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Authors: Nick Oldham

Tags: #thriller, #crime, #police procedural, #bristish detective

The Last Big Job (56 page)

BOOK: The Last Big Job
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I’ve heard that Danny Furness was up the spout. Preggers.
Post-mortem apparently showed it . . . very, very recent
pregnancy.’


Bloody ‘ell! So it must’ve been Henry Christie, the dirty
fucker. Wonder if his wife knows.’


I doubt it - have you seen her? All soppy and like a puppy
dog around him. Sad bitch. . . Anyway, c’mon, I’ve got a drink and
a fella waiting.’

The two women left the toilets and Kate emerged from the
cubicle. She washed her hands, dried them and walked slowly back
into the pub, trancelike in her appearance.

Henry was still sitting alone. His eyes narrowed as he
surveyed his colleagues around him. He was under no illusions about
keeping Danny’s pregnancy under wraps, just as he was under no
illusion that his rape would one day seep out and become public
knowledge; in the police, secrets are never well kept. He wondered
if his wife would ever find out about either.

Kate stood in front of him. Henry looked up at her.
Immediately he knew that she knew.

Quietly, she said, ‘I didn’t want to believe it, Henry, not
again. Not after what we’ve been through. How could you hurt me
again? I thought that sort of thing was over. I was wrong,
obviously. Even when I dialled 1471 that day and Danny’s number
came up, I still didn’t completely believe you’d cheat on me
again.’


Kate . . .’ Henry began, getting to his feet.


NO!’ she said sharply. Henry’s mouth closed. ‘Is it . . . was
it . . . your baby?’ she asked simply.

Henry hesitated and that was enough.


In that case,’ Kate’s voice had dropped to a hoarse whisper,
‘our marriage has just ended.’ She walked away without a further
word.

 

 

It was only by pure chance that the police eventually stumbled
on Don Smith’s home address. The ground-floor resident in a small
block of private flats in Lytham St Anne’s, just south of
Blackpool, awoke one morning to see his bathroom ceiling sagging
and leaking, about to collapse, from a water burst in the flat
above. Unable to think of anyone else to help, he called the
police, who responded. A bobby arrived and when he could not get a
reply from the upper flat, nor find anyone with a key, he forced an
entry on the pretext that there might be a body lying undiscovered.
He didn’t find anyone decomposing, but switched off the water and
called a plumber out.

A search of the flat, to try to trace the owner, uncovered
documents relating to Don Smith. The officer was sufficiently
switched on to make a connection and immediately informed the MIR
at Headquarters.

Many pieces of evidence linking Smith to Crane and Colin Hodge
were found in the flat. To Henry Christie, one of the most
interesting was the rough draft of a letter Smith had obviously
intended to send to Crane after the robbery.

It read,
Dear Bill, by the time you
read this you’ll be well pissed off with me. You see, I’m totally
pissed off with you and have been since we screwed that building
society in
‘86.
How the fuck could you set me up for a fall, you bastard? You
were quite happy to let me go to jail and for you to get away with
it, weren’t you? I’m glad it backfired on you. I thought we were
friends. Obviously not. It’s been festering in me ever since, so I
thought I’d fuck you up too
big style.
. . (indecipherable) . . .
so none
of the money from the job turned up in any of yow; accounts, did
it? Hah! That’ll fucking teach you. You’ll never find any of
it
-
the guy who
laundered it got instructions from me well before we handed the
cash over to him and now it’s all in accounts belonging to
me.
.. (more squiggles. . .
indecipherable) . . .
so I used you like
you used me. And don’t bother trying to find me. I’ve got enough
money to keep ten steps ahead of you.
The
letter ended there, unfinished, unsigned.

 

 

Henry had guessed correctly that it would take six months to
complete extradition proceedings against Billy Crane.

It was a torrid six months for Henry. He was served with
divorce papers, shunned by his daughters, barely acknowledged by
his own mother and overworked in the office, sorting out the
complex legal aftermath of the robbery and murders. He sat through
discussions with divorce solicitors, where he learned he would be
unlikely to come away with anything other than his pants; he sat
through court proceedings in Tenerife, most of which he could not
follow, and moved out of his home into lodgings with another
would-be divorce on his uppers. They made a very sad pair, sitting
night after night in front of a portable black and white TV, eating
pre-cooked dinners and drinking cheap Belgian lager. Henry hated
his new existence, but Kate was unrepentant.

Henry and Dave Seymour picked up Billy Crane from Tenerife on
the day the extradition hearings finished. Henry cuffed Crane with
rigid handcuffs and kept them firmly on the villain’s wrists
throughout the flight, despite Crane’s constant whingeing and
threats.

Even though Henry had, by default, beaten Alexandr Drozdov to
Crane, he remained cautious. He had arranged to be met at
Manchester by a firearms team for protection. After
landing and once all the other passengers had
disembarked, only then did Henry, Crane and Seymour leave the
plane.

Henry breathed a sigh of relief when he saw the four armed
cops waiting at the gate, all kitted out and tooled up with body
armour and deadly weapons. They accompanied the prisoner and his
escorts through the airport, by-passing Customs by prior
arrangement. Three cars were waiting outside the arrivals hall.
They were directed to the middle car. Henry sat in the front
passenger seat - pulling rank on Seymour, who sat in the back with
Crane. The firearms team divided themselves up between the front
and rear cars.

The escort began to roll.


Made it,’ Henry said over his shoulder to Crane, who
responded with a grunt.

They drove out from underneath the covered underpass and
accelerated up to the first roundabout, less than 200 yards ahead.
They needed to go round this and loop back towards the motorway
system.


Glad to be back?’ Henry asked.


Great,’ Crane said sourly.

The car slowed at the roundabout, almost to a stop.

Henry gave a laugh, cut short in his nasal passage as the
window next to Crane disintegrated into minute fragments as the
first bullet smashed it, went right through the car and exited via
the window next to Dave Seymour. There was no time for any sort of
reaction as a high-velocity bullet - later to be identified as
7.62mm fully jacketed, standard NATO ammunition, travelling at
2,700 feet per second - entered Crane’s right ear canal on a
certain pathway to his brain. Once the trajectory of the shell had
been interfered with by striking Crane’s flesh and bone, it tumbled
over and over through his head and burst out through his left
temple, causing a devastating wound which removed most of the left
side of his face, killing him instantly.

DC Dave Seymour was lucky to survive. The shell, deflected in
Crane’s head, twisted downwards and slammed into the car door by
the detective’s left knee. He was, however, showered with blood and
debris and several shards of Crane’s skull stuck into his thigh
like darts.

Crane slumped across Seymour’s fat thighs, the blood, bones,
slush and brains spilling out over the unfortunate detective.
Crane’s brain stem had been pulverised, the nerves channelled
through it comprehensively destroyed. He did not even experience
any reflexive motor action - just pitched over and died.

By the time the firearms team reacted - almost instantaneously
- it was too late. The killing shot had been made and the offenders
fled.

It did not take long to discover where their lair had been -
on top of a grassy bank in the landscaped grass nearby, hidden by
low bushes, about 150 yards away from the roundabout. Their weapons
had been discarded, left behind. One was a Heckler & Koch
sniping rifle - the one used to break the window; the other an
Accuracy International Sniper Rifle which had been the one to
deliver the fatal shot. It was obvious that a pair of highly
trained marksmen had been working together with devastating effect;
one to take out the window, thereby removing any barrier to total
accuracy, the other one to follow up and kill Billy Crane. They had
fired within a milli-second of each other. It had been superb
shooting.

As Henry took charge of the scene, deep down inside he was not
surprised by what had happened. He had always suspected that old
man Drozdov would want to see his vengeful legacy for his grandson
enacted before he died himself.

For more information about Nick Oldham and his books
visit
www.nickoldham.net
or ‘Nick
Oldham Books’ on Facebook
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nick-Oldham-Books/134265683315905

 

Also available by Nick Oldham at Smashwords as e-books in the
‘Henry Christie’ series:

A Time for Justice

Nightmare City

One Dead Witness

 

 

BOOK: The Last Big Job
13.09Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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