A girl’s walking home from school on the opposite side of the road from other girls. She’s kicking conkers. A man in a van pulls up besides Patsy, the girl, having noticed her interest in conkers. He offers her a lift home but she’s reluctant as she remembers what her mother, Rachel, always told her about strangers. Charlie uses the persuasion of knowing where special conkers can be found to lure her into his van. It slowly dawns on Patsy that they’re going the wrong way. She begs to be taken back but Charlie continues on the journey, taking Patsy to a workshop where he parks the van inside and closes the doors of the building. He drags Patsy into the rear of the van, where he rapes and abuses her.
Patsy’s a feisty youngster and threatens Charlie that she’s seen his face and will tell everybody about him. Not knowing what to do with her, Charlie leaves her restrained in the rear of the van, then sets off to his day job.
He soon realises his only course of action’s to kill Patsy. Desperate to get home to her family, Patsy tries to get out of the van and falls onto the floor. When Charlie comes back, he thinks she’s dead. He meticulously cleans her and then dons plastic gloves, protective clothing etc. Late at night he removes her to a wood where he buries her under a pile of leaves.
A recently widowed lady walking her dog, finds the body but being a retired nurse realises there’s a pulse. Patsy’s rushed to hospital but is in a coma.
Roger hears this on the news and panics, so calls in a favour. He wants her finished off. The contract killer doesn’t like the thought of killing a child and luckily for him, as he waits in the corridor to do the deed, she dies naturally. Jim doesn’t tell Roger this, so he gets his money.
The police arrest a man who’s been seen hanging around the school, with a white van, although they find no evidence of Patsy being in it. Jerry Brown, the suspect, is found guilty at his trial despite persisting he’s not guilty. He’s not the brightest of people. Dan, the young PC, on the case does have doubts about the conviction but there’s nothing he can do. Purely by chance, Roger, alias Charlie, is the duty solicitor when Jerry’s charged, so he agrees to act for him, all the while making sure he’s found guilty.
Roger appears to lead a respectable life and marries the daughter of a solicitor with his own firm. Roger’s very ambitious and sees this as a useful way forward and marriage as respectability. He balks at the thought of having children, but eventually he agrees. They’ve a son and daughter. Roger’s frightened how his feelings will grow for the girl.
By dubious means Roger satisfies his fetish for young girls by using ones illegally brought into the country. All this costs money.
Jim, the contract killer, gets greedy, as he’s kept an eye on Roger’s progression so he starts to blackmail Roger. There’s not a lot Roger can do but agree, so he starts filtering money from the firm and getting involved in shady dealings through his contacts in order to get extra money.
When the daughter, Abbie, get older, Roger’s feeling begin to frighten him, so he decides to take another girl, Ellie, as he did with Patsy. He sets everything up much the same. This time he’s no fear of killing the girl after the event, convinced he’s devised a fool proof method.
All goes to plan but Jim sees the news and puts two and two together to come up with four. He contacts Roger to get more money. Roger devises a very clever plan how to kill Jim, making it look like suicide. It works as Roger wished and the police accept it as it appears – a suicide.
Roger hadn’t reckoned with modern techniques of DNA. Dan, the young PC on Patsy’s case, by a twist of fate is the DI on Ellie’s case. He’s very determined to catch the culprit who he’s certain is responsible for Patsy’s and Ellie’s deaths. Jerry Brown is dead so cannot be responsible for the second girl’s murder and both cases are so much alike, even the body of Ellie was found in the woods, be it in a slightly different area and buried slightly deeper with leaves and twigs.
After meticulously sifting through the evidence, Dan’s DC remembers a recent talk he’d been on about forensics and is certain it will help their case. They dig out the old evidence on Patsy and sure enough there’s a piece of fabric that they need. The items are sent to forensics and they find a match on the DNA register for Roger Harrington. By a twist of fate he’d been charged with drink driving. DNA had been taken and put on the register.
Liking to keep one step ahead, Roger’s a mole in the camp who tells him of the DNA find. He decides he’s not going to languish in prison, because he knows there’s no way of getting out of the charges. He organises to be home when Louise is out and commit suicide. His wife’s no fool and she’s been listening to the mumblings coming from Roger in his recent nightmares. She’s put everything together and is convinced he’s responsible for the atrocities that have taken place. She senses Roger will take the easy way out. She finds him in time. Dan makes the arrest he so desired.
During the course of the investigations, Dan has renewed his acquaintance with Rachel, Patsy’s mother. Even as a young PC he admired her. Their love grows and once Dan has made final closure of the murder of her daughter and as she has been divorced many years, Dan proposes marriage to Rachel.
Published: 22 February 2016