The Lost Years, page 12
Rob almost couldn’t contain himself. “Oh, so do you have a name of the person dealing with it?”
“Yes,” she replied. “A Superintendent Hassan Chandra was the contact we were given.”
Rob thanked the PC and disconnected the call. He was absolutely dumbfounded. He was now sure they had stumbled on another key part of the conspiracy. This superintendent was almost certainly part of the gang and had been the one to conveniently sweep these investigations under the carpet on the pretence that it was a National Major Crime Agency issue. Rob knew he would have to approach the other two police forces but he would put good money on the same story being played out.
He phoned Clark and relayed the information. Clark was not surprised and gave himself a pat on the back for being right again. They really were getting somewhere.
Rob made calls into the contact centres for the police in Berkshire and Wiltshire, using the same cover story for Rachel and Charlotte’s accidents.
Both forces seemed content to support his request. Now all he had to do was wait.
Would this be four out of four for this Mr Chandra?
Rob was certain it would be.
His phone beeped.
‘What is happening? What is Rob Simmons doing? Who is he meeting?’
He texted back.
‘Absolutely fucking nothing. He just goes to that damn hospital every day and comes home. Just let me kill him. His life is so dull. He won’t be missed.’
The response was swift and predictable.
‘No. Keep following him. Something will come up. No one can be that boring.’
Clark was hyper. The information from Rob about this Hassan Chandra character had really cheered him up and he was bouncing around the room like a five-year-old. Maybe it was the five Jaffa Cakes he had eaten in quick succession.
He was certain this person was a key character in the conspiracy and the lead corrupt police officer. He had found a picture of him on the internet and posted it up on the murder board, next to the other alleged conspirators.
So, Mr Chandra. Are you one of the people receiving these big wads of cash?
Mention of the money reminded him that he was still waiting for Snap.
Come on dude. You are normally better than this. That bank must have some serious security.
He calmed himself, sat down and tried to get back to his more Zen-like Poirot mode. Relaxed and letting the little grey cells do their thing.
As he sat, staring at the board, the niggle came back. Anya’s parents. What was it that was bugging him about their deaths?
He stared and stared and stared. Nothing was coming.
Niggle, niggle, niggle. Suddenly, the thunderbolt.
The phrase he had written on the board.
‘All only children and no one looking out for these girls – targeted deliberately?’
No one looking out for these girls. Oh my God!
The realisation hit him like a massive punch to the stomach.
Anya did have functioning, loving people looking out for her… until they died.
Clark was shocked and suddenly scared out of his wits.
This can’t be. Did someone do this deliberately? To isolate her. To stop anyone looking out for her.
He opened up a browser session and searched for any information about their deaths. Hadn’t Rob said they died in a car accident?
As he found various newspaper reports about the accident, he started banging his head with his hands.
No, no, no… fuck no, this can’t be happening!
The reports had an all-too-familiar M.O.
‘… car driven off the road late at night… another driver thought to be involved… didn’t stop at the scene… witnesses think it was a large black car…’
Clark didn’t know what to do with this information. His relationship with Rob was volatile at the best of times but the last few interactions had been more positive. He didn’t want to ruin the progress they had made by giving him some more shit to deal with.
As much as it would play on his mind, he decided not to tell Rob yet. There would be a time and a place for this bombshell. That time was not now.
He puffed out his cheeks and forced himself to move out of the man cave, to watch some mindless TV. This thing was taking over his life. He had to think and do something else.
He looked at his dad’s picture as he walked out.
Sorry Dad. I need a break from all this.
Sunday arrived and Rob had decided to go and visit Janice Silverman. He was still waiting for the other two police forces to come back to him, so he had decided that today was about finding more dirt on Dr Normandy and the Loughborough Clinic.
He knew he was taking a gamble visiting her unannounced. She may not be even be in. He decided to drive up in the afternoon. She lived in Warwick which, with the quieter roads, would probably take about an hour. Clark had given him the address and he had it logged in his phone in case he got lost.
The trip did take just over an hour and he found the road that Janice lived in quite easily. He parked a bit down the road from Janice’s house and got out. The street seemed like any other residential setting in this part of the country; quiet, respectable and very middle class. They had decided to go with complete truth when approaching Janice; no false names, no cover stories, in the hope that Janice was feeling aggrieved and would spill the beans with little prompting.
He walked up to the white front door past a very well-kept garden with the early signs of spring flowers peeping out from various places in the borders. He pressed the door bell and at first thought no one was home. Suddenly the side gate opened and a friendly faced, slim lady who looked like she was in her fifties came out to see who was calling at her door.
“Hello, can I help you?”
“Are you Janice Silverman?”
“I am,” she said, seeming a little bit more guarded than her opening welcome greeting.
Rob steeled himself and, in the most unthreatening way he could, launched into his pitch.
“My name is Rob and my partner Anya was treated as a drug addict at the Loughborough Clinic. I wanted to talk to you about Dr Normandy and what is going on in there.”
He could see Janice stiffen at the mention of the place and her expression changed from friendly to hostile.
“You have come to the wrong place. I can’t help you. Please get off my property.”
With that, she turned around and walked back around the side of her house, leaving Rob standing there. Stunned and not knowing what to do next.
Rob returned to his car. He sat staring at Janice’s house.
Shit, this was a mistake. What do I do know?
He sat for another ten minutes, staring at her house, trying to work out what he could do. How could he convince her that he desperately needed her help?
He had to give it another try. He walked back up her garden path and rang the doorbell.
She emerged from the same place as before.
“I thought I told you to go away. Get off my property or I will call the police!”
“Look, I am sorry, but I am desperate. I need your help. Someone tried to kill my partner Anya and it is linked to her time at that clinic.”
Janice stared at him. Trying to read him. Trying to work out whether she should trust him.
“I told you. I can’t help you.”
She started to walk away.
“Please Janice. Please help me. Dr Normandy did something to Anya. When we went to the clinic to find out what had happened, someone tried to kill her the next day. Four other girls who were treated by him were murdered and we think there are two more girls in there now.”
Rob had been speaking a hundred to the dozen, trying to get the words out before s
“OK, you had better come in.”
She led him round the back of the house into a nice conservatory. No one else seemed to live there.
“How did you get my name?”
Rob looked a bit sheepish but they had agreed to tell her the truth.
“My friend is a computer geek and hacked into the Fairport Medical servers. We were looking for disgruntled ex-employees in the hope that someone might be able to help us dish the dirt on Dr Normandy and the clinic.”
“What, and you thought just turning up on my doorstep unannounced, referencing a part of my life I would rather forget, would be the best approach?”
“Well, yes. I guess where my mind is at the moment, I am not thinking that clearly. My friend found out that you were sacked and we thought you might be just the type of person we were looking for.”
Janice seemed uncomfortable and changed the focus of the conversation.
“You said someone tried to murder your partner. If she is alive, why isn’t she here?”
“She was hurt in a hit-and-run car accident. She is in a coma.”
“Oh, I am sorry to hear that. Do the doctors think she will recover?”
Rob decided to milk this for all it was worth. Not that he really had to try too hard to stir the emotions. He looked down to the ground, shaking his head.
“They just don’t know.”
There was an uncomfortable silence. Rob wasn’t sure what to do next. He had at least got her to talk to him and had tried his best sorrowful look.
He looked up and she was staring at him. Sizing him up. Thankfully she broke the silence.
“Look, I am really scared to talk about that place. There is no doubt that Dr Normandy is a nasty piece of work. A real bully who runs that place with fear. As I said, I would just rather forget about it all. If he ever found out I had spoken to you, I am not sure what he would do.”
“So you do think he is capable of… of criminal acts?”
Janice looked increasingly uncomfortable and didn’t answer.
“Janice. Please help me.”
“Yes, I do.”
“What happened to you in there?”
Janice started to cry. Big, convulsive sobs.
Rob leapt up and put an arm around her, hoping that his over familiarity after only knowing her for five minutes would not seem inappropriate.
“Oh God Janice, I am so sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you but I am just so worried about Anya.”
Thankfully, Janice seemed comforted by his attentions. She wiped her eyes.
“Sorry but I have just never had someone to talk to about this. About the awful way I was treated. I wanted to sue him but didn’t have the money, the knowhow or the courage. You turning up like this has just brought it all back. I have moved on and got a new job. I have tried to keep myself busy with work and my lovely garden. I am just trying to put it all behind me.”
“Your garden is beautiful Janice. You should be very proud of it. As for the clinic, if you can just give me some information, I can get out of your hair and let you get on with your life.”
She had calmed down and Rob sensed an inner resolve. Maybe finally getting it all out to someone was what she needed to do.
“OK. What do you want to know?”
“Why were you sacked?”
Rob was pleased that Janice suddenly seemed to be totally engaged in what he needed. The information started pouring out.
“Dr Normandy had a number of packages arriving by courier over several months. They were in large boxes, a bit like big cool boxes, sealed with a metal tie. They were also marked ‘Medical Supplies – Handle with Care’. He had apparently told Janet, the other receptionist, that these boxes were not to be opened under any circumstances and he was to be notified the minute they arrived. I had noticed a few of these deliveries come through but Janet had always dealt with them and I hadn’t been told about the ‘not opening’ rule. I can’t say I really took too much notice of what she did with them. One day, Janet was on a day off and one of these deliveries arrived. I had assumed wrongly that we needed to cut the metal tie and take out the contents of the box. I was just opening up the outer box when Dr Normandy came into our office and went absolutely ape-shit at me. He sacked me on the spot and got security to walk me off the premises. I hardly had time to collect my stuff.”
“Did you see what was inside?”
“Not really, but what I can tell you is that whatever it was had been frozen or needed to be kept very cold, because the moment I took the lid off, there was like a cloud of coldness erupting from it. He grabbed the lid from me and slammed it shut before I could do or see anything else.”
Rob continued to probe as he sensed she was up for telling him all she knew.
“Is there anything else you can think of that seemed strange?”
She thought for a moment and soon more precious information was heading Rob’s way.
“Do you know, yes, there are two more things that I always thought were odd. Around the same time that these medical boxes turned up, he got a number of packages from Poland that seemed like boxes of drugs, based on what was on the outside of the packaging. The strange thing is that I did all the ordering of the drugs for the clinic but I never ordered anything from Poland. Based on what you have told me, I would guess that is probably dodgy.”
“Well, there is a part of the clinic that no one but Dr Normandy is allowed to go into. It is right at the back of the site, well away from the other clinics and is marked ‘Strictly No Admittance’. All staff are told that they are not allowed to enter that part of the clinic, not even cleaners or other doctors. No one knows what he does in there and everybody is too scared to ask.”
Rob was excited. Janice had confirmed their suspicions. This was gold dust.
He was just thinking about leaving, realising that he was probably pushing his luck asking for too much more, when Janice turned the tables.
“OK, Rob. I have told you all I know. Now tell me what you suspect happened to these girls?”
Quid pro quo. He had to answer.
“In truth, my friend and I don’t know. We have found evidence that big money was changing hands and the doctor was being paid a good chunk of it to do something to the girls. Something that was dodgy enough to get them killed after they left the clinic. Their medical records are also hidden and all Dr Normandy’s files are on a separate server in the Cayman Islands, along with the bank they are using to launder the money.”
“My God. That is terrible. Do you have a picture of Anya?”
Rob got out his phone and scrolled to a recent picture of Anya.
“Do you remember seeing her in the clinic?”
Janice studied the picture hard. “She is very beautiful but I guess she didn’t look like that when she arrived, if she was admitted as a drug addict. She does seem familiar but we don’t have a lot to do with the patients other than when they first get checked in and when they leave. I do think I remember her though.”
“That’s interesting. When we asked at the gate the lady on the intercom said that she had no records of Anya being treated there, which I guess is explained by the hidden medical records. Anya was also told the name of the doctor she was treated by was Dr French but no one at the clinic has that name. However, Dr Normandy is definitely implicated by the evidence we have found.”
“That all sounds very dodgy and from what you have told me you are right to be concerned, especially if someone is trying to kill your partner. I thought we had access to all the patient records so it sounds as though he had those records taken off our security profiles. There definitely wasn’t anyone called Dr French workin
“Do you think the lady we spoke to on the intercom is this Janet person you were talking about?”
“Yes, it could be. I didn’t socialise with her out of work so I haven’t had any contact with her since I was sacked. She did seem like his ‘go to’ person for admin stuff so it is likely she has remained loyal to him and is still there.”
“Do you think she would talk to me about this?”
“Hmm, I am really not sure. If you did try to speak to her it would have to be outside the clinic and I am still not sure whether she would talk as openly as I have been. If she is part of his dodgy dealings you might be exposing yourself.”
Rob made excuses to leave, thanking Janice again for all her help and left pondering everything she had told him. She gave him her phone number and offered to help in any way she could.
Rob sat in his car and phoned Clark, telling him about his chat with Janice. He relayed what she had said about the packages being delivered, the drugs from Poland and the out-of-bounds section of the clinic. Clark was excited. He was convinced this was more evidence of Dr Normandy’s involvement in the conspiracy and would give them some more angles to follow.
Rob set off home, happy with the day’s work.
He sat in his car and watched Rob come out of a house about fifty yards up the road from where he had parked. Rob returned to his car and sat there for about ten minutes, not seeming to do anything. Eventually he got out and went back to the house.
This time Rob was gone for longer, emerging about twenty-five minutes later. Whoever lived in the house had invited him in for a chat.
Rob got back in his car and it looked like he was on the phone to someone. About five minutes later he drove off.
He didn’t follow him. He had been lucky on the way here. He had decided to do one of his periodic checks on Rob’s movements when he almost ran straight into him driving out of the village. He decided to follow him, expecting another routine visit to see Anya in Reading, but when Rob took a different turn towards the M40, he decided to follow him and see what he was up to.