Terry Walters was ambitious. A Detective Constable at thirty-four with his sights set firmly on being a DCI by the time he was forty. That was now just three years and two promotions away. He’d asked Frank twice to put him forward for Detective Inspector but on both occasions Frank had declined saying he needed more experience. He hoped the Thomas Sago case would be the one that made Frank sit up and pay attention.
But his hopes were quickly dashed. The victims flat had CCTV on the main entrance but it hadn’t worked in four months. The maintenance company were full of apologies and said that lack of funds was to blame. People in the block just weren’t paying their service charges and so cuts had to be made. He was hoping to have some luck from the local council cameras. But he didn’t hold out much hope. Their quality wasn’t great and it very much depended on what direction they were facing on the previous night. He called Frank.
“Hi Guv. No joy with the CCTV at the flat. They haven’t worked for months. I’m gonna copy what I can and take it back to the office. Might get lucky and see the victim entering the building with someone, albeit fucking months ago.”
It was a blow, but Frank didn’t want to deflate Terry’s ego.
“Okay. Try the council option and then get back to the office. Let’s hope the other two have got some good news.”
Frank was with Joe Newbury. The death had been identified as unnatural and the Coroner had asked for an autopsy to take place the following day. The forensic team had finished and the body had been taken away to the morgue. It was 1.15 and the two of them were sitting in The Gun pub just ten minutes from Limehouse. Frank took a sip of his beer eager to find out what Joe Newbury had found.
“So go on then Joe, what we got?”
Joe put down his pint.
“Now, of course, we need to wait for forensics and the pathology report. But he had a tiny puncture mark on the side of his neck and a small bruise. I’m guessing he’s been stuck with a needle which has rendered him unconscious, dragged onto the bed and then attacked with the secateurs. But Thomas Sago is a big lad. Six feet and about sixteen stone so getting him onto the bed would have been a two-man job. This isn’t a random act of violence or an argument that got out of hand, this is a planned and organised killing. As you know Frank, once you’ve got more than one person involved you’ve got conspiracy.”
Frank took in the information. The only thing that surprised him was what Joe said about two or more people being involved.
“And what about the crime scene? The flat? What can you tell me about that?”
Joe took a long slug of his beer before answering.
“Your guys are welcome to go in there anytime now Frank, were finished. But you won’t find much. The guy lived like a monk. One cup, one plate, one knife and fork. No radio, no TV. The only thing in his fridge was a bottle of milk and a couple of chicken fillets. No beer or wine, in fact, no alcohol of any kind. No crisps or biscuits or cake, just a bag of rice and some noodles. No family photos anywhere, no post or letters. In fact, the only thing we did find was an old Bible on his bedside table.”
Frank seemed to be pleased with the last bit of information.
“Well at least we know he’s religious and as it’s a Bible and not the Koran I suppose we can assume he’s a Christian?”
Before he could say anything else his phone rang. It was Sandra. She sounded excited.
“Guv, I’ve found him. I’ve found Thomas Sago on Facebook. But not on his own site, on someone else’s. And guess what? There’s a video of him on there. And there’s more. A lot more.”
Frank pushed his beer to one side and stood up.
“Good work Sandra, I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.”
He looked over at Joe.
“Sorry mate got to go. See you at the autopsy tomorrow?”
“Wouldn’t miss it for the world!”
By the time Frank got back to Limehouse Terry and Sandra were waiting eagerly. Mark was still at the school interviewing the staff.
Frank laughed out loud when he saw the huge smile on Sandra’s face.
“Sandra Bennett I haven’t seen you look this pleased with yourself since the canteen incident.”
Frank was referring to something that had happened way back when Sandra was still in uniform. A senior officer had grabbed her arse in the canteen. She turned round quickly and kicked his legs from under him then stamped on his hand breaking three of his fingers. It was the talk of the station for months.
Sandra smiled and blushed all at the same time.
“Okay, okay, enough of that Guv. I’ve got lots to tell you.”
The three of them sat side by side and Sandra began.
“Terry sent me over the personnel file from St Leonards School on Thomas Sago. His CV said he was born in Lewisham. Not true. He was born in Lagos Nigeria. He said he went to Deptford Green School, again not true. He went to school in Nigeria until he was 18. He said he went to Essex University in Colchester. Not true, he never attended, he shows nowhere on any of the University records.”
“So where did he go to University? Nigeria?”
Sandra couldn’t wait to answer.
“No. He seems to drop off the planet from the age of 18 until he resurfaces in the UK in 2015.”
Mark was confused.
“So where the fuck has he been for 15 years?”
Once again Sandra answered quickly.
“From his Nigerian birth certificate I found out the names of his parents. I searched to see where they are now. In 2000 they were reported as “missing.” That’s a polite way of saying “dead, but we don’t know where”. Between 1999 and 2001 something like 10,000 people were killed in riots between Muslims and Christians in all parts of the country.”
Now Frank spoke.
“And we know that Thomas Sago was a Christian, so presumably his parents were as well.”
They both looked at him wondering how he knew that for sure. Frank responded.
“There was a Bible beside his bed. Great work Sandra, so what about Facebook?”
Sandra put her hands up in front of her.
“Slow down Guv. There’s a lot more to come. On his file was a contact number. A Vodaphone mobile. I managed to get all the numbers made to and from that phone over the past three months. He rarely ever used it. But...one number comes up frequently. Twice a week to be precise. So I found out about that number and it belongs to The Ministry Of Manifestations and Divine Miracles.”
There was a brief silence before Terry said the obvious.
“The fucking what?”
Sandra smiled as she repeated it.
“The Ministry Of Manifestations and Divine Miracles. So I found their Facebook page and bingo there’s a video of one of their sermons on there from last year. And guess who’s in the congregation singing his heart out?”
Frank guessed the answer.
“Thomas Sago by any chance?”
Before she said anything else she went straight to a Facebook page on her laptop and pressed play on a video link. It lasted for twenty seconds. It was a large congregation singing in what looked like a School hall. And there he was, right in the front row. Thomas Sago.