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The Power and the Glory by Jack Sutton

Read Online The Power and the Glory by Jack Sutton Thriller Book

Overview: There's been a murder at Salopian Industries, a Telford-based engineering company, and the police are stumped. A young engineer has fallen to his death from one of the platforms, but no one saw anything and they only have one potential lead... who is also then found dead.
The plot thickens with more murders, steamy affairs, and the whiff of corporate espionage. Can DI Abbott crack the case or will this one go into the unsolved crime file?

 

Read Online The Power and the Glory by Jack Sutton Book Chapter One Free. Find Hear Best Thriller Books And Novel For Reading And Download.
The Power and the Glory by Jack Sutton

Read Online The Power and the Glory by Jack Sutton Book Chapter One

 

The claxon sounded loud and clear signalling the end of the lunch break. The hubbub of conversation was essentially drowned out by the noise of chairs scraping over the floor as the men stood and began making their way towards the canteen door. They were the fitters, welders, plumbers and sheet metal workers employed on the major repair and tank furnace rebuild at the factory of Salopian Industries Limited in Telford, Shropshire. Salopian Industries manufactured thermal insulation products of glass fibres and phenolic foam boards. A medium-sized company but small in comparison with the main manufacturers in Britain, Europe and America. Nevertheless, the company held a significant part of the market.

Making their way to their respective work areas, several headed towards the tank furnace end of the production line, when one shouted a warning and ran forwards towards the body of a man lying prostrate on the floor beneath the tank furnace platform some twenty or so feet above. The body was under the large opening in the platform where the tank furnace would be situated, the base of which would be supported by steel beams stretching across the opening. The first man to reach the body could see at once the severe head injuries and he appeared to be dead. Recognizing the victim, he shouted back to the others as they approached, “It’s Danny Drew. Danny the engineer.” Looking up, seeing that they were under the edge of the tank furnace opening he said, “He must have fallen from the platform. Get some help quick.” One of the men ran towards the production foreman’s office at the far end of the production line and on his way saw the company CEO, Patrick Evans, standing and talking with the senior production foreman. Running up to them and without preamble, with panic in his voice he said, “Come quick, there’s been a terrible accident and I think he’s dead.”

“Where? Who is it?” asked Patrick Evans as he and Don Phillips, the senior production foreman turned to run after him.

“It’s Danny Drew, the young engineer in Mr Anderson’s department.”

Arriving at the scene, Evans could see the terrible head injuries and said to Don Phillips “Call 999 quickly for ambulance and police. Also, Health and Safety Exec. This is a disaster.”

It was quite obvious to them all, that Danny was dead but what he had been doing on the platform or indeed any other part of the site without a safety helmet and at lunch time when everyone would be in the canteen was unexplainable. The fact was, he had no reason to be there since this work was being carried out by and under the control of Company Engineering Division. Input from Works Engineering Division was neither required nor desired.

The ambulance and paramedics arrived at the same time as a police sergeant and a police constable. They all agreed that the body should not be moved until the police surgeon had examined the victim. The police sergeant called through to the station to inform CID for it was his opinion, that this was not a straightforward accident and should be considered as a suspicious incident.

Some twenty minutes later, DCI Harry Davies arrived, accompanied by DI Bob Grant, DS Larry Robb and DC Jane Todd. The DCI, noting the position of the body which was lying face down and seeing the injury to the back of the skull spoke with the doctor, who had already examined the body and certified death. Addressing him he said “Paul, I don’t think this was accidental. The injury to the back of the skull must have been sustained before the fall which must have been forwards since he is lying face down. I believe that this is a case of murder.”

“I agree with you,” he replied. “I suggest the weapon could have been a flat object, about six millimetres wide, and struck with considerable force, from behind.”

Addressing all the other officers, the DCI ordered an immediate search for a possible weapon.

DI Grant and DS Robb climbed the stairway to the platform and began a painstaking search. The first thing they observed was a safety helmet lying on the platform as though discarded. There was no name on it or on the inside. It lay several feet from the opening through which the victim must have fallen but there was no sign of a weapon. The opening in the platform had a steel angle curb around the entire periphery, preventing foreign bodies being accidentally knocked over the edge and on closer examination, the DS called over to DI Grant,

“Sir, come and look at this,” pointing to the angle curb.

“Looks like blood. Get forensics up here and get them to check this safety helmet for DNA because I think it belonged to the victim. It looks as though a struggle may have taken place during which he lost his helmet and then was pushed towards the opening but falling backwards before getting there and striking his head on the angle curb. This I have no doubt would have rendered him unconscious. The assailant must have then rolled him over and pushed him over the edge of the opening.”

DCI Davies called for everyone to assemble in the canteen immediately so that he could address them all and take statements, meanwhile the forensics team would begin their examination of the site. Taking the CEO aside, DCI Davies asked if there was anywhere within the factory that could be allocated for the setting up of an Incident Room. Patrick Evans, without hesitation, offered the use of the main conference room stating that he would do anything to assist in their enquiries.

When all were gathered in the canteen, DCI Harry Davies introduced himself and the team and after a short pause, gathering his thoughts, he began to address the assembly. “I am quite certain that the incident here today was not an accident but one of murder and that the forensics team will confirm that. There is some evidence that suggests the possibility of a struggle having taken place, during which the victim lost his safety helmet. Also, that he was either pushed, or had fallen backwards, striking his head on the angle curb surrounding the opening, rendering him unconscious. It would appear, that his assailant then rolled him over and pushed him, head-first, over the edge of the opening in the platform.” There followed a hubbub of conversation among the assembly, expressions of incredibility being the predominant sentiment. By now, everyone knew that the victim was Danny Drew, knowledge that stunned them all for although he was not a member of Company Engineering, he was well liked among the men. However, no one could think of a reason for Danny to be on the platform other than he had gone to meet someone during the lunch break when all would be in the canteen. But why meet on the platform?

DCI Davies told all assembled, that his officers would take statements from everyone in the room with, particular attention, to be paid to anything that anyone may have seen to be unusual before they had gone to the canteen for lunch. After giving their statements, they could leave but would not be allowed back on the site until forensics had finished their examinations which would not be until tomorrow at the earliest.

The news spread around the factory like wildfire, and it was difficult for anyone to come to terms with the fact that the victim was Danny Drew and that he had been murdered. He had been liked by all for his gregarious and happy-go-lucky way. Most people, women particularly, knew him to be a flirt but accepted that, that was Danny or ‘Danny Boy’ as he was often referred to, in friendly affection. He certainly had an eye for the ladies and the nerve to pursue his amorous inclinations wherever and with whoever may yield to his charms. That a lady might be married was no obstacle to his adventuresome spirit.

Sharon Sumner, the CEO’s PA, on hearing the news, went to the Supplies Department to see Julie Phillips with whom she had become very friendly. Julie was the wife of Don Phillips, the senior production foreman and according to Julie, he had become difficult to live with. She thought that it was perhaps the difference in their ages that was the problem. He was twelve years older than herself, she, being thirty making him forty-two. She felt that she was stuck in a rut and had confessed to Sharon that the way Danny Drew flirted with her, every time he went into the Supplies Department, made her feel attracted to him. On one occasion he tempted her by asking her to go for a drink with him. She had, however, reminded him that she was a married woman and that Don wouldn’t like it. ‘He would not need to know’ was his reply. ‘We could go when he is on the afternoon shift and since that doesn’t finish until ten o’clock, that would give us most of the evening.’ She told him that he was incorrigible and that there was no way she could do that, behind her husband’s back. He had laughed and said that anything is possible if you want it badly enough. She had confided in Sharon, telling her that she could not get Danny out of her mind, saying that he was exactly the opposite in ways and attitude to Don. When Don was on the night shift, she would lay awake for quite long periods thinking of Danny and imagining what it would be like with him lying beside her. Such thoughts usually got her aroused and with her mind on flights of fancy.

The next time Danny went into the Supplies Department he headed for Julie and having given her the requisition for the equipment he required, asked if she had given any further thought to his suggestion that they go for a drink. She shocked herself when without hesitation she agreed to go with him on the condition that she was home by nine thirty, well before Don would return. Without at that time realizing it, she had begun her affair with Danny.

Sharon knew only too well that Julie would be devastated by what had happened that day but unable to show too much emotion in public. As for herself, the situation she was now in was also one that had to remain out of public knowledge. If it became known that she was now in a torrid affair with her boss, Patrick Evans, the future for them both would be disastrous. The outcome would mean certain dismissal from their employment. Although she herself was single, Patrick Evans was a married man and would not only face dismissal but probably divorce also.

Sharon took Julie into the Ladies Rest Room where they could hopefully be alone for a while. Julie was devastated and in shock. She sobbed as she uttered the almost unanswerable question, “Who and why would anyone do such a terrible thing to such a lovely person?”

Sharon could only say “I don’t know, love. But I am sure the police will find whoever is responsible.”

The CEO gave the instruction for all employees to go home. All personnel working on the repair site, which was now a designated murder scene, to remain at home until the police gave permission for them to return. Those from other areas to return to work the following morning.

From the answers to questions put to the employees working on the repair site, the police now knew that prior to the lunch break, a number of men had been working on the platform and every one of them had confirmed that Danny Drew was not there up to the time that they left for the canteen, when the claxon had sounded.

On the morning of day two, the Incident Room was now set up and fully functional. DCI Harry Davies stood before the incident board looking at what little information was shown. Apart from the victim’s name, his age, which was shown as twenty-five, details of the contents of his wallet and that his mobile phone was in his pocket, there was a blank board. Turning around to face the now assembled team, he stood for a few moments, hands in his pockets, looking at them. “So far we have bugger all to go on,” he said. “However, I have received the post-mortem report from forensics. Death was due to a fall from a considerable height, compatible with a fall from the platform. There was, however, an injury to the back of the skull consistent with the victim’s head striking the angle curb on the platform, which would have rendered him unconscious, but this was not the cause of death.” Pausing for a moment whilst looking at the incident board, he then turned to them and continued. “We need to know why he was on that platform at the time when everybody, working on that site, were in the canteen having their lunch. That he was not there for normal work purposes is certain, but it would appear, that there was someone else up there at the same time.”

“Perhaps he had gone to meet that someone,” suggested DC Jane Todd. “Perhaps deliberately when nobody would be around.”

“Surely, if that was the case, there must be better and safer places to meet.”

“That would depend on who he was going to meet,” she replied. “There may be something on his mobile phone to give us a clue.”

“That is a possibility. Check that out.”

The DCI continued, “The contents of his wallet were twenty-five pounds, a lottery ticket from last week, his driving license and a fuel bill from the local supermarket. There was also a photograph of a lady I think may well be his mother who we know lives in Liverpool. The Merseyside police have informed her of her son’s death and that it is being treated as murder. They have also told her that an officer from here will go to see her and ask her to return here with him and identify the body. I want you, DI Grant to go there and take Jane with you. A feminine touch in this case I think would be desirable.”

For a few moments there was general conversation amongst them as they discussed the various avenues of questioning and who might be the people most likely to give them the sort of information, they needed.

DCI Davies called their attention. “DI Grant and DC Todd, you had better make moves to get up to Liverpool as soon as possible.” Then addressing DS Robb, said, “find out what the victim should have been doing at the time he met his fate. You will probably need to speak to Leslie Anderson, the works engineer. I am going to interview the ladies in the Supplies Department. It is highly likely that they knew the victim quite well because an engineer must have had regular contact with them requisitioning materials and engineering items.”

The DCI introduced himself to the staff in the Supplies Department and explained that he would speak with them individually and in private. Also, that whatever information they could give him would be treated in confidence. Looking around the room, he noticed that one young lady seemed to be quite distressed and his keen eye told him that she had been crying. Although knowing that some women are more emotional than others, he suspected that this young lady may well have more to be upset about than the others in the room. He decided to begin his interviews with her. She told him her name was Julie Phillips and that she was married to Don Phillips, one of the senior production foremen.

“May I call you Julie?” he asked.

“Yes, of course. It seems less formal,” she replied.

“I want to build a picture of Danny Drew as a person, his likes and dislikes and his relationship with others as well as his relationship with yourself. Anything you say will be treated in confidence and be assured that whatever you may know of his movements yesterday, no matter how insignificant it may seem to you, will be of great importance to the investigation.”

Pausing for a moment, trying to interpret her facial expression, he then smiled and continued. “You must have known Danny quite well I imagine,” he said more of a statement than a question.

“Why do you say that?” she asked guardedly and in defensive manner.

“Well, being an engineer, he must have had fairly regular contact with the department bringing in purchase requisitions and chasing up deliveries, perhaps.”

“Oh, I see what you mean. Yes, he was in quite often.”

“Was he a friendly person? Did he like to chat or was he more of a business only type of person?”

“He was always very chatty. A real live wire, so to speak and good fun.”

Harry Davies thought he detected a faint blush to Julie’s cheeks and wondered why that should be. He also wondered why Julie seemed to be on the defensive when he suggested that she must have known the victim quite well. He was forming an opinion that Julie Phillips was closer to Danny than she was prepared to admit. “I understand that he was a single man. Do you know if he had a girlfriend?”

“Maybe he had,” she replied and then with some bluster, “I don’t know.”

“Did he come in here yesterday morning. Did he see you at any time?”

“I was very, busy yesterday morning. I don’t remember.”

DCI Harry Davies stood up. “Thank you, Julie, I appreciate your help and I do understand how difficult it must be for you to answer questions about someone, in such tragic circumstances, especially when it’s someone for whom you have a liking and high regard. Should you remember anything you may think could be helpful to us, please contact me at any time or any other member of the team. I will give you my card which has the contact number, also my direct number.” With that he shook hands with her and moved on to speak to the other staff members.

He received a similar opinion of the victim as that of Julie Phillips from all the others in the office, but he had formed the opinion that Julie new him better than the other members of staff.

DS Robb introduced himself to Leslie Anderson. “Mr Anderson, can you tell me what Danny Drew was working on yesterday morning and if he had any reason to be on the repair site during the time the workforce was in the canteen having lunch?”

“He should have been working on some minor modifications to be carried out in the phenolic foam department. What he was doing on the repair site, I do not know. I can only assume he was taking a short cut from the Drawing Office to the foam plant. However, I can give no explanation for him being on the tank platform. In fact, only Company Engineering personnel should be there. Works Division does not have input to capital projects any more. That has been the case for the last couple of years.”

“For how long, was Danny employed here and was he always in your department?”

“He came as a graduate from Liverpool University about a couple of years back, around the time of the reorganization when Patrick Evans was appointed CEO. Danny had applied for a design engineer’s post in the new Company Engineering Division but was unsuccessful, but I liked him and so offered him a position in Works Division which he accepted. He always got on well with the other members of the team and I had no complaints. There is no doubt that he will be a big loss to the department and will certainly be missed by his colleagues. His bright and happy spirit was quite infectious.”

DS Larry Robb thanked him and left the department. He decided now to see the DCI.

DCI Harry Davies, along with DS Robb, went to speak with Patrick Evans. As they walked down the corridor, they saw him talking to his PA, Sharon Sumner, outside his office. Seeing them approaching Sharon went into her office, which was adjacent to that of the CEO, leaving Patrick Evans to greet them, shaking hands with them both. “Come in and please take a seat.” He then offered them coffee, which they gratefully accepted having not had a drink since early morning. He then went to the connecting door to Sharon’s office, opened it and asked her to bring coffee for all of them. Returning to his desk he sat facing them. “Gentlemen, how can I be of help?”

“I am given to understand that when the victim was discovered and the alarm raised, you were at the other end of the building talking to the senior production foreman. Is that correct?”

“Yes, that is perfectly correct.”

“How long had you been there?”

“Oh, just a few moments. I had just entered the building and saw Don Phillips going into the foremen’s office at the end of the production line. I needed to speak with him and as we began to talk, there was a shout from the tank end of the line and a man came running towards us shouting that there had been an accident. The rest you know.”

At that point, Sharon came in with the coffee, placing the tray on the desk. The DCI thanked her, at the same time noting how attractive she was. She had on a beautifully tailored suit and light beige blouse with shoes that were obviously expensive. Her make-up had been immaculately applied and she had an air of sophistication that would impress anyone with whom she had to deal. There was no doubt that Patrick Evans had chosen well.

As she turned to leave, Harry Davies addressed her. “Miss Sumner, did you know Danny Drew?”

“Not really. I didn’t come into contact with him very often. The girls in the Supplies Department knew him quite well I believe. I think Julie Phillips dealt with him on a daily basis.”

“Have you any idea of anyone who may have had a grudge against him?”

“No, I haven’t,” she replied. “Everyone seemed to like him and his gregarious attitude.”

“I think that at least one person disliked him for some reason. Thank you, Miss Sumner.” When Sharon returned to her office, the DCI continued his conversation with Patrick Evans by asking, for how long the two Engineering Divisions had been operable. Evans told him that when he was appointed CEO, he was dissatisfied with the existing organization and so decided to establish a Company Engineering Division, to be responsible for all new capital work under the direction of a company chief engineer. This Division would also be responsible for all new design work together with a small development team to progress all product development and a Works engineering Division to deal with day-to-day matters including maintenance. Also, that department would be answerable to the company chief engineer.

Harry Davies, having finished his coffee, thanked Patrick Evans and he and DS Robb took their leave. Once outside, the DCI said to DS Robb, “I sense some animosity between him and Leslie Anderson’s department. I think we should speak with Anderson and get his view of matters.

Having been shown into Leslie Anderson’s office, Harry Davies introduced himself and said, “DS Robb you have already met.”

“Yes, that is quite so,” he replied and shook hands with them both and addressing DCI Davies, said, “Detective Sergeant Robb came to see me a short while ago. He wanted to know if there was a reason for Danny Drew to be on the tank platform. I told him that there was no reason whatsoever. Works Division does not have input in major capital works since the formation of Company Engineering Division a couple of years ago.”

“So, I understand. Tell me about that.”

“Just over two years ago, the then CEO had overseen the take-over of a small company in Cardiff, that was developing a new insulation board which did not give off toxic fumes at very high temperatures. However, the process needed to be developed into a financially viable operation. At that time, I was chief engineer and planning the development strategy. The CEO, who had held that position for ten years had reached retirement age and sadly left the company. The senior sales manager, Patrick Evans, was appointed to take over as Chief Executive Officer and I then knew that my planning of the development strategy would be overruled because we had been rarely in agreement on anything in the past. That was an underestimation of the situation. Patrick Evans dropped the bombshell that a new department would be formed to be responsible for all major capital engineering work including all process development and would be headed by a new company chief engineer. I was invited to apply for the position along with all external applicants. It is obvious that I was not appointed but offered the position that I now hold, works engineer, responsible for day-to-day work and plant maintenance. Patrick Evans, in his usual, smooth talking manner, said that he was sorry not to have appointed me, but the man chosen had higher qualifications and had held a senior managerial position with British Aerospace. In offering the post I now have, he tried placation by saying that it was not demotion but a sideways move with no loss of privileges or salary. However, I am answerable to the company chief engineer and in my view since I was answerable to the technical director originally, in effect I have been demoted.”

“Have you not considered moving on?”

“Yes, but with a son aged seventeen and a daughter of fifteen, it would probably be too disruptive for their education if a move was to be of any distance, which it would most certainly be.”

“Thank you, Mr Anderson for being so frank. It does give us a better perspective of the general situation although it doesn’t help to explain the reason for Danny Drew to be where he was when he was killed.”

The detectives left Anderson’s office and made their way back to the Incident Room. Davies wanted to go through all his notes and try to get some order into the numerous pieces of information so far gathered. He had come to the stark opinion that, apart from knowing that the victim had struck the back of his head on the angle curb of the platform following a scuffle and without doubt had then been pushed off the platform deliberately, there was little else to give any further lead. The biggest problem was not knowing the reason for Danny Drew being on the platform. It seemed to Davies that he could only have been there for some covert reason. Probably to meet someone. But for what purpose he wondered.

Sleep that night, was for Davies, very disturbed. At the end of the second day of the investigation he knew only too well that apart from establishing the cause of death and that the victim had been deliberately pushed off the platform, they had little else to go on.

Morning dawned with some relief. He felt somewhat better having showered and had toast and coffee. Driving to work, his mind now clearer, he pondered the many pieces of information that was known at the present time. The gregarious spirit of Danny Drew and the impression work colleagues had of him. Also, there was the suspicion he had that Julie Phillips was somewhat closer to Danny than she cared to admit. After all, she was a married woman, the wife of the senior production foreman. On this third day of the investigation this was something to look into, in more depth. Parking his Jaguar, he felt a little more confident in that he had at least one line of enquiry to begin the day. Perhaps the other members of the team would have other useful information that would help to kick-start the day.

The murder investigation team gathered in the Incident Room for de-briefing. The DCI asked them for their reports on the interviews they had so far carried out, and if any significant facts had emerged or possible clues become apparent.

DCI Davies was, himself, the first to speak. “I talked to all the staff in the Supplies Department and the general opinion was that the victim was a happy-go-lucky type and humorous. Also, he liked flirting with the girls, a habit which they encouraged. There was one of them I thought had probably done a little more than flirt. Her attitude when I suggested that perhaps she knew him quite well, was without doubt, on the defensive. I did qualify my assumption by saying that being an engineer, he must have been a regular visitor to the department, at which she relaxed a little, although I believe her cheeks had coloured slightly. Her name is Julie Phillips and she is married to Don Phillips, one of the senior production foremen.”

DI Grant reported that he and DC Jane Todd had visited the victim’s mother in Liverpool and had brought her back to Telford with them for her to make a formal identification. This she had done and was now staying at the Queen’s Arms Hotel until the body of her son be released for burial. She would then accompany the body back to Liverpool. She had been in regular touch with her son since he had moved to Telford two years ago after he had graduated. To her knowledge, he did not have a regular girlfriend as he had never mentioned anyone particularly, and he was quite happy at work. He had never spoken of anyone he did not like or with whom he had argued. There didn’t appear to be any motive for anyone to kill him.

DCI Davies then told the assembly of the meetings with both Patrick Evans and Leslie Anderson. He told them that there had obviously been problems between them in the past although now, matters seemed to be normal. Neither men could give any reason or explanation for Danny Drew to have been where he was when he was killed. Also, it seemed that the murder had been made to look like an accident so could have been premeditated. The DCI summed up by saying that there appeared to be animosity and unrest and maybe sexual activities in existence under a thin veneer of normality. He paused, then made a statement with emphasis. “If we are to crack this case, I believe we must peel back the veneer and uncover the troubles that are fomenting beneath the surface.

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