They stared at it for a few moments.
‘This means that Trevor wasn’t filming the girls all the time. In the previous investigation it was taken as read that he was doing all the filming,’ said Erika.
‘And he flipped out at that party that he wouldn’t let anyone use the camera,’ said John. He played it back again,
‘Listen, can you hear? A voice says, “there you go”. It’s sounds South African.’
There was a knock at the door and Peterson returned,
‘Boss. I’ve found Joel Michaels. He changed his name in 1995, his birth name is Peter Michaels. He’s fifty-three years old. He was in the halfway house after his release from prison. He served six years from February 1984 until his release in March 1990, for the imprisonment and rape of a nine year old boy.’
A look passed between Erika and John. Peterson went on,
‘Peter Michaels was interviewed in 1990, along with all the residents of the half way house, and like Marksman, he had an alibi for 7th August 1990. However, he was never placed under surveillance in the weeks after Jessica disappeared. He wasn’t seen to have any interest in her, nor was he seen in or around her house.’
‘How did you track him down?’ asked Erika.
‘Trevor Marksman invested his compensation from the CPS in property, and he’s done well out of it. His company Marksman Ltd is listed as having assets of five million. There is one other person in the Ltd partnership, and that’s Joel Michaels. They live together.’
‘It’s a long shot,’ said John.
‘Sometimes all you need is a long shot,’ replied Erika.
It was late when Erika called Marsh from her office at Bromley South. She’d let most of her team go, only John, Moss and Peterson stayed behind working.
‘Erika, I told you about going near to Trevor Marksman,’ said Marsh. ‘Even if you do find something, the whole of the last investigation was compromised.’
‘Sir, I don’t want to bring in Marksman. I want to bring in Joel Michaels. He was ruled out of the last investigation, and we didn’t know the link between him and Trevor…’
‘I thought you had this Bob Jennings in the frame, the guy who was squatting by Hayes Quarry?’
‘Yes he is still a suspect, but there isn’t so much urgency, with him being dead. This afternoon we located the septic tank behind the cottage by the quarry. It’s under tons of earth and roots, but there’s a team going over first thing tomorrow to clear it. I also heard back from Rosemary Hooley. She says she lent Bob Jennings a petrol powered generator during the summer of 1990. Apparently he wanted one so he could have a fridge and ice cream at the cottage. She also found out he was keeping the generator in the basement, and they had a row about it. This could link in with why Jessica had high levels of lead petrol in her bones… Sir this could be connected, I don’t know, we could be looking at a paedophile ring.’
Marsh was silent on the end of the phone for a moment,
‘When do you want to do this?’
‘I want to do it tonight. Element of surprise. I want to let him sweat in a cell until tomorrow morning.’
‘This sounds like it’s getting personal, Erika. You have to realise that Trevor Marksman is now a very wealthy man, and I presume that he will have a good lawyer on hand to help out his friend.’
‘Sir, I’m not being personal. I’m angry from having to watch hours of video showing convicted paedophiles being thrown parties, taken on trips out to the sea side, and all of the video Marksman took of Jessica Collins, and several other local children. I’m angry that she is just a pile of bones, and somewhere out there whoever did this is running free. I want to question this man. That’s all, and I have evidence to support my suspicions….’
Marsh was silent on the phone for a moment.
‘Okay. You’ve got the go-ahead, but you do this tomorrow morning, when you’ve slept and we can prepare. Okay?’
‘Yes, Sir thank you.’
Erika arrived home just after nine, when she opened the front door. Lenka was in the hallway. Erika started to speak, but she put her finger to her lips.
‘The kids are asleep,’ she whispered. ‘It’s so late. Where were you?’
‘At work,’ whispered Erika sloughing off her shoes and putting down her bag.
‘Is everything okay?’
‘You left at seven this morning!’
Erika pulled off her coat. ‘I usually work like this.’
‘What did Mark have to say about that?’
‘Lenka, can you let me get inside the door!’
‘Shhh! I’ve only just got them settled.’
Erika peered through to the living room where the resting forms of the kids were asleep on the sofa bed.
‘Lenka, my computer is nearly dead, and the charger is in there,’ she whispered.
‘What does it look like?’
‘What do you mean. It’s a charger?’ Hissed Erika. She went to go into the living room, but Lenka held her back.
‘No. You’ll wake them up. Karolina has been really upset all day, and I’ve only just got them to sleep.’
‘Lenka, I need my charger.’
‘Did you eat?’
‘I had lunch.’
Lenka crossed her arms and rolled her eyes, ‘You should at least eat. I cooked. You take a shower and I’ll look for your charger.’
Erika went to protest, but Lenka pushed her into the bathroom and closed the door.
* * *
When she emerged from the shower, she was hit by the delicious smell of smoked meat, potato and pickle. The microwave beeped and Lenka came out with a steaming plate of Fransuzky Zemiaky, which was potato, egg, and smoked sausage, sliced very thin, stacked in a casserole dish and baked.
‘Oh my God. It smells delicious. Just like the one Mum used to make,’ said Erika her mouth watering.
They came into the bedroom, which was stuffed with Eva’s buggy, a pile of nappies, and the dresser table had been converted into a changing table. Mark’s glit framed photo had been pushed to the back. His handsome face, stared back at her with its perpetual smile. Erika sat on the bed and tucked into the steaming plate of food.