Four months back into the job, Sean was feeling somewhat down. The job was just so boring, he needed something more. There was none of the excitement of his old life. Then as he was preparing his breakfast a news item on the radio piqued his interest. It was short and was just after breaking but hinted at something more.
- A dead man and woman were found in a remote house near Wicklow Town last night. The Gardai have opened a murder investigation. They are not releasing any further details as of yet.
It was very unusual to have multiple murders in one incident in Ireland. It could have a gangland hit but the location seemed odd. Sean put these thoughts to the back of mind and went off to work.
The station was buzzing when he got there. There were rumors that these murders were truly extraordinary in how horrific they were. The bodies had been cut to pieces and left strewn around the house. But Sean laughed, he knew to be wary of rumors he heard around the station. Some Gardai had fascinating imagination.
It was perhaps a strange twist of fate that Sean had by now become good friends with Garda Laura Mulhern and met her for his tea break whenever she was not on patrol. Perhaps she felt guilty over what had happened but Sean who had never been that popular was happy to have someone to chat with whatever the reason.
In truth, Sean thought she had felt sorry for him at first. He had probably seemed lost. But never guilt, he would have picked it up. Then after chatting to him a few times she found herself looking forward to seeing him perhaps. The chair had taken away some of his rougher edges and he was sure he seemed more agreeable and less cocky now. She wasn’t the only one who probably thought so.
Garda Jack Halpenny would also sometimes join them. He could be outspoken at times and Sean was still trying to warm to him. Previously they would have had no time for each other at all so it was also somewhat an improvement.
That morning there was only one topic of discussion, the murders. Jack was adamant, almost salivating that it must be linked to the gang warfare going on at the time.
“A message is being sent to the wider population – Don’t cross us. I’ve seen this kind of thing before on tv. It has happened In Italy and Brazil. It’s not uncommon for whole families to be wiped out; in Italy, a young boy was kidnapped, tortured, murdered and then had his body dissolved in acid,” he said excitedly.
“Well, I think it is just awful! Imagine what those poor people went through, especially if it’s anything like the rumors suggests. I shudder to even just think about it,” Laura interjected.
Sean, for the most part, stayed silent, intrigued by what had happened and wanting to know more. His old investigative instinct was awakening.
The case was outside the jurisdiction of their station so ultimately, they would have to wait for the news that night on television like the rest of the country or at least that’s what they thought. But a copy of the murder report came across Sean’s desk later that day due to his data entry role and relatively high rank. It was marked “urgent”.
It made for very disturbing reading and it was clear to Sean that this was no gangland hit but rather something else again and much worse. The rumors were far more accurate than previously. It had indeed been a bloodbath. The pathologist still had to complete her examination but her preliminary notes stated that the male had his throat slit, while the woman had been stabbed multiple times and had her right breast removed and left on the kitchen table.
Sean could barely believe what he was reading but he diligently entered it into the database. He thought about how disgusted and paranoid the public would be when the details were reported.
“Who would do such a thing?” he thought to himself.
Really there was only one kind of person who would do it – a serial killer, he had read about them previously. They were very rare in Ireland though. But Sean knew there were officers already dealing with it. There was no point him getting too hung up on it all; he just wished he was one of them.
Once the clock hit five Sean rushed home from work anxious to see what was reported on the RTE news, only just about making it back in time. But he was disappointed, it was only allocated a brief mention of two bodies, a murder investigation and nothing about the heinous nature of the murders was mentioned.
He struggled to sleep that night. Different thoughts kept racing through his head as if he could solve the murders by just lying there in his bed if he just tried hard enough. Then he wondered why so much punishment was meted out to the woman but the man just had his throat slit. Eventually, he managed to think about something else and fell asleep. Little did he know what awaited him the next day.
He had only wheeled into his office a few minutes when he was informed that the Superintendent wanted to see him in his office. This was most unusual; he had only spoken to him a few times since his return and had never officially been requested to go to his office before. He thought it better not to keep his superior waiting so off he went.
He was immediately waved in and his superior closed the door behind them. What followed was brief but to the point.
“I’m guessing you have heard about the double homicide just outside Wicklow Town. They had no records Sean, not even a parking ticket. There is nothing to suggest that these people are anything other than totally innocent victims. It appears that they were selected at random. I’ve never seen anything like this before; the poor woman was butchered. The Gardai will do everything possible to apprehend whatever monster is responsible as quickly as possible,” said the Superintendent sternly, his face grimacing.
“Due to your rank and your familiarity with the National Criminal Database; I’ve been told your something of a dab hand you are being given a key role in keeping it updated with new information about the case and setting the correct security clearances for each piece. Although the murders had been in Wicklow, the next murders if any could be in another county and it is important that the Gardai are able to link them.”
Sean then stated that he had already begun to do so, with the first document arriving the previous day. The Superintendent nodded saying it must have been sent right after he received the phone call. He then said it was important to keep his role quiet, that he didn’t want other personnel in the station becoming distracted to which Sean nodded in agreement.
Three days later Sean received the full report from the pathologist. By now more details had been circulated in the news media about the victims. They were husband and wife, both in their late twenties. The news stated that the details of their murders were too gruesome to report. He was an engineer and she a nurse.
Dutifully Sean scanned the report and uploaded it on to the database with the highest-level clearance required to read it. It made for somber reading. The man had been constrained with rope in a chair for up to two hours prior to death and died about an hour after his wife. She had endured the most brutality. She had been raped `multiple times prior to her death for up to two hours. The cause of death was multiple stab wounds with her body mutilated afterward. Of note, some of her genital hair had been removed as well as her right breast. Unfortunately, no fingerprints had been left at the scene. This killer was very meticulous.
Sean almost got sick looking at the photos. They were unlike anything he had seen previously and he wondered if he would need counseling by the end of the Investigation. But mostly, he felt pity for what the two people had gone through; the pain and terror they endured.
He wanted to share what he knew with his colleagues especially Laura but he remembered what his superior had told him. It was a lonely experience but he resigned himself to it. At least he felt that he was close to being at the heart of things again.
After a few weeks, the case slowly faded from the news and as a topic of general conversation. There was a hope that it was just a gruesome once-off event. Instead, the crime news was saturated by the gang warfare in Dublin. A bullet in the head here and a knifing over there.