Then Erika reached a double-page map in the back, where all the locations had been marked out and circled. It was identical to the map in the incident room. Erika dropped the book with a thud, and went to the desk, where her phone was now switched on and charging. She picked up the phone and started to scroll through, searching for Moss or Crane’s extension number back at Lewisham Row.
Then she sensed movement and a shadow behind her. A hand closed over hers, ripping the phone from her grasp.
Chief Superintendent Marsh had entered the observation suite just as Linda had broken down, revealing David as the killer. He watched with Moss and Crane in horrified silence as Linda lost control. She was raging, pulling at her hair, her face red, spittle flying from her mouth,
‘David killed Boots in front of me; he strangled her! No one believed me when I said he did it! No one! They all thought I was lying! That I did it!’
‘You said David killed girls? Which girls?’ asked Peterson.
‘Girls . . . The type you pay for. He spent so much on those girls . . .’
‘What do you mean, spent so much?’
‘Money, you fucking idiot!’ roared Linda. ‘And not his own money. Oh no! Daddy paid it off. Daddy paid it off, but wouldn’t buy me a new cat . . . Because they said I’d lied about David killing her; they believe HIM over ME. A fucking murderer. Am I worth less than a murderer? AM I? Dad was happy to spend thousands. THOUSANDS!’
‘Why did he have to spend thousands, Linda? Who did he give the thousands to?’ asked Peterson.
‘To Igor, Andrea’s fucking fuck buddy! For the girls.’
‘And your father paid him off?’ asked Peterson.
‘He gave Giles the money to pay him off! And he’s given David money to leave the country. ALL THAT MONEY AND HE WOULDN’T BUY ME A LITTLE KITTEN!’
Linda tilted her head back and brought it crashing down on the tabletop. She lifted it and brought it crashing down again.
‘Stop! Stop!’ cried Peterson. The solicitor had now retreated to the corner of the room. Peterson went to the wall and triggered the panic alarm. It blared out around the station. He turned and looked up at the camera. ‘I need help in here, NOW!’
‘Where’s DCI Foster?’ asked Marsh, back in the observation suite.
Moss paused, the colour draining from her face. ‘Jesus. She’s gone to the Douglas-Brown house.’
Erika spun round and found herself face-to-face with David, who was standing across from her in his bedroom. He was dressed in a green sweater, a dark body warmer, and jeans. He pulled the SIM card from her phone and broke it in two with a small snap. He dropped the handset, and there was a cracking, splintering sound as he ground it into the carpet with the heel of his boot.
Erika regarded David’s face. It was as if his mask of youth and attractive confidence had fallen away. His nostrils flared; his eyes blazed. He looked evil. She could see it all so clearly now. She had been so stupid.
‘I thought you were away, David?’ said Erika.
‘I will be away. On a stag weekend . . .’
Erika looked down at the book. It lay on the carpet, its pages open to the map of London.
‘It’s not marked in the book, but you killed Andrea, too, didn’t you?’ said Erika, evenly.
‘Yes. I did. Pity really; she was much more fun than Linda,’ said David. ‘I can see what you’re thinking. Why Andrea and not Linda?’
‘Is that what you’re thinking, David?’
‘No. Linda has proved to be an asset. She’ll take the rap for Andrea’s murder. Igor Kucerov will go down for the whores – they were his whores after all. And Ivy Norris – well, that piece of trash belonged in the ground.’
‘Can you hear yourself?’
‘Yes, I can,’ sneered David.
‘Why did you do it?’
‘You can just shrug it off? That I don’t believe,’ said Erika.
‘Believe it,’ he hissed. ‘You think you can analyse me. Rationalise what I did, why I killed? I did it because I CAN.’
‘But you can’t, David. You won’t get away with it. There will be consequences.’
‘You wouldn’t know what it’s like to grow up privileged and powerful. It’s intoxicating. Watching how people defer to you, and to your parents. Power reeks from your pores, and it infects people around you. Power corrupts, envelops, entices . . . The more powerful my father becomes, the more he fears losing it.’
‘So he knew you killed Mirka, Tatiana, Karolina?’
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