It was a slightly awkward young woman who police constable Jones saw approaching the desk. He decided that although the young women was tall, she however was also curvaceous and quite pretty in a restrained short of manner, he liked what he saw. But the cadet was late for her turn of duty and that would not do at all.
At this his first meeting with Hannah there was no evidenced for the mischievous side of her nature, or even of the many fine meals that they would share together in the coming years. He certainly did not realise that the cadet would change his mundane life forever. However he did notice police cadet Johnson not just for her figure, but because she was dragging a very sorry looking child along behind her.
‘Sargeant’, ‘Constable miss’. ‘If I could use the phone please I will call his grandmother and arrange for him to be collected’.
‘Hello mother, could you call at the police station and collect Thomas for me, please’.
‘Your brothers child, cadet?’ ‘Yes’. ‘Well your late and the inspectors waiting for you, you had better leave Thomas with me and go straight up’.
Peace perfect peace; would return to the constables desk when Thomas was collected by his grandmother, however it would only be a short respite, now that Hannah and her mother were on the scene. …
Inspector Blackcroft had seen the cadet crossing the forecourt, and he knew of the tragic circumstances around the death of her older brother, a serving police officer in the neighbouring force. Inspector Blackcroft ‘Jimmy to those who really knew him well and had his respect’, had never agreed with a family having several children in the police force. He had met Hannah’s brother a few days before the murder, and had seen a good officer. Now he would have to lay down the law to his sister. Turning up for duty with your brothers child in tow was not permissible. The knock when it came was purposeful, no timidness then, on either side.
Come in cadet, sit down whilst I finish this report. Hannah saw a middle aged but trim man, firm jawed, she knew that he had met her brother, and would know all about the events that had led up to Jack’s death. God it still hurt, perhaps she was returning to duty to soon, but she was determined to get to the bottom of what had happened to Jack, the official report had left so much out. It had been a whitewash and Inspector Blackcroft was one of the signatures to the report. Hannah would not rest until she had got to the bottom of why and how her brother had died, nothing was going to stop her. Certainly not Inspector Blackcroft.
Well cadet, I would have preferred that you had taken more leave of absence, but as you are here now, I am minded to send you straight to the training academy. ‘Sir’. But the chief constable seems to think that is not appropriate. So where does that leave us I wonder. I need officers on the beat, and although you as yet do not have the power of arrest. I am going to pair you with Constable Jones. His stint on desk duties is over for the present … You will be working the dock land area, are you up to it? Yes Sir.
‘I was sorry about your brother, I know that your father is not happy with the report into what happened, you might as well know neither am I: But’. Then the phone rang …
The dockyard beat was no ones favourite duty, but this evening it had been allocated to constable John Jones and cadet Johnson, as they approached the Grinning Rat public house the sound of fighting spilled out the front door quietly followed by two brawling stevedores. We have a right pair of bull terriers here commented Jones. Well Johnson knew how to deal with fighting dogs, turning to a stand pipe used by porters to hose down the fish market, she turned it full on and hosed down the fighting pair. Jones just smiled and unclipped his hand cuffs before the fighting pair due breath, he had them cuffed to a simmering austerity locomotive. Meanwhile Hannah had spotted a more interesting subject, quietly she gained Jones attention, she had realized that they were being watched from the shadows.
Hannah had smelt the odour of a cigar, only Billy Hutchinson (mad hutch) smoked cigars around the bonded warehouse area of the docks. Billy had been seen the day Jack was shot, he had been less than a mile from where the shooting took place. Mad hutch was high up on Hannah’s list of subjects to interview. If she could nab him for some misdemeanour at the harbour, it would give her an opportunity to check him out. But Hutch was know for carrying, it would pay them to be careful, so as they waited for the two stevedores to be picked up, Hannah started to plan. The black Morris arrived soon enough, and carted the two bedraggled fighters away, then Jones and Hannah moved off, but only as far as the edge of the refinery. The watchman at the refinery was well known for his hospitality to any police on the beat. Hutch followed them as far as the night watch mans hut and watched them settle down for a cupper. True to form no sooner had they sat, then Hutch moved off, heading back to the Grining Rat. As Hannah saw his shadow retreating she apologised to Jim, as she and John left their tea untouched and returned to watch the Grinning Rat. They had not long to wait, …
The underworld tolerated Hutch, he could be quite useful to them. He had no scruples if the rewards were high enough he would do their bidding. They did however not like him. He had been born in the gutter, raised without love, learned his trade well, but the mad streak in his personality along with his furtive manner, made him dangerous. He was unpredictable, and he always looked for the highest bidder. You could never be sure who he was working for.
Tonight to Hannah he seemed more furtive than ever, he reminded her of a snake. Always moving in the shadows, ready to strike, deadly, but were and when. And then there was his madness, a nasty combination. He and the Grinning Rat belonged together, but tonight he was watching the pub, that in itself was unusual. So Hannah and John watched him. They had no time to react as big Pete Maddocks appeared at the pubs front door, the merest glint of a knife and Pete was on the floor, it was all over in a second, and Hutch was gone even quicker. John set of to follow him but no one knew the bonded warehouses better than Hutch who had grown up [skulking] in them. If Hutch wanted not to be seen even if Jones called out the whole night shift Hutch would not be found, John made his way back to where Hannah stood guard over Pete’s body.
An ambulance stood impotently nearby. Hannah had called the CID, who took their statements as witnesses to the murder. But the CID saw the murder as a cut and dried event, Hannah now knew otherwise. Her brother had been on to something, and he had been killed because of it. If Pete Maddock had been killed because of what he knew, that something was like to be related to boxing, boxing had been everything to Pete, who had worked as a stevedore to fund his gym time and help look after his family. After visiting Pete’s wife Hannah would be visiting the two stevedores that she had hosed down. She would need to find out who they had seen in the Grinning Rat and what they knew about Pete. As it now seemed likely they had been set up to fight to get them away from Pete, so that Hutch could silence him.
Pete Maddock was a decent boxer, but he was no match for a well aimed knife, straight to the heart. No time to lift his guard. As Hannah went over him, he mouthed; fixed Jack knew.
The steveadores looked to each other… Miss, Pete Maddock was a good boxer, but he was no match for those who manage the betting, all he told us was don’t waste your cash betting, it’s all a fix, then someone shoved me and my drink went over Dillon and he reacted like he always does, and so we were at it before I could stop him. Fighting I mean Miss.