Two months lapsed between the DI Plum’s interview with Max Coons and the fourth shooting. I returned at Nottingham station with trepidation on the 7th of July after a successful visit researching at the National Archives at Kew. Alighting from the London train I strode along the platform towards the tram station. Glancing along platform one, I noted a gaggle of business men, waiting for the Manchester train. As I looked, one dropped the concrete with a thud.
Mutters of concern rippled through the crowd, a deep rumble behind the piercing scream from the tightly clad woman at the edge of the group. My heart immediately leapt into my throat, and I reached for the phone in my handbag. Skimming the narrow gap of visible sky between the cantilevered roof and the high brick wall opposite the platform, my gaze settled on the tram station. Behind the metal guardrail, a broad shouldered man was retreating behind a standalone white wall, slinging a large bag onto his back.
Realising I was watching the killer retreat, I called DI Plum. A crowd of curious passengers was gathering round the prone body, where the mumbling had turned into cries of distress and frantically issued instructions. The original group of business men stood huddled and shaken as the station staff came out with coffees and blankets, while the guard hurried over to offer his assistance to a clearly trained medic attending the victim. Murmuring on lookers stood watching pale faced, a couple pressing mobile phones to their ears as they called for official assistance.
“Alex, it’s Nina. I’m at the station on platform one. There’s been another one.”
“Nina? Another what?”
“Shooting. I think I saw him retreating from the tram station.”
“Christ. I’ll get right onto it, you stay there.” With a crash, he was gone.
Isolated on the platform, I made my way uncertainly across to the crowd, and peered over a few shoulders to examine the man more closely. The large gentleman was lying on his back, knees twisted as they had given way. Blood was streaming over his right ear from a deep gash through his hair revealed as the medical aid lifted his hands to examine the wound.
“It’s a clean wound at least. Thank god.” I heard him mumble to the trembling official at his side. “He should survive.”
Screaming sirens and flashing blue lights on the far side of the wall announced the arrival of the officials, and everyone on the platform heaved a collective sigh of relief. Stepping back, I watched the tram station above and spotted a gather of dark suited constables and white clad forensic officers milling around the platforms. By my side, the crowd turned to face the arrival of the approaching uniformed services, stepping aside to allow the green clad paramedics access to the victim. Watching their approach, I spotted DC Stubbs glancing round the crowd. As she spotted me, she beckoned me over, and I eased round the increasingly agitated business men as the speaker system announced a change of platform for the arriving train for Manchester.
“I’m to take you to the police station, Detective Inspector Plum wants to discuss this with you personally.”