CHAPTER Three, Part 1. To catch up with previous instalments, click here.
At 3-15pm Parker and Craven went to Layton Cemetery where a forensic scientist was conducting a preliminary post mortem on John Doe.
The cemetery was an old one, originally built in round stones collected from the beach, it’s walls had begun to bow and looked rather as if it were not for the masses of ivy clinging to its sides, the whole building would collapse into a pile of rubble. The front doors were made of solid oak and the two detectives swung them open and walked inside. The walls were hung with huge tapestries depicting the resurrection of Christ, Mary the holy Mother and the beginning of creation. The cold solid floor was tiled in red and white with a green leaf pattern dotted here and there. Another large double door lay ahead with a smaller, more modern one to its left. A conspicuous sign above the door read STRICTLY PRIVATE, visitors by appointment only, ring for attention.
They rang the bell and waited. Soon a latch could be heard rattling on the other side, the door swung open and revealed the shape of a thin man wearing a white laboratory coat, his head was covered by a surgical cap and beneath his chin was a red and yellow flowery bow tie. He had pronounced cheek bones; rather like a native North American Indian, and his long nose enhanced their appearance all the more.
The Inspector took out his warrant card. “I’m Inspector Parker and this is Sergeant Craven.”
The Doctor peered disapprovingly over the top of his tiny reading glasses. “I was told 5pm.” He growled.
“Yes that’s right but we were in the area and rather thought—-”
“You Policemen never think but seeing as your already here then I suppose you had better come in.”
They stepped through the door and as it silently closed behind them the sound of the latch could be heard again and a pungent smell of decay combined with chemicals hit their nostrils. “Don’t worry about the smell, one gets used to it after a while.” The doctor grumbled as he reached for a clipboard which was atop a body partially hidden by a white sheet. There were two black feet protruding from the bottom. One foot had a label tied to its big toe. He skipped through the pages of notes contained by a bulldog clip.
“Can you tell us anything at this time doctor?” Parker asked.
The thin pathologist lowered his head, gave them a withering look and scanned the papers. “Black male, aged forty to fifty, weight fifteen stone, five pounds, height six feet two inches, no visible marks except for a scar on the inner right forearm, five teeth missing, left tibia broken at sometime with resulting scar.” He gave a tiresome look at both Parker and Craven. “Really gentlemen it is far to early.” He continued reading his notes and mumbled. “Rough hands, possible labourer, cause of death at this stage suggests toxic poisoning injected into the hand, time of death—”
“Poisoning?” Parker interrupted.
“Hmmm?” The doctor noised. “Oh yes poisoning by intramuscular injection. As I already said gentlemen it really is far too early for a complete report.” “Let me get this straight doctor.” The confused detective asked.
“You’re saying he was poisoned?”
The doctor gave an irritated ‘tut’. “Really constable I refuse to go on if all you are going to do is interrupt and contradict. I would be well within my rights.”
“I’m sorry doctor, I do apologise, please go on.”
“Very well.” The doctor painfully sighed. “Although at this stage that really is about it. You can read my full report just as soon as it is ready.”
“I’m sorry doctor but we thought the man was hung.”
“Oh he was but that was long after his death. He’d been frozen for some time, how long I couldn’t—”
“Frozen?” Parker interrupted. The miserable doctor gave him a long, protracted, withering stare and Parker dropped his head. “I’m so very sorry Doctor, it’s all a little bit strange that’s all.”
“That’s about it gentlemen, except for his belongings which are over there. I’ve taken hair samples found on his shirt and trousers and the only clue I can find at this stage as to the man’s identity is a hand written note found in his pocket.” He pointed to a clear plastic bag on the next table.
“May we copy down what it says doctor?” Parker asked.
“Hmmm? Oh yes be my guest.” He replied nonchalantly.
Parker carefully laid out the plastic bag and copied the writing. Jonas Welford. 8c Taplow Rd. Basingstoke. Turning to Craven he said. “A phone call to the Met’ is in order Sergeant.
“The door is on the latch,” Informed the doctor. “please close it on your way out gentlemen.”
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