The Case File

LOCAL SOCIAL WORKER IN DEATH PLUNGE

The first page of the file was a carefully snipped out article from the front page of the local tabloid.

Of course there wasn’t much information there just enough of a suggestion of violent death to sell papers. Police responding to reports of screaming from the former headquarters of the city council had found a woman’s body. The death was being treated as suspicious.

The file seemed depressingly slim to me. Of course I’m used to much older cases so I don’t really know how thick a ten day old murder case file should be.

I turned straight to the postmortem. When looking in to a murder it helps if you’re sure it’s a murder.

I’m not going to reproduce the whole thing here. And I’m certainly not posting the photos so you sick bunnies can stop holding your breath. You’ll just have to make do with a summary.

The Deceased was a woman in her 30’s. She was 1.53 meters tall (That’s about 5’2” in old money) and exceedingly well nourished. That means lard bucket. Don’t think I’m taking the piss out of a dead woman. They’ll stick that on my postmortem when the time comes.

The Newspaper report said she’d been found at the bottom of Saint Nick’s tower after an apparent plunge. It being a parochial wannabee tabloid it couldn’t just say she fell.

The PM report revealed that she’d been found in the drained ornamental pond impaled on the remains of a fountain that had been removed before the building was cleared for demolition. The fall would have been enough to kill her but if it hadn’t worked the massive exsanguination (that’s blood loss) from the puncture wound in her back would have done for her.

The first responder had tried to call it in as a suicide but the Pathologist wouldn’t sign off on that. She had bruising and cuts all over her back from going through the window backwards with enough force to break the glass and launch her more than 10 meters (that’s about 30 feet) from the building. People don’t commit suicide by jumping backwards through a closed window.

There were no defensive wounds and her face was undamaged but there were four small bruises, each about the size of an old 50p piece arraigned in a rough rectangle on her chest.

On to the Crime Scene Report.

The only broken window in the building, therefore the only room she could have come from, was from a locked office on the top floor. The police knew the door was locked because they had to break it down to get in. The key was in the lock on the inside and the only fingerprints belonged to the Deceased. The room was dusty but empty of furniture. The window sill was at waist hight. There were foot prints in the dust but only one set. They led to the window and did not return.

I turned the page looking for the toxicology report and the forensic report on the glass from the wounds on her back and the confirmation of identification and none of it was there. None of it had been followed up.

I looked for the witness statements. There were none. Someone had reported the screaming but that hadn’t been chased up either.

Police officers had gone to her office and spoken to her co-workers. They had got a list of current and former clients. They had made a note of which current and former clients were most likely to have wished her harm. There were a lot of them. They hadn’t bothered with a list of the co-workers who might have wished her harm but reading between the lines of the interviews there would be a few of them.

They did track down and speak to all of the former clients but they hadn’t dragged anyone in. The interview notes were the most half arsed thing I had ever seen in all my years at the Department.

None of the alibis had been followed up. Even people who admitted to being delighted the woman was dead hadn’t been questioned further.

The woman had lived alone, apart from her cat, and her close family all lived in Ireland. The Grampian Police weren’t going to send someone all the way to Ireland to deliver the news in person and you can’t break news like that over the phone so they passed that job on to the local police. Some poor Irish copper had to go to her parents house and tell them their daughter was dead.

His report had been included and it was by far the most shocking thing in the file. Her parents had been completely unmoved by the news. Not happy about it, not sad, not angry, not curious or resigned. They just hadn’t cared.

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