Authors: Ian Patrick
Tags: #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Mystery, #International Mystery & Crime, #Thrillers & Suspense, #Crime, #Thrillers
men had the money in abundance and they handed it over without hesitation as
soon as they saw the drugs.
their packs of
, and sauntered
off, all of them now talking together excitedly. Even Thabethe was surprised.
He had seldom encountered such bravura and boasting and over-the-top braggart
behaviour. He knew well the effects of
On numerous occasions he had felt superhuman strength after a joint. It had
fuelled his anger at the world. He had felt on occasion as if nothing could
prevent him from achieving his aims. But these were out-of-control juveniles.
They were bragging about raping and murdering some rich kids who they despised.
They were going to strip their posh school uniforms from them, and were going
to cut them up. They were going to take them apart, in front of their parents,
and they needed
to drive them
Thabethe was shocked at the level of
anger emanating from the man with the matchstick.
‘You know these people you want to
kill?’ asked Thabethe.
‘I know them,’ replied Loku,
spitting out the surname of the family. ‘I was walking past their school and I
seen them come out, and I see their rich father fetching them in his fancy car.
He was hooting at me because I’m crossing the road in front of him. So I’m stopping
and standing there and watching him and those fancy kids get into the car and
I’m swearing. Then I’m asking some other boy from that school what is the name
of these people and he is telling me. I’m putting their name in my head and I’m
not forgetting. I’m never forgetting someone who does bad things to me. Then
the next week I’m walking there somewhere else in Glenwood and what am I
seeing? I’m seeing the same car going in by the driveway behind the big fancy
gate. Then I’m thinking I’m going to get those guys.’
Thabethe marvelled at the man’s
rage. He spat out the name of the family with venom each time he mentioned it
to Thabethe. It was as if a simple hooting from a driver – probably only
because he had walked right in front of the guy’s car – was being
escalated into the turning point of this young man’s life. Rich people.
Haves and have-nots.
This young man was ready to kill simply
because someone else had a fancy car.
But who was Thabethe to be concerned
about such matters? They were paying the first price he had offered. Normally
he would be prepared to cut back on price to some extent, after a customer
haggled a little, but these out-of-control youngsters had no idea of the street
. They had obviously
used it frequently and were prepared to pay whatever it took to have more. From
what they had to say, it sounded as if they intended to balance the cost of the
drug by harvesting rich rewards from a break-in to the wealthy father’s home in
Not his problem, Thabethe thought.
Take the money and let them wreak whatever havoc they want.
to do with him.
Pillay was enjoying the enthusiasm
bubbling out of her young companion.
What an exciting adventure. So, once you knew
your Thando was Philemon Wakashe, what happened next?’
‘Well, I thought that the best thing
would be to retreat a little and see what I could pull together. So I went back
to Greytown and I wrote up everything, and I also did some research focused
specifically on Wakashe.’
‘What did you find out?’
‘I found some really interesting
things on him, now that I had his real name. It looks like over the years he
did everything he could to avoid having his fingerprints taken. He had been
very clever. He had been very stupid, too. As one of the detectives noted in
his file, he even tried to burn off his fingerprints at one stage. It seemed as
if he knew that once his fingerprints were recorded alongside his real identity
it would bring his criminal career to an end. He was so desperate that,
according to something I found in one of the files, he broke into a police
station one night and stole his own fingerprint records. It was strange. The
policeman discovering the burglary said that nothing else had been stolen
except for the tray containing all the fingerprints that had been taken on that
day. This was before the AFIS link-up, so they still relied on manual
fingerprinting at that stage. No-one could prove who actually did it, but there
was a note on Wakashe’s file from one detective - almost a joke, really - where
he said that nothing could be proved but there were bets going on among the
detectives that the person who had stolen the fingerprints was the last man
fingerprinted on that day, who had kicked up a big fuss about being
fingerprinted, and had to be forcibly fingerprinted - who happened to be
‘How weird. Did he really think…’
‘But anyway, Navi, the good thing is
that I was able to submit a very detailed report on the whole history of
Wakashe to my boss in Greytown. He took it to the SC, and they immediately got
two detectives onto the case, and they went hunting for Wakashe.’
‘Did they catch the bastard?’
‘Three weeks ago he committed
another rape in Westville. Because of the work I had handed over, the
investigating officers had lots of information and they also had the DNA
evidence. They were able to catch him very quickly and they tested his DNA to
check the identity, and all the evidence was very clear so they took him into
custody. There were some delays in bringing him before a magistrate, but last
week bail was refused and he was remanded in custody. He was taken to the
prison in Westville on Friday, and will be there until his trial, probably in a
few months time.’
Now that they’ve got
the guy behind bars you can write your dissertation?’
In the last few days I’ve done a lot of planning
on how I’m going to use the case history to make points about case management,
and all of that. Especially yesterday: I worked the whole day on pulling things
together. I’m glad you find the story interesting. I’d be very grateful if you
could read through what I write before I submit my first full draft to my
supervisor. Will you be able to do that?’
‘What a question!
I can’t wait. It sounds like a fantastic project. I suppose
Wakashe’s trial will only happen long after you submit your project for
‘I think so. But my supervisor is
happy with that. He tells me that one day I might want to do a Master’s Degree
and if Wakashe is acquitted or if he escapes again or anything like that, it
won’t matter because my project will cover the time only up to and including
The two friends chuckled as they got
up to leave, and Mavis continued.
‘My supervisor says I could always
add a note in the preface saying that shortly after this research was completed
the subject escaped from prison, and the author is now planning the next phase
of her research...’
‘I’ll be the first to buy the book
when it comes out, Mavis. Thanks for coffee, and thanks for a fantastic story.
The rest of the weekend is going to be boring by comparison. I’m reading a
crime thriller at the moment, but the twists and turns are nowhere near as
absorbing as the story about your guy. Maybe you should turn it into a thriller
‘I think I prefer doing the
research, Navi. I’ll leave it to you and Jeremy to have the real excitement. I
like to do the backroom stuff.’
Well, enjoy what remains of the weekend. It’ll be
good to have you back in the office tomorrow.’
The two friends hugged and went
their separate ways.
Loku and his gang were barely able
to stand. There were hundreds of people in the park. All over there were groups
of people huddled together, many talking in subdued tones. Others were louder. The
occasional guffaw penetrated the night.
Loku’s group had passed their volume
peak and were now much quieter than they had been all day. They had worked out
their plans for the two jobs agreed on for the next morning.
They had passed through different
phases with their
during the course of the afternoon. They would take more of the drug early in
the morning, to fuel what they had to do. For now, they were in the downward
phase following their afternoon high. This was the withdrawal stage. They were
restless, complaining of aches in various parts of their anatomy. Two of them
had diarrhoea, which prompted lewd comments and hideous cackling laughter from
the others. One of them had been vomiting and retching continually for the past
hour. All of them were experiencing different levels of apprehension and
Loku sat down on the grass and
shivered, partly as a result of the sudden gust of cold wind that swept through
the park, partly because of his anticipation about the morning. He felt a
momentary panic, as if he couldn’t go through with the hits planned for the
next day. Then he shrugged it off. Another few fixes of
in the morning would inject into him the energy he needed.
As he contemplated the deeds planned
for the morning, he began to feel drowsy. He clutched his pack of
. His next fix would come at
Koekemoer and Dippenaar were the
first detectives to arrive at the scene in Glenwood. They were driving past the
Musgrave Centre when the call from Crime Scene Management was relayed to them.
Their car was on the front lawn next to the ambulance when, less than five
minutes later, Ryder and Pillay pulled up on the edge of the driveway, having
left their meeting at Durban Central as soon as they received the call.
Ryder saw Nadine Salm and Pauline
Soames outside the front door. Pauline was talking to a man carrying a video
camera and another with camera, bags, lights and the rest of the paraphernalia.
Two uniforms, that Ryder assumed were the first responders who had called it in
to CSM, were busy moving the cordons further out, responding to Nadine’s barked
orders. A third uniformed woman was down the driveway in the road, erecting
another cordon. Medics were rushing in and out from the house to the ambulance.
KoeksnDips emerged from the front
doorway and walked across to Ryder and Pillay, meeting them on the driveway.
Dippenaar was ashen. Koekemoer spoke for both of them.
This is a bad one for anyone with children.
Nadine allowed us to put our heads in only briefly. She said she needs a few
more minutes before the tour. Two dead, the two sons
teenagers, maybe eighteen or nineteen.
Another one, the
daughter, maybe following on close behind her brothers.
Stab wound in
the stomach, among other things: don’t know if she can make it.
About fifteen years old.
The medics are trying to save her.’
‘Pangas and knives,’ added
Dippenaar. ‘They left one panga behind. Sixteen inch blade.’
‘Anyone else in there?’ Pillay
‘Husband and wife,’ replied
Koekemoer. ‘In their forties. Shell-shocked, but no injuries except for a big
nasty cut on the dad’s head - maybe fractured skull, too - and wounds on their
wrists. They were both tied up with nylon rope while the house was ransacked.
The father’s in a trance.
Doesn’t hear anything. Doesn’t
respond. Conscious, you know, but, like, dead inside, you know? The mother’s
just, you know, howling all the time...’
Ryder could hear. The woman’s cries
floated down the passage and bubbled out through the front door in helpless,
anguished, tortured spasms. For Ryder it was a sound that echoed down the ages.
The horror of mothers from any species that might ever have
lived on the planet.
A parent trying to deal with the impossible.
The death of her young.
A sound to
chill the blood.
‘Gang of four,
five, maybe six.
panicked, by the looks of it, when they couldn’t get the family’s car started,’
said Dippenaar, pointing to the
BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo
at the top of the driveway. ‘They had already
loaded stuff into the car,
they couldn’t get it
going. So they ran away with nothing but three cell-phones.’
More sirens. More uniforms.
Crowds gathering down in the street.
first journalists arriving.
Ryder suddenly felt a great
weariness. Should he and Fiona have stayed back there in the Thames Valley, all
those years ago?
In the Emerald Isle?
Where death was
not by any stretch of the imagination unknown, but where one would struggle to
find a family butchered simply for their cell-phones. He thought of his own two
us over, Jeremy.’
Pillay’s voice brought Ryder out of
his deep contemplation and the four detectives walked over to join Nadine Salm,
who greeted them grimly.
‘One day we’ll be able to meet again
under purely social circumstances, detectives. This is not one of those days.’
‘Are you playing CSM or technician,
else available. Pauline’s busy with the camera guys and the rest of it. I’m running
the show. But you know me. I can’t resist getting my hands dirty, too. Shall I
walk you through?’
‘Please, Nadine.’ Ryder thought she
looked tense and nervous in a way he had never previously seen. He had always
admired her cool and collected manner, coupled with her devastating perspicacity.
This time there was something else happening. She looked drawn and tired and
‘There’s a stack of PPE stuff over
there,’ she said to the detectives. ‘Please take no chances. And when we’re
inside, please guys, no questions to the parents at this stage. The Police
Chaplain is with them, doing his best. Hold on. Give me a minute.’
Nadine walked off to have a quick word
with one of the cameramen. The detectives donned the personal protective
equipment while she issued further instructions to the uniformed constables and
had a short exchange with Pauline. Then they followed close behind as she led
‘I’ve had them mark out one access
route only,’ Nadine said. ‘Let’s go.’
The four detectives had seen their
fair share of gruesome crime scenes, but all four of them were distressed by
what they now saw, as Nadine pointed out the various features she thought were
‘As I see it, there were six
perpetrators. I’ll try and show you as we walk through why I think that is so.’
She moved down the passageway and
paused at the door of the first room on the left.
‘This is the worst one. Looks like
the two sons were busy in here with a game of
, and they both had headsets on, so they heard nothing
until they were attacked from behind.’
She entered the room. Blood
everywhere. The bodies of the two teenage boys were spread out at grotesque
angles. The detectives fanned out behind her, taking care where they placed
their feet, adjusting position or leaning in whenever Nadine drew their
attention to specifics.
‘Two of the perps first clobbered
them from behind with heavy instruments. The one boy got it
behind the right ear, and the other
, right on the
cervical curve. The medical guys will tell us whether that blow severed the
spinal cord or not. Looks like it to me. Looks like that was the one that
killed him. The first lad was out for the count from the blow behind the ear.
Mercifully, I suppose. But he probably died from the machete blow to the neck,
I would say. See the spurt reaching out as far as the window over there.’
She pointed to the specific location
of the wounds in each case on the bodies of the two young men, and indicated
the blood pattern with a jerk of her head. Then she paused, and seemed to stare
far into the distance. It was as if she had stepped out of the room, thought
Ryder. She was miles away. Her mouth opened, as if she was going to call
someone, then changed her mind and paused again, still staring. Then, just as
the detectives were beginning to feel restless, she snapped back into the
present and continued.
‘Why they then had to follow up and
repeatedly hack the boys, I don’t know. Both the lads would have been out
instantly as a result of the blows. Look at this. This shows the force of the
blow, and here, too. So why kill them? Except for reasons of sheer hatred. Now
see the panga hacks
. This kind of stuff comes from
deep, atavistic anger and hatred. This is not killing for theft. This is
killing because of sheer unadulterated hate. Envy, maybe.’
None of the detectives offered a
response, so she continued.
‘Now have a look over
. Looks like they ripped open the drawers in search of
something. Nothing specific. Looks quite random. Not a thorough search. Maybe
just looking for a random cash bonus to go with their butchery, which seems to
have been their main goal. The butchery, I mean. They seemed intent on just
killing these kids. Just cutting them to pieces. See that mark there? I’ll be
ensuring that we get good photos of that. Some close-ups. Looks like that will
give us a good print for the shoes of at least one of the perps. Now see over
here. Looks like perp number two left another mark over...
Blood in abundance
on carpets and curtains, and blood on the shoes of the intruders, also in
the room making more observations about where she thought the perpetrators
stood at various moments during the action, and how they had moved. Then she led
them on to the next door down the passage, on the right.
‘The daughter was in here when they
She paused again, and again she
drifted off into the distance. The detectives waited. She returned within
seconds. The same disappearing act, thought
she had undertaken in the previous room. Nadine was definitely distracted.
‘You’ll see there was some action
before they dragged her down the passage to the third room,’ she continued.
‘She was still kicking and scratching as they took her from here.
Have a look at
. This tells us that the guys who grabbed her were not the same
guys who dealt with the sons. It also tells us, I think, that there were two
guys dealing with her at probably the same time as the action in the boys’
. The medics are trying to save the
girl but I’ve asked them to try and avoid touching her fingernails. If you get
a chance to see her before they take her off to the hospital - or to the
morgue, as the case may be, depending on how good the medics are - you’ll see
that she got a good couple of scratches in. There should be some useful DNA
there. If you catch some guys on the run in the next day or two, have a look at
their faces and arms to see if there aren’t some useful gouges there from the
girl’s fingernails. You’ll see that she has - or had, in some cases where they
weren’t broken off - some pretty dangerous talons on her.’
‘No, Dipps, I don’t think so. We’ll
only know when the medics do a proper examination of her, but from what I could
tell at a quick glance, they didn’t rape her. They damn well tried, but the
plucky girl managed to hold them off, I think, from the ultimate...’
Ryder thought that for a moment
Nadine’s manufactured coolness - the defence mechanism she usually invoked to
deal with situations like this - slipped ever so slightly as she appeared to
choke. She seemed, for a second or two, genuinely distressed. Then she appeared
to shrug it off with what he saw as a falsely manufactured cough, and continued
in the matter-of-fact manner she had employed until then.
‘I think what happened, before they
could follow through, is that the dad came thundering in through here. See
this? Looks as if he was like a rogue elephant before they brought him down.
You’ll see just now, when you meet him, that he has a massive wound on the back
of his head. Right at the beginning, before the action in the kids’ rooms, they
must have clubbed him with something pretty heavy and then tied him up along
with the mother, before they had a go at the children. We can’t get anything
intelligible out of the mother yet, but we think, from what our first responder
said after he spoke to her, that the husband came around with his hands tied in
front of him and when he heard the girl screaming he took off and stopped them
before they could rip off the daughter’s clothes. It took four of them to bring
him down, even with his hands tied. See
. It was about then that I think
they started to panic. Looks like they grabbed the car keys, started loading
some stuff into the car, like laptops and other electronics, and then panicked
and decided to scarper with what they could grab. Which was three cell-phones.’
She led them into the sitting room
where the woman had collapsed into the arms of the Police Chaplain and was
sobbing, loudly, into his chest. The husband sat on the sofa and stared
resolutely straight ahead of him, his focus a mile away. He was silent, and completely
Avoiding any direct contact with the
man and the woman, and with only a slight nod to the Chaplain, Nadine pointed
out various features of the scene in the room, and whispered that the nylon
ropes on the floor had been cut off the wrists of both the parents by the first
responder, who had then left them where they had fallen.
She led them through to the room where
the medics were working on the girl. It looked hopeless, thought Ryder. The
medics looked desperate. One was holding a drip up above her head. Another was
talking on his phone to some specialist who was giving advice. A third was
fiddling with an oxygen mask. A fourth was trying to deal with the blood.
Nadine backed off, ushering her contingent back out of the room. She then
motioned for the four detectives to follow her out toward the front of the
house. She drew their attention, as they went, to a few more features revealing
the movements of the attackers as they had carried their intended booty out to
the car, before abandoning the plan and escaping on foot.