The Irish Ripper (Chapter 7)

Weeks, then months passed and Sean had heard nothing from Billy.  But he knew it was only a matter of time before he came knocking.  The gang warfare had continued its incessant onslaught.  Bodies were showing up in all corners of the city, sometimes killed execution-style with a bullet to the back of the head. 

Sean had given up hope of anything ever happening with Laura. In fact, she said that was now with someone and happily so.  It made him feel ill just to think about it, it was probably someone boring.  Laura had been clear about it though.  They may have had a night of passion once, but it was just fun.  It never meant anything and now she only saw him as a friend.  Deep down Sean knew he would be thinking likewise if not for his injury, officially telling her he was pleased she had found someone. 

At least it was now June and there was a persistent high over the country.  Even Sean couldn’t help but be cheered by the warm weather.  It made his transfers easier; his hands were no longer frozen and at night time he didn’t have to worry about his paralyzed legs turning blue. 

But it was so much more than too, if only it could be summer all year round.  This particular Monday morning was a joy.  There was no need to bring a coat to work, he was hit by the warm air once he opened the front door and wheeled towards his car. 

He wondered what his day would hold as he turned on some pop music for his trip, having long got tired of listening to the depressing news in the morning – something strangely that never bothered him pre-accident.  Better to start the day in a good frame of mind. 

Everything seemed normal when he reached his desk.  There was still the large pile of files on his table that he needed to go through.  Better get straight into it, he thought, so that he could leave early and enjoy some of that sun.  He even considered taking a half-day. 

It was only after an hour that he realized there was something untoward when Laura frantically burst into his office. 

“Have you received anything yet?  I don’t believe it.” 

Somewhat bemused, Sean asked her what was she on about. 

“The Ripper has struck again.  That’s the nickname he’s been given.  Did you not hear from the news?” she said with incredulity.  

He quickly searched through the top of his pile but he hadn’t received anything yet.  Laura, who he probably shouldn’t have told about even his small role in the case informed him that the latest murders were reported to have happened on Saturday night in County Mayo, the other side of the country to the first ones.  It was another couple.  The pathologist had visited the scene the previous day, Sunday. 

Sean couldn’t help but be excited.  So much time had passed, but he was back.  Once again, the now so-called “Irish Ripper” was the talk of the station.  Everybody had a theory of what his motivations were and who he was; from the absurd to the sublime.  Some thought it was just a copycat to cover another reason for killing the latest couple; others were saying that the notorious killer from the seventies Bundy had been reincarnated. 

He waited impatiently for the pathologist’s report to arrive.  It wouldn’t have to wait in a pile.  But the hours passed by and it wasn’t long till lunchtime started to approach.  He was disappointed but thought it was likely to come in the afternoon. 

It was still not there on his return but there was a note telling him to attend the Superintendent’s office at three o’clock.  He suddenly felt queasy; perhaps Laura had not been keeping her mouth shut and he was about to be disciplined.  Then, taking a deep breath, he knew he had to calm down; it was unlikely Laura would betray his secrets. 

It quickly became clear that this wasn’t a disciplinary meeting.   There were far too many smiles and handshakes for that.  A special unit was being set up to investigate the murders.  There was a serial killer on the loose and he had to be stopped.  Long hours would be on the cards and they would mostly be unpaid. 

They wanted to know if Sean was prepared to be part of the unit.  He didn’t have to think twice and answered a very affirmative yes.  There were two other people in the room, the Superintendent and Sean’s new superior officer David DeRossa. 

Sean would continue to work from the same office but may have to attend meetings, both formal and informal throughout the country.  Also, he should now be prepared to field calls at any time.  This was exactly what Sean needed in his life, something he could focus on.  This was Sean’s first-time meeting DeRossa who looked close to retirement in his suit.  He had a full head of grey hair and a heavily wrinkled face with a warm, gregarious smile. 

The Super then insisted on telling De Rossa how proud he and everyone else at the station was of Sean and how well he had done getting over his injury.  It made Sean cringe, but he tried to outwardly smile; asking himself if they would say the same if they knew the whole story. 

Once that ended Sean headed back to his desk, but not before DeRossa handed him the pathologist’s report of the latest murders and other documentation, which he was told to read.  Full of intrigue, Sean wondered if he has ever loved his job quite so much, and he wasn’t quite sure what that said about him. 

On reading the report, it became clear that the news media reports were somewhat lacking in accuracy.  The two bodies had been found in a rural house close to Ballaghaderreen in Roscommon, not Mayo – although it was close to the border.   The corpses had laid there; undiscovered for approximately two weeks before discovery and had started to decompose. 

The scene was eerily similar to the previous one.  Her right breast had been removed after her death due to multiple stab wounds.  This time her intestines had also been removed though, carefully placed to the right of the body. 

Once again, the woman was the first to die.  Her male partner, whose body was found in the same room had died from just a single stab wound to the heart.  He had been strapped in a chair pointed towards her body.   

Sean studiously scanned, then entered all the relevant information onto the database.   Then he began the arduous task of reading all the documentation he was told to.  Most of it was from the FBI in the United States.  They had a behavioral unit seeking to understand the minds of serial killers, originally called sequence killers since the seventies.  An agent called John Douglas played a particularly important role.  They searched for the worst of the worst and tried to understand the motivations for what they had done.  Some killers such as Ed Kemper aka “The Co-ed Killer”, a monstrously intelligent killer of ten people that included his own mother were all too happy to divulge their secrets.  With others, it had to be slowly teased from them. 

The documentation included a speculative, psychological profile from their current behavioral analysis unit that they hoped would be of assistance.  It stated the following about The Irish Ripper – 

  • An emotional age equivalent to a 25 to 31-year-old. 
  • Engaged in paraphilic behavior and brutal sex in his private life. 
  • Engaged in sex with prostitutes. 
  • Had some knowledge of police investigative methods and evidence-gathering techniques. 
  • Sexually functional, capable of ejaculation with consenting and non-consenting partners. 
  • Enjoyed an audience. 
  • Dressed well and would not stand out in upscale neighborhoods. 
  • Good physical condition. 
  • May have a small penis. 
  • Skilled, experienced cat-burglar, and may have begun as such. 
  • Had a criminal record as a teenager which was expunged.
  • Had some means of income, but did not work in the early-morning hours. 
  • Hated women for actual (or perceived) wrongs. 
  • If married, probably had a submissive spouse who tolerated his sexually-deviant behavior. 
  • Intelligent and articulate. 
  • Probably began as a voyeur in his late teens or early twenties. 
  • Neat and well-organized in his personal life, and drove a well-maintained car. 
  • Peeped in the windows of many people who were not attacked. 
  • Possibly unmarried, and did not enter into long-term relationships. 
  • Self-assured and confident. 
  • Would continue committing violent crimes until incapacitated by prison, death, or other intervention. 
  • Would have been described by those who knew him as arrogant, domineering, manipulative, and a chronic liar. 

At least now they had some sort of idea about who they were looking for and there seemed to be plenty of avenues to look into.  Sean hoped he could be a part of that as he excitedly kept reading.   There were also other notes on the general characteristics of serial killers. 

According to the paperwork, there are two types of serial killers; those who are organized and those who are disorganized.  Organized crimes are premeditated and well-thought-out so few clues are left behind.  They are generally antisocial with strong psychopathic tendencies but know right from wrong, are not technically insane and have no remorse.  They take their time and inflict horrendous suffering on their victims. 

Organized killers are likely to be intelligent, attractive, married or living with a domestic partner, employed, educated, skilled, orderly, cunning and controlled. They have some degree of social grace, may even be charming, and have often been thought of as pillars of their community, talking and seducing their victims into being captured.  

With organized offenders, there are typically three separate crime scenes: where the victim was preyed on by the killer, where the victim was murdered, and where the victim’s body was disposed of. Organized killers are usually very difficult to apprehend because they go to inordinate lengths to cover their tracks and often are forensically savvy, meaning they are familiar with police investigation methods.  

They are likely to follow the news media reports of their crimes and may even correspond with the news media.  In rare circumstances, they have even contacted investigators. 

Disorganized killers were very different.  Disorganized crimes, in contrast, are not planned and the criminals typically leave evidence such as their fingerprints or blood at the scene of the murder. There is sometimes no attempt to move or otherwise conceal the corpse after the murder. Disorganized criminals are often young and under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or mentally ill. They often have deficient communication and social skills and may be below average in intelligence. 

The disorganized offender is likely to come from a broken or dysfunctional family and have often have been abused physically or sexually by relatives. They are often sexually inhibited, sexually uninformed and may have sexual aversions or other pathologies. They are more likely than organized criminals to be compulsive masturbators. They are often isolated from others, live alone and are frightened or confused during the commission of their murders. They often do not have reliable transportation, so they kill their victims closer to home than organized offenders. 

There could be no doubt in anybody’s mind that this Ripper was at the extreme end of the organized variety, Sean thought to himself.  The murders were meticulously planned and there were no clues.  They were bordering on perfection.  He must be someone of great intelligence, who was most probably, highly educated. 

Sean continued to read vociferously hoping that his mind would absorb everything.  In addition to the organized/disorganized dichotomy, a serial killer may leave traces of one or both of the following behavioral characteristics: MO (modus operandi or method of operation) and signature—the personal mark or imprint of the offender. While every crime has a MO, not all crimes have a signature.  

The MO is what the offender must do in order to commit the crime. For example, the killer must have the means to control his victims at the crime scene such as tying them up. Significantly, the MO is a learned behavior that can change over time.  

A serial killer will alter and refine his MO to accommodate new circumstances or to incorporate new skills and information. For example, instead of using rope to tie up a victim, the offender may learn that it is easier and more effective to bring handcuffs to the crime scene. 

The signature, on the other hand, is not required in order to commit the crime. Rather, it serves the emotional or psychological needs of the offender. The signature comes from within the psyche of the offender and it reflects a deep fantasy need that the killer has about his victims. Fantasies develop slowly, increase over time and may begin with the torture of animals during childhood. 

The essential core of the signature, when present, is that it is always the same because it emerges out of an offender’s fantasies that evolved long before killing his first victim. The signature may involve mutilation or dismemberment of the victim’s body.  

An investigator, he read, may also encounter deliberate alterations of the crime scene or the victim’s body position at the scene of the murder. If these alterations are made for the purpose of confusing or otherwise misleading criminal investigators, then they are called staging and they are considered to be part of the killer’s MO.  

On the other hand, if the crime scene alterations only serve the fantasy needs of the offender, then they are considered part of the signature and they are referred to as posing. Sometimes, a victim’s body is posed to send a message to the police or the public. 

For a few moments, Sean put down the books and thought about the killer.  In this case, the Gardai knew very little about the MO but a signature was apparent.  The male was in both cases bound to a chair facing the direction of the female who was raped and mutilated, before the killer’s focus turned back to him. 

The killer wanted an audience.  That must be part of the fantasy and where he gets his sexual exhilaration from.  But he must also have had some deep-seated hatred of women leading to the mutilation of their bodies. 

For a moment, Sean felt a chill down his spine.  This killer would not stop of his own accord.  There could yet be dozens of future victims. 

Or was the killer just posing? Sean wondered.  Making potential investigators think it was about sex when it wasn’t?  That didn’t seem likely though, surely no ordinary person could do this? 

Just before Sean left the station to go home for the night, he received details about the victims that would be released to the media within the hour.  It made for particularly depressing reading. 

Both of the victims worked in the medical profession in the Mater hospital in Dublin.  They had told their colleagues they were going on holiday to an undisclosed location and had been butchered in the man’s holiday home.  Even their friends didn’t know where they were going but the Ripper somehow did.  They must have been murdered shortly after their arrival. 

He was a 41-year-old anesthesiologist named John O’Hara, renowned worldwide in his field; she was a much loved 26-year-old nurse originally from the Philippines called Mary.  The callous murder would not only affect them and their colleagues but also an unknowable number of patients. 

He was athletic, tall, handsome and Sean imagined that he would have given the attacker some difficulties.  But there were no signs of a struggle.  A photo of Mary was enclosed.  She was petite with long, flowing hair.  Sean shuddered when he thought about what she must have gone through. 

There were some similarities with the previous murder as regards the location.  They were both one-story.  That would have made it easy to survey all the rooms prior to launching an attack or maybe, it was that he could easily escape if things didn’t go according to his diabolical plan. 

Sean, his eyes now tired and sunken turned off his computer to go home.  It had been a long day.  That night, while lying in bed, he wondered what the future would hold both for him and everyone else.  The news on both the radio and television was filled with interviews from ordinary people about their fears of being the next unfortunate victim.  There was now an atmosphere of fear permeating the country. 

One day in Croker (Part 12)

She shuffled back and forth in the bed, unable to sleep. Different thought rushing through her mind. Tomorrow, she would finally get to Stephen again. It had been too long time. Would he still find her attractive? Was she going to say something stupid and ruin everything?

It had been a long drive of nearly three and a half hours from Mullingar to Killarney. She didn’t mind, it gave her an opportunity to listen to her favorite pop songs for a few hours. She was staying in a B&B near the outskirts of the town. Stephen lived a few miles outside of town.

She hadn’t got to see much of the town on the drive in. The house she was staying in was quaint, s small white bungalow. There was lovely décor on the inside probably to impress any visiting Americans.

Her friends and sister thought her mad. You are going to do what? All the way to Kerry? How are you going to make it work with the distance and the wheelchair?

Only she could understand the bond that they had. She hadn’t felt this about a guy before and she wouldn’t just let him pass her by. She just hoped that tomorrow went well.

The Irish Ripper (Chapter 6)

To the rest of the world, Sean’s darkest day was obvious, there could be no doubt.  A car crash and paralysis should surely stand head and shoulders over everything else.  But life is not always so straightforward and many can harbor dark secrets, which eat into their very souls. 

The day before Sean’s crash was no ordinary one; it was one that he would also never forget.  The thing that Sean had always liked about being a detective was the freedom that it gave him.  So long as he produced the results, they didn’t care much what he had got up to.  It suited him and them. 

 That morning had started like many others with a visit to a hooker.  Her name was Candice and Sean wanted to know if she wanted her laptop back that had been seized the previous week when her place was raided.  Of course, Sean would want something in return.   

Her place, presumably her home was a dingy two-bedroom flat in a large complex that would usually be a no-go area for lone Gardai.  But it was early morning, the “bad” crowd would be nursing their hangovers at this stage of the day and anyways he was in an unmarked car in civilian clothes, he thought to himself. 

Sean made sure to sidestep the needles and hold his nose as he quickly pranced up to the fourth floor, cocky that everything would go well.  On reaching the apartment, he gave the door a few hard knocks.  Nobody came to answer but he knew from previously checking her website; that she was definitely there, so he knew she was in there probably with a client. 

So; he knocked again and shouted out that it was the Gardai.  After about a minute the door swung open and what appeared more an old boy rather than a man quickly darted out.  Sean couldn’t but smile to himself that he might have just stopped that boy from losing his virginity. 

However, “Candice” to punters but otherwise known as Jane, looked far from amused with a wide grimace across her face.  It didn’t bother Sean though as he salivated at her large breasts, thin waist and long, flowing black hair that touched her buxom bottom.  He knew the drill having had done this, many times previously.  All that mattered was that he had something she needed and would do anything to get back. 

“What the fuck doo ya wan’” she said angrily in red lingerie in her strong Lithuanian accent. 

“Now is that any way to address a gentleman?  Especially one that has come out all this way with a gift?  Surely, not.”  Sean held the laptop forward in front of him so that she would see it. 

She came towards the door but he quickly withdrew it back behind him.   

“Obviously, I would want some kind of reward for my good behavior,” Sean said grinning, “about a half-hour of thank yous should do it…” 

“You coppers, all the same,” she said in loud resignation as she motioned her hands for him to enter. 

She didn’t need to show him to where to go, he remembered from the raid the previous week and headed straight to the bedroom in the cramped flat.  That was when he first set eyes on the beauty and knew he’d be back to have her. 

Not having much time to spare, he quickly took off his clothes throwing them into a pile in the corner.  Briefly, he wondered how many other men she’d had in the last few hours; not that he was the squeamish type.  He hadn’t had sex in a few days and nothing was going to stop him. 

After a few minutes, she appeared before him and asked what he wanted.   

Sean pointed towards his penis and she got on her knees.  His hands brushed through her hair, then began rubbing her breasts as she sucked.  This was what he had been waiting for.  But just as he was about to climax a group of three men entered the room and she withdrew, spitting in his face. 

For a moment, Sean just stood there stunned by the turn of events.  He recognized one of the men from his job; it was Joe McCraven.  A short, articulate gangster, renowned as much for his cleverness as his brutality.  It wasn’t every day you bumped into a criminal with multiple degrees and fluency in foreign languages. 

“Well, well – look who we have here – Detective Sean O’Callaghan.  You’re nothing if not predictable.  I told the boys here that you’d be back.  You see you have a pattern – like a dog who can’t stop pissing on the wrong tree,” he said laughing. 

“What do ya want?” Sean replied angrily, still covering his privates with his hands. 

“Put your fucking clothes on first you disgusting pig,” another of the men interjected, an opportunity he quickly seized. 

It was a set-up.  They knew he’d be back because he always was.  Now they had him on camera with a prostitute that he was involved in busting only the previous week.  His career would be finished in disgrace.  Now it was only about what they wanted in return – and they wanted something very big. 

The Gardai had been running a very successful witness protection program and they wanted details on a snitch by lunchtime.  Sean pleaded with them that they were being totally unreasonable and that there was no way he could get the information that quickly. 

But they were unperturbed, adamant that if they didn’t get the information they needed within that timeframe, Sean’s “porn” would be on the internet and a concerned member of the public would feel obligated to inform his colleagues. 

They wanted the details and in particular the whereabouts of one Stephen Clarke who had turned tout on his former associates after being caught in possession of a major haul of cocaine.  He was due to give evidence that afternoon.  That is why they were insisting on such a tight time constraint; they had been surprised by how long it had taken for their trap to spring. 

“Look man, I couldn’t give a fuck.  Not a fuck, just get his details or else,” said Joe menacingly. 

Sean knew he was skewered, there was no obvious solution.  He put Joe’s number into his mobile phone and told them that he would get they wanted.  They gave him a final warning that they were not the people to be messed with as he hastily made his way out of the apartment. 

His mind was racing as he quickly went down the stairs and into his car.  Once there, he tried to calm down.  He could feel his heart beating through his chest; he needed a plan and he needed it very fast.   

The information about informants was only kept on paper files in drawers in the basement of the station as it was considered too risky to keep them in an electronic format where they could be hacked and copied ad infinitum.  But you needed a swipe card to get down there, and Sean needed to think of a legitimate reason to go visit. 

Then it came to him in a flash.  Garda Laura Mulhern sometimes did the rather boring task of manning the basement some mornings and he was pretty sure that day was one of them.  He knew she had been having a rough time of it lately and having always wanted to bed her, he could kill two birds with the one stone. 

Garda Mulhern was having a dour morning.  A week previously she had broken up with what turned out to be a short-term boyfriend.  She was disappointed that things hadn’t turned out better, missing the sex and having someone to talk to.  He had dumped her, which made her feel worse.  He said that he wanted a girlfriend that would be there when he needed, not on shift work who sometimes wouldn’t show up. 

To boot, it was one of those mornings where she was tasked with manning “The Dungeon”.   It was given that name for many reasons; it was the oldest part of the station and you had to walk down a sheer set of stone steps bowing your head so as not to hit it which led you to an underground cavern.  This was where the station’s greatest secrets were kept. 

It used to be where prisoners were kept back in the day but the conditions were considered too squalid for them, so now it was just used for the torture of Gardai.  This was pure sentry work, making sure someone didn’t just come in and walk off with all the most important files.  It was a tedious job and sometimes she wouldn’t see anybody during her shift at all. 

So, she was quite surprised and somewhat excited to see Detective Callaghan walking down the steps.  She knew that he wanted her, he had made that clear and that fact enthused her, she wanted the attention.   

“How’s things, Laura?” was the somewhat banal start to the conversation, but it quickly turned sexual, with him telling her how sexy she looked in uniform to which she gave a wide smile.  She teased him saying that it would be taken off once she got home. 

She did find it somewhat odd, however when he asked her if she needed a break of any sort.  But she did need to leave for a few minutes and was thankful for it, telling him she’d be quick. 

Sean didn’t waste any time once she was gone, and went immediately going over to her desk, where the computer that held the database was.  All Sean had to do was type in the name and the cabinet number appeared on the screen – L15.  That was the easy part. 

The cabinets didn’t seem to be arranged in any particular order physically.  Cabinets labeled “Z” were besides those labeled “A”, for instance.  This was more likely due to general tardiness over the years rather than a clever security measure. 

Anxiously, he went from cabinet to cabinet, trying to find the required detail; he knew Laura wouldn’t be that long.   Then he paused for a second; it was probably at the very back, he thought to himself.  It was a hunch but he went for it and there it was.   

He quickly opened the file he was looking for, putting the address into his phone, but didn’t send it yet.  His heart started to race when he heard the door starting to open and he tried to quickly walk back to her desk but he only made it three-quarters of the way before she saw him.  He saw an expression of puzzlement on her face and knew he needed to think of something fast. 

“What about tonight?  I was thinking of calling over,” he said with a cheeky grin. 

Laura liked him being so direct; it was about time she allowed herself some fun.  

“Yeah sure why not?  I’ll be waiting for you..” she said with a smile. 

With that, he was out the door.  Things couldn’t have gone better; he had the information he needed and was going to get the sex he had missed out on earlier.  He would have thanked God had he believed in such things.  Actually, maybe he wouldn’t. 

He knew better than to send the details from his own phone so he memorized the address and left it at his desk, then left the station and bought a new pay-as-you-go phone with cash.  Then with some hesitation, he sent on the details, knowing that doing so was probably a death sentence. 

One day in Croker (Part 11)

Aoife was elated but also worried when she received it. At least she hadn’t been ghosted but he could be really unwell. That was the last thing that she would have wanted.

She started flicking her pen and looked at the computer screen. It was filled with seemingly random numbers that she needed to make some sort of sense out of.. A report was due that morning. She had two hours left. It wasn’t looking good.

She got up and went out outside. She knew what was important to her and picked up her phone.

“Hey Stephen, how are things?”

“Ah Aoife, thanks for ringing. I’m doing better now. Great to hear your voice. Yeah, I haven’t been well. Got a really bad flu or something but I’ve started to improve.”

“I was worried about you when you didn’t text. Can I come down and see you?”

“Not yet, but I should be better in two weeks or so. Maybe next month?

“Yes I’ll arrange to visit then. Have to go but I’m looking forward to seeing you.”

“Me too.”

Aoife couldn’t but go back to the office with a smile on her face.

Later that night the regular texting resumed.

  • Can’t wait to see you Aoife xx
  • Me too. You had me worried there for a while xx

Review of Prey (2022 Film)

Well ladies and gentlemen, finally a “woke” film to truly savor. Although not stated in the title, this is a Predator film. The alien must prove that he is top of the food chain, as we know from the other Predators films. There will be death and glory.

What’s unique about this particular film is where and when it is set – The Great Plains in 1719. And the Predator comes up against The Comanche. It is the stuff that dreams are made of. The other films always alluded to the fact that Predators had been visiting Earth for a very long time and now we finally get to see one of those scenarios play out.

The film centers around a female commanche called Naru. She sees herself as a great hunter but her brother and mother would much prefer if she stayed in the kitchen so to speak. As to be expected with a film in these modern times, she turns out to be the true hunter. And she does it in true style.

During a hunt she spots the alien, although not realizing it is a monster from another world. She resolves to take it down to show her tribe that she is the real deal.

What follows are some great action scenes. It is brutal, with no quarter given exactly as you would expect. Of course, evil Europeans show up for a while but thankfully they are laid to waste.

The ending is good but I would have liked an alien ship to appear to salute our heroine. Overall, I give this film four stars out of five and highly recommend you watch it.

Well that’s it from me, for now. Don’t forget to subscribe!

The Irish Ripper (Chapter 5)

This was not the life Sean had envisioned for himself.  He had tried to stay positive since his accident but things were starting to get him down.  Every day felt like an endurance test of sheer drudgery.  Work was mostly mundane and boring, then he’d come home to an empty house, repeating the process the next day.  Nothing had happened in relation to the double murder in Wicklow except for the newspapers branding the killer “The Irish Ripper.” 

There was the odd argument on television that this was sensationalist and glamourized violence but the name stuck nevertheless.  Sean was surprised that neither had there been a breakthrough in the case or more killings.  Part of him was disappointed. 

He missed the excitement of his old life and the murders had all too briefly brought some of that back.  But now it seemed to be gone all too fleetingly.  He longed to be able to stand again, to run; to spend days driving around Dublin looking for suspects. 

Sex was another thing he craved.  He had none since his injury; in fact, there hadn’t even been a kiss.  He wondered what it would be like now that he could feel nothing in his penis.  It felt like he was a virgin all over again.  He wouldn’t even know where to start, it had been such a long time since he felt so vulnerable and lost. 

Like everything these days, he went to the internet for guidance, which was a complex myriad of information.  Some websites had a reassuring message that there was more to sex than just penetration.  There was touching, sensuality and intimacy.  In fact, some said they had better sex after injury and even found other erogenous spots on their body to receive pleasure but that it took time and patience. 

But on other websites, there was negativity, with men especially saying how hard they found it to find partners with a visible disability.  That women just no longer looked at them post-injury.  They yearned for companionship and for someone to reach out and touch them. 

There were disability dating websites.  Sean wasn’t quite sure if he’d date a woman with a disability.  Life seemed so complicated as it was.  Surely, an able-bodied woman, who could do things he can’t be best.  But he wasn’t ruling out the idea.   

Then there was a further complication in that some able-bodied people had a sexual preference or kink for disability.  It was something Sean couldn’t quite get his head around.  In any event, female devotees seemed to be rare and he thought it unlikely, that he would ever meet any. 

A week previously, he had tried his luck with Laura but to no avail.  She had done it once; it wasn’t like they would have been breaking new ground but that’s not the way she saw it.  They were friends now; it wasn’t the same and that was only ever intended as a once-off. 

“Is it the chair?” he retorted but in response, she slammed the door in his face. 

Sean thought Jack would understand but he had a wholly different perspective when he mentioned it to him at tea break.  Little did he know she had already phoned him wondering was she in the wrong much to Jack’s chagrin.  She was far too good for him and anyway, he had an eye for her himself. 

“You really are an asshole, but I guess you always were.  She doesn’t owe you a thing, yet she’s been there worried about you since your return,” he replied. 

Sean nodded in quiet acquiescence and changed the conversation back to football.  Perhaps he was in the wrong but he hadn’t anticipated such a strong rebuttal.  He had expected at least some sympathy but there was none whatsoever. 

On returning to his desk, he felt a rage coursing through his veins.  This was the first time that he felt everything was just getting too much.  He had no reason to look forward to the next day or any day in his future.  His future seemed unendingly bleak. 

He tried to finish off his day at work but left early, telling people that he had a medical appointment but nobody seemed to care anyway.  Sean thought he needed medicine alright, but it would be in the form of a nice cold beer. 

For a few minutes he wondered in his car where would the best place to go given his circumstances.  Then “Flanagans” popped into his mind.  It was in the middle of his old work area and he remembered that there were no steps or that into it.  It was in a rough area though where he might bump into undesirables he once knew, but he didn’t care anymore. 

Fortunately, as he had left early, he missed rush hour and it only took twenty minutes to reach the pub although he had to park a street away as there was nowhere else suitable to.  It was somewhat of a relief to finally get to the front door of the pub in his chair where a kind woman opened the door. 

There was already a good crowd inside, all of whom seemed to look in his direction as he entered.  It was a musty, archaic place but that didn’t bother Sean who went to one of the free low tables at the back.  There was a muted television not too far from him.   Everything was as he remembered, giving him a brief sense of stability in a tumultuous day.  Just a few seconds later, one of the two exquisitely dressed barmen came over to ask if he wanted anything. 

Without thinking he asked for his favorite staple, a whiskey, and red.  Once the first drop hit his lips, he began to think about all the high points in his life.  Maybe he could still have a few more, he thought to himself.   

It didn’t take long for the first whiskey to go down, then another and another till they all started to blur into one another.  The bar gradually became more and more packed and a band started to get ready to play. 

“Bejesus, is that you?  I thought you wer’ dead!” 

It was one of the former McCraven twins with a henchman.  This was one of the worst people Sean could have bumped into as the twins were notoriously violent and hated cops.  They must have taken over this territory since Sean was last there.   

The McCraven twins were Billy Sullivan and Joe McCraven.  It was Billy who now stood before him.  Strangely they were not actually related but earned the moniker due to the fact they had grown up in the same vicinity, their similar appearance and age.   Joe and his loyal henchman had been murdered a few days after Sean’s accident. 

“It’s me all right,” Sean sternly replied, anxious to show no fear as the two men sat down at his table.  

Billy, a bald, heavy man with a protruding square jaw, and impeccably dressed in a black suit sat right beside him.  The henchman who was slender, with ruffled long hair and with a withdrawn look that signified a drug addiction sat disinterested further away. 

“Long time, no see.  You still a pig?” Billy asked a passive-aggressive tone, with a big smile. 

Sean nodded that he was.  Fortunately, they were in a public place so he was pretty sure – or at least hoping – that there would be no violence.  If there was, he wouldn’t stand a chance.  His calculation would have been somewhat different if they were down a dark alley instead. 

“I now own quite a nice stake of this place.  Going up in the world you see.  Hope you enjoy your night, I mean that.” 

Billy then turned to the barman and signaled to get Sean another one.    

Then he patted Sean on his back before motioning towards him and whispering in his ear, 

“Thanks, by the way for Stephen Clarke.  Jessica told me when I paid her a visit.  She’s such a nice, sweet girl.  I’m sure none of your Garda buddies know about that.  If they did, all that sympathy for you being a cripple would evaporate very fucking fast.  Don’t worry, I’ll be in touch.” 

With that Billy and his henchman got up and left leaving Sean in a state of shock.  Nobody should have known about Stephen Clarke especially not the likes of Billy McManus.  Stephen had been shot dead many months ago.  This idea of going to the pub was probably the worst mistake Sean had ever made.  Now he would be beholden to a criminal – and one of the worst ones in the city at that. 

There was nothing for it except a few more whiskeys; nothing really mattered anymore.  Sean was now starting to get emotional with the odd tear slowly flowing down either side of his face.  He knew, even in his drunken state that he would be drawing unwanted attention towards himself so he headed to the disabled bathroom, needing to empty his bladder in any event.   

Fortunately, the bathroom was as large as he remembered and the wheelchair was easily able to fit in.  He then self-catheterized, before moving towards the mirror to wipe the tears from his eyes. 

Sean could hear a noise in the background and slowly opened his eyes.  Confused at first, he quickly realized that he was still in the toilet.  He quickly looked at his watch; over two hours had passed.  It was definitely time to go, he thought to himself.  At least his head had cleared somewhat as he remembered with a shudder the trouble he was now in with Billy. 

He opened the toilet door and pushed himself out hoping nobody would realize what had happened; more for his own dignity than any other reason.  Fortunately, the bar was now packed and nobody was paying him much attention, except maybe a bit of annoyance when he had to ask them to move out of his way. 

Soon he was out and hit by a refreshing cold breeze.  Making his way slowly back to his car he found himself constantly looking over his shoulder for fear that Billy or one of his cronies would be after him, though he probably had little to fear for all the wrong reasons.   

The parking spot for his car seemed far from ideal now; down a narrow, poorly lit side street.  So, it was with a sense of intense relief that he finally transferred back into his car and ignited the engine.  Now for the next problem. 

Sean knew he was certainly over the alcohol limit for driving.  His little sleep might have been a blessing in disguise as he would have almost definitely crashed the car on his way home otherwise.  He had perhaps undeservedly been given a chance to fight another day. 

Pausing for a few moments he considered the best route home to avoid being caught for drink driving by his colleagues.  Fortunately, when they did set up stops, they almost always picked the same spots.  If he went the back streets, he thought, he should be okay. 

Meanwhile, Billy could hardly believe his luck that he had seen Sean in the bar; it was like receiving the greatest gift in his life.  He had thought him dead, for otherwise, he would have sought him out already.  There was nothing an Irish criminal would want more than to have a dirty Garda but to have an Inspector on the side, would be a game-changer. 

Perhaps he shouldn’t have given Jessica such a vicious beating after all.  She had fallen behind on her money; that’s just not something that can be let go, otherwise, they’d all be at it.  Through her tears, she had offered a freebie but he was just after sex already.   

It was after the first hard punch to her stomach that she had told him about Sean. 

“What’s the fucking point telling me that ya stupid bitch?  He’s dead, I heard!” he roared before continuing his gratuitous assault. 

When he left, she was rolled up in a corner sobbing in a pool of blood.  He knew that he had gone overboard; her face was even a mess and that was bad for business no matter how good he felt afterward. 

Now it turned out, she really had given him valuable information.  Ah well, it wasn’t the kind of thing that Billy would dwell on for longer than a few seconds.  That was one of the reasons why he was so suited to this life; there was little use for things such as compassion and forgiveness. 

No, he had many more important things to consider like how he could use this new tool against his enemies.  It would take time though, it had to appear like he had lady luck on his side rather than playing a rigged game. 

It would mean that he could sleep a bit more soundly at night.  With that, he pondered his next move.  He could go home to his wife and three kids or pay a visit to his latest girlfriend; a leggy, Chechen girl called Nathalie.  She had promised him a good night after the expensive Gucci handbag he got her and now he was in the right kind of mood for it. 

One day in Croker (Part 10)

Over the next few days, Aoife and Stephen texted back and forth. Most of the texts were trivial but endearing –

How are you today?

Is work going okay?

Thinking of you.

He seemed to intrinsically know how to lift her spirits.

Usually, she felt terrible after interacting with men. But then, she rarely spent time getting to know them first either.

Then late one night, while she was curled up in her bed, he wrote –

I think you are so beautiful.

A rush of excitement flew through her.


Yes, really.

I think you are cute too.

With that their relationship seemed to enter a new level. He was there, but not there. Always by her side and never by her side. It was brilliant and yet excruciating. Why did she have to find someone in the backend of Kerry of all places?

Then one day the replies suddenly stopped. Her heart sank.

“What’s wrong? her sister asked.

But she couldn’t tell her. It was embarrassing. She had only met him once but her feelings had grown so strong.

Then two three days later in the middle of her workday, a text message arrived.

Sorry Aoife. I’ve been in hospital.

The Irish Ripper (Chapter 4)

There’s nothing quite like killing.  The ecstasy and the joy when all the planning comes to fruition.  For weeks afterward it plays repeatedly over in my mind.  Their screams turning into the most perfect of music to my ears.  Pleading for their lives as they realize things are about to get even worse; there can be no gain or pleasure without their pain. 

But then it gradually fades no matter how hard you try to keep it.  If only these were earlier times without the menace of CCTV, fingerprints and mobile phones; it would be all so much easier to quickly go on to the next kill.  Instead, the process must start all over again.   

A target has already been selected.   She is my type with a slim build with long, black flowing hair and barely over twenty.  It will be fun to corrupt her innocence.  Now it is just a matter of following her from work, understanding her day to day routine, checking out her residence and putting the tools in place.  Then will be waiting.  Waiting for the CCTV of my surveillance to be deleted in the supermarket and on the streets.  I do love privacy laws.  Only then is there a strike. 

There are many things that could yet go wrong.  Maybe she will sense being followed, perhaps her residence is inappropriate or there is more than one man in the house.  Often, the process must be restarted; a new target found.  The rules must be followed. 

The rules came from years of practice and they had proved to be invaluable.  They were hard-earned though, through extensive burglaries at first.  Amazingly, that’s where the thrill originally came from.  It wasn’t what was stolen but rather the fact of violating their space; exerting your control over them. 

The first was a neighbors’ house.  They were a troublesome household, albeit they had one beautiful gem.  Skinny with curly brown hair, her name was Alice, she had been an object of my affection for many years.  Every night I would touch myself while I thought of her.  That short school dress, she was seeking my attention.  Sometimes, she would unwittingly tease by going into a run.  I would follow her back and forth to school and any other opportunity that arose. 

Then one fine day and without any warning, her burly loutish father shouted at me from a distance to keep away from her.  Never before had I felt such rage as I stormed home.  Surely, I deserved so much more respect and that was when I swore vengeance.  He would pay for his intransigence, for not respecting me. 

Each night, I waited for an opportunity to reveal itself in bushes near the house.  It didn’t take many.  An open window when they were out and I was in.  But then there was confusion about what exactly to do, what would be a fitting punishment.  They had little to want so the place was trashed and the floor was defecated on.  But the true highpoint was repeatedly slamming the kitten against the wall till it moved no more.  It belonged to her and how she loved to cradle it. 

It was too close to home though.  Despite the lack of evidence people seemed to sense it was me.  As if they could feel the evil emanating from my direction.  The stares and finger-pointing, it was most regrettable.  The police never appeared at the door, at least.  In future, more thought would have to be put into such activities.  Hence, the formulation of the rules began. 

There were more than just a few rules required though.  Breaking and entering was a craft, that required study and time.  The internet and local library proved invaluable sources of knowledge but nothing compared to the first-hand experience.  So that’s what I set out to get.  There was a neighborhood full of bungalows a few miles away with easy entry and exit points, in case things did not go according to plan.    

It proved to be an invaluable training ground.  There was no lock that could not be unpicked or vulnerability that couldn’t be taken advantage of.  Increasingly drawn to female’s bedrooms, I would go through their underwear, sniffing them and taking whatever, I pleased.  Perhaps, not what you would imagine.  As a burglar, acquiring money or items of monetary value was never my objective. 

Gradually the confidence began to grow.  There was no longer a need to wait for houses to become unoccupied.  All that was required was the cover of darkness.  It magnified the excitement ten-fold.  Imagine how they felt the next morning knowing that I had been there right beside them; their terror and disgust. 

Of course, this was risky and eventually, something was going to go wrong.  It was a ten-year-old girl that almost led to my demise.  There I was looking at her pretty face when her eyes suddenly opened and she screamed.  For a split second, I froze but then I heard movement and a man’s voice in a nearby room and tried to exit the house as hastily as I could. 

But he caught up to me in the kitchen armed with what appeared to be a baseball bat in the shadows.  Then the burly man swung high hoping to hit my head but I ducked and plunged my knife into his mid-rift forcing him backward to the ground. 

Not waiting for a second longer I ran out the door and followed the planned emergency escape route to the sound of a woman shouting vigorously for help behind.  The heart only stopped racing when I was certain that I was out of danger. 

A few days later I read in the local paper that the man had died.  My wild stab had managed to sever a major artery.  There was no sense of remorse, quite the opposite.  It was only a pity that I had not stayed to watch the life force slowly fade from his eyes.  The paper also reported vigilantes were setting up groups to patrol the area.  A new playground would have to be found. 

After all that excitement though, burglaries would no longer be enough.  There were just too many women waiting for me in their beds untouched.  That was about to change. 

One day in Croker (Part 9)

Aoife rose groggily from the bed. Her head was pounding. It was an unfamiliar cluttered room. She looked at the partially clothed guy beside her trying to think of his name. Was it John or Gerald? Oops. The sex had been quite forgettable but in fairness he was probably just as intoxicated as she had been. Ah well, it had been a great night. It started off in the Druids Chair, then a few in the Greville before ending up in the Crossbar.

The pubs had all been packed. It took an age to get a pint not to mind trying to get into the ladies toilet. That was a total disaster. But everybody had a smile on their face. We were the All-Ireland Champions.

She quickly put on her clothes and checked what time it was on her mobile. Nearly 11am, damn. She opened the door silently trying to remember which way was the exit. If only she had a few less shots. She found herself in a narrow hallway with flowery wallpaper. She took a few steps to the right. It led into a kitchen and she could hear a man and woman chatting away. She turned and went back the other way.

Sure enough, after turning a corner it led to the front door and then she was out. She recognized the neighborhood. It was the other side of town. A long walk ahead lay ahead.

Oh why couldn’t she have a nice boyfriend like most of her friends rather than seeking intimacy in the arms of strangers? Not that there was anything wrong with that. She just wanted more, alot more.

Some time later, she made it home. She still lived at home and reckoned her mother would be furious that she hadn’t returned home. But upon opening the back door, she was met by her sister, who was looking all too happy and alert.

“Where were you? Some example you are.”

“Please, don’t start. I’m wrecked and tired. Is Mam annoyed?”

“I’m sure you are tired, after a night with whoever he was. Mam is fine. You were with Rosita, right.”

“Thanks sis.”

With that she headed to her bedroom to kip some more..

Her phone bleeped. It was Stephen –

Have a good night?

Her mood immediately lifted –

Yes it was but paying for it now lol How are things in Kerry?

The Irish Ripper (Chapter 3)

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.