Read Death Dealing Online

Authors: Ian Patrick

Tags: #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Mystery, #International Mystery & Crime, #Thrillers & Suspense, #Crime, #Thrillers

Death Dealing (8 page)

BOOK: Death Dealing
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‘Yes,’ said Pillay, ‘I remember Piet
telling us you had popped in to say hello. We were sorry to have missed you. So
what did Nadine and Pauline have to say?’

‘They were very helpful. After I
told them my story, and explained some of the things I’d already told them in
my phone-call before visiting them – things I had also emailed them about
before I arrived – Nadine asked a whole lot of questions and then got
that look on her face. You remember, Navi, you once told me that when Nadine or
Jeremy started staring out of the window interesting things would begin

‘I remember. I’ve experienced that
quite a few times with both of them.’

‘Well, Nadine told me to wait in the
lab and chat to Pauline and she went off. She was away for quite a long time
and when she came back she said she had some ideas and she had a pile of six
other files in her hands and she asked if I could change my plans to stay in
Durban for a couple of days so that I could be with her and Pauline while they
did some DNA analysis. Of course I said yes, so I phoned Greytown and they were
happy, and I spent two days with Nadine and Pauline. I had sub-let my flat in
Musgrave for the three months I was away so I couldn’t sleep there, but they
invited me to stay overnight at their place, which is very close to my own
flat. It was wonderful to see them working in the laboratory again.’

Mavis grew more excited as she
explained the process of investigation and analysis of the eight files and
their associated materials, which Nadine Salm had pulled out of the historical
samples of DNA profiles from unsolved cases. She had described in detail to
Mavis the DNA analyses performed on each of the cases, which suggested to her
that the
crimes in each instance had been committed by the
same man
. Pillay’s enthusiastic response to this narrative was then
boosted even further when Mavis told her that in addition they had then worked
together on the six new files and Nadine had shown that exactly the same DNA
profile could also be matched to these six cases.

‘That’s fantastic, Mavis! You mean
that your Thando guy can be matched to all fourteen cases?’

Nadine told me she had gone to look for those six files after I had spoken to
her and Pauline

when she was staring out the

from what I had told her she said she could remember some similar details about
how my eight crimes had been committed. She said the methods in each of those
eight cases reminded her of some other cases, going back years. That’s when she
went off and spent some time searching for the six files that she could

what happened then?’

Nadine gave me the case numbers for those six extra files. I went back to
Greytown and got permission from the Greytown SC, who made some phone calls to
introduce me, and then I went out to visit every one of the different stations
that had opened those original crime dockets around the province
. I went to
Kranskop, Msinga, Ematimatolo, Muden, and Mpophomeni in
our own cluster, and also to Inanda in another cluster. All of the cases were
from years earlier, one going all the way back to 2007, and each one of them
had been shelved because the police had been unable to get leads. It was only
because Nadine never closes her own copies of files that I was able to find
these six old cases. Anyway, once I got the case dockets and went through them
I found the same kind of witness statements as I had for my eight files. So now
I had Thando involved in fourteen cases. Meanwhile Nadine said she was going to
do some more work on the DNA records from the earlier cases.’

‘More work?
Didn’t she say she had already solved
the problem?’

know her, Navi. Most people would have said that they now had the conclusive
proof, but not Nadine. She has to crosscheck and corroborate evidence and nail
it down. Anyway, she called me two days later. She
was amazing. She was very cross. I didn’t know
she could swear like that. I had never before heard half the words she used.
She’s a bit like you when you get cross.’

‘Me? Swearing? Foul-mouthed? You
must have the wrong person, Mavis. I’m a gentle soul, you know? Deep down.
deep down.’

‘She said some really bad things
about the original investigators who she said had not done their jobs properly.
Apparently they hadn’t even followed the requirement to re-assess unsolved
cases every six months. She said she had now confirmed the same DNA profile in
materials related to every single one of the eight cases I gave her and that
she had done exactly the same for the six cases. So we had firm DNA evidence on
all fourteen cases.’

‘That Nadine! She’s the best...’

‘Not only that,
She went even further.
She said that the stuff she had been looking at in the fourteen files reminded
her of some work Forensics had done years back. As far back as 2004. So she
went back even further in the files, and did some more work. She found that
exactly the same DNA profile was in another set of files from the Amanzimtoti
area where the trail had run cold after lengthy investigations and the suspect
at the time had just disappeared. But guess what?’


‘After Nadine told me about those
six files, and after we had discussed the dates and the places and the methods
used in those six cases, and she then told me about Amanzimtoti, I also did
some of my own extra work on the Amanzimtoti connection.’

‘What did you find?’

‘I was able to show that the trail
ran cold on the Amanzimtoti case at exactly the same time that Thando was sent
to prison for two years for a burglary.’

‘So he disappeared into the system,
right under their noses, for two years.’

‘Exactly, Navi, and even more
shocking, it looks as if Thando managed to bribe someone, somewhere in
Amanzimtoti, because the fingerprints on the Amanzimtoti docket were not his!’

‘Omigod. You can’t be serious. So
the guy was in prison and he was recorded with the wrong fingerprints?’

‘Exactly. See how clever this man
is? Anyway, that’s why the investigating officers just ended up shelving the
Amanzimtoti file and waiting for something to turn up. It looks like
Amanzimtoti and Isipingo and all the stations down there were not even
cross-checking their files with other stations to see if anything turned up.
Everyone was just too busy, and AFIS hadn’t yet been rolled out to all
stations. It was a mess.’

‘Until some bright
spark decided to call on Mavis Tshabalala to do some research.
Brilliant, Mavis.
must have been thrilled to hear all of this.’

‘She was. But not as thrilled as I
was. Now I had everything I wanted on Thando. I went back to Greytown and the
SC put out a special alert to hunt for him.’

‘Wait a minute, Mavis. Now you need
to tell me. Clearly this guy’s real name wasn’t Thando. So who was it?’

‘I’m coming to that, Navi. But it
makes no difference anyway if I tell you the name on each of the eight files,
or on each of the other six files, either. There were so many names he used. As
I said earlier, he mainly used four aliases. But he also used other names once
or twice. So if I said he committed one crime as
Vusi Gumede
and another as
and another as
, it will mean nothing. We didn’t know which of those names was
real and which of them was made up. So think of him as
for the moment.’

‘OK. This is intriguing. So tell me
more about Thando.’

Mavis Tshabalala was in full flow.
Pillay marvelled at how the young constable had grown in confidence over the
last few months. Her command of the language had also grown in leaps and
bounds, she thought, and her developing expertise seemed enormously impressive.

‘Well, Navi, the next thing that
happened was this. I made lots of enquiries and eventually I got some
information that this man Thando was living in KwaMashu. The Commander at
Greytown let me take a few days off and I stayed with my friend Nonnie in
KwaMashu Section K. Then I got a tip that Thando spent a lot of time at the
Mabaleng Tavern where they sometimes had hip-hop competitions and he thought he
was good at hip-hop. So I went to the tavern a couple of times to see if I
could recognise him from the photos and the identikits I had studied.’

‘Did you go alone?’

‘No. Nonnie lent me her brother.’

The two of them chuckled at the
thought of someone lending Mavis a man, before she continued.

‘He’s a very nice guy, quite shy,
you know, and he was happy to play along with me. I told him we wouldn’t do
anything stupid, or try and tackle Thando, but that we would just try and flush
him out. So I dressed up - quite sexy, I think…’

‘Oh boy, Mavis. I wish I could have
seen this.’

went to the Tavern a few times. We were hoping he would come along and see a
woman all dressed up with a young man at her side, and maybe try something.
But nothing.
He wasn’t around. We waited and waited. So I
was about to give up when Nonnie, who had come along with me and her brother on
the last night, came across all excited to tell me she had found out from the
barman that the man who liked to hip-hop was living over in Dada Road. So we
went over right away to the address he gave us, and we sat in the car waiting
to see if he would appear.’

‘Did he arrive? Was he inside?’

‘No. We waited a long time and then
eventually a woman came along. She was very suspicious of us at first. I didn’t
think I could tell her that I was with the police, because for one thing I
didn’t look like a constable dressed up like that, and anyway I was only an

‘You could have told her that cops
are getting sexier, Mavis.’

‘At first I was thinking maybe she thought
I was there to steal away her man, but when I looked more closely I realised
that she was much older, and was more likely to be his mother or an aunt, so I
said to her that I was – I don’t know, Navi, maybe this was wrong, but I
couldn’t think of anything else to say – I took a chance and I told her I
was looking for her son because he had made me pregnant.’

‘What? Oh boy, Mavis! What did she

‘Well, you can’t believe it, Navi.
She exploded. Not at me. It was all about her son. She shouted and screamed and
used every bad word she could think of to describe her son. He was a no-good
. He had never done anything but
bring misery to her. Lots of things like that. She shouted and screamed and
threw things and said how she had been a good mother and this was how he repaid
her. I felt really bad about lying to her, and I was about to come clean and
tell her the truth when suddenly she stopped and she asked me which of his ten
or twenty names I was using for him.’

‘What? Amazing...’

‘I thought very quickly about all
the names I had seen in the file, and I couldn’t think which one I should use
so I decided to just pick one I could remember from one of the more recent
files, and I told her I was looking for

‘How did she react?’

‘At first, there was hardly any
reaction at all, Navi. It was almost as if it didn’t really matter what name he
was using because he used a different one every day. She nodded and spat and
muttered something. But then suddenly she stopped and she looked at me, and she
said that if I was pregnant and was carrying her grandchild then I better at
least have her son’s real name.’

‘Great! So she told you? What’s the
guy’s real name, Mavis?’

‘She told me her son’s real name was
Philemon Wakashe.’



Loku and his five companions stood
in a semi-circle facing Thabethe, Wakashe, Mgwazeni, and the teenager. Thabethe
watched them warily. He had a new bicycle spoke neatly stowed in the vertical
seam of his trouser-leg. His companions also carried concealed weapons.
Thabethe suspected that the teenager carried a pistol, but he wasn’t sure.
Certainly, the youthful go-between was cocky and confident and showed no fear.

All six of the new arrivals were
thin and wiry and had rheumy eyes and slurred speech. Few knew better than
Thabethe the effects of
Eyes running continuously, permanently bloodshot.
Headaches like no other.
Stomach cramps, twitches,
, even blackouts at times. Followed by the desire
for more.
And that desire
was so powerful that it could lead to fantasy, hallucination, over-confidence
and reckless abandon. Brutal
assault, rape, murder
burglaries. Anything to get hold of more of the
drug and to experience the sense of strength and power it could provide.

in this case the men were not going to attempt a snatch and run. They had
money. The kind of money that suggested they had enjoyed some recent success. They
had hit a house, maybe. Or sold a hijacked car. Or killed someone for
significant gain. Or maybe they were just into raids on shops and on
individuals in the street.
Thabethe was fascinated by the
leader of the group
. He did all the talking for them. He did so with a
matchstick doing breakdance over his lips. It was as if the sliver of wood was
alive. On the rare occasions when it was still it was as if the matchstick was
simply preparing for
pirouette before
leaping off again into a new dance.

BOOK: Death Dealing
8.37Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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