'I paid cash.'
‘Never mind. All of these garages have got CCTV cameras in case punters drive off without paying, or buy petrol to burn houses down. What was the name of the garage?’
'Don’t worry about it, son,’ said Frost. ‘We’ve got teams of cops who can go round every petrol station and check through their CCTV footage, and as soon as they find one of you dousing your coat in petrol, I’ll be grovelling my apologies.’ He snapped his fingers. ‘I almost forgot.’ He called to Morgan, ‘Take the gentleman’s car keys and have a look in the boot. Don’t touch anything, just tell me what’s in there.’
Allen and Janet Leigh stared at each other grimly, but said nothing. Morgan unlocked the boot. ‘Two empty petrol cans, Guv, and they stink of petrol.’
‘Petrol cans usually do,’ said Frost, beaming at the pair. ‘You’re making it too easy for us. Lock up the boot, Taff, and get Forensic to examine the car in situ and see if they can tic it in with the fire at Kelly’s place.’ He turned back to Allen. ‘Where’s the girl?’
‘You know bloody well what girl. Jan O’Brien.’
‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ said Allen.
Frost turned to the woman. ‘Please, Miss Leigh,’ he said. ‘You’re already in this up to your neck. Where is Jan O’Brien?’
‘I’m sorry, Inspector. Like my friend, I don’t know what you’re talking about.’
Frost wound his scarf round his neck and opened the car door. ‘To save us smashing your front doors in when we get the search warrants, you might like to give us your keys.’ He held out his hand.
They gave him their keys.
Frost breezed into the lobby at four a.m., no longer tired. Morgan followed him in, clutching the envelope containing the photos Frost had found in Janet Leigh’s house, together with a polythene sack containing clothing for forensic examination.
‘We’ve got the bastards,’ Frost told Bill Wells. ‘Photos and a camcorder from the tart’s house, and Bristol police have found more photos and tapes at Allen’s pad. There’s still no clue as to where they’ve hidden the girl, but I’ll beat it out of them.’
From the cells at the end of the corridor a drunk was roaring a filthy song. Wells frowned. ‘Listen to the ignorant bastard. He doesn’t even know the right words.’ He yelled down the corridor, ‘If you don’t shut that bleeding row, I’ll pee over your breakfast.’
The singing stopped immediately.
‘Appeal to their better natures,’ nodded Frost. ‘It always works. Let’s have Allen in the Interview Room.’
Frost watched his cigarette smoke wriggle its way to the ceiling, past the red lights which indicated that the cassette recorder and the video camera were functioning. He felt good. He had enough evidence, without any admission of guilt, to send Allen and Leigh down for life. He tapped one of the camcorder cassettes. ‘We found these video tapes hidden under a pile of clothing in the wardrobe in your girlfriend’s bedroom. We played them through. They show a naked Debbie Clark being raped and strangled.’
Allen wouldn’t look at them. He spoke to the floor. ‘No idea how they got there.’
Frost took the camcorder from the box. ‘Is this your camcorder?’
Allen gave it a brief glance, shrugged, then resumed his study of the Interview Room floor.
‘Just in case you need a memory jog,’ said Frost, ‘we’ve checked out the warranty and it’s in your name.’
‘Yes,’ muttered Allen, ‘it’s my camcorder.’
‘There’s a slight fault on one of the runners – it scratches the tape… did you know?’
‘There’s scratches on those tapes, which our Forensic boys say proves they were taken with that camcorder.’
‘No comment,’ muttered Allen.
Frost sighed. ‘Not the old “no comment” lark? I find that dead boring, even though it always convinces the jury of a person’s guilt. When me and my mates are in the station late at night and can’t decide who to beat up, we always pick the “no comment” ones.’ He pushed the camcorder to one side. ‘Right. We’ve got you nailed for that, let’s turn to the other girl.’
‘What other girl?’ Allen asked.
‘It’s late and I’m tired,’ said Frost. ‘Don’t sod me about. You know bloody well what other girl. Jan O’Brien.’
Allen’s eyes widened and he gave a scoffing laugh. ‘You must be hard up for suspects – I know nothing about any other girl.’ His brow creased in thought, then his expression changed. ‘Look…’ He paused. ‘Turn off the tapes.’
‘No flaming fear,’ said Frost.
‘I’ve got something to say off the record that will be of interest to you. You’ll get the conviction you want for Jan O’Brien, even though I’m not involved.’
Frost signalled to Morgan. ‘Turn them off.’ Morgan pressed the Stop button and the little red recording light blinked and went out.
‘And the video,’ said Allen.
Morgan switched that off.
‘This had better be good,’ said Frost. Allen leant back in his chair. ‘Right, as you’re going to find out, I’m on those tapes without the mask, so it’s sodded up my chance of claiming I know nothing about it. What do you reckon I’ll get?’
‘Well, it won’t be community service or a flaming fine,’ said Frost. ‘Life, without a doubt.’
‘That bitch,’ snorted Frost, ‘was worse than you. Debbie trusted her. Life as well, probably in solitary confinement otherwise the other inmates would tear her to pieces.’
Allen shuddered. ‘I want to do a deal.’
‘We don’t do deals,’ said Frost, ‘and in your case we don’t flaming have to. We’ve enough on the pair of you to get convictions, even from a jury of do-gooders.’
‘Listen to what I’m offering first. I’ll put my hand up to the two kids. That will avoid a long-drawn-out trial with people screaming abuse at us. I’ll give you the name of the bloke who was going to distribute the tapes to his customers. I’ll even put my hand up to Jan O’Brien, although I know nothing about her.’
‘What do you mean, you know nothing about her? When Janet Leigh phoned the Denton Echo – ’
‘Never mind what she said. It wasn’t true. Bridget Malone was blackmailing us. She threatened to tell the police where she found the kid’s phone if we didn’t come up with ten thousand quid. Neither of us had that sort of money. The bloke who was going to buy the tape wanted solid proof it was Debbie Clark before parting with the cash. We wanted the fuzz to admit it was Debbie, but you wouldn’t, so we tried pretending we had Jan O’Brien as well, but that didn’t work either.’
‘Which is why you killed Bridget and Kelly?’
‘Flaming heck,’ snorted Frost. ‘Pierrepoint would turn in his grave if he knew what we were giving life sentences out for. Then what about Emily Roberts – the body we found on the railway embankment? You’ll be telling me you didn’t kill her either?’ This was a long shot. Frost’s money was still on Graham Fielding.
Allen shook his head. ‘Nothing to do with us, but I’ll put my hand up for her as well if you go easy on Janet. Get her on a lesser charge – posting the tape, making the phone calls. Don’t involve her with the killing.’
‘Very bleeding chivalrous,’ said Frost. ‘That kid pleaded – Please, Miss Leigh – and she just carried on filming as you choked the life out of the poor child. She’s going down with you, buster.’
Wells slammed the cell door shut on Allen and chalked up the time on the board by the door. ‘Well, Jack?’
‘He and the tart are denying it on record and admitting it off record, but the evidence is water tight. They’ll go down. But they both claim they know nothing about Jan O’Brien.’
‘What about the other girl – the body on the embankment?’
Frost shook his head. ‘They both deny having anything to do with her and I believe them. Fielding killed that girl, I just know it.’
‘The old feeling in your urine, Jack?’ grinned Wells.
‘It’s never let me down yet,’ replied Frost, ‘ – except sometimes.’
‘Lots of flaming times,’ said Wells.