Whitney Cox shuffled slowly up the village behind the small group of Popwell residents making their way towards Glebe Barn. She was a girthy girl of some twenty years and not given to quick movements. Perhaps only she, of all the other dwellers had been awake at the time of the illuminations. She was on Facebook in the throes of conducting a hate campaign against Paris Robotham because she had dissed her in the Co-Op and anyway she was from the north and was a munter.
She was not best pleased at being asked by her Mother to put on her dressing gown and come and see what the problem was. She huffed huffily. It would only be some of the village nobs getting shedded and setting fire to something again. They were always drunk that lot, drowning themselves with their posh rosé wine from France when you could get six Bacardi Breezers for three quid in Blockstead. No, she wouldn’t hurry.
As she neared the barn she slowed to a halt. Sure enough there was that fairy Mr Sinclair lurching about in a fancy wrap looking all dramatic. And he was actually crying. She watched in wonder as he sobbed into a tissue handed to him by Miss Pegg. And David Viney was just standing there reeking of whisky with a bleedin great knife in his hand that Saul Potts the gamekeeper was trying to get off him. She reached into her pocket for her mobile phone and in a second she was videoing it all. Just wait till she uploaded this.
And then to Whitney’s delight, the police arrived.
Constable Pete Mayhew had thirty years of service under his belt. There was nothing he hadn’t seen. Some of those Met officers carped on about how policing the inner cities was tough, but would have been shocked to their buffed boots by how this country lot behaved. Murder, arson and all manner of unhealthy proclivities characterised his beat. His experience was as broad as it was deep and when Pete Mayhew trusted his gut, he was never wrong. Even before he had got out of the squad car he could see what this one was; another love triangle – the nastiest of the lot.
He got out his handcuffs and indicated to his colleague PC Wilton to do the same.
“I’ll go for the woman first and the men will come” he whispered. ”Use any reasonable force” he added.
Violet squealed with surprise as she felt the cold hard metal snap around her wrists. What on earth was this! What in heavens sake was the constable doing? But as soon as she started to protest, PC Mayhew got her into an armlock and thence in one sweep, swiftly into his panda car. A move as fast and seamless as that can’t be taught at any police academy. It was pure animal instinct.
Once the woman was secured, he turned his attention to the men. As suspected, the one in a state of undress was being led like a lamb to the car. Albeit a slightly old lamb. They would have no trouble with him. But the chap with the knife was a different kettle of fish. He looked like he could handle himself and Pete made a note to use his special calming noises when making his approach. Privately, he liked to think of himself as something of a psycho whisperer. And by jove it was working; as the police officer stepped carefully towards him making a high-pitched keening sound, Saul Potts just stood, looking utterly amazed, not even attempting to hide the knife in his hand.
Meanwhile, Whitney noticed that David Viney had disappeared into the night.