I am soooooooooooooooo making progress this National Novel Writing Month! Three- four years after I originally started this romantic thriller, I’ve gone back to my old manuscript while I wait to hear news back on last romance novel completed last month ‘Sacrifices’ I’ve sent out to an agent. I have my fingers crossed that I hear good news about representation! I am happy with where this current story ‘In the Name of Love’ is going, I may even have it done this this April if I stay focused. Here’s a lil’ snippet for you, as always, I have lined up a cast of characters from all corners of the world, and different walks of life, with diversity, romance, murder and of course suspense and thrill!
Christina’s body is found, one brutal murder, two suspects, a conviction then a re-trial six years’ later, due to advances in DNA. Charlotte- Price-Smith has overturned her conviction and detainment in a London based mental institution following Christina’s murder six years’ later, and a new suspect is found, but have the police convicted the right person the second time around…even after a re-trial?
This is a romantic thriller with a killer twist! Our leading lady Charlotte, her love interest Joseph, Detectives and Christina’s best friend Sophie Ngo will take readers on a ride…..
Something strange is going on. I’ve not heard from Joseph for a couple of days, last saw of him was a week ago. It’s now Friday night, normally we’d have plans for the weekend or at least some kind of contact. He’s not answering my texts. If I don’t hear anything I’ll drive past the house and see if his car is there over the weekend, keep an eye on what’s going on. Christina is probably up to something.
CHAPTER THREE: MURDER, MURDER
18.00 hours Wandsworth Police Station, south west London.
“It’s the 10th July 2012. This interview is being carried out in interview room one, the interview will be recorded via tape. I’m Detective David Black, present is Detective Stephen Jones, for the purposes of the tape, please confirm your full name?”
“And your date of birth please?”
“6th March 1980.”
“And your name please sir? For the purposes of the tape.” Detective Black gestures to the short bald man in a grey suit to the right of Joseph.
“I’m John Davies, legal representative from Davies and Smith Solicitors, here to protect the rights and interests of Mr. Andrews today.”
Detective Black wastes no time starting his full-blown interrogation, for years Joseph has been on his hit list of local criminals to nail. Joseph is smart, and a shrewd business man he managed to keep his ass clean–until now.
“Joseph you’ve been detained, on suspicion of the murder of Christina Andrews- Campbell. You don’t have to say anything but anything you do say maybe used as evidence against you in a court of law do you understand?”
“Yeah I understand.”
“Joseph please look at this photo can you confirm who this is?”
Detective Black slides a photo across the table of mixed-race female, with her throat slashed from ear to ear, and multiple stab wounds to her chest, upper arm and stomach. Joseph screws up his face as he looks down at the bloody photo. Detective Black studies his reaction to the photo closely, did he flinch? Show any kind of shock? Or seem as though he’s seen it before– maybe in person if he is her murderer.
“It’s my wife, Christina.”
“How long have you been married to the late Mrs. Andrews- Campbell?’’
“Three years last February.”
“For the three years have you been faithful to Mrs. Andrews- Campbell?’’
“Can you confirm when the last time you saw her alive was?”
“I told you, when you arrested me, I don’t fuckin’ know what happened to her!”
“Mr. Andrews, please just answer the question.”
I take a deep breath, and rest my elbows on the table. I look Detective Black dead in the eye.
“I’ve been away for a few days, I needed time out, the last time I saw her was last Wednesday night just before I left.”
“Why did you need to leave your wife for time out?”
“We were arguing as usual, she pissed me off, I needed some head space.”
“And where did you go?”
“I stayed over at my mum’s.”
“While at your mum’s did you have any contact with your wife?’’
“Yeah, she kept texting me, asking me when I’ll come home.’’
“Did you respond?”
“Why do you think? I wanted time out I was in no rush to go back.’’
“What were the two of you arguing about?”
“Just stuff, usual things couples argue about.”
“And when you arrived home last night, what happened?”
“I walked into the house, dumped my stuff down then walked into the living room and there
she was on the floor.”
“Roughly what time did you arrive home?”
“Around 8:00 p.m.”
“And what did you do?”
“What do you think I did? I called you lot!”
“Mr. Andrews, who is Charlotte?”
“Just a friend.”
“Did you have more than just a friendship with her?”
I think about my response carefully the police have a way of trying to trip you up. I said no comment when asked how faithful I had been to that sorry excuse of a wife of mine. They have my phone and probably worked out exactly what went on between Charlotte and me. Fuck! I should have been more careful, I can’t get out of this one.
“Yeah, yeah okay she…she’s someone I was seeing.”
Detective Black grins at me, he knows he’s onto something now. I eye him from the other side of the scuffed wooden table and await this cocky response.
“Mr. Andrews could you please confirm what you mean?’’
“My bit on the side, we were seeing each other.”
“Did the two of you have a sexual relationship?’’
He knows we’ve had a sexual relationship, the evidence on my phone is enough to confirm we’ve had a sexual relationship. “What do you think?”
“Mr. Andrews if you can please confirm your response to the question.”
I place my head in both of my hands and run my now sweaty palms over my face.
“Yes, we did.”
“For how long did you have a sexual relationship?”
“A month or so.”
“How did you meet?”
“We know each other from college, we ran into each other on a night out.”
“Does she know you’re married?’’
“Yes, she knows and knew nothing serious could happen. Plus, she’s a crazy fuckin’ bitch it’s her you should be talking to.”
“Mr. Andrews, what gives you the impression she is crazy?”
“She is obsessed, you’ve got my phone read the messages.”
“Did your wife know about your affair Mr. Andrews?”
Shit, my mind races as these pigs place me under the spotlight for almost an hour. For years I’ve conducted all my illegal dealings behind the London’s Metropolitan Police’s back. I’ve rarely found myself on the wrong side of the law, I’ve been too clever for that.
“Did you try to break things off with Charlotte?”
“Yes a few times”
“What was her response?”
“She would cry, bitch and bombard me with texts and calls that kinda thing.”
“Why did you want to break it off with Charlotte? Assuming you had no plans to leave your wife for her, sounds like an ideal situation having them both?”
Staring up at the yellow ceiling I compose myself before I respond. I can hardly be truthful, tell the old bill I had no plans to leave my wife for Charlotte, as I planned to leave them both and start a new life once I pulled off the narcotics deal in Amsterdam. That bitch Christina caught wind of my operation, she blackmailed me with exposure to the pigs if she didn’t get a cut, and join me in my new life in the Caribbean. That was the last thing I wanted. This was part of my attraction to Charlotte. She is the complete opposite to Christina in every way from her looks, to her attitude and motivation in life. She’s the independent type earned her own money, good job, going places…. But she’s strange, her behaviour caught me off guard at times, and she’s a walking chemist with all the pills she popped. Whatever happens I’m not going down for this shit, no way, now she’s dead that’s my ticket into a new life. I rest my gaze on the pigs, ramp up my bravado and pray they don’t smell a rat.
“No, I had no plans to leave Christina for Charlotte.” I lie through my teeth and steel myself for more lies.
“I loved her, she was my wife.”
“Really? So why the affair then Mr. Andrews?”
A pang of guilt runs through me at my reference to Charlotte being just fun, truth be known I’d fallen for her and enjoyed her company, but how can one woman be so possessive? I’d ask myself when she was pissed off that I couldn’t meet up with her, or go for dinner as planned. Then there were the mood swings one moment she’d be up, then she’d be in low level depression and self- pity.
“So, Mr. Andrews, if you’re not responsible for the murder of Christina Andrews- Campbell then do you know who is?’’
Detective Black stares deeply into Joseph’s large light brown eyes, willing him to answer the question.
“No, I don’t.”
Bullshit, is all that runs through Detective Black’s mind. He presses on with his interrogation wasting no time or allowing Joseph time to think. Detective Black changes tact, to the direct approach to see what Joseph knows– will he grass anyone up? And at the same time put out a lead for him and his team to follow up.
“When was the last time you saw Charlotte?’’
“About a week ago, I’ve been trying to cool things off a bit, lie low, I had other things on my mind work was busy. All I know is, it wasn’t me, and if you have no hard evidence against me you need to let me go and stop wasting your time and mine Detective.”
“Was Charlotte jealous of Christina? She was after all your wife and the woman you went home to?”
My heart skips a beat, do the old bill have her as a suspect? Is this some kind of trick? I sit back confidently in my chair and look from one Detective to the other. I hate the poe-poe and I’ve never been one to take sides with them, but I’ve got to get myself out of the spotlight somehow. I think quickly and see this as my chance to get out of the hot seat.
“Yeah, course she was she’d send threats all the time to me that she’d tell Chris about us.”
“Do you think she’s capable of murder?”
“Like I said she’s one crazy bitch.”
Detective Black smirks. “This interview is terminated at 21.00 hours exactly, Mr. Andrews you will be held pending further investigation here at Wandsworth Police Station.”
“What? Are you lot mad? I’ve got nothing to do with this, that crazy bitch is who you need to talk to not me.’’
“Please stay calm Mr. Andrews, let me handle this” John Davies cuts in.
“Detective, exactly how long do you intend on remanding Mr. Andrews?” Joseph’s legal representative shuffles in his seat, and fixes Detective Black with a firm stare over the top of his glasses. Detective Black does not even bother to meet John’s eye, instead he focuses in on Joseph, and holds his gaze as he responds to John.
“As you know, we can in serious crimes hold a suspect for up to ninety six hours, due to the seriousness of this case I intend to remand Mr. Andrews for the maximum time.’’
I’m seething, there is no way I’m going down without a fight. I stay quiet, I sit there staring from one detective to another thinking, planning and plotting my next move to throw these pigs off my scent.
21:30 hours: Wandsworth Police Station, London.
“Today is the 10th July 2012, this interview is conducted in interview room two at Wandsworth Police Station the interview will be recorded via tape. I’m Detective David Black present is Detective Stephen Jones, for the purposes of the tape please confirm your full name?’’
“Charlotte Price- Smith”
“And your date of birth please?”
“2nd February 1982.”
“And your name please sir? For the purposes of the tape.”
“Ron Peters from Peters and Field solicitors, representing the rights and interests of Ms. Price-Smith today.’’
“Charlotte you’re detained on suspicion of the murder of Christina Andrews-Campbell, you don’t have to saying anything, but anything you do say maybe used in a court of law as evidence against you do you understand?’’
As Detective Black kicks off his questioning, he eyes the young beauty in front of him tall, blonde hair, piercing green eyes framed by dark lashes and eyebrows, the only sign that she is not a natural blonde. He can’t help but wonder why a decent looking girl like this would get herself mixed up with a hood rat like Joseph Andrews.
“Charlotte, how do you know Joseph Andrews?’’
“We met back in college years ago, ran into each other again at a party.”
“And what was your relationship like with him, back in college?’’
“Not then, no.”
“And now? What kind of relationship have the two of you got?’’
Detective Black watches Charlotte throw back her head and flick her blonde hair from her shoulder, she takes on a confident stance and looks him dead in the eye. She then leans forward over the old wooden table and gets up close to Detective Black. He can feel the sarcasm dripping from her body language and voice.
“He’s my boyfriend of course.”
“He is, you talk in the present tense Charlotte, for how long has he been your boyfriend as you say?”
“A month or so now.”
“Are you aware that he’s married?’’
“Yes, but he always told me he’d leave her when the time is right.”
“Did the two of you ever break up?”
“So, Mr. Andrews, never once tried to break things off with you for any reason?”
“You heard, no, never he loves me. We love each other, no he has never broken up with me or tried to.”
Gotta ya! Detective Black smiles, he knows one of the two is lying, he has a feeling it’s Ms. Over Confident sitting in front of him. The evidence he has seen on Joseph’s phone clearly shows heated debates between the pair as Joseph tried to step away from her, and the relationship. He changes pace, he places some evidence in front of her.
“Charlotte could you confirm the mobile phone number that Joseph contracts you on out loud for me please?’’
Charlotte rolls her eyes and pouts at Detective Black.
“07958 654 250.’’
“Perfect, and this is the only number he’d ever contact you on?”
“Charlotte take a look at this print out of text messages sent between your number and Joseph Andrew’s, it would appear that Joseph had in fact tried to break things off with you.” Detective Black slides four A4 sheets of paper with text messages printed out, from both suspect’s phones. Charlotte snatches up the paper and flushes.
“You were saying Charlotte? The two of you never broke up. Joseph Andrews never once tried to break things off with you?”
“He never meant it, he was just messing around.”
Detective Black resists the urge to push her further on this point, the evidence contradicts what she’s already said, he is satisfied–for now.
“Did it not bother you at any point being involved with a married man? Did his wife ever suspect anything?’’
“No, like I said he loves me.’’
“Do you know what she looks like?’’
“Charlotte do you know who this is in the photo?”
Detective Black slides the same photo he showed to Joseph across the table.
“Yeah it’s her.”
Detective Black sits up in his chair he registers the bitter response to his question, the way Charlotte dismissed her, there was no emotion from the disturbing sight shown in the picture the forensic team took of Christina the night she was killed.
“Where were you on July 8th, what did you do that day?’’
I think back to two days ago, where was I? I don’t know exactly how much the police know.
“I went to work, then the gym and came home.’’
“What gym did you go to?’’
“Fit Bods in Bromley.”
“Around what time did you arrive and leave?’’
“Probably about 4:30 pm I arrived, and left around 6:30 pm.” Detective Black makes a mental note to check out the gym for an alibi.
“When was the last time you saw Joseph?”
“Last week, Wednesday night.”
“What did the two of you do?”
“We went to dinner and then made love… all night, he stayed at mine.” Charlotte responds in a sarcastic tone, with a full blown smirk.
“Where did you go for dinner?’’
“He took me to a posh restaurant on Fulham Road, the Tiger’s Head nice Thai place you should try it, Detective.” I lean forward and fix Detective Black with a lustful look, I’m just messing with him for fun. I watch him shuffle in his seat across the table.
“Charlotte who paid for dinner? And how did they pay?’’
“He paid, credit card.”
Bingo, Ms. Over Confident has given me enough information for one day to cross check, already she looks suspicious her story contradicts Joseph’s in places, her body language shows no remorse for her role she played in the affair with Joseph.
“Did everything seem normal with him, last Wednesday over dinner?”
“Yes, he told me he loves me, and wants a divorce so we can get married.”
’Detective Black looks Charlotte up and down crossing and uncrossing her legs under the table, twirling her hair around her finger and smiling at him. Suspect #1 for sure. Detective Black’s deep clipped voice abruptly cuts in. “This interview is terminated at 22.30 hours.”
“If you’ve not charged me you need to let me go, I know my rights.”
“Correct Charlotte we’ve not charged you, however we have the right to remand suspects in serious crimes, in your case I’d say make yourself comfortable you’ll be here pending further investigation.”
Detective Black stops the tape recording and stands up, eager to deposit Ms. Over Confident in the reception area for the paperwork to be done, and crack on with this investigation. He smells a rat– a big one.
Three hours later I’m hunched over my desk pouring over the dozens of text messages exchanged between my two suspects. I have no doubt in my mind one of them is guilty if they hadn’t worked together to conspire, and carry out the murder of Christina. I’ve already directed my team on what leads to follow up, a drop-in call on Joseph’s mother to verify the young man’s whereabouts following his departure from the Andrews- Campbell home, further analysis of both suspect’s mobile phone usages, especially around the date and time of Christina’s murder. Tomorrow morning Fit Bods Gym will be the first point of call, to verify Charlotte’s whereabouts, and the Thai restaurant she claimed she and Joseph dined at would take a hit also.
I’ve got ninety three hours left in counting to nail someone with Christina’s murder. I consider myself a fair man, I like to check everything out in detail, it matters when it comes to presenting a case to the Crown Prosecution Service, hit ‘em with the evidence they can’t turn away is my saying.
Following the initial interview with both Joseph and Charlotte there are holes in both suspect’s stories, contradiction over the type of relationship that they have or had depending on who you believe. Not to mention a big question mark over why Ms. Over Confident decided to state that the pair had never broken up.
I’m a good girl the kind of girl you’d be friends with, take home to your mum for Sunday dinner– I don’t belong here. The confinement of these four walls and brown stained toilet pan is not something I can to get used to.
I sit, chain smoke, and contemplate my story for Detective Black. Sure, I may have exaggerated the truth over the kind of relationship Joseph and I have, yes, he’s tried to break up with me… I know he never meant it. We are made for each other, he just could not see it, she got in the way forever on his back about money, what time he’d be home. She never understood him like I do, and there was no way I was going to let him go. Not now we’ve come so far. I’ve invested in him–in us, waiting patiently for him to leave her I wasn’t then, and I’m not now prepared to lose out. Back in the day, she was always his fall back no matter how many other girls he dated or messed around with, he’d go running back to her, she was the magic pussy back then and it pissed me off that she still is or was.
Christina and I were not exactly friends, we tolerated each other, to her I was the token middle class white girl that the boys would pay attention to. Before I revamped my looks an went blonder, my naturally dark raven coloured hair, striking green eyes and curves were what drew them in. She herself was a looker. We spoke in passing only. She was naturally Ms. Popular and decided when, where and how often we spoke back then. I was no real competition for her, but she always paid attention to me, I could tell.
Whenever Joseph and I spoke she’d look me up and down a silent warning to look but don’t touch. When Joseph and I started seeing each other all these years later I’d remember those days, when I was an outsider and how she’d look me up and down and laugh. Who’s looking and not touching now bitch? I’d think to myself with Joseph laid up in my bed, eating my breakfast I’d prepared for him, as she was unable to manage anything but a sandwich when it came to cooking, according to Joseph. Now she’s dead, and I’m in the spotlight, but at least I still have Joseph.
I stay off the radar when it comes to the law, police in my view are the lowest of the low, they profile and stereotype men like me every day. People think it’s just African – American men who are prey to police. They are dead wrong, here in London, it’s no better just because they don’t carry guns and can’t bear arms against us, don’t mean the situation isn’t as bad. Now they wanna suspect me of murder, and probably dig up God knows what else as well, start asking questions over my “legitimate business dealings.”
Christina, was the biggest mistake of my life, I should never have married her.
Three hours in this cell has already shown me that the thug and prison life are not for me, there’s no way I’m going down for this no way. I’ll do whatever it takes.
12 hours later:
“Gentlemen, on the 8th July 2012 Christina Andrews-Campbell was murdered, she was stabbed, strangled and had her throat slit, it was a pretty violent murder. She was married to Joseph Andrews who was also having an affair with Charlotte Price- Smith.”
I pause and look around at the team eagerly taking notes, as I point to the picture of Christina on the whiteboard.
“Here we have Joseph Andrews thirty-one years old, raised in one of south London’s roughest districts. He has a history of dabbling in narcotics, but we’ve never been able to pin anything on him, the lucky shit, he knows how to run his businesses well.”
“Here we have Charlotte Price- Smith thirty years old born and raised in the leafy suburbs just outside of south London- Bromley by ‘mummy and daddy’, she’s a paediatric Nurse at Lewisham Hospital and is the other woman Joseph’s involved with romantically, and sexually.”
“Both suspects could have possible motives for murder. Andrews wanted to leave his marriage for the other suspect possibly, Price- Smith may have been the jealous other woman, this of course needs to be proven for both suspects. So, what have you got for me?”
I take a seat around the large conference table and look around at the team for answers, I want them and fast. PC Browne speaks up first.
“Sir Joseph’s alibi can be confirmed he called round to see his mother, her statement confirms he did arrive at her home a few days before Christina’s murder, and remained with her up until his arrest.”
“Okay, could she confirm his time of arrival and his behaviour?’’
PC Browne pulls out and flips open his black note book, and reads out Ms. Andrew’s statement.
“He arrived a few days ago in the late evening distressed, he stayed with me, during the time he was here he seemed calm but withdrawn over his constant arguments with Christina. This is her statement sir.”
“Okay so, he’s telling the truth so far, what else?”
“Sir, we searched the flat Charlotte currently rents and found a handful of diaries she’d kept over the last year, we also found a collage that she’d put together with dozens of pictures of Joseph hidden away, antidepressants and various other mood stabilising medication.”
I look up and a smile breaks out across my face.
“Now we’re talking, what’s in the diaries?”
“A quick glance showed us a lot of personal thoughts and feelings around her relationship with Joseph, how she disliked his wife, talk of the kind of future she wants with Joseph that kind of –a thing’’
“They’ve been seized for evidence?’’
“Yes sir, of course.”
“And the meds? You need to find out what they are for, contact her GP get her medical records up and find out what she’s so depressed about.”
“All right, good job Browne.” PC Seller cuts in.
“Sir, we went to the gym to verify Charlotte’s alibi, the manager on shift was not around so we have the CCTV tape, and a record of her usage at the gym for this month.”
“Excellent, I want you to watch the tape let me know what you find.” “Yes sir.”
“Sir, we checked out the restaurant in Fulham Charlotte said she and Joseph went to when they last saw each other, there was no reservation so it was hard to tell if the story is true. We have the restaurant’s CCTV tape for the full week of the date Charlotte gave.”
“Excellent, with no reservation for dinner the CCTV will show if they did or did not enter the restaurant at all that week, watch it and report back.’’
My team have done good so far, we have more evidence to cross check. I stand up and walk over to the whiteboard and face them.
“Okay, fifteen hours have passed us, team A. find out what you can about the relationship with Joseph from the diaries and get a profile on her, contact the GP, we’re looking for evidence that would support a motive for murder, got it?’’
“Team B. interview Joseph again, find out how the affair started, double check the date in Fulham he and Charlotte had, when they last saw each other and when he last saw Christina alive. Check out the story on the credit card payment at the restaurant in Fulham, and watch the CCTV tape from the restaurant and let me know what you find. Everyone got that?”
“Detective Jones, you’re with me, we’re gonna pay a visit to Charlotte’s parents and interview her. Gentlemen, we’ve had a total of fifteen hours including the three hours the suspects have been in custody on this already, we have twenty- one left to nail one or both of them with something, let’s get to work.”
As his team disappear and set off to work on their allocated areas, Detectives Black and Jones huddle around the whiteboard looking at their suspects, their ties are loosened and they sip cool water deep in thought.
“What’s your gut tell you about these two?’’ Detective Black turns to Jones for his opinion. “Something’s definitely off with them, she clearly thinks they are a couple and have more than he thinks they do. Then there’s her diaries.”
Jones shakes his head and takes a long sip of his water, not taking his eyes away from Charlotte’s photo he continues.
“Shows you just how much she’s into this guy, she wants him for herself.”
“Hmm, you think she done it?’’
Detective Jones, pauses before he responds, his eyes fix on both suspect’s mug shots.
“Could be either of them they both have strong motives, we see what the diaries have to say if it puts her more in the frame than him. If she’s twisted the story about her whereabouts and the dinner date with Joseph then she’s toast, unless something crops up on our guy.”
“Maybe they worked together?”
“Strong possibility there needs to be a link made.’’
“Well, we’ve got twenty one hours let’s head over to Bromley drop the bad news on mummy and daddy that their little girl’s a prime suspect in a murder investigation.”
Detective Black pats Jones on the back and glances at his watch, it’s 10:15 a.m. the two men leave the meeting room and head over to south east London’s pretty suburbs.
Thank you for reading! I am hard at work completing this project. Sometimes, it’s good to go back to your old work with a fresh mid-set, and thirst for writing. I hope all those writers who have taken part in National Novel Writing Month #NaNoWriMo are making great progress. Let’s get a project completed all of us!