John Fish B.Sc. Publishers of Tenby in Wales
ROWSE LITERARY AGENCY
KEEPER OF THE DARK
e-mail: Stephen Doherty
The investigation being conducted by two policemen: detective sergeant Spire, and detective constable Thomas. The two detectives discover similarities to the Whitechapel murders. As the body count rises they race against time to catch the killer.
In the autumn of 1888, the whole country is gripped with fear in the wake of the recent murders in the Whitechapel area of London.
Jack the ripper had disappeared without trace. Murders continued occurring in different parts of the country. In the small town of Carmarthen West Wales, the discovery of a woman’s mutilated body brought the quiet, tranquil life to an end.
Where Many Walk
West Wales November 1888
The town of Carmarthen was fast becoming a busy, expanding place. successful business people tended to run their businesses in the town while living in the quiet tranquil rural areas such as Cynwyl Elfed and Cardigan. Businesses flourished in the town and people, families and individuals alike, came from far and wide in the hope of making money and building successful businesses. Farmers would buy and sell at cattle markets, tailors and dress makers opened shops where they sold hand-made clothes, some cut from the finest cloth money could buy. the finest leather footwear was sold in a small number of shoe shops. The local hospital was on the outskirts of the town where staff cared tirelessly for the sick and injured.
Born in Swansea in the early summer of 1860, Harry Spire was the only son of Edward and Florence Spire. his two older sisters, Molly and Doris, were both married with families of their own.
People bought their fresh meat and poultry from the local butcher’s shop which was owned and run by Mr. Henry Morgan. “Morgan the meat” as people knew him, was sixty years old, and had run his own shop in the town for most of his working life. A man of little educational background, he came from a poor family. He and his brothers and sisters started life in the local workhouse until the age of eleven. It was Llwellyn the butcher who taught him his trade.
Everyone around the country was gripped with fear in the wake of the recent Whitechapel murders in London. the killer the press called “Jack the ripper” had apparently disappeared without trace.
Life was quiet especially for the local police constabulary. Detective sergeant Harry Spire had moved to the area following his promotion six months earlier. Among the locals he knew, he was well aware that some women had turned to prostitution to feed their families or habits such as alcohol. although treated the same as every one else, the “prostitutes” or “ladies of the night” as they were also known, didn’t care much for the law.
Traditional welsh dress was worn by most women young and old. Only the women of the night wore any clothes they could afford. The locals welcomed the presence of the police. “There you go inspector. enjoy the cakes.” Mrs. Owen the shop keeper smiled as she handed Harry a bag of welsh cakes.
“Thank you Mrs. Owen...it’s sergeant...by the way.” He replied politely as he handed her the correct money.
she felt herself blush sightly. “Oh I’m sorry.”she laughed.
Harry smiled warmly. “No problem. good day to you Mrs. Owen.” He said as he turned to leave the shop. he saw Mary Owen the daughter of Mrs. Owen, enter the shop as he made for the door.
“Hello sergeant.” she teased the young police man as he passed her.
“Good morning miss.” he raised his bowler hat to her as he left the shop.
she watched the sergeant leave the shop. turning to her mother, she asked : “Ok mam what do you want me to do?”
“Take that basket of food there up to old Mrs. Griffiths at the farm.”
Mary huffed impatiently as she took the basket off the back shelf. “Oh I don’t know why the scatty old cow don’t come down here and get them herself!”
every body knew that Mrs. Griffiths the farmers widow could do more for herself than she let on and no one liked her much except for Mrs. Hilda Owen the shop keeper. they had been friends for many years. “Mary Anwen Owen, I will not have you talking like that !”
“Well she is mam! she’s horrible to me and all my friends.” Mary pleaded.
but Hilda would not give in. “She is a very dear friend of mine, and I’ll thank you to keep a civil tongue in your head while your in this shop my girl!”
Mary said no more.she knew it would do no good to argue with her mother. she just got on with delivering the food.
When Harry arrived at the police station, his colleague, detective constable Will Thomas was waiting for him. “Morning sergeant.” He said.
Harry took off his hat and coat and hung them on the coat stand that stood in the corner of the room. “Morning Will.” he replied as he sat at his desk.
“The start of another day. a day in the lives of carmarthen folk.” Will sighed.
“Anything happen during the night?” Harry asked.
“Not much.a few fights, and a couple of drunk and disorderly. that’s all”
Harry suddenly thought about Mary. “What do you know about Mary Owen?” He asked as he sat back in his chair.
Mary Owen was a very beautiful girl of twenty five summers only. and being only a few short years younger than he, Will was able to tell Harry quite a few things about her.
“Well, she’s an only child, did quite well at school, no boyfriend or husband, works in the family shop, she’s quite well liked by all the people in the town. why?”
Will took a gulp of tea from the cup that stood on his desk.
Harry looked deep in thought. “Do you think she’s a lady of the night?” He asked.
Will almost choked on his tea. “No I don’t ! if she is, she hides it well sarge.”
By early evening, the sun had set, and a fog drifted inland from the sea. Mary and her friends were huddled in the corner of the old mill inn.
“Annie is late. I wonder what’s happened to her.” Edna said.
the ladies of the night always met at the inn before going to work the streets and tonight, Annie James was late. “Trust her to be late.” Ivy moaned.
Mary kept watching the door. “ It’s not like her, she’s always on time.” She said with worry in her voice.
then suddenly, Annie came rushing in all hot and bothered, but full of joy. “Here she is.” Josephine said.
“Where the bloody hell have you been?” Mary sounded off at her.
“Sorry I’m late girls, this good looking man propositioned me as I was coming up the street, I gave my services, so the drinks are on me.” she said as she sat down beside Mary.
there were a few moans of surprise. “ No. we’d better get started. we’ll meet back here by eleven ok?” Mary said as she stood up. they all murmured in agreement and left.
as Mary stood alone at the bottom of the street, she lost herself deep in thought. thoughts of what her mother and father would say if they found out she was on the game. suddenly a horrible thought entered her mind. ‘fuck! what if I get caught by sergeant spire doing it with some body?’ and ‘mind, Id rather do it with him.’ she thought as she strutted provocatively down the street. she was suddenly torn from her thoughts by the sound of a horse drawn carriage slowly passing by. a lady popped her head out of the carriage window. “ See you later Mary.” she laughed. it was the voice of Annie James.
“Aye see you later.” She replied in a loud voice. she started to walk back up the street.
“How about a quickie love?” a drunken man laughed from the gutter as she walked past.
“Go fuck yourself!” was her reply.
In the early hours of the morning, Sergeant Spire lay awake in his bed unable to get to sleep, when there was a loud banging on the front door. He opened it to find a uniformed officer.
“Sarge, there’s been the body of a young woman found behind the library on St. Peter’s road,” he puffed out of breath from running. “There’s blood everywhere.”
“Ok, go and get constable Thomas and tell him to meet me there,” He ordered.
The night was still shrouded in a blanket of fog as Harry quickly made his way to St. Peter’s road. When he arrived there he was met by uniformed officers who were sealing the area off from public view as the public tried to get a look at the body. Harry was still examining the scene when Will arrived.
“What we got sarge?”
Harry looked up at him momentarily. “She was murdered at the scene, blood on the walls and the ground. Body slashed in more than one place. Let’s get her off to the mortuary,” Harry said as he stood up.
“I’ll arrange it right away sarge.”
The following morning the two police men were at the mortuary talking to doctor Dafydd Evans the police surgeon.
Doctor Evans was a tall fat man in his late fifties. He liked a drink, and he was quite partial to gambling. In his twenty years as a coroner, he had never seen anything so brutally horrific. By the time the post-mortem was complete, there was quite a lot of stomach contents on the floor and though he wouldn’t admit to it, most of it was his own.
“What did you find doc?” Will asked.
“Bruising to the neck, hair under the finger nails which suggests some kind of struggle took place. But what disturbs me is the slashes on the torso,” he replied as he washed his hands.
Both Harry and Will looked puzzled. “What do you mean?” Harry asked.
“The sternum, or breast bone as it is known in laymen’s terms, lays above the heart. The heart was taken. Now a sharp knife would cut through the skin, but the breast bone would have had to be broken either by pressing down hard on it with the base of your hand, or it can be done quicker with a meat cleaver or saw.”
“Hmmm.” Harry looked deep in thought.
“Do you think it’s the whitechappel murderer sarge?” Will asked.
“I hope not.” Harry replied.
Harry looked at Will. “Has she been identified?” He asked.
Will took out his note book. “Yes sarge.” He read from his book. “Annie James. she’s a lady of the night sarge.” he confirmed.
“Poor bugger. any family?”
“Her friends reported her missing last night. one of them identified her about an hour ago. a Miss Josephine Richardson.” He replied.
“Address?” Harry asked as they left the building.
“No fixed abode.”
“Ok. find her, and bring her in for questioning. I’m going to make some enquiries of my own.” Harry said as he headed off in the direction of the workhouse.
he had visited many of these in his time. he hated the places. the smells, the sick and dying people - adults and children alike. - but he knew he had to do it. he knew he had to go there. it was his duty. he knew the only good thing was that, as a child, he had been fortunate enough to have avoided being sent to the workhouse.
He was shown through to the board room where twelve well dressed, well fed men were getting ready to review the situations of the residents.
the beadle showed him into the room. “Come in sir, come in.” said the gentleman who sat at the head of the table.
silence fell as he entered the room. the beadle closed the door behind him as he left Harry in the room with the gentlemen.
he felt a dozen pairs of eyes watching him. “Thank you sir.”
“How can we help sergeant?”
“I’m looking for information about a miss Annie James. she’s approximately twenty two years of age, of no fixed abode. I was hoping she might have stayed here in the past.”
“Why are you asking sergeant?” another gentleman asked.
“She was murdered last night. our records show she was of no fixed abode that’s why I was hoping she had stayed here in the past.” Harry explained.
“Not in recent years. she was sent out into the community ten years or so ago. she was sent to work in the school. not an easy girl to get on with, but she would have made a good teacher in time.” The first gentleman replied.
“Who took care of her?”
the gentleman looked thoughtful for a moment. “The headmaster until she walked out.”
when Harry left the workhouse, he felt that he had gained very little information. as he left the workhouse, he saw the local undertaker removing the body of a child from the building into the back of the hearse. he removed his hat as a mark of respect.
That afternoon found Harry and Will back at the police station questioning miss Josephine Richardson. Will had managed to find her down by the fountain in the square. she was talking to her friends. probably other ladies of the night. - when Will approached her. she knew he was a policeman, so even propositioning her to entice her to Co -operating with him wasn’t going to work. Harry and Will sat opposite her.
“What can you tell us about Annie, miss Richardson?” Harry asked.
“She was only young... just a kid. I wanted her to find a husband but she wanted to be part of the gang. us older girls try to look after the young ones.” She explained.
Will was busy writing down all that she told them. he didn’t notice her looking at him.
“How close were you all?”
“About as close as friends can get.” she shrugged.
“Did you take her in as a lodger?”
“Some nights yes. she stayed with us all.”
“Did she have any enemies?”
“Not that I know...” suddenly a thought came to mind. “It’s that whitechappel murderer isn’t it. he’s here in Wales isn’t he!”
“We don’t know yet.” Harry tried to assure her.
“Don’t bullshit me!” She spat. “You know alright. you both do.but you’d rather more women died before fuckin’ confirming it wouldn’t you!” she yelled.
“Don’t swear at us.” Will intervened.
Harry took no notice of what Will said. “I assure you that’s not true. you can go now.”
as they watched her go, Harry started thinking about what doctor evans had found on the body. the way she had been mutilated. the possibility that a meat cleaver had been used. the meat cleaver. a dangerous weapon in anybody’s hands, and an instrument known only to be used by butchers. but the only butcher in town was Henry Morgan. ‘But surely it couldn’t possibly be a kind and gentle man such as he.’ he thought to himself. “Why don’t you take your dinner break Will. I’ve got to go and see inspector Rees.” he said as he stood up to leave the room.
“Aye ok sarge.” Will replied sagely.
Inspector Tom Rees was in his office when Harry found him. being a former soldier, he sat at his tidy desk, tending to his work neatly and correctly. “Come in.” he beckoned when there was a knock at his door.
Harry walked in. “Hello sir, sorry to bother you, I was wondering if I could have a word.”
the man carried on writing. “Yes. sit down.” he did not look up from his desk.
Harry sat opposite him. he waited until the inspector was ready to talk. Tom set his ink pen on his desk and closed the file he was tending to. “Right. what can I do for you sergeant?” he asked as he looked at Harry.
Harry too a deep breath as he began. “The st.peters road murder. the coroner reckons two different types of weapon were used to open the torso. one being a sharp knife, the other being a meat cleaver. I think the killer was trying to confuse us some how.”
“Sounds as though the killer is a butcher. bring Mr. Morgan in and charge him.”
“I don’t think it was him. this man worked in darkness. Mr. Morgan has educational problems. he wouldn’t be able to work in complete darkness. I think it was a farrier or a doctor.”
“Preposterous! bring him in I say!.”
“With permission sir, I’d like to make a few more enquiries first.” Harry requested.
Tom thought for a moment. “Ok, talk to him. I know he’ll confess.” he replied.
Harry left the office feeling that he went in with nothing, and came out with less.
there was absolutely no way that Henry Morgan could possibly have committed such a gruesome murder.however, the problem was proving his innocence. Josephine Richardson had set one question in Harry’s mind. ‘How many more must die before the real murderer is caught?’ how many indeed...
Florence was a house keeper. she worked for the lord mayor of Swansea, councillor Maldwyn Roberts until she married Edward Spire. Edward Spire was an inspector with the Swansea borough police force. he was a kind, considerate man who was only firm with the criminals in his custody. he loved his job, and proudly served his community right up until the day he died. He and Florence enjoyed twelve years of happy marriage, raised three children, and lived life to the full. that was, until that terrible night when there came a knock on the door of the Spire’s home by the sea. Florence opened the door to find Edward’s boss chief inspector Harries standing on the porch. she could tell by the sad look on his face, that something bad had happened. when he was inside the house, he sat her down and gently broke the bad news to. the news that Edward had been murdered. stabbed while trying to break up a fight outside a local tavern. the peaceful family life was ruined for ever. Harry often recalled standing at his father’s grave side and thinking that he would never smile or be happy again. two months after Edward’s murder, his killer was hanged at Swansea prison. Florence died less than three years later. most people said that she died of ill health, but Harry, Molly, and Doris knew she died of a broken heart.
The children were taken in by the family of councillor Roberts. - they felt that they owed it to Edward and Florence for years of service to them and the town of Swansea. - until they were old enough to go out to work and fend for themselves.
after schooling was done, Molly followed in her mother’s footsteps and became a housekeeper to a doctor and his family, before marrying the doctor’s oldest son.
Doris became a dress maker and married a solicitor’s clerk, and Harry became a builder’s apprentice until he was old enough to enroll in the Swansea borough police.
he walked the beat as a constable for seven years before transferring to C.I.D. keeping the peace on the streets of Swansea was enjoyable, but deep down he wanted to rid the streets of Swansea of violent people like the person responsible for the death of his father. this way, he felt that he was carrying on his father’s good work.
he became a detective constable at the age of twenty five. his thirst for success gave him the ambition to seek promotion, and on his twenty eighth birthday, he transferred to carmarthen, having been promoted to sergeant.
“What’s this all about sergeant?” Henry Morgan asked nervously as he sat at the desk in the interview room.
Harry and Will sat opposite him. “It’s about the murder of Annie James...” Harry began
Henry Morgan cut in “Oh yes. she was a lovely lady.” He laughed nervously.
Harry studied him closely. “Where were you last night between the hours of six p.m and two a.m.?” He asked.
“At home with Mrs. Morgan and angharad. why?”
“And they will verify this will they?” Will asked as he took Henry’s statement.
“Yes of course they will.”
Harry looked directly at the nervous butcher. “how’s business?” He asked.
Henry became slightly confused. “It’s good. why?” he asked , still nervous.
“Good enough to keep a roof over our heads, now will you tell me why you are asking me these questions?”
at that moment, a uniformed officer entered the room holding a report form.
“Excuse me sergeant, the records you asked me to look through. I’ve found something.” He said. as he handed Harry the form.
“What is it Smith?” Harry asked.
“There was a break-in at a butchers shop in Newcastle Emelyn last week. a meat cleaver, knives, and a butcher’s saw were among the things taken.” the officer explained.
Harry scanned the form and smiled. “Ok Mr. Morgan, your free to leave.” He said.
Henry stood up quickly. “I still don’t know what I’ve done.” He protested.
Will looked up at him. “Nothing. you’ve helped us with our enquiries. thank you.”
Harry felt that they had made a break through in their enquiries. he always remembered how excited his father would be when he made such discoveries.
the rest of the afternoon was spent looking for Josephine and her friends. the search proved fruitless. after writing up their reports, they both clocked off for the night.
Mary Owen had taken quite a fancy to sergeant spire. she had been working hard in the family shop when her mother came in from the back room. “Can I finish now mam? I’ve promised to help Ivy look after her younger brother. I’ve got to be there by six.” she said matter-of-fact -like.
the clock on the wall read ten past five. “Oh alright. off you go.”Hilda moaned.
“Thanks mam.” She smiled as she removed her apron. she made a dash for the door, grabbing her shawl off a stool that stood by the counter. she ran past old Mrs. Griffiths as she ran out through the door.
Mrs. Griffiths glared at Mary. “Off gallivanting are you?”
Mary looked at her. “Oh hello Mrs. Griffiths, no I’m off to see a friend.” she said as she continued on her way.
Mrs. Griffiths watched her go. “Better make sure you don’t get into trouble then!” she bellowed venomously.
“Oh come on now jean, she’s a good girl.” Hilda said as Mrs. Griffiths approached the counter.
but Mrs. Griffiths was having none of it. “She’s trouble Hilda. her and her wretched friends. a good hiding she needs, and from you and your husband!”
Hilda took none too kindly to this, but with a civil tongue, she served Mrs. Griffiths.
Mary met Ivy, Josephine, and Edna at the old mill inn just before six. as she sat down with her drink, she saw that they were upset about something. “What’s wrong?” she asked.
Josephine looked at her. “The girl they found murdered... it was Annie.” her reply was solemn.
the news hit her like a bolt of lightning. “No” she gasped in disbelief as she clasped her hands over her mouth.
“Yeah.” was all Edna could say.
Mary could feel her eyes filling up. she was fit to burst out crying.
“I hope the killer rots in hell!” Ivy seethed through gritted teeth.
“If they catch him.” Josephine chipped in.
Mary looked at the other three. “But what if they don’t catch him?” she asked.
“Look. lets not worry about that. I’m sure they will.” Edna assured her.
The inn was crowded that night. smoke made it so hard to see. in one corner of the room, people were laughing out loud as they drank and told jokes. the rest of the people were laughing, singing, drinking, or just keeping themselves to themselves.
Mary drained the dregs of her drink. “Come on, let’s get to work.” she said as she got to her feet.
they all downed their drinks and left the inn. they had agreed to meet up again at eleven o’clock outside the inn.
Harry was sat at home reading a book and enjoying a bottle of beer by the fire side. he thought momentarily of Rhiannon the girl he left behind in Swansea. he pictured her sitting with him by the fireside. he remembered the cold winter evenings when they used to make slow, sensuous love by the fireside in her cottage by the sea. those were the happiest days of his life. he missed her sorely. as he said goodbye to her at the train station, he kissed her tenderly and vowed to send for her as soon as he had found a good place to live.
they wrote to each other every day. he so wanted to tell her that it was ok for her to come to him, but in his heart of hearts, he knew it wouldn’t be safe while there was a murderer on the streets. the days spent without her were long, and the nights were lonely and longer still. in their letters they told of how they wanted to be together, and of the things they would do, and the places they would go. he was happy, having received a letter from her that day telling him of how she loved, missed, and longed to be with him.
he wrote to her saying that he too, loved, missed, and wanted to be with her. and as soon as he could, he would send for her, and they would be married as soon as they were together.
the next morning, uniformed officers were already at the farm when Harry and Will arrived. they had received a message from Mr. George Owen that he had discovered the body of a female when he arrived for work that morning. “Where is the body?” Harry asked a constable.
“In the barn out the back sarge.” he replied as he showed them to the barn.
the body of Mrs. Jean Griffiths was found in a hayloft at the back of the barn. when they got to the barn, they found doctor Dafydd Evans the police surgeon, examining the body.
“Morning doctor. what can you tell us?” Harry asked.
Dafydd looked up from where he knelt. “Oh hello sergeant.” he said as he stood up. “The head has been severed at the neck. no other signs of injury.”
“Oh christ.” Will muttered.
“What kind of weapon would you say was used?”
“Hard to tell. a butcher’s knife, a meat cleaver maybe.”
“So we could be looking at arresting a butcher after all.” Will said.
Harry looked at the surrounding scene. “Unless there’s evidence to suggest it was some one else.” he agreed.
“Do you want me to talk to Mrs. Morgan to verify Mr. Morgan’s story?” Will asked as they made their way back to the farm house.
“It wouldn’t hurt, but I don’t think it’s him.”
Will was confused. “What makes you think that?” he asked.
“Oh just a gut feeling I’ve got.” Harry explained as they walked into the farm house.
George Owen sat in the living room drinking a cup of tea, and talking to a uniformed sergeant. the sergeant stood up as Harry and Will walked into the room. “This is Mr. George Owen.” he introduced the man.
“Yes I know sergeant Spire and constable Thomas. sorry to bother you. how are you both?” George asked.
“That’s ok Mr. Owen. please tell us what you saw.” Will said as he and Harry sat down.
“Well, I got here about nine o’clock. I came to fix the roof. there was no answer, so I went about setting my ladder against the back wall of the house. and I saw that the barn doors were wide open. I went to close them, and that’s when I saw her arm dangling down from the hayloft.”
“Then what did you do?” Harry asked as he wrote down what George said.
“Well... then I sent for you.”
“aren’t you a gardener by day Mr. Owen?” Will asked.
“In the summer time , yes. odd job man this time of year though.” he explained.
“Oh I see. did you know the deceased well?”
“Yes. very good friends with Mrs. Owen. very out going lady. she told me of the problem with the roof yesterday when she was in the shop. promised I’d be round first thing this morning to fix it.” he smiled nervously as he drank his tea.
a few hours later, the two police men were back at the police station. “Oh well, this proves that it’s not the whitechapel killer sarge.” Will said as they walked into the C.I.D. office.Harry sat at his desk. he wanted to agree with him, but he wasn’t so sure he was right. “I hope your right. god for all our sakes I hope your right.” he sighed.
Harry started thinking about Rhiannon. wondering if she was safe and well in their home town of Swansea. “ How long have you been married Will?” He asked.
Will smiled proudly. “Five years now sarge.”
“One three year old girl, and one due in two months. how is Rhiannon?”
“Oh she’s fine we write to each other every day. congratulations.”
“Thank you.” Will smiled.
“I can’t wait for the day when she and I will be married.” Harry sighed.
“You know, married life is a fine life. I wouldn’t want my life any other way.”
Harry’s mind wandered back to Rhiannon. what was she doing, was she ok, did she think of him all the time etcetera etcetera. “Good. I’m glad to hear it.” he said bringing himself back to the conversation at hand.
As Harry made his way home later that evening, he stopped off at the shop owned by the Owen family. as he walked in through the door, he saw Mary was behind the counter serving a customer. he waited patiently as she finished serving the customer.
she smiled when she saw him. her heart skipped a beat. “Oh hello sergeant spire.” she smiled as the customer left the shop.
“Hello Mary. how are you?” he asked as he stepped up to the counter.
“Oh I’m fine. what can I get you?” her heart was beating faster than ever. her pulse raced. oh how she wanted him.
“A loaf of bread, a pound of butter, and half a dozen eggs please. where’s your mother today?”
“ I had to take over from her. too upset over old Mrs. Griffiths to work. I’m about to close soon. off out tonight see. you up to much tonight?” she asked as she got the things she asked for.
“No. night in tonight. where you going? anywhere nice?”
“No. just with my friends.”
he paid for the goods. “Well, be careful.” he said as he left the shop.
When he got home, he set the food down in the kitchen and took his hat and coat off before picking the mail up off the door mat. one letter, he knew, was from Rhiannon.
later that evening, he sat down by the roaring coal fire, and read his letter. ‘My darling harry..’ it started.’how are you? I am fine, I love and miss you each day and I hope that we can be together soon...’
When he read the letter, he felt happy and warm at heart. as he wrote a letter back to her, he glanced at his shadow on the wall. how he wished that shadow was two...
Harry found himself back in inspector Rees’s office the next day, having what was proving to be a heated discussion about Henry Morgan. doctor evans’ report was on the desk.
The Hour Of Our Death
“...but sir...I don’t think he did it. I have seen the bodies, and there is no way he could have done it. I have interviewed him, and I tell you he isn’t our man!”
Tom leaned across the desk. “But the evidence...” he slammed his fist down on the desk “...Is there man!” he shouted.
“This proves nothing...!”
“Sergeant!” Tom shouted.
Harry stood up straight. “Yes sir” he replied.
“Arrest him now, or lose your job!”
Harry knew he had lost the argument. “Yes sir.” he replied as he headed for the door.
he didn’t want to do it, but orders are orders and ordered to arrest him or not, he knew he had to prove that Henry Morgan was innocent.
half an hour later, the police officers walked into Morgan’s butcher shop. “Henry Morgan, I’m arresting you for the murders of Annie James, and Jean Griffiths.” Harry announced as he and Will lead Henry out to the waiting police carriage. Mrs. Morgan and angharad watched in horror as Henry was taken to the police station. as they transported him to the station, both Harry and Will could tell by the look of horror on Henry’s face, that he was innocent. “But I didn’t do it.” he protested continuously.
Mrs. Morgan left angharad to look after the shop, while she followed Henry to the police station. after questioning him,they moved him to one of the custody cells. they saw Mrs. Morgan waiting in the corridor. Harry looked at her as they lead him past. “I’m sorry Mrs. Morgan. for what it’s worth, I don’t believe he did it. I’m only following orders, but I will prove his innocence. I promise.” He tried to assure her.
“I know he’s innocent. on the nights of both murders, he was at home with me. he never goes out at night. and he’s working in the shop during the day.” she explained.
“We will need you to put that in writing . give us five minutes and we’ll come and speak with you.” Will said. as they moved on down the corridor.
Harry felt sorry for him. he wanted to let him go. wanted to tell him to run. to run for his life and hide. because they all knew well ,- Mrs.Morgan included,- that if his innocence wasn’t proven soon, that’s exactly what it could cost him. he who was known by all to be innocent, would pay with his life. he would be wrongfully executed. ending his days in a dark, cold, damp prison.
Henry was detained at the police station over night. it had been arranged that, from there, he would be taken before the court. Harry and Will worked late into the night gathering all the evidence they had, hoping to find something that would prove Henry’s innocence. “Goodnight sarge.” Will said as he left the office.
“Goodnight Will.” Harry replied as he too stood up to leave. he looked at his pocket watch. it was ten minutes to midnight. in a little over nine hours, Henry’s fate would be decided. Harry decided to pay him a visit before heading home. he went down to the cells and asked the duty sergeant to let him in to Henry’s cell.
Mr. Morgan was asleep on his bed. the duty sergeant nudged him hard in the back with his truncheon. “Morgan! get up!” he ordered as he nudged him.
Mr. Morgan woke with a fright. “Eh?....Wha....” he tried to make out who was in the cell with him. he soon recognised Harry. “Oh it’s you is it! come to arrest me again have you!”
the officer left the cell. as the door closed, Harry sat down on the hard wooden chair.- the only chair in the cell. “No Mr. Morgan. I only came to say, I didn’t want to arrest you. I...”
“...you were only following your orders. I know.”Henry relented as he cut him short.
“Yes. I don’t think that you’re guilty. and I am trying my damned hardest to prove it. and I WILL prove it.”
“I hope so. because you are the only one who can prove it wasn’t me.” Henry said as he sat up on the side of his bed.
“Tomorrow morning, I will be in the court, and I will convince the magistrate and every one else there, that you are an innocent man. a man who makes a living out of selling meat and poultry.” he assured him.
“Sergeant. will you do me a favour?”
“Of course I will. what do you want?”
Henry started to cry. “Catch this man. catch this man who has done these terrible things to us all.” he pleaded.
Harry placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “I will sir...I will.”he promised him.
At nine A.M. the following morning, Harry and Will arrived at the court. Harry looked at his pocket watch as they sat in the waiting room. “They’re putting an innocent man on trial in there.”
Will could say nothing for he agreed with Harry.
“That man wouldn’t have a clue how to locate human body parts, and they’re trying him for murder!” Harry hissed.
“I know sarge. I believe it’s not him - he’s not our man. it’s up to us to prove it.” Will said.the court usher called Harry to take the stand. ‘This is it. time to convince the court that Henry Morgan is an innocent man.’ he told himself as he walked into the court room.
he saw Henry Morgan standing in the dock. fright shone across henry’s face. he looked as though he was about to collapse. the judge and two other magistrates sat in their seats. a team of barristers and solicitors sat at desks with their backs to the dock. in the gallery sat Mrs. Morgan and their daughter angharad. in the public gallery sat Mary, Josephine, and Edna. Harry took the solemn oath as he stood in the witness box.
one barrister stood to speak. “Now sergeant, where were you in the early hours of the eighteenth of this month?”
“At home in bed.” Harry replied simply.
“How did you learn of miss James’ death?”
“The night sergeant at the station sent for me.”
the barrister looked at his notes, then back at Harry. “Did you proceed immediately to the scene of the murder?”
“Ok. please tell the court, in your own words, the events that followed your arrival at the scene.” the barrister ordered politely.
“When I arrived, uniformed officers were sealing the area off. I got straight to work examining the scene. constable thomas arrived shortly after I did.” Harry explained.
“When you spoke to the police surgeon the following day, he told you that the heart had been removed. given the fact that the scene was not well lit, would you say that the heart was removed at the scene?”
“Yes. there seemed to be a lot of blood on the walls and floor.”
the barrister looked at the judge. “No further questions m’lord.” he said as he sat back down.
“Thank you mister Jones. mister davies would you like to question the sergeant?” the judge asked.
mister davies the defence barrister stood up and looked at the judge. “Yes m’lord.” he replied as he looked at Harry. “Sergeant. how long have you been stationed in carmarthen?” he asked.
“Almost seven months.” Harry replied.
“How well do you know my client and his family?”
“Quite. I buy all my meat and poultry from their shop.”
“In the time you have known my client, would you say he was capable of committing such brutal crimes?” the barrister asked.
“No sir. definitely not. he is too kind a gentleman, he is well liked by every one, and he has no previous convictions. on the night of the fifteenth, there was a break - in at Edwards’ butcher shop in Newcastle emelyn. among the things taken were a set of knives, a meat cleaver, and a saw. it is my belief that Mr.Morgan did not commit these murders. it would take a man of great knowledge of the human body to locate and remove body parts in the dark.”
the barrister looked through his notes. “And what did you find at the scene of the murder of Mrs. Jean Griffiths?” he asked.
Harry sighed as he took out his note book. “With your permission your honour, I’d like to refer to my notes.” he said as he looked at the judge.
the judge nodded agreement. “As you wish.” he replied.
Harry opened his book. “Well, Mrs. Griffiths’ body was found in the hay shed. the head had been completely severed at the neck. even though there was a lot of blood around the area where the body lay, there was no blood trail leading into, or out of the shed which suggests she also was murdered where she was found.” he explained.
“She was found in the hay loft wasn’t she?” the barrister asked.
“Being a large lady, do you think Mr. Morgan is strong enough to carry her up in to the hay loft?”
Harry glanced momentarily at Henry’s thin frame, and then back at the barrister. “no. definitely not. you see, what I also found at the scene is that there was no sign of a struggle. to be able to move a large body, would have left signs.” he explained.
“What type of signs?” the judge asked.
Harry looked at the judge. “the easiest way to move a heavy person or object, would be to drag them. in soft ground, this would have left a trail. there was no trail found.” he explained as best as he could.
“You said that there had been a break - in at Edwards the butcher’s shop in Newcastle emelyn on the night of the fifteenth. a meat cleaver and knives were stolen. do you believe these to be the murder weapons?”
“Yes I do.” was all Harry could say.
Mr. Davies turned his attention to the judge. “No further questions m’lord.” he said as he sat down.
the judge glanced at Harry. “You may step down sergeant.” he said.
“Thank you m’lord.” Harry said as he stepped down from the witness box.
Harry left the court room and returned to the waiting room.
“How did it go sarge?” Will asked.
“Not too bad. I told them every thing I could.” he sighed as he sat down.
Doctor Evans walked along the corridor with his notes in a file tucked under one arm. as he sat down, the clerk called him into the court room. he too walked up to the stand and swore an oath.Mr. Davies the defence barrister stood up as the door slowly closed.
Harry made his way into the back of the court as doctor Evans gave his evidence.doctor Evans was also asked how well he knew Henry Morgan. “Well enough to know that he would never murder any one.” came his reply.
Harry was almost certain that Henry was a free man.
the doctor went on to tell of Henry’s learning difficulties due o the years spent in the workhouse.
“Given the fact that both victims were murdered in darkness, would you say it was easy to locate certain bodily organs?” the judge asked.
“Doctor Evans, would you please explain to the court how the bodies were dismembered.” Mr. Davies asked.
“The skin and the fatty layers were cut neatly. this would have taken a steady hand, but the sternum, - or breast bone as it is known, along with the spine and spinal cord would have had to be cut with a heavier object.” he explained.
“So your saying that two different types of knife would have been used in these murders?” Mr. Davies asked.
“Like a meat cleaver?”
“Yes.or a saw.”
“No further questions your honour” Mr. Davies said as he sat back down.
the jury were sent out to consider their verdict. it took two hours to come to a decision. Harry And Will were sat at the back of the court as the jury members were called back in. “Mister chairman of the jury, have you reached a verdict on which you are all agreed?” the judge asked.
the chairman of the jury stood up. “Yes we have your honour.” was his reply.
“For the murder of Miss Annie James, do you find the defendant guilty, or not guilty?”
“Guilty m’lord.” came the reply.
“And for the murder of Mrs. Jean Griffiths, do you find the defendant guilty or not guilty?”
“Guilty m’lord.” came the reply.
there were gasps and cries of disbelief from the public gallery. the judge called for order. Harry held his head in his hands as Mrs. Morgan and Angharad cried in each other’s arms. “Thank you Mr. chairman.” placing the black head piece on his head, the judge turned to Henry who was crying uncontrollably. “Henry Morgan, you have been found guilty of the two most horrendous murders that I have ever had to preside over. it is now my duty to pass sentence on you. I therefore sentence you to be taken from this court to a prison, where in two days from now, you will be hung by the neck until you are dead. may god have mercy on your soul.” he then looked at the officer who stood beside Henry. “Take him away. court dismissed.” he said solemnly as he stood up to leave.
“I didn’t do it! I didn’t do it!” Henry cried as they took him away.
“I’ll get him freed.”Harry assured Mrs. Morgan.
“Please help him.” Angharad begged.
That evening, Mary and her friends were huddled in their usual corner of the old mill inn. news of Henry’s fate had spread quickly through the town.
“...old Mrs. Jenkins the dress maker told my mother. said she had heard it from old ma’ Pringle who’s neighbour was in the public gallery.” Mary explained.
“Yeah well, I’m just glad justice has been done.” Ivy asked as she took a gulp of her drink.
“I hope it has been. at least we can all go to work now eh girls.and not have to fear for our safety.” Edna said.
“Yeah but lets still be careful girls.” Mary said.
“What time is Annie’s funeral tomorrow?” Ivy asked.
“Two o’clock at the cemetery” Mary replied as she finished the last drop of her drink.
Edna stood up as she finished her drink. “Right. I’m off. I’ll meet you all back here by eleven ok?” she said as she put her glass back on the table.
“Yeah it’s about time we all went.” Ivy replied as she too stood up to leave.
they all headed out onto the streets for their night’s work to begin.
the night was cold but clear. the streets were busy with horse drawn carriages, and people going about their own business. pubs were filling up. laughter and singing could be heard by people passing by.
even though the town was busy, business for the girls was slow. come ten o’clock they were back in the now crowded old mill inn. “Well, how did you two do?” Mary asked as they all sat down.
“Terrible! not a thing all night.” Ivy cursed.
“I only had one customer!” Edna added.
“I didn’t have any custom either.” Mary sighed.
“We could always go back out.” Edna said.
“Nah. lets play safe and call it a night. don’t want our parents to find out what we do, do we.” Mary said.
they all agreed. after what seemed like hours, they walked home together.
a little after ten fifteen, Harry was sat at home by the fire, reading the letter he had received from Rhiannon that day.
he smiled warmly as he read of how she missed him. and how life for her was lonely after he had left Swansea. ‘I love you my darling and I long for us to be together.’ it ended. oh how he longed to be with her. he wanted to send a reply telling her that it was safe for her to come to him. but he knew that no female in Carmarthen was safe at that moment in time. he penned yet another letter telling her how he loved her and missed her, and how it was safer for her to remain in Swansea for the moment.
as he wrote the letter, something inside him made him wish he had never left their home town, that he had never taken promotion, and that he had never began to investigate this case. after writing the letter, he decided to take a little walk to clear his head.
as he walked into the town, he watched the people pass him by. horse drawn carriages filled the streets. the cold night air and the busy streets did nothing to clear his mind. as he walked on, he passed a group of young ladies hurrying off in the opposite direction. one of whom he immediately recognised as Mary Owen. she did not see him as they crossed the street. he stood and watched as she bid her friends good night by the back door of the shop.
the following day was cold but sunny. family and friends gathered at the cemetery for the funeral of Annie James. Harry and Will stood quietly at the back of the crowd of mourners listening as the vicar conducted the service. as Harry looked around he saw many familiar faces, three of which he recognised as Mary and her two friends from the previous night. they were joined by miss Josephine Richardson.
as the service drew to a close, people started to leave. Harry and Will approached the four girls. “Good afternoon ladies.” Harry looked at Josephine. “Miss Richardson how are you?” he asked.
Josephine looked at them. “Pregnant! why what’s it got to do with you?” she huffed.
the other three girls gasped in surprise. “Oh my god!! you should have told us.” Mary gushed excitedly.
Josephine did not look away from Harry and Will. “Only just found out.” she replied still fixing her gaze on the two detectives. “They’re hanging him tomorrow aren’t they?” she asked changing the subject.
“Unfortunately, yes.” Will replied.
“What do you mean ‘unfortunately’ ? he’s the reason we’re all here today isn’t he!” she spat.
“The investigation is not yet completed. good day to you all.” Harry said as they turned to walk away.
“Where to now sarge?” Will asked as they walked to a waiting carriage.
“Back to the station.” Harry replied.
“So who’s the father then?” Mary asked.
Josephine smiled “Now that would be telling.” she replied sheepishly.
“How are you going to cope?” Edna asked.
“Oh we’ll manage. he’s not short of a bob or two.”
“You make sure he isn’t.” Ivy said with a nod.
At six o’clock that evening, the four friends were leaving the old mill inn. “Right. I’m going down this way.” Ivy said as she walked off towards the railway station. “See you later girls, have fun.” she added.
“Yeah bye Ivy, be careful” Mary called after her.
“We’re going down to the market place. you coming Mary?” Josephine asked.
Mary sighed. “Nah. I want to work this area tonight.” she replied as she looked around her.
“Ok. have fun.” Edna shrugged.
“Yeah. you know where we are if you change your mind.” Josephine added.
“Yeah ok. I know.”
the night was cold and wet. a mist was drifting in from the coast of laughern. the girls found themselves rather busy that night. it was half past nine when Ivy was saying good bye to her fourth customer. “That will be three shillings.” she smiled as she adjusted her clothes.
“There you go.” the customer replied as he handed her the money. “Why don’t you come to my place tomorrow and we’ll really have a good time” he smiled cheekily.
“Cheeky bugger! be off with you.” Ivy laughed as she walked out of the ally way.
as she walked back past the train station, a horse drawn carriage drew up along side her. “Are you ok my dear?” a man asked as the door opened. “You look a little wet.”
“I’m bloody soaked.” Ivy smiled.
“Can I give you a lift? I could do with some company.”
Ivy didn’t give a thought for her own safety. “Yeah ok. why not eh?” she replied as she climbed into the carriage.
“Where do you want to go?” he asked.
“Any where you want to take me.”
a few minutes later, they arrived at a quiet spot down by the river. “What would you like to do now?” she asked.
“Let’s go out to the river bank. my coachman will not see us there.”
“Why? doesn’t he like a mess in his coach?” she asked as they got out of the carriage.
“No my dear.” was the only reply he gave.
he took her to the river bank. pushing her to the ground, he pulled out the large knife and plunged it into her stomach several times before finally slashing her throat. she writhed about uncontrollably, fighting for breath as the blood spurted from the wounds. it took a few minutes for death to finally occur.
At seven o’clock the following morning, Will and Harry were walking towards the train station when a uniformed officer sounded his whistle to summon help. they turned around and listened carefully. trying to work out the direction from which it was coming. “It’s this way sarge.” Will said as they set off in the direction of the railway station.
they started to run as other officers in the area sounded their whistles. the area that they were summoned to was the ally way that Ivy had worked in the previous night. the body had been found by a passer by. Harry and Will looked at Ivy’s body. “It’s Ivy Jones sarge.” Will gasped in disbelief. Harry knelt down to examine the scene. “Yeah. the body is wet, and the clothes are muddy. yet this is a paved ally way. the throat and abdominal area have been cut, yet there is no trace of blood on the walls or the floor. that means she was murdered some place else, and moved here after she had died.” he stood up and produced his note book.
Will turned to the uniformed officers who busied themselves preventing people from entering the ally. “Ok let’s put some screens up around the body lads.” he ordered.
Harry finished writing his notes. “He’s innocent.” he said as he put the book and pencil back into his pocket.
“What do we do now?” Will asked.
“Speak to inspector Rees.” he replied as they headed out of the ally.
Will summoned one of the uniformed officers and told him to fetch the ambulance.
Harry knew they had to act fast. today was the day they were going to hang an innocent man. a hanging that Harry now knew he could prevent.
they quickly caught a carriage to the police station. as they hurried inside, they were met by the desk sergeant. “Is inspector Rees in yet?” Will asked.
“No.” the desk sergeant reached for an envelope that had been left for Harry. “This came for you. a delivery boy left it about half an hour ago.” he explained.
Harry quickly tore open the envelope and read the letter inside.
“What is it sarge?” Will asked.
“It’s from the killer. this definitely proves Henry Morgan is innocent. - read it.” he said as he handed the letter to Will.
Will read it out loud. “You thought you had me, but the butcher did not do it. I killed them all and ate their internal organs. they were very nice. the next one will be soon. maybe tonight I don’t know. signed ‘a friend!’ “
“The court opens soon we can get a pardon with that. come on we haven’t got much time!” Harry said as they made for the door.
they arrived at the court building shortly after it opened. the court clerk was sitting at his desk by the front entrance.
“Detective sergeant Spire, this is detective constable Thomas we need to see judge Ross urgently please.” Harry showed his warrant card.
“Ok I’ll see if he’s free. please take a seat gentlemen.” the clerk said as he stood up and walked off down the corridor.
a few minutes later, the clerk returned. Harry and Will got to their feet as he approached them. “If you would please follow me gentlemen, the judge will see you now.” He said.
The judge, a small, thin man in his late fifties, sat behind his desk. row upon row of legal books were neatly lined on the shelves of the book case along one wall. “Come in please gentlemen.” the judge said in his posh voice.
they both removed their hats as they entered the room. “Good morning your honour sorry to bother you...”Harry began.
“Please take a seat.” the judge interrupted.
“Thank you. it’s about the recent murder cases. you recently sentenced a Mr. Morgan to be hanged today.” Harry explained.
the judge looked slightly puzzled. “That’s right, yes. what of it?”
Will handed him the letter. “This arrived at the police station this morning.” He explained.
the judge read the letter. “I see” he murmured as he read it.
“That arrived while we were at the scene of a murder that was committed last night. the woman’s body was found near the railway station this morning. murdered just like Annie James and Jean Griffiths.” Will explained.
the judge looked at them in horror. “good lord! you mean...” he gasped.
“Henry Morgan is innocent.” Harry said.
“...my god!... an innocent man will be put to death today...”
“...Unless you grant him a pardon straight away.” Harry said.
the judge looked at his pocket watch. “Most certainly. come back in an hour, and the paper work will be ready.” he agreed as he handed the letter back to Will.
“Thank you your honour.” Harry smiled with relief as he and Will left the room.
“Thank god for that. where to now sarge?” Will asked as they left the building.
“To Mr. Morgan’s house. we must tell them the good news.”
Mrs. Blodwyn Morgan was surprised to see them standing on the door step when she opened the door. “What is it sergeant? we were just about to make our way to the prison. you know...to say our final goodbye.” she chocked back the tears.
“”There has been a development Mrs. Morgan. can we come in?” Will asked.
Harry saw a glimmer of hope in her tear filled eyes as she let them in.
“Oh... yes please. do come in.” she dried her eyes with her handkerchief.
Angharad was putting her hat on as they walked through to the sitting room.
“What is it sergeant?” Blodwyn asked.
“Well, there was another murder last night which, in itself, proves that your husband is innocent. a letter we believe to have been written by the killer was delivered to the police station this morning. the killer also states that your husband is innocent. a pardon is being granted, so we should have him home to you by tea time Mrs. Morgan.”Harry smiled.
both Blodwyn and Angharad broke down and cried with relief. “Oh...oh thank you.” Blodwyn cried.
“Thank you both very much.” Angharad cried.
“That’s ok. now we’ve got to get back to the court, get the paper work, and get him out of prison.”Harry smiled.
twenty minutes later, they were sitting in the judges office once again. the news they had received was far less than acceptable.
“..... but how long will that take?” Harry gasped in disbelief.
the judge placed his hands on the desk.”I have signed the pardon, and the release forms. but to make them legally binding, I have to have them counter signed by another judge, and he is in a meeting in cardigan. I have sent for him, he should not be long.”
Harry looked at his pocket watch. “They’re hanging him in an hour. that’s twelve mid day.!”
“Well, I’ve done my bit, I’m afraid there is no more I can do. you are quite welcome to wait.” he grunted.
Harry tried desperately to think of a solution, then it occurred to him. “Ok, where is this meeting?”
“At cardigan town hall” the judge replied.
“How long ago did you send for him?”
“Judge Ross looked at his pocket watch. “Almost an hour ago. I sent a telegram telling him to return here urgently.” he said.
“Ok can you send a telegram to the prison telling them to stall the hanging?”
the judge looked thoughtful. “I can try.” he said.
“Good. do it.” he turned to look at Will. “Will, wait here until the papers are signed, and bring them to me. I’ll be at the prison.” he said.
Will got to his feet. “Yes sarge.” he replied.
as Harry made to leave the room, the door opened, and a well dressed gentleman walked in. “What was so urgent that you called me out of my meeting ?” the gentleman asked the judge.
judge Ross placed the papers on the desk before the gentleman. “I just need you to counter sign this pardon and these release papers for Mr. Henry Morgan. new evidence has come to light.” he turned his attention to the two policemen. “Sergeant spire,this is judge Robbins Qc.” he explained.
“Oh. hello. a murder occurred last night not far from the railway station. the lady was murdered the same way as Annie James. a letter was also delivered to the police station today. we believe that it was written by the killer your honour. in it, he states that he committed the murders, and that Mr. Morgan is innocent.”
“I see.... ok, i’ll sign them.” he replied as he started to sign the papers.
Harry looked at Will. “Go outside and hail us a cab.” he ordered.
five minutes later, they were heading towards Swansea prison.
they arrived at the prison with minutes to spare. after paying the driver, Harry banged on the big prison doors. a guard opened the latch. Will showed his warrant card. Detective constable Thomas, and detective sergeant Spire. we need to speak to the chief warden.”
the guard closed the latch, and opened the door to let them in. “He’s conducting the hanging in the cold room.” he said as the two policemen walked past him.
the cold room was the name given to the cell that was used to carry out the hangings.
they hurried across the court yard towards the main building. t a moment they had not a moment to lose. they ran as fast as they could. as they burst into the room, the trap door opened beneath Henry Morgan’s feet. “STOP!....” Harry yelled to the hangman. but, it was too late. Henry Morgan was dead. Mrs.Morgan fainted with grief. angharad burst into tears. the hangman and the warden both looked at the policemen. “This man was innocent. we have a pardon that was granted upon him this morning.” Harry yelled as he held up the pardon.
“Then he shall be buried as a free innocent man. “the warden said.
angharad clenched her teeth as she walked towards Harry. “You.... why didn’t you get here sooner?”she screamed as she hit out at him.
he tried to calm her down. “LISTEN...” he said as he restrained her. “I had to wait for the pardon to be counter signed by another judge.” he explained.
“Why?... why him?.... why?” she sobbed.
“I’m so, so sorry.” he said remorsefully as he held her in his arms.
A harsh feeling of guilt about Henry Morgan’s dearth coarsed through Harry’s body. he knew that the sight of Henry’s body hanging lifelessly by the neck would haunt him for the rest of his days.
The Land Of Gentry
it was later that evening when Harry and Will left the police station.for the night.
“Goodnight sarge.” Will said as he climbed into a cab.
“Goodnight will.” Harry replied as he watched the cab disappear down the road.
Harry headed off in the opposite direction. the cold night was dry and calm. he felt cold and tired. he had not taken a single day off since the case began, which was almost six weeks ago. as he walked home, he began think about Rhiannon and how he loved and missed her.
he was pulled from his thoughts by the sound of a rowdy gentleman being thrown out of the old mill inn. “I’m not drunk do you hear? I am absolutely not drunk I tell you!” the well- to - do man slurred at the landlord.
“Get out of it ! you can come back when you’ve sobered up!” the landlord shouted as he went back inside the pub.
“Harry walked quickly towards the man as he picked a large chunk of stone up off the pavement and aimed it at one of the pub windows.
Harry grabbed hold of the man’s arm with both hands as he made to throw the stone.
“Oh no you don’t! drop it!” he said as he struggled to get the stone out of the man’s man fell to the floor and struggled unsuccessfully to get to his feet again.
“Had a bit too much to drink have we sir?” he asked as he helped the man to his feet again. when the man stood up straight, Harry recognised him as army lance corporal John Edwards. son of major Arthur Edwards the richest man in carmarthen. he was a well known hard drinker. “Oh its you! right. I’m not going to lock you up this time...” Harry, still steadying John with one hand, turned to hail a cab. “...but I will make sure you get home!” He said as a cab drew up along side them.
the cab journey took only ten minutes. Harry instructed the driver to wait while he helped John into the large mansion house. he knocked hard on the big oak front door as he held John upright. “Thank you old chap.” John slurred.
Harry did not answer as he heard footsteps coming from inside the house.
the butler opened the door. “Yes?” he asked quizzically.
“I’ve brought him home. he’s drunk!” Harry explained as he helped John into the house.
“Is the master of the house free? only I’d like a chat with him.”
the butler looked at john, and then summoned two of the male house staff. “Take sir and put him to bed.” He ordered.he looked at Harry as the two male staff helped John up the stairs. “I’ll ask the master if he will see you.” he said as he turned to walk away.
“Thank you.” Harry smiled as he looked around him.
Two minutes later, a neatly dressed gentleman came out of the billiards room into the hallway. Harry recognised him instantly as major Arthur Edwards. “Yes what do you want?” He asked in his posh accent.
Harry smiled as he produced his warrant card. “Detective sergeant Spire sir. sorry to disturb you, I have just brought your son home. he had quite a lot to drink and I wondered if I might have a word with you about him.”
the major looked at him. “Oh...yes...ok but make it quick old boy I’m expecting guests for dinner you see.” He half mumbled.
“I won’t keep you a moment, I caught him being thrown out of the old mill inn. he was quite abusive towards the landlord. I intervened just in time to stop him from smashing a window...”
“My son?? never! never I tell you... He must have been offended by someone...any of those wretched people!”
Harry sighed. “I just need to make you aware...” He was interrupted by a knock at the door. Harry did not look behind him as the butler tended to the people at the door. “...That if he does this again, I will have no option but to arrest your son sir.” He continued.
“You will do no such thing!” came a man’s voice from behind him.
Harry quickly turned around only to find Detective inspector Tom Rees and Mrs. Ress standing in the door way. Harry moved to one side.
“What is the meaning of this sergeant?”
“Just escorted the major’s son home sir. he was too drunk to make it home by himself.”
inspector and Mrs. Rees walked past him. “Ok, that will be all sergeant. goodnight.” the inspector said.
“Yes sir. goodnight sir, goodnight sir. goodnight Mrs.Rees.goodnight major.” Harry said as he made for the door.
“Goodnight sergeant.” Mrs. Rees replied.
“Sorry about that arthur.” Tom appologised.
“That’s ok Tom. goodnight old boy.” the major replied.
Harry got back into the cab. “Church street please driver.” he said as he climbed in.
“Yes sir.” the driver replied as he guided the horse and carriage out of the private property.
as the cab travelled through the town square, Harry saw Mary and her friends leave the old mill inn. he looked at his watch. it was quarter to seven. “God keep them safe.” He prayed silently as the cab moved on.
Twenty one church street was cold, dark, and lifeless when Harry walked in. he quickly fumbled in his coat pocket for a box of matches, and lit the gas light which hung suspended from the ceiling in the sitting room. he fetched some coal and wood from the back yard to light the fire. once the fire was lit, it felt more like home again. he boiled some water for the tin bath he placed in front of the fire. after his bath, he ate some food and settled in front of the fire to read his letter from Rhiannon. “My dearest darling Harry.” it began as usual. he penned his usual reply letter to her as soon as he had finished reading her letter. he hardly slept that night.
early the following morning, he was back at the police station. he looked up from his desk as Will walked in “Morning Will.” He said.
“Morning sarge.” Will yawned.
“Right...let’s see what we’ve got so far...” Harry said as he walked up to the pin board that was fixed to the wall behind his desk. “Annie James was found outside the library on saint peter’s road, and Jean Griffiths was found in the barn at her farm. in both cases,signs of strangulation were present, knives were used. in both cases, the throats were cut. in Annie’s case, her upper torso was cut open, the breast bone broken, and her organs were taken.” He said to no one in particular.
“What about Ivy Jones?” Will asked.
Harry sat back at his desk. “We’ll know more when we speak to the police surgeon.”
Doctor Evans was just finishing the post mortem when they arrived at the mortuary.
“Good morning gentlemen.” he said as he stopped for a moment.
mortuary’s always made Harry feel un easy about being there. he and Will looked around them as they walked in “Morning doctor. what have you got for us?” Will asked.
“Well, she was strangled like the others, head severed at the neck....”
“What else did you find?” Harry asked.
“upper torso cut open, this time he took the liver, kidneys and uterus.” Daffydd explained.
“Take a look.” the doctor lifted the sheet.
once they saw the mess, they both looked away. “Ok thank you doctor.” Harry said.
“What do you think sarge?” Will asked.
“I think we’ve seen enough.”
“I think we need to consult the medical books. find out how to locate such bodily parts and remove them in the darkness of night.” Will said as they left the building.
“Might be easier if we talk to a hospital surgeon.”Harry replied.
Half an hour later, Harry was sitting in inspector Rees’s office.
“What can I do for you sergeant?” Tom asked.
“I would like permission to speak to a doctor. one who specialises in general surgery.”
“We need to get some insight into the speed with which a person, any person, can remove bodily parts in the dark sir”
Tom thought for a few seconds. “Ok, do what you must. sergeant, I wish to meet with you tomorrow to discuss these murders.” Tom said with a sigh.
Harry stood up to leave the room. “Ok, thank you sir.” He smiled as he walked out through the door.
Will stood outside. “Well, what did he say?” He asked as they walked down the corridor.
“He agreed. right... here’s what I want you to do. I want you to discretely find out if there are any medical conferences around carmarthen or the immediate surrounding areas. I’ll try to see a surgeon at the hospital today.” He explained.
“I doubt you’ll get an appointment for today. my wife waited three months to see a surgeon in outpatients.”Will said sarcastically.
“Not as a patient you pillock!” Harry replied unable to see the joke.
“Ok I’ll see what I can find.”
as they walked through the front office, a man rushed in off the street. “Quick.” he panted. “The girl... the one who was found in the ally. the one the papers said was dumped there after she was murdered.”
“Yes?” Harry asked.
“I think we’ve found the place where she was murdered.”
A big patch of dry blood lay on the grass bank, and spots of blood lay near by on the road. Harry stooped down to take a closer look. “Hmmm...this certainly seems to be the spot.” he mumbled.
a photographer was taking photos of the scene. Will on the other hand, was looking along the cobbled road when something caught his eye. he took a closer look. “SArge look...” he called.
he picked up a blood stained piece of leather. “...It’s full of blood.” he said as harry approached the spot. he took the leather from him. “It looks like a piece of leather apron.” he said as he examined it.
“I found it in the hedge.”
Harry looked at the ground. “It could be a blacksmith.” he cussed.
“I’ll check out the blacksmiths in the area.” Will said as he walked away.
“Ok.” Harry replied as he beckoned the uniformed officers. “Ok boys, you can wash away the blood now.” he placed the piece of leather into a paper envelope and put it in his coat pocket.
The corridors of the local hospital were alive with patients being wheeled about by orderlies, visitors coming and going, doctors and nurses going about their duties. Harry walked up to the main desk. a lady of around forty years of age stared up at him. “May I help you?” she asked sternly.
Harry opened his mouth to speak but the lady cut him short. “Well, what do you want? come on, I haven’t got all day you know!” she snapped impatiently.
Harry glared at her as he showed his warrant card. “Detective sergeant spire. I would like to speak to one of the surgeons please!” he said.
she pointed toward the stair case. “Third floor!” She replied sharply.
“Thank you.” Harry smiled as he headed for the stairs. ‘ Bloody hell! who said no to her last night?’ Harry thought to himself.
the stairs seemed to take for ever to reach the third floor. the old wooden doors creaked eerily when he opened them. the smell of piss and shit was only masked by the smell of carbolic soap and disinfectant. the eery smell of death also hung in the air. when he walked onto the ward, he started he started to look for the sister’s office. the patients saw him looking, and some even asked each other questions like: ‘Who’s he?’ and ‘What is he looking for?’ Harry looked into one room that was empty. “Can I help you?”came a lady’s voice from behind him. Harry turned around quickly. the ward sister was walking towards him. he took off his bowler hat and produced his warrant card. “Oh yes. I’m detective sergeant spire. I would like to speak to one of the surgeons please.” “That wont be possible I’m afraid. sir Charles is in theatre all day today. he hasn’t got a spare appointment until next Wednesday.” she explained.
Harry took out his book and pencil “Idon’t need an appointment. I need to ask his advice on a few things. whats his full name?”
the sister gave a hefty sigh. “It’s sir Charles Webber. you will need to make an appointment” she explained.
Harry was not willing to wait until the following week. “Now look sister either I speak to him today - between operations if necessary - or I’ll come back with a warrant that will mean that I can take him to the station for questioning. it is very important that I speak to him as soon as possible.” he chortled.
the sister took offence at what he said. “Really! I will see if he can see you. wait here!” she huffed as she walked past him.
she returned several minutes later. the answer she gave Harry was less than satisfactory. “Eleven o’clock sharp next Wednesday.” was the doctor’s answer. she also said something about his solicitor making sure that any attempt to obtain a warrant would result in his being suspended from duty. he put his book and pencil back into his inside coat pocket, and headed back to the station.
on the way back to the station, he stopped off at Mrs. Owen’s corner shop. mister Owen was fixing a broken window shutter. Hilda and Mary were pottering about inside. “Hello Mr. Owen, no work today?” He asked.
Mister Owen looked at him. “Morning sergeant. no. I’m at a loose end for a few days.” He replied.
“Morning sergeant spire.” Mary beamed as he walked in to the shop.
“Morning Mary. morning Mrs.Owen. duw it’s cold out there today isn’t it.”
“Morning sergeant. yes it is.” Hilda replied coldly.
Harry noticed the chill in her voice, and wondered what was troubling her.
“What can I get you?” Mary asked.
“Just a bag of those delicious welsh cakes of yours please Mary.”
“I’ve got one question to ask you sergeant. why did you let a poor, sweet, innocent man hang for these murders?” Hilda asked.
Harry felt awkward. “There was a hold up in getting a second signature on the pardon. I did everything in my power to prevent the execution taking place. you have no idea how awful I feel.” he said as he handed Mary the money for the cakes.
Hilda relented slightly “ I’m sorry sergeant. I just can’t believe he’s dead.” she said.
“That’s ok Mrs. Owen “ he looked at the two women. “Thank you Mary. good day to you ladies.” he raised his hat as he turned to leave the shop.
“It wasn’t his fault mam.” Mary said as they watched him go.
Hilda held Mary’s hand. “I know carriad, I know.” she replied.
“What do you think of him personally mam?”
“He’s not a bad man...” Hilda saw that she had a dreamy look in her eyes. “... but he’s too old for you my girl.” she added curtly with a smile.
“How old would you say he is?” she asked, not taking notice of what Hilda said.
“Maybe... maybe.” Mary smiled warmly.
when he got back to the station, he handed the piece of leather in to the laboratory before heading back to the C.I.D room.he hoped that Will was having better luck than he was. there was a pleasant warm heat coming from the wood burning stove as Harry walked into the office. Will was looking through one of the files on his desk.
“What did you find out will?” Harry asked as he hung his hat and coat on the stand.
Will handed him a ticket. “I managed to get you a ticket for a reception at the medical school in Swansea tonight. ‘a new era of medicine’ all the consultants, junior doctors, and general practitioners will be there. I got one for myself too. it starts at half past seven.” he explained.
Harry took the ticket off him as he put the bag of welsh cakes on the desk. “Well done. put the kettle on. make a cup of tea, and help yourself to a cake.”
“Thanks. did you talk to the consultant?”
“Nope. ‘sir Charles is in theatre all day today’ and ‘he hasn’t got a spare appointment until next Wednesday’ that’s what the sister told me.”
Will was laughing at Harry’s impression of the ward sister. “What time next Wednesday?” he giggled as he put the kettle on the stove.
“Eleven a.m. sharp.” Harry continued.
“Now. old Mr. Davies the blacksmith is the only one around this area. he showed me the only apron he owns - it was in tact I’m afraid sarge.” Will said getting back to the case. “Oh.” Harry sighed as he turned to the board on the wall. “ok... so what are we left with...three dead women, knives were used, a butcher shop burglary...” then it occurred to him. “Of course... I should have guessed.” Harry said as he turned to Will.
Will looked puzzled. “What?” he asked.
“Get uniform to find the report on the butcher shop burglary. that’s where the leather came from.” he said excitedly.
“Right sarge. will do.” Will said as he stood up and left the room.
Harry felt that the report on the butcher shop burglary could hold a clue that would prove to be a potential turning point in the case. Will stopped the first constable he found, and ordered him to find the report and bring it to the office as soon as possible.
“Right you little bastard. We’re closing in on you!” Harry murmured as he turned back to the board.
“P.c. Wilson is looking for the report sarge.” Will said when he returned to the office.
“Good...good.” Harry did not look away from the board. his concentration was noticeable as he scoured the board looking for answers. “One of these days...!” he murmured.
when p.c. Wilson returned with the report, nothing was noted about a missing leather apron. Harry looked crest fallen. a little dejected as he slumped back in his chair.
Will looked at him. “Never mind sarge. if you want me to, I’ll go through all the reports on any recent butcher shop burglaries in and around this area. I mean, it’s bound to have come from one shop.” he said trying to offer words of comfort.
“Yes, but which one? you could spend hours going through the files, and not find the one we’re looking for.”
The medical school lecture theatre was full to capacity with doctors of all types who were sitting listening to professor sir Ralph Hemmingway giving a talk on a new drug used in surgical after care. the two policemen sat at the back of the room and waited for what seemed like days for the talk to end. suddenly, every body started to clap as they stood up. “Well, let’s mingle.” Harry said as they too, stood up and clapped.
Will could only agree. “Aye ok.” he said.
there were maids and butlers offering finger food and light refreshments. they sipped their teas as they moved through the crowd.
a rather well attired gentleman in his fifties approached them. “Hello, I don’t think we’ve met. I’m doctor Lewis from llandeilo.” he said as he extended his hand towards the two policemen.
Harry shook his hand. “I’m detective sergeant spire, this is detective constable thomas.”
the doctor recognised the names immediately. “Ahh yes. you are looking for the man who killed those poor unfortunate women aren’t you. can I help in any way?” he asked.
“Do you know sir Charles Webber?”
“Yes I know Charles well.” He pointed across the room at two gentlemen who were talking. “He’s over there with sir Ralph.”
“Ok, thank you.” Harry said as he and Will walked towards the two gentlemen.
some of the people looked at them as they cut through the crowd.
“Would you be sir Charles Webber?” Harry asked as they approached the men.
the two men stopped talking and looked at both Harry and Will. “Yes. that’s me.” the tubby man replied rather sternly.
Harry produced his identification card. “Police. can we have a word in private? it IS police business.” He explained as he put his card back in his pocket.
“Oh very well...” Sir Charles turned to sir Ralph and shook his hand. “Do excuse me sir Ralph. I won’t be long.” He smiled.
sir Ralph sighed. “Of course old chap of course. take your time.” he smiled.
“Ok gentlemen, follow me.” sir Charles said as he lead them back through the crowd towards the door.
he lead them down the corridor to a teaching room. “Now... what can I do for you officers?” He asked as he lit the gas lamp that hung suspended from the ceiling above the examination table.
“Well sir...” Harry cleared his throat as he took the medical reports out of the inside pocket of his coat. “As you may well know, we are investigating the murders of Miss Annie James, Mrs. Jean Griffiths, and Miss Ivy Jones.”
“Yes.” He said. What has this got to do with me?”
“These are the police surgeon’s reports. we were wondering if you could have a look through them and give us your expert opinion on them.” Will explained.
sir Charles sighed as he put his glasses on and started to read the reports.
Mary, Edna and Josephine were just about to go their own separate ways as was usual.
“ok back at the inn by ten yeah?” Josephine asked.
“Ok.” Edna replied.
“I think we should stick together after what’s happened.” Mary said.
the other two looked at each other then at Mary. they knew it would be safer that way. they both agreed to what she suggested.
“Ok, we’ll just work this street tonight.” Mary suggested.
“Alright.” Edna agreed.
Josephine looked at Mary. “Are you ok Mary?” she asked.
Mary sighed uneasy. “I’ll be better when the killer is caught.” she replied.
“Won’t we all gal won’t we all.I’m scared. getting too scared to walk the streets alone at night.” Josephine said as they slowly walked along the street.
“Me too... maybe we should stay off the streets for a while. you know.. lay low until they catch him.” Edna suggested. there was an air of discomfort in her voice.
“But that could take ages.” Mary said.
“Yeah. and I’ve got this little one to provide for.” Josephine sighed as she patted her stomach.
“What about the father doesn’t he help you out?” Edna asked.
“Ha! I haven’t seen hyde nor hair of that bastard for nearly three weeks!” she spat
“Who is he Josie?” Mary asked.
but she kept tight lipped. “I can’t say. he’s quite well known.” was all she would say.
“You can tell us. we’re your friends.” Edna said as she put a reassuring hand around her shoulders.
“If word get’s out, he’ll piss off and I won’t get any help from him full stop!”
no more was said on the subject as the three girls carried on walking the streets.