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The Island 16: Case 1 (Goldilocks)
Sunday 18th March 2012Trainee Detective Constable Driver sat at his desk in Newport’s police station patting a sheaf of papers together. Having got them neatly aligned, he placed them in a clear plastic folder which he had labelled Case 1(Goldilocks). Inside the folder there was a cardboard divider separating Case 1a from Case 1b.
Case 1 was the first case that TDC Driver had been entrusted with and he was determined to solve it. He firmly believed that his future – a future without that tiresome T in front of his rightful initials - depended on it. But so far it wasn’t going very well.
He had interviewed Mr and Mrs Donna Couchewell, owners of the Bienvenue Guest House in Sandown; he had also inspected said guest house. They reported that in their absence (on a fortnight’s holiday in Barbados) a person or persons unknown had entered the premises and availed themselves of the facilities, namely the kitchen, bedroom 5 and its ensuite shower room. This person or persons had returned when the Couchewells were actually present in the property, but Mrs Couchewell had disturbed them and they had fled, taking with them her hand-bag. Evidence left in the property (bagged, labelled and sitting on the desk in front of him) amounted to a pair of Y-fronts and an empty can of a supermarket’s own brand mushroom soup. Also an abundance of finger-prints (Mrs Couchewell had actually had the nerve to enquire as to whether the police would be meeting the cost of clearing up the finger-print powder) which did not match those of anyone already known to Newport police.
The curious aspect of the case – the aspect that was causing TDC Driver to furrow his brow most deeply - was that, despite a most thorough inspection, he could find no evidence of a break-in. It was as if the person or persons had opened the door and walked in quite normally; as if - as TDC Driver had put it to Mr and Mrs Couchewell - the person or persons had been in possession of a key.
And this left TDC Driver with the problem of how to categorise the crime. It could hardly be called breaking and entering if there had been no breaking. Burglary didn’t seem to cover the entire scenario but for now it would have to do.
He sighed and picked up the papers labelled 1b. This case was even harder to categorize.
Miss Sally Thomas had been found at the bottom of the stairs suffering a broken ankle, concussion and facial abrasions. Although, again, there was no sign of a break-in, the two gentlemen who had discovered her, Messrs…..he consulted his papers….Ah yes, Messrs Barry Jenks and Dennis Corrs, they insisted that someone had assaulted the poor lady on the staircase and then, having searched the house, gone through her rubbish.
As Miss Thomas could remember nothing, there was no one – and no thing – to corroborate this.
Tired, and with his head beginning to ache, TDC Driver pushed the file away from him and was about to go and make himself a cup of tea when the telephone on his desk rang.
‘TDC Driver speaking. Yes. Yes. I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name. Could you repeat it? Mrs Pinkerton-Smythe?