Miss Ravensbrook reached out and pressed the play button. There was the sound of the ring tone, then a voice answered.
"I hope you are not busy this evening, Peter?" a voice asked.
"No, I'm on leave at the moment. Your sister has gone into Town to do some shopping and see a show with some of her mates. Dread what it is going to cost," McCormac stated.
"You know you do not have to worry about money, Peter, I take care of my family, and you are my brother-in-law," the voice responded.
"I know, Peter," McCormac answered. "It's just I have to look as if I am living on a Detective Sergeant's salary." Given that the voice had confirmed that McCormac was his brother-in-law and McCormac had called him Peter, it was clear that the other voice was that of Peter Henderson.
Henderson laughed. "How do you explain the villas in Spain and Florida," he asked.
"Simple, I tell them they belong to an old army mate of mine," McCormac responded. "After all, they are in the name of that trust you set up for your sister and me. Nobody can know we are the beneficial owners."
"It works," Henderson replied. "Anyway, I have a job for you tonight. We need to deal with the Jenkins boy. Michael, John and a couple of their mates are going to give him a working over this evening. He is always at Wendy's Burger Bar around eleven, so they are going to grab him there.
"You need to be nearby. When they go into get him, Michael will text you. Turn up and put the blame for the incident on the Jenkins boy."
"Is that wise? We did the same with his brother," McCormac stated.
"I know, but we are running out of time. We are about to get control of the yacht club, which will mean the amount of stuff we can bring in is going to increase. We need somewhere safe to land it. If we can get that black bitch to sell us the farm, we will then control all the land around Hillard Creek. It is a perfect landing place.
"At the moment, there is too much of a chance that somebody walking the farm might come across our operation, just like the bitch's husband did."
"Well, I dealt with him for you," McCormac stated.
"Yes, you did, now you can deal with the son for me. Be close to Wendy's at eleven. The boys will let you know what is going on."
The click of the phone being disconnected was clearly heard. I looked at the witness box. McCormac was white.
"Constable," the judge called out. The constable to the court stepped forward from his position by the door. "Arrest the witness."
McCormac jumped from the witness box and made a dash up the far side of the courtroom. One of the court ushers dived forward and caught his legs in an excellent rugby tackle. McCormac crashed to the ground. The constable was quickly on top of him, pulling his arms behind his back and applying handcuffs.
"It appears," the judge stated, looking at my ex-wife, "that there is a serious flaw in the prosecution case. Do you wish to continue?"
Beryl Carlton-Smith rose to her feet and looked at the judge. "I would seek an adjournment for instructions, Milady."
Her Ladyship leaned slightly back in the judge's chair, considering things. Then she made up her mind. "I do not think an adjournment would be in the interest of justice, given that there is only one course of action available to me. Any adjournment would only eventually result in the dropping of charges, but it would leave the defendant under the accusation during the period of the adjournment, which I have no doubt the prosecution authorities will seek to draw out to its maximum.
"That being considered, I am not prepared to offer an adjournment. Before I give direction to the jury, I would ask both counsels if they are aware of any other party identified in that recording as being involved in this conspiracy is within the demise of this court?"
"Milady," June responded. "Both Peter Henderson and Michael Henderson are listed as witnesses for the prosecution. I believe both will be in the witness room."
"Commander?" the judge asked.
"Yes, Milady," Commander Janet Richardson responded as she stood.
"Be instructed that you are to arrest Peter Henderson and Michael Henderson on my direction. Also, that I will be issuing a warrant for the arrest of any other parties concerned who can be identified."
"Of course, Milady," the Commander replied. "If the court will excuse me, I will attend to your Ladyship's instructions with immediate effect." With that, she stepped into the aisle, turned and walked to the door at the rear of the court, which the court usher opened for her.
Once the Commander had left, the judge turned her attention back the jury.
"Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, from the evidence presented to this court, it is clear that there has been an attempt to pervert the course of justice. That being the case, it is my duty to direct you as the jury to bring in a verdict of not guilty on all the charges laid against the defendant. I so direct that you should do so."
The clerk of the court then requested the verdict of the jury. Once delivered, the judge entered the judgment of not guilty against Ian and ordered his release from custody of the court. Bernard turned to me. "We've got some formalities to deal with, but we'll meet you round at Sullivan's in about thirty minutes."
If you don't know central London well, you will never find Sullivan's. It is a small coffee-bar type café, which sits on a small alley that connects two small side streets, themselves not much more than alleys. Unless you know it is there you would probably not even glance down the ally, taking it to be the passageway to the rear of the buildings on each side.
To the regular denizens of the Old Bailey, Sullivan's was an oasis in a desert of overpriced tourist traps. For less than you could buy a coffee in one of the nearby coffee shops, you could get a decent cup of coffee and a sandwich. All right, Sullivan's may not have provided you with an espresso con Panna, whatever one of those is; it would provide you with a decent cup of freshly filtered coffee.
It was getting on for one o'clock by the time Allen and myself got to Sullivan's, so the place was filling up with lunchtime customers. However, we were able to grab an empty table towards the back of the place. While I kept hold of the seats, Allen went and got us some coffees and ordered some food. Once he got back to the booth with the beverages, I asked him if there had been any news on the Mayers' case.
"Nothing at present," Allen replied. "Though did hear that they were hoping to go to trial in February. It seems that following his arrest, quite a few victims have come forward."
"That's good to know; it won't all be on Trevor's word then."
"Oh god, no," Allen informed me. "Actually, I am not even sure if they are looking at using Trevor as a witness at all."
Just then I spotted Miss Jenkins and Mary Simpson coming into the café. I stood and waved, drawing their attention. They came and joined us. This time I went up to the counter to get a coffee for Mary Simpson and a tea for Miss Jenkins. Both had assured me they did not want anything to eat.
We sat and chatted for a bit. Allen's and my food order arrived, and we started to eat. Allen had gone for the full English breakfast. My choice had been a cheese omelette and salad.
As we were eating, Miss Jenkins kept looking at her phone. Mary seemed tense and uneasy.
"Mary, relax," Allen instructed. "There is a lot of paperwork to sort out; it will be a good half hour or more before they can leave the court."
"Why so long?" Mary asked.
"To be honest, they do not get that many not-guilty verdicts here," Allen stated. "So, they are not that geared up to processing them. Always takes time, I learnt that when I was on the Met."
"Sounds as if there is a story there," I stated.
"Yes, there is," Allen confirmed. "It is one I would prefer not to repeat."
He was saved from having to by the arrival of Bernard with Ian and June Ravensbrook in tow. Mary got up and grabbed hold of Ian in a hug.
Bernard grabbed an empty seat from a nearby table and sat down at the end of the table. He looked at me. "Mine's a full English," he stated.
"Can't you get your own?" I asked, getting up and starting to move to the counter.
"Good God, not here," he stated. "I'm too well-known; word would be back with the rabbi that I was not eating kosher before we got out of the place. Probably before the breakfast got to the table." He had a point; I went and ordered a full English for him. I also checked what June and Ian wanted. Ian wanted a cola, June a coffee, so that was simple.
When I got back to the table, I congratulated June on her cross-examination of McCormac.
"We got lucky," June stated.
"How?" I enquired.
"McCormac panicked and ran for it," she stated. "Stupid move, he should have known he would not be able to get out of the court, that's why there is a constable by the door.
"The fact he ran proved the veracity of the recording. We fully expected him to say the recordings were a fake. Then we would have had to prove them to be true. To be honest, I am not sure we could. Not that it would have affected Ian's case, the CCTV evidence we had was enough to exonerate Ian. The recordings just showed a criminal conspiracy."
"So, what now, Ian?" Allen asked. "You going back to the Dunford and the farm?"
"No bloody way!" Ian exclaimed. "I've a good job at Manston, and mother's there."
"And your brother," I stated.
"Don't remind me," he quipped.
I noticed Miss Jenkins kept looking at her phone, which seemed most unusual for her.
"I just hope that police detective does not get some expensive lawyer who gets him off," Mary Simpson stated.
Just then, Miss Jenkins put her phone down and leaned back in her chair with a satisfied sigh. "Not much chance of that," she stated.
"Why not?" I asked.
"Well, none of them has got any money now," Miss Jenkins observed with a highly satisfied smile.
I texted Anne to say I would pick Johnny up from college. He had a late class, and I would get into Southminster to pick up the car about an hour before his class finished. It would only take me thirty minutes to drive to the college, and it was not really out of my way. Just meant going through the town rather than taking the bypass. I also sent a text to Johnny, saying I was picking him up. I got one back saying to meet him at the entrance by the refectory.
By the time I got to the college, most of the carpark was empty, so I was able to park close to the door. It was a few minutes after that that several police cars pulled into the carpark. DCI Manley got out of one, looked around, saw me and walked over.
"Evening Mr. Carlton," he said. "Any particular reason you're here?"
"Picking my son up," I replied. "He had a late class. What's your reason?"
"Picking John Henderson up," Manley replied. "Last of the crowd."
With that, he left and gave directions to the Sergeant who appeared to be in charge of the uniformed officers. They split into five groups, each one going off in a different direction. Manley, another plainclothes officer, and a uniformed officer entered the building by the door from which I had expected Johnny to come out. Johnny did come out about two minutes later, accompanied by a girl I recognised as being one of the girls from Tante Edith. The two of them were chatting away as they came through the door.
Johnny looked across and saw me, held up his hand to indicate five minutes, then continued to chat with the girl by the door. It could not have been more than about ninety seconds later when there was a sound like a car backfiring. Then things started to get a bit chaotic. A couple of uniformed police officers who had been standing by the cars started to run towards the door. As they did so, the door burst open and a youth of nineteen or twenty dashed out; he was holding a gun.
Suddenly he grabbed the girl, putting an arm around her neck, with his free hand pointing the gun at her head and shouting to the police to stay back. The girl suddenly dropped down towards the floor. At the same time, the youth bellowed in agony, letting go of the girl, who jumped back and out of the way. The youth was bent double but swinging the gun around. Slowly, as he stood upright, it came to rest, pointing at Johnny.
Johnny started to move. The youth shouted for him to keep still, but Johnny continued to move in a circle towards the youth. The police officers shouted for Johnny to stay back. Manley appeared in the doorway with the uniformed officer who had gone in with him.
Johnny's movement seemed to speed up, his back foot coming off the ground as he spun on his front foot. There was the sound of a shot: Johnny's foot connected with the side of the youth's head. The youth was knocked sideways and to the ground. As he fell, there was the sound of a second shot. The two uniformed officers jumped on him to hold him down.
I ran towards Johnny. As I approached, I could see blood appearing on his shirt at the shoulder. Johnny just stood there, looking at the boy on the ground.
As I ran towards Johnny, one of the uniformed officers who had arrived on the scene blocked my way.
"If you will stay back, sir," he stated.
"That's my son," I stated.
"Which one, sir?"
"The one bleeding," I stated.
"They're both bleeding sir," he responded. "One is standing, and one is on the ground."
"The one standing," I stated.
"Very well, sir," he responded. "If you will just stand here, I will go and bring him over. Need to get him over here as the first-aid kit is in the car."
He went over and spoke to DCI Manley, who nodded his head. Then the officer spoke to Johnny and guided him over towards me. By the time he got to me, the top of his shirt by his left shoulder was red with blood, which was seeping down his arm. He looked a bit dazed. I was not certain that he knew he was bleeding.
A plastic chair had appeared from somewhere, and the officer guided Johnny to it.
"Sit here, son; I'll get the first aider to come and look at your arm." With that, he walked off.
In the distance, I could hear the sounds of sirens. Johnny looked at his shoulder.
"Shit, this shirt cost me twenty quid," he commented to no one in particular.
"Well, we'd better get it off you," I stated.
"Is he going to be alright?" Johnny asked.
"Who?" I responded.
"John Henderson," Johnny informed me. "He had the gun."
Just then, the officer returned with a first-aid kit and another officer. They took charge, removing Johnny's shirt and looking at his shoulder. The second officer started to clean the area around Johnny's shoulder.
"Well, you don't appear to have been shot," he stated.
"Why am I bleeding then?" Johnny asked. "And why is my shoulder hurting?"
"I think you got hit by some of the fragmentation from when the bullet hit the stonework," the second officer stated. "You need to go in, to get this cleaned out as there are likely to be fragments in there, but I don't think there is any danger."
Just then, three police buses and an ambulance pulled into the carpark. Armed officers deployed from the buses. Manley went over to them, and they relaxed. Two of them went over to where John Henderson was being held on the ground.
A couple of paramedics got out of the ambulance. Manley directed one over towards us and walked with the other back to towards the entrance outside which John Henderson was being restrained.
The paramedic quickly checked Johnny out and applied a dressing to the wound, then said that Johnny should be got to the hospital. He said that another ambulance was on its way, which would take us to the hospital. With that, he left and went over to assist his colleague, who was attending to John Henderson.
I called Anne to let her know about the situation.
"Johnny's involved?" she asked.
"Yes," I replied. "He's been hurt, but it is not serious. He does have to go to the hospital."
"I don't know," I responded. "Maldon, I suppose."
"I'll call Peter," she responded.
Just then, the second ambulance arrived, and the paramedics were directed over to us. They confirmed they would take Johnny into Maldon hospital. I said I would follow in the car.
In the event, I actually got to the hospital before the ambulance. I set off the moment they put Johnny in the ambulance. From what Johnny later told me, there was quite a delay before they left, as they had to check there were no other casualties who required transporting. Also, I was in my Morgan, which could take the country back roads at quite a speed. The ambulance stuck to the main route along the bypass. Probably a lot quicker if they had blue-lighted it, but as Johnny was not in any danger, they did not blue-light, so the journey took longer than mine.
When I got to the hospital, it appeared to be a scene of chaos, organised chaos but still chaos. Steve's partner, Peter, was just passing the entrance when I came in.
"Mike," he shouted, grabbing hold of me and dragging me to one side. "Can you tell me what's happening? They've got us on Red Alert for a shooting incident with casualties, but we don't know how many to expect. Anne phoned me to say Johnny is one."
"Yes, he is, but not badly," I answered. "As far as I know, there are three casualties."
"Thanks," he replied. Then he left giving instructions to staff who were around. About five minutes later, the ambulance with Johnny arrived, who was wheeled into a cubical. As he was brought in, I noticed he looked a bit grey, and I went over to check on him. Peter came straight to his cubical. I was instructed to take a seat in the waiting area. About ten minutes later, Peter came out and came over to me.
"Nothing too serious," he informed me. "Most of it looks like impact shrapnel; that's stuff thrown up when a bullet hits something hard. There might be some fragmentation material from a ricochet, but there is no bullet in the wound as far as I can ascertain. Sending him down for a scan just to be sure, and then we'll get him in the operating theatre to remove the fragments.
"He will need to stay overnight but should be fine to go home in the morning."
I thanked Peter. Before I could finish, an ambulance pulled in with its siren going and blue lights flashing. Peter went over to the casualty reception to deal with whatever was coming in. I guessed it must be the policeman who had been shot.
I went out to call Anne to give her an update.
It was about three-quarters of an hour before I got to see Johnny. He had been moved to an admissions ward and was being prepped to go to a minor-ops theatre. The surgeon needed me present to go through the procedure and sign the consent forms. He assured me it was all fairly routine.
Half an hour later, they wheeled Johnny off to the theatre. Just after he had been wheeled off, Ben arrived.
"What are you doing here?" I asked. I had explicitly told Anne not to let anyone know Johnny was in the hospital.
"I heard that Johnny had been shot," he replied. That surprised me as I knew Anne would not have said that.
"So far, The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Mirror and The Express," he stated.
"What!" I exclaimed. "How did they know, and why are they onto you?"
"It seems somebody at the college captured the whole thing on their phone and posted it online," Ben stated, pulling out his phone. He opened it and showed me some footage of the incident.
"But how did they link Johnny to you?" I asked.
"Your car," he stated. "Remember I have borrowed it a quite a few times — for promotional shoots and things. There is some footage online of Johnny being treated by the first-aider; he is at the side of the Morgan. Somebody must have recognised the car and linked it to me, then realised that Johnny has my surname as part of his.
"They were onto my publicity people within half an hour of the stuff hitting the net. I could not deny the connection, so just said that Johnny was my nephew and that I had no idea what had happened. By the way, Phil is on his way as soon as he has a wrap for the day."
"Look at headlines," Ben stated. He had brought up the BBC news site on his phone. 'Film star's nephew martial-arts hero'.
It continued. 'The sixteen-year-old nephew of film-star couple Matthew Lewis and Ben Carlton…'
"Shit, they've linked him to both of you," I stated.
"Yes. Unfortunately, Tammy Gails was one of the journalists who picked up on the story. She knows Beryl, so she knows Johnny is her son. The only good thing is that she hates Beryl's guts."
"Anyone who knows her," Ben responded. "The thing is Johnny's full name is…"
"I know John Jacob Michael Benjamin Carlton-Smith," I answered. "Had to write the whole thing out when I registered his birth."
"Where did the Jacob come from?" Ben asked.
"Phil's father," I answered.
"Really," Ben replied. "I thought his name was Jack."
"That's what everybody calls him, but apparently his real name is Jacob."
"I wonder if Phil knows?" Ben mused.
"I suppose he does," I answered.
"I'm not so sure," Ben replied. "He always refers to him as Dad, and when he has to fill in any form which requires parents name, he always puts in Jack Smith.
"Anyway, this is not helping things, Mike. We know the press scent a story, and you know what they are like."
Just then, my phone rang. It was Anne. She told me that a couple of reporters had turned up at the Priory. I informed Ben.
"I'd better get on to my publicity people," he commented. "They can start earning some money.
"By the way, have you let Bernard know about things?"
"No," I replied. "Why should I?"
"Mike, there is a good chance that Johnny might get charged," Ben said.
"What?" I exclaimed. "He was defending himself."
"I know that," Ben stated. "However, you need to remember there was an assault by Johnny on the youth with the gun. Now self-defence is a legitimate defence in English law. However, the process is that you must be charged and then raise your defence. You'd better call Bernard."
I did. When I explained the situation, he told me to call him the moment the police did anything. He also confirmed what Ben had told me. The police would have to arrest Johnny, a claim of self-defence would have to be made, after which, no doubt, they would release him with no charge. In the worst case, they would arrest him and then bail him pending investigations.
Bernard's comments did not make me feel happy.
Ben got on his phone to his publicity people. Told them to get some form of statement out.
We sat in the waiting area, talking about nothing in particular. About half an hour after Johnny had been wheeled off to the theatre, Ben suggested we go down to the cafeteria and get a coffee or something. Personally, I was in the mood for an 'or something', preferably a large double of something above seventy proof, though I doubted if the hospital cafeteria would serve that. I was right.
I told the staff nurse on duty where we were going. She told us it would be at least another hour before Johnny would be back on the ward. Given that information, we went down to the cafeteria. DCI Manley was sitting at one of the tables. He saw us as we entered and waved us over. Ben said he would get the coffees, and I went and sat down at Manley's table. He was not looking too happy.
"How are things," I asked.
"Bloody awful," he replied. "I have a Sergeant on life support and a suspect who looks like he will not make it."
"What?" I asked. Just then, Ben arrived with the coffee. Actually, he had got two hot chocolates, probably a good idea seeing how Manley was treating his coffee.
"The Henderson lad managed to shoot himself in the guts when he landed on his gun," DCI Manley stated. "That was something we had not expected, guns. None of the intelligence we had or anything your friend picked up, pointed to guns."
"You couldn't have expected an eighteen-year-old to have a gun," I pointed out. "In London, maybe, but out here?"
"How is he?" Ben asked.
"The doctors don't rate his chances," Manley replied. "They've got him up in theatre, but it seems the bullet did a lot of damage and he has lost a lot of blood."
"How about your Sergeant?" I asked.
"There, at least the news is better," Manley informed us. "He's on life support, but that is more by way of a precaution than a necessity. The doctors say that, provided there are no unexpected complications in the next twenty-four hours, they will be bringing him off it.
"One thing, Mr. Carlton, if the Henderson boy does not make it, we will have to arrest Johnny."
I looked at him. Although Ben had already mentioned the prospect, it still surprised me to hear it from the DCI.
"Look," he continued. "It will be a formality, but it will have to be done. We have to go through the procedures." I just nodded, then sent a text to Bernard. A few minutes later, I got a text back that he was on his way up. I texted him back saying not to bother, it was late, and there was no chance of anything taking off this evening. He texted back to say he would be here first thing in the morning; Joseph would not allow it any other way.
It was getting on for ten when we were allowed in to see Johnny. He was coming around from the anaesthetic and was still pretty groggy. I asked how he felt.
"Like shit, Dad," he commented.
Just then, Peter came in and gave me a briefing on Johnny. It seemed that they had been able to remove all the fragments from the wound, though they had to go in a bit deeper than they had expected. As a result, they might have to keep Johnny in a bit longer, though Peter was hopeful that he could discharge him the next day. On the whole, they did not expect any complications.
I turned to see how Johnny had taken the news. He was asleep.
"He is likely to be doing a lot of that for the next couple of days," Peter commented. "We've got him on a fairly high dosage of pain killers. It will be at least 24 hours before we try to reduce the level. I suggest you both go home for the night. Doubt if he will wake again until morning."
We took Peter's advice and made our way out of the hospital. As we came out of the main entrance, there were a number of flashes. I realised that the press surrounded us. A microphone was shoved in front of Ben.
"Ben," a female voice shouted. "How does it feel to have trained a killer?"
"I was not aware I had," Ben replied.
"John Henderson died half an hour ago; your nephew killed him; you trained him," the voice stated. My stomach churned at this news.
"First, I think you will find that the Henderson boy died as a result of a gunshot wound. As you will know from the material on the internet, my nephew did not have a gun," he stated. "Further, to do the type of move my nephew executed takes many years of training. I have only been in contact with my nephew since early this year. Much as I wish I could claim credit for his skill, there is no way I could have trained him to that level of excellence in the time I have known him."
"You sound as if you are proud of him," the voice said.
"I am," Ben replied. "He showed exceptional skill in dealing with a situation where not only was he in danger, so were others. By his actions, he undoubtedly saved lives. I would remind you that there is a police officer in there who is currently on life support."
Just then, an SUV pulled up, and the rear door opened. Ben pushed me in, following behind me and closing the door. As he did, the vehicle took off out of the carpark. I looked back and saw the reporters running for their cars; I also noticed a car had stopped in the exit. It was another SUV.
"Sorry, Ben, we were on the far side of the carpark," the driver stated.
"That's fine, Lee, I take it that Allen is in the blocker?"
"Yes, Ben. He suggests you should enter the Priory from the Sidings Lane; there is quite a crowd out front."
"What about my car?" I asked. "It's still in the carpark."
"If you can let me have the keys when I drop you off, I will get it collected," Lee stated. As he did, he turned slightly, and I caught a glimpse of his profile. I recognised him as one of the security staff from Manston.
Some thirty minutes later we pulled up at the back of the Priory. I was a bit worried when a large figure started to approach the car. I was even more concerned when Lee lowered the passenger-side window.
"No trouble, Rob?" Lee asked.
"None at all," Rob replied. "There are about a dozen of them out front but don't think they have realised that there is a back access to the property."
We got out of the car, and Rob opened the gate up for us. The path up to the stables was pretty hard to see in the dark, and I was a bit unsure about attempting it, remembering it was not the smoothest of paths. Rob handed me a torch with the comment, "You'll need this."
We got to the stables without any problems. Only then to be confronted by a hefty looking young man whom I did not know.
"It's OK, Dan," Neil's voice sounded out from the darkness. "He owns the place." The young man stepped aside, and we walked on, coming across Neil sitting outside his van.
"Who's Dan?" I enquired.
"Second cousin," Neil responded. "Aunty thought you might need some support down here."
"How much support?" I asked.
"Well, there is Dan and his two brothers," he replied. "Then there is Uncle Joe's two boys, plus the girls from the yacht. Janet is really cut up over things."
"Why," I queried, wondering who Janet was.
"Well, she feels responsible. She should have taken the Henderson lad down, not allowed Johnny to do it. It was her job to look after Johnny. Though of course, none of us knew Johnny could kick like that. That was one hell of a move," Neil stated.
It occurred to me that Janet must have been the girl Johnny was talking to when they came out of the college.
Neil then looked past me at Ben.
"Any chance I could get your autograph?" he asked. Ben laughed. Neil produced an autograph book from his coat pocket. "Already got your husband's."
Ben pulled out a pen and signed the autograph book. "Matthew's here?"
"Yes, got here about half an hour ago," Neil stated. "Came in the same way as you did." Just then there was a beeping from inside the van.
A girl popped her head out of the door and told Neil that some movement was taking place down by the pond.
"Think I better take Mutley for a walk," Neil stated. He opened the lower half of the van door and called out, "Here, boy." A moment later, a massive dog's head poked out through the door. "Walkies". The dog jumped down from the van. I stared in horror. The thing was massive.
"Hold your hands out," Neil directed. We did. Mutley sniffed at them.
"Don't worry," Neil continued. "Mutley's a soft old ball of fluff, aren't you?" He put an arm around the dog's neck, cuddling it. "Wouldn't hurt a fly. He's a St. Bernard-Wolfhound cross; picked him up as a pup from the dogs' home four years back. He's a big softy. The most he would do is lick someone to death, but his bark and size can be quite intimidating. Useful when you have to deal with people you don't want hanging around.
"Come on, Mutley, let's go walkies." With that, Neil set off in the direction of the lower part of the land. Ben and I made our way to the apartment.
When we got there, the place was full. Phil was there, which was expected. What I had not expected was Miss Jenkins. She was sitting in the most comfortable of chairs sipping a cup of tea.
Anne asked if we wanted anything. I replied a stiff whisky; Ben said he would join me.
"How's Johnny?" she asked.
"He's OK, pretty much out of it at the moment," I responded. "Probably a good thing; at least, they can't arrest him whilst he is out of it."
"Arrest him?" Phil exclaimed.
"Yes," Ben replied. "John Henderson died about an hour ago. As Johnny was involved in a fight with him, he will be arrested."
"On what charge?" Anne asked.
"Murder," I informed them.
"That's stupid," Phil stated.
"Certainly is," Miss Jenkins stated. "Unfortunately, it is the way the justice system works. What we have to ensure is that it does not get out of hand."
"Can we?" I asked.
"Oh, yes," Miss Jenkins replied. "It is just a matter of getting the right people to ask the right questions.
"I must apologise, though, that things have got into this situation. Janet was supposed to protect Johnny. In that, she failed."
"Janet?" I asked. "She was the girl Johnny was talking to?"
"Yes," Miss Jenkins confirmed. "She was there to keep an eye on Johnny and make sure nothing happened to him."
"I am not sure she could have done much more than she did in the circumstances," I pointed out.
"That's as may be," Miss Jenkins stated. "However, we should have known that the Henderson boy was carrying. There was a clear failure on the part of my family to obtain the information we should have had; as a result, the situation we now have arose. I intend to do everything I can to ensure that things work out as they should.
"By the way, I have arranged some additional security for this place, given the press interest."
"Does that include Mutley?" I asked.
"Mutley?" Anne enquired.
"Mutley, Neil's dog," I stated.
"Yes, it does," Miss Jenkins commented. "That boy has been missing his dog since he got here, and the dog has been moping. This was a perfect opportunity to reunite the two with a purpose.
"Mutley might be a big softy, but he is also big. Rather off-putting if you meet him when you are somewhere you are not supposed to be."
"I hope he does not bite anyone," Anne said.
"I think that is unlikely," Miss Jenkins observed. "However, I have been warned that his lick is quite ferocious.
"Anyway, I better get back to Town. Some strings definitely need to be pulled, and some questions are going to be asked."
With that, Miss Jenkins departed.
Ben and I filled Phil and Anne in on events at the hospital. I expressed concern to Phil about him leaving filming. He assured me that there was no filming planned for the next day as they had a knockdown and rebuild of the sets. In fact, he was not expecting to film till Saturday.
I phoned Bernard to inform him of John Henderson's death.
"I know, Mike," he responded. "Have spoken with Manley. They are going to arrest Johnny at ten-thirty in the morning; I will be there well before then."
I had just got off the phone to Bernard when the landline rang. It was Steve. I gave him the information I had and then passed him over to Anne to chat to. She then called me back to the phone; Peter was on the other end.
"Steve says they are going to arrest Johnny in the morning?" he asked.
"Yes, Peter," I responded. "Johnny's solicitor has arranged the time with them so he can be there.""Right, I think it might be a good idea if Johnny spends a couple more nights in hospital under observation," he stated.