‘I didn’t see a white van,’ said Peter, as he parked their silver Ford.
‘Maybe there’s a separate car park for staff, Pete.’
‘I don’t think so, Inspector. Look at that sign there,’ said Peter, pointing to a sign with the words ‘staff only’ painted on it.
Inside the building they were greeted by a middle-aged woman in a light blue uniform, with ‘Marie’ engraved on her name badge.
‘You must be the hundredth policeman I’ve seen since that poor girl was murdered on the beach,’ said Marie, when Carl showed her his badge. ‘How can I help you?’
‘We understand a Barry Watson works here as a gardener, is that right?’
‘Yes, Inspector. Barry works here but you haven’t picked a very good time if you want to speak to him.’
‘Why’s that, Marie?’
‘Today’s the first day of his annual leave. I can give you his home address, if you like?’
‘Do you have a mobile phone number for him?’
‘No, Barry doesn’t have a mobile phone but I’ve got his home number.’
‘That would be helpful, thanks.’
Marie took a business card from her desk and wrote Barry Watson’s address and telephone number on it, and then passed it to Carl.
‘When do you expect him back from leave?’
‘He’s got four weeks.’
Carl watched as Peter made a note of the date.
‘What’s Barry like?’
‘Keeps to himself a lot, Inspector. The residents seem to like him but he’s a shy lad. Doesn’t say much but we’re happy with the way he does his job.’
‘How long’s he been working here?’
‘Three years, I think.’
‘Does he always take his annual leave at this time of the year?’
‘Yes, I think so. I can check if you like?’
‘If you don’t mind.’
Marie consulted a file on her computer. ‘Yes, look’s like he takes his holidays at the same time each year.’
‘Who fills in while he’s away?’
‘No-one, Inspector. At this time of the year, the lawns can survive without a cut for a few weeks. I think that’s why Barry takes his holidays now.’
‘Do you know if he has a girlfriend?’
‘He’s never mentioned one.’
They called in to speak to Henry Watson after leaving the retirement village but he wasn’t home.
‘Guess he’s on his way to that recycling depot,’ said Carl.
‘Too bad he doesn’t have a mobile phone, Inspector.’
‘Here’s the address, let’s go to the Port and say hello to Barry, and find out where he was on Friday night.’
to be continued…