It’s the final chapter folks. **Warning adult content.
SERVING THE DISH
The seat was hard. Kevin could feel the road as they travelled towards Sandy Lane Court House. The van provided by the prison security was sparce and chains clinked on the floor beside his clean shoes. His eyes bored into the floor imagining the road underneath, the black tarmac crunching under the speeding black tyres. The driver shouted above the engine noise to his colleague in the passenger seat,
“Big old van for one person. Perhaps there would be more of them coming back.”
Kevin hoped not. Kevin hoped he’d not be coming back. After all there couldn’t be a child witness as he hadn’t done anything to any boy. There was no evidence that he had assaulted a boy. He didn’t know what was going on and his solicitor was behaving an idiot. Larry had distanced himself, reminding him that essentially he was Helen’s family’s lawyer before his.
The week before his arrest the police had done house-to-house enquiry because of some letters. Information given, from several neighbours, led them to remove the cement which he’d laid less than a month after Helen’s disappearance. They’d taken the house apart too.
Both Kevin and Jane had been present during the police search, when they’d found the cocaine hidden in the fire sprinkler system, but they’d charged him for it. They’d also found Helen’s passport hidden in the basement along with her clothes and jewellery. They’d arrested him that night, charged him with supplying Class A drugs and held him on remand. All because some bitch had sent letters to the police and a meme… It was obviously a stitch up, not that he’d seen them. Neither were part of the evidence against him.
Kevin had argued at the beginning. Then they interviewed Jane. They took her phone. Finding out he was ‘grooming’ her whilst she was still at school and babysitting his children was evidence he was sexually exploiting a child. Jane hadn’t seen herself as being abused, loved him and the children and had felt no need to hide anything so she told them everything.
The social services took Simon and Tori into care immediately.
Kevin felt sickened when he’d learnt Tori’s knickers were found in the shed with his sperm on. He was many things, but he hadn’t hurt his daughter. He begged them to listen, that he was being stitched up. They took his phone, found the badly written messages, and asked him, repeatedly who they were from.
Then they found Helen’s body. His only option was to plead guilty to her murder when the trial came, to gain a lesser sentence. It changed everything. He knew he was going to prison. He had to fight some of the charges; killing a wife, he could possibly handle in prison, but sexually abusing children? The other inmates would kill him.
During questioning, Kevin continually denied messing sexually with his children while admitting to killing their mother and having an affair with a teenager who wasn’t his child. He could see no one would believed him and knew what it looked like.
Truth was, he was guilty. He’d killed the mother of his children when she’d found out about his affair with Jane. If having sex with Jane didn’t make him a paedophile, what did?
Helen had been so angry. Her face screwed up with bitterness, confusion and emotion, shouting at him the moment he’d opened the front door. He’d forgotten his phone that morning. He’d left it on his bedside cabinet and was at work before realizing. Jane had messaged him during school assembly, and unfortunately, Helen had seen Jane’s name flash up on the screen. Curious as to why the babysitter they’d used twice was texting her husband first thing in the morning, Helen looked at his messages.
Helen found almost a year of dialogue between him and Jane. Regrettably she’d also seen the video he’d taken of Jane performing oral sex on him. She’d started packing up his belongings and was going to wait for him to finish work. She hadn’t said a word, even when he’d called to say he was on his way home from work early as he’d forgotten his phone.
Helen had said a lot in the moments before her death. Words that had hurt him at the time.
Again, she’d accused him of marrying her for money. They’d argued, her mouth spitting at him, words that meant nothing. Stupidly, he’d argued that if she had loved him, she’d have let him have Jane. His fantasy of them all living together and Jane joining them in bed had disgusted her not appealed.
At first Kevin had tried to plead his case, saying that Jane had enticed him, but Helen had read the messages. The months of texts telling Jane how beautiful she was. Message after message stating that he no longer loved Helen. She’d seen Jane’s initial hesitancy in her messages and his responding reassuring words that they no longer loved each other ‘like that’ anymore, even claiming Helen had given permission for him to gain sexual pleasure outside of the marriage to keep him nearby and seeing the children.
Livid, she’d wanted to know how he could have done it to her. Had it not been true that they had good sexual relations? And, didn’t he tell her, every night they were together, that he loved her? Had he been lying? She’d thrown his overnight bag at him and told him to leave. He couldn’t answer her. He just wanted to turn the clock backwards and have not left his phone.
After the shouting, the house had seemed deafeningly quiet apart from the sound of her angrily preparing dinner in the kitchen; he could still here her chopping up the vegetables against the wooden board, neither Simon nor Tori were there to say goodbye as he’d slung his bag over his shoulder and moved towards the front door.
And, then she shouted her final words,
“And don’t think you’re getting anything from the divorce, or seeing the kids.”
He couldn’t let her do that.
The initial charges of murder and drug dealing made headlines across the country. The hotel was taken into administration by Helen’s family lawyers. It was an attempt to counteract the proceeds of crime investigation and save the hotel chain. Weeks later the child sexual abuse and child trafficking charges were added.
The media had interviews with the teachers from the school, and the residents of York Road. Jane moved back to her family home and her parents put her into drug rehabilitation. His defense said it was better that she wasn’t involved. If the prosecution needed to call her, they’d do so but her age and vulnerability wouldn’t help him.
During his first police interview a young woman came in. She looked at Kevin in a way he’d never been looked at before. Distain. She whispered to the officer questioning him who then stopped the tape, excused themselves and left. The officer returned a few minutes later, with the same awful expression towards him. Before she turned the tape back on, she informed him, through pursed lips that they’d also found disturbing images on Simon’s PC.
News that the police hadn’t been able to trace the author of the letters, had made him angry. His claims that whoever sent them probably being the same person who’d sent the messages on his phone went unheard.
Police questioned him for hours over who his contact was, who had sent the messages. It was only Jane who had backed up his version of events. The police didn’t need her as they had enough with the messages and then a young lad came forward with a story about Kevin Hargreaves to make curl toes, and a witness in the flesh was far more compelling to a judge and jury than mobile messages and footage.
“Calling Mr. Kevin Hargreaves to Court Three Please.”
The Crown Court was quiet. The soles of the shoes of people walking on the floor echoed throughout the marbled floored corridors and chambers. Inside the court, ushers were busying themselves with the preparations for the day’s cases. Court three had a vulnerable witness case. The boy victim, having the right to be screened from his alleged attacker would need to be protected from further torment, so court employees were setting up the video equipment. This was so victims could give evidence and be cross examined from another room. The case involved minors, so the gallery was not open to the public.
Outside, Sarah Cacroft on the carpark wall. Dressed in jeans, black hoodeded top and sunglasses she’d been there, waiting. At 9am a police van pulled into the secure carpark and she watched as Kevin Hargreaves was taken inside the courthouse gate, flanked by two uniformed security staff.
At 9.05am a black hackney taxicab pulled up. A boy of ten years old got out and paid the driver. Sarah watched him bounce up the court room steps,
“Good luck!” Shouted the driver.
The boy responded confidently,
“Won’t need it.” And entered the building.
Kevin’s accuser was from the local Travellers camp, his uncle, was a cousin of Stephan Harris.
Favours in this life, amongst friends, can be more useful than money Stephan claimed during their meeting at Alexa’s. Once well at back to his ususal self Sarah saw that Stephan was not a nice man. He was a polite when necessary though and keen to return the favour. His arm had recovered well and he hated being in debt.
Sarah was acutely aware of her usefulness to the Travellers she would go so far as thinking they needed her. During their meet up she’d had difficulty telling Stephan exactly what she wanted and why. However, he coaxed it out of her, smiling broadly and giving her the feeling that he knew Kevin Hargreaves. He was almost too keen to help after reading the papers.
Insisting that, with his nephew as the victim, the lawyer would have no wriggle room and Kevin would go to prison.
Still, sat on the wall outside, as Sarah watched the boy go through the courthouse doors she couldn’t help but be worried. The boy victim had turned up alone. Surely the court would notice he wasn’t displaying behaviour usually attributed to a vulnerable child? But unable to view the proceedings, she left the courthouse and went for a run around the surrounding streets.
Kevin sat, head facing down, on the hard wooden bench inside the wooden box, waiting for everyone to be seated. If he felt brave and looked up, his eyes were met with icy stares from the court staff. He stared at his feet and again tried to stop himself from crying. At over six foot in height, not many people would have any sympathy for him, especially with what he was charged with.
During the time Kevin had been held on remand at Littlehey Prison he had attempted to find out who’d set him up. He’d found out from the some of the other inmates, who claimed they were innocent, the people who’d set them up often used child actors. These actors knew how to work emotions. He didn’t believe it, couldn’t believe what was happening to him. For the first time in his life, he was proper scared.
He’d learnt a lot whilst in prison, enough to know he didn’t want to go back. His friends had found it difficult to visit him and the social services wouldn’t let him see Tori or Simon because of the charges and what they’d found on Simon’s PC. Kevin doubted his son would want to speak to him, especially since finding Helen who could blame him for that? He’d made a mistake not getting rid of her things but he’d not been on the police’s radar at all. Who had known? He’d told no one. Also, he’d upset no one. He carried and stored the cocaine as requested, only taking a little for himself.
He’d racked his memory bank to think of which one of his acquaintances had organised this for him but come up with nothing. No one he knew would do this.
The usher came in and requested the court occupants stand up as the judge entered; he stood up with two security guards either side. The court was filled with people he didn’t know. He recognized his solicitor; a new one. He’d never met the Barrister. They’d all been appointed by the court. Kevin watched the process unfold; skin grey, despair and disbelief etched on his face. The jury were sworn in. Kevin Hargreaves would be tried separately for his crimes.
The Crown Prosecution Service barrister accusingly showed his daughter’s knickers with his sperm on them to the jurors. The jury were told about the friday night tea treat. They were shown the messages on his phone. He was asked why he hadn’t reported the phone calls and messages if they’d been a nuisance and unwanted.
His defense amounted to nothing. And, there was a victim willing to bravely tell their story of what Kevin had done to them.
His barrister questioned the alleged victim by video link. The boy he had never seen in his life. The boy the court listened to as he painted a picture of him as a depraved sex pest and a danger to children. He described his hotel in London and said he’d been taken there to sing Christmas carols. The boy recognized his photo in the paper and had come forward. The boy was a good boy and suffered panic attacks now. Kevin was upset himself at the things the boy had gone through and had to keep reminding himself of the reality.
The usher asked Kevin to stand whilst the verdict was given. The jurors hadn’t taken long to decide. The verdict was read out by the court juror and sentence given by the judge. They found him guilty of child sexual assault, he felt his knees buckled and it took all his strength and resolve to stay stood up. Again, he looked around the court, there was no one that he knew.
Jane hadn’t attended. In truth she’d not spoken to him since they’d found Helen.
The neighbours were no longer helpful since the night he’d been arrested. Apart from the Whites, who’d watched him attempting to bring their daughter back to them surrounded by police, who’d contacted him to say regardless of the verdict they were keeping their children away from him he’d had contact with no one. With no access to a phone inside the prison, he’d written letters, but no one had responded.
Already having served three months on remand the judge told him that he had a further six years and informed he’d be returning to face the charges of drug trafficking and the murder of his wife at a later date. The police officers who guided him back to the car teased,
“In the old days they’d have chopped it off, now you might be released within a year with good behaviour.”
They put him back in the van along with two other prisoners to transport him back to Littlehey prison until it was decided where he would serve out the rest of his sentence.
Now, a beaten man, Kevin started crying.
“Fucking baby.” The security guard leered back at him.
Kevin sat up, he’d be calling prison ‘home’ for a while. He dried his eyes on his sleeve and stretched out his neck and shoulders, attempting to push off some stress. He rolled his neck to the left and right, pushing his chin forward and opened his eyes as the van suddenly lunged forward, braking hard, leaving his face up against the back window.
The security officer muttered from the passenger seat to the driver.
“You could have killed her.”
The driver looked at the woman in jeans and hoody stood in the road in front of them.
“Take your bloody hood down and then maybe you won’t get knocked over.” He shouted.
The woman, momentarily shocked, stared through the windscreen and gestured apologies. The guard put the van back into gear and slowly drove away.
Looking out through the back window, he saw her. This time he completely recognized her, wearing no make-up and the necklace she’d worn that night. It was Jennifer. In that split second, Kevin Hargreaves still suspected nothing and smiled at her, unable to get over the coincidence. At least someone he knew had been here. His hands still bound tight in handcuffs, he was able to nod his head in greeting.
Jennifer, slightly stunned and not ready for the encounter; smugly smiled back at him and raised her middle finger.
copyright sam J harris 2022
All characters and interactions are fictional.
This was book one of The Snap Trilogy.
Revenge is Best Served Cold
The Syndicate of Seven
The Worm Always Turns
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