DI Plum called me into the station the day after the search. Max Coons had been arrested and was being held for questioning, so I entered the police station cautiously. Whilst I knew he was secure, I couldn’t help a few nerves dancing in my gut at his proximity. DI Plum met me at the reception with a smile, leading me up to a large meeting room where tables were littered with items. The most obvious was what appeared to be a fibre glass cross bow, ingeniously designed to enable the curved cross piece be removed for more subtle transit. Tables were littered with annotated photographs with shooting comments in the same strong hand as the latest letter. DI Plum tried to steer me away from one table where photographs of me and my house mingled with tram timetables and photographs of Fletcher gate and Adams Walk. Seeing them, sent a tingle down my spine, and I was grateful for his warm hand on my shoulder urging me onwards. On a desk at the far side of the room, a tatty leather bound book lay surrounded by photocopied pages, each relating directly to each murder. Seeing each calculating assessment of taking a human life horrified me.
“I confirmed the journal found belonged to Mark Coons a hundred and fifty years ago, the handwriting matching that of his hand written, signed confession kept in the archives.”
“Thank you Miss Gadon.”
As the prosecutor sat, I watched with trepidation as the defence lawyer stood.
“Am I right in thinking Miss Gaddon that you are not a trained investigator?”
“I am an investigative journalist and researcher with many years experience investigating and following paper trails.”
“But not qualified to investigate people?”
“That is true, but I was never involved in the investigation of suspects.”
“But you did investigate my client?”
“I carried out searches available to anyone, out of professional curiosity.”
“So that may have clouded your judgement towards him?”
“Perhaps. But the police never asked my opinion any suspect.”
“I see.” The lawyer hesitated, glancing down at his papers.
“In your opinion, is most of the evidence circumstantial?”
“I could not say. A large quantity maybe, but all is of a highly significant nature linking the accused with historical murders to which he had restricted information. It is not my place to assess the quality of the evidence; that I always thought was for the Crown Prosecution Service.”
“Very good Miss Gaddon. That will be all.” The defence lawyer sat behind his desk as a titter ran through the jury. Trembling I descended from the witness box, relieved to have completed that ordeal. Two days of questioning was more than enough for me.
The following day, as I sat alongside DI Plum in the courtroom, Max Coons changed his plea. Claiming temporary insanity of a competitive nature following the discovery of the journal, Max Coons begged for mercy. After a morning’s assessment, his claim for insanity was thrown out. The judge was plainly as disgusted by his change of attitude as I was, and demonstrated this in his sentencing, giving Max Coons 3 life sentences without parole.