‘Inspector, I’ve got an address for a Sarah Anne Pike in Portside, but I can’t find anything on Jeffrey under either name,’ said Peter, when Carl returned from the Chief Inspector’s office.
‘Let’s go pay her a visit, then.’
It took them half an hour to drive to the address in Portside, where an overweight, grey-haired woman, wearing a faded floral-print dress, answered the door when they knocked.
‘Sarah Pike?’ said Carl.
‘Who wants to know, love?’
Carl took out his badge and held it where she could see it. ‘I’m Detective Inspector West, and this is Detective Constable James. Are you Sarah Pike?’
‘Yeah, I’m Sarah.’
‘Mind if we come in, we’d like to ask you a few questions about your son.’
‘What’s bloody Malcolm done this time?’
‘Who’s Malcolm?’ said Carl.
‘You sure you’re at the right house, love?’
‘Were you married to Henry Watson?’ said Carl.
Sarah Pike opened the door. ‘You’d better come in, Inspector.’
Carl thought he’d seen a lot of rubbish piled up in Henry’s apartment, but at least Henry was in the recycling game. The interior of Sarah Pike’s house looked like the final resting place for every newspaper ever delivered.
‘Don’t worry about the papers, love. Barry says he’ll be here on Monday to collect.’
Carl exchanged a glance with Peter.
Sarah led them around the paper mountain in the hallway to the kitchen, which appeared to be the only room in the house free of papers.
‘Did Henry send you?’
‘Henry told us he didn’t know where you lived,’ said Carl.
‘Yeah, that’d be right. I haven’t spoken to that deviant bastard in twenty years, not since I caught him wearing my underwear.’
Carl glanced at Peter, who was doing his best to suppress a smile.
‘He didn’t think Barry knew where you lived either,’ said Carl.
‘Who do you think looked after the little bugger when Henry was doing time for nicking stuff? Mother Teresa?’
‘Henry told us his mother looked after Barry.’
‘There’s a lot of stuff Henry doesn’t know, love. His poor mother was a saint, God rest her soul. If it hadn’t been for her, we would have starved when the kids were little. Henry’s so fucking useless he could never hold down a job. He’s only got that apartment because his mother left it to him when she died.’
‘Any reason why you didn’t take Barry with you when you left Henry?’
‘He wouldn’t come with me, love. Wanted to stay with his bloody father.’
‘How many sons do you have, Miss Pike?’ said Carl.
‘Call me Sarah, love. Just the two. Barry and Malcolm.’
‘Where does Jeffrey come into the picture?’
‘Henry called our second son Jeffrey when he was born, after his bloody father, but I changed his name to Malcolm.’
‘Is he known as Pike or Watson,’ asked Peter.
‘Pike,’ said Sarah.
‘We’d like to speak to him,’ said Carl.
‘He’s up the river camping with Barry. They’ll be back on Monday, love. What do you want him for this time?’
‘He’s been in trouble with us before, has he?’
‘Yeah, the little shit was done for dealing drugs to the kids at the local high school. He’s only been out for a couple of months.’
‘Where does he live?’
‘With his brother. I wouldn’t let him come back here, not after what he’d done. I can give you the address, if you want?’
‘We have Barry’s address, thanks.’
‘Does Malcolm have a mobile number?’
‘The boys don’t have mobiles, love.’ Sarah rolled her eyes, ‘They don’t want to be disturbed. Anyway, why do you want to speak to Malcolm?’
‘Been listening to the radio or watching the news on the TV, Sarah?’
‘Not today, love.’
‘Heard about those girls found in the dunes at Morton Sands?’
‘You mean that serial killer they keep going on about?’
‘Yeah. But the trouble is, Sarah, it looks like that serial killer is one of your sons,’ said Carl, ‘and, I need to find out which one it is so I can stop him.’
Sarah Pike sat and looked at Carl, disbelief etched across her face.
‘Henry gave us a DNA sample. His profile is a partial match with the killer’s. I’m sorry.’
The color drained from Sarah’s face. She clutched at her chest and collapsed face first onto the table, before sprawling onto the floor.
Peter dropped his notebook and checked her vital signs.
‘She’s not breathing.’ He knelt beside her and started on mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Carl called for an ambulance.
to be continued…