"Right listen closely please"? instructed Detective Inspector James Hathaway to all the CID operatives of the Oxford Police Force in the room. "We have our body Colin Creevy a photographer from The Oxford Mail who was found stabbed to death in a bathroom at the local cinema". The last comment caused some snickers from most of the officers in the room but soon stopped when Hathaway's bagman Detective Sergeant Harry Potter shot daggers at them.
Hathaway wondered if there was any point in trying to teach this lot anything. Before he retired and left for Manchester to be with his daughter Lewis had warned him that most of these lads and lasses won't be as quick off the mark as Hathaway himself and that Hathaway would have to be tolerant
"Good thing he didn't die watching a film coz the path boys would have simply said he died of boredom watching the bloody thing." DC Seamus Finnegan remarked. Hathaway rolled his eyes at the flippant attitudes this division had. Most of these idiots had been transferred from places like Manchester, Belfast,Yorkshire, Essex, Wales or Reading and were about as open minded as a Dyslexic walrus.
Harry decided to help his boss get through to these green and wet behind the ears coppers. He had just been looking over the Post mortem report that Doctor Hermione Granger the new senior pathologist who had replaced the now retired Doctor Laura Hobson had sent.
"Doctor Granger at the mortuary has confirmed the time of death between two and four in the afternoon and the forensic lads have said that the knife was standard army issue so Peakes and Coote as you were both in the special forces together you'll talk to the local army bases and check if any of their weapons are missing".
The two DCs called Peakes and Coote nodded to show they understood. DC Ron Weasley a recent addition to Oxford from the Devon Police was curious. "Ya think the killer's a squaddie or something Sarge"? he asked. "The correct term for it Weasley is soldier" Hathaway answered for Harry. "Bear in mind DC Weasley that the Chief Super was a Major in the forces for ten years before she joined the police" Harry pointed out. "So I wouldn't use the word squaddie in front of her.
Chief Superintendent Minerva McGonagall who had replaced DCS Jean Innocent as the commander of the city police had very little patience with flippant comments about life in the army and sometimes threatened anyone brave enough to make cracks about it with loss of pay or bad references to future senior officers.
As Harry pointed out McGonagall despised the term "squaddie" with a passion.
When both Harry and Hathaway gave out assignments to all the available officers they both turned in the direction of The Chief Super's office. The inside of the office was a lot more different and rearranged than how McGonagall's predecessors James Strange and Jean Innocent preferred it during their reigns of command in the force.
McGonagall's Scottish accent was the most strong and clipped sounding voice that neither James or Harry had heard before but it did have a soft tone when the moment called for it.
"I understand that this Colin Creevy lad was from the Daily Mail beforehand" She said when Hathaway had filled her in on the details. "Yes marm" Harry replied. "According to the editor she had to sack him after he got too personally involved with covering a fashion show in Kensington so we're working on the assumption that someone from the mail in London followed him to Oxford".
"Or someone in the army that he annoyed " Hathaway said
McGonagall pursed her lips for a moment. "I don't care for the press much but murder is murder and the Assistant Commissioner is hoping for a quick outcome and with regards to the murder weapon he hopes that the army isn't involved in this as he was a Lance Corporal in the same unit as me for a time."
"Creevy's uncle was in the service for five years he kept some of the weapons as memorabilia". Hathaway reported "He reported most of these weapons missing about a month ago one of these was a knife".
"Bit of a stretch if its the same one sir" Harry ventured "For all we know it could be the one we took from Bellatrix Lestrange during the Longbottom Case nine months ago."
"I have to agree with Potter" said McGonagall "and I must urge you not to suspect anyone in the victim's family without concrete proof and without upsetting the Ministry of Defence they already resent me enough for leaving the army."
"Yes marm" Harry and Hathaway said in unison.
At the mortuary Doctor Hermione Granger was busily hosing down the slap where Colin Creevy's corpse had just laid. She didn't mind the odd corpse every now and then she just wished it was natural causes just for once and not a suspicious death. Her mentor Laura Hobson told her when it came to dealing with policemen "keep things simple" because it was the only way she'd get on with them.
Hermione nodded at Cho Chang one of her team who then told her that DI Hathaway and DS Potter were on their way down. When they arrived thoughts turned to fingerprints and the insides of Creevy's stomach much to Harry's disgust who had just eaten a bag of mini cheddars on the way in.
"Not much of an eater by all accounts" Hermione declared smartly "No traces of nicotine, booze or drugs inside what's left of the poor sausage but traces of vitamin C like he was more of a soft drinker than a boozer."
"Sensible sort of bugger" Harry commented. "Which is more than can be said for the man who used to spend his evenings drinking DI Peterson under the table" Hermione said waspishly. Harry rolled his eyes he hated it when he got reminded of the time during DI Alan Peterson's promotion party to DCI he and Alan had a sort of drunken "Brokeback Mountain moment". All because he got on well with the man and served in Peterson's unit for two years before he became Hathaway's bagman.
Hathaway neither liked or disliked Peterson he was just simply "there". " Forensics will most likely tell you that there are some hairs on the blade but most likely from your killer not the victim". Hermione reported
Harry and James looked at each other at this. It sounded tenuous but it was something to go on.
The investigation into the death of Colin Creevy had turned up some rather interesting developments and twists but all this came at a high price when the commander at the local army base had complained that the police were harassing his men in their assignments. This prompted a rather heavy and stern lecture from McGonagall who ordered that all inquires and connections into military activities were to be deemed admissible.
Despite protests from both Harry and James and despite the clinging DNA evidence that connected the army and the murder weapon. All matters regarding the dagger had to be turned over to the military police or the "redcaps" as DC Michael Corner called them.
But hope was not completely lost because Hathaway discovered a shocking truth about an old school rival of Colin Creevy who had a father in the army and was arrested for assaulting Colin in London some years earlier after Colin was planning to expose to the media as someone who beats up pensioners. This enemy of Colin who was called Marcus Flint and was seeking revenge for his father's imprisonment. He eventually got his way by cornering Creevy in the bathroom at the local cinema and stabbed the poor lad several times in the chest before Creevy stopped breathing.
When Marcus had been tracked down leaving his shift at the Lower Depths nightclub where he worked as a bouncer. DCs Weasley, Finnegan, Thomas, Abbott, Jordan and Wespurt surprised him in the alley next door to the club and pinned him down long enough before the lads in Uniform turned up followed by Harry and Hathaway.
Hathaway allowed Harry the chance to do the arrest caution. Harry recited it in good memory.
"Marcus Flint I'm arresting you for the murder of Colin Creevy you don't have to say anything but you may harm your defence if you do not mentioned when questioned something you later rely on it in court anything you say can be recorded as evidence."
PCs Macmillian and Finch Fletchly cuffed Flint smartly and led him to the waiting police cruiser. The team then began making their way back to either the police station or their respective homes but Potter and Hathaway decided to head for the pub.
"Planning on drinking me under the table tonight Sergeant" Hathaway teased. Harry blushed, smirked and said "Sir with all respect shut up".
The two coppers started laughing all the way to the pub.
I know it seems rushed and I know the title seems unimaginative but I couldn't think of anything else that fitted.