I can see. I've got Robin Hurst looking around outside. But I don't think he will find anything." Bob nodded and looked at me.
"You're thinking Terry Bowden?" I nodded. He smiled grimly.
"Stupid. We pull him for this and turn his office in Erdington over. I am sure we will find something, and then he will go down." I was already there in my thinking. If a man is arrested for any offence the police have the right to search any premises he owns or rents, not just his home. If we find anything incriminating we can charge him with two offences. Bowden was an idiot.
"Harry's on his way. When he gets here we will go straight over to his car lot and if he's there we will arrest him. But we need Mrs. Bowden to tell us it was him."
"I'll go and talk to her." I told him.
The policewoman had done the first aid course as well, and had not moved Diane, just tucked the duvet around her making sure she kept warm. Bob had followed me upstairs; I knelt down and took Diane's hand. Making sure that the policewoman and Bob were listening.
"Diane just reply with a yes or no." She nodded. "Were there intruders?" We don't use the word Burglars now.
She whispered painfully. "No."
"Who attacked you? Was it your husband, was it Terry?" Her face showed sadness and tears eased slowly from her eyes. I thought she wasn't going to answer so I squeezed her hand to re-assure her. Finally she answered.
"Yes." She mumbled. I looked at the policewoman to see if she had heard. She nodded her head, thus corroborating what I had heard. I looked at Bob.