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Mad dog, p.9

Mad Dog, page 9


Mad Dog

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  -Okay boys let’s not get excited,-interrupted Louis, -After all it’s my daughter and her friends that we want to find. Karl will not interfere in the investigation but I expect you to keep him thoroughly informed and to use any services at our disposal. I need not remind you that it is possible that certain activities are beyond your remit in this country whereas perhaps we may not feel restricted in a similar manner. -

  -Yes Louis, I am aware of the protocols and will work within them, please assure that Karl does the same and make sure he doesn’t leak the note. -

  -He won’t, -confirmed Louis, smiling at Karl. -Now can we do anything to help? -

  -Well yes actually, do you really have the ability to record all mobile conversations within a two mile radius of the Embassy? -

  -Let’s say it’s distinctly possible and on a twelve hourly basis, but we cannot link the information to numbers or specific locations as yet. What the system does is highlight key words. If, for example, Al Qaeda, Jihad or Bin Laden are mentioned we would automatically check out the details of the conversation. Why? -

  -Well the kidnapping took place just within that range and perhaps the suspects called someone and if they did perhaps they identified themselves, so if you searched for their names perhaps it would throw something up. -

  -Give me the names and consider it done. -

  -Thank you, We in the meantime will be checking all mobile phone activity in the area at and around the time of the kidnapping, maybe the listing of the owners of the numbers will throw up something. -

  -I’d like a character breakdown on your daughter, list of friends etc, you know, the usual. -

  -Okay, Karl will get that to you today, anything else? -

  -No, that’s all for now. Thank You. -

  -No need, Good luck and happy hunting. -

  Once Louis and Karl had left Harvey asked for Martin Carroll to join him.

  Martin was a fine criminal lawyer with a booming buffet and a bank balance to match. Martin’s parents still had a small but popular antiques business in the market town of Appleby in Westmoreland nestled between the Yorkshire Dales and Lake Districts National Parks, a business that had funded his private education at Alleyn´s School and later his university studies at Cambridge. Martin was a proud man, too proud probably to accept the fact that without the sacrifices of his parents he would probably be serving in their shop. Martin of course didn’t have to make such sacrifices in order to send his son Henry to Alleyn´s and not just because he was wealthy and an ex student but also because he was married to Gillian Carroll the Parliamentary under secretary of state at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and as such wielded significant influence. Not that it was required; Henry was a superb student and easily passed the entrance exams. Life was generous with Martin and Gillian and the future looked even more promising. All they had to do was inject a bit of life into Henry who had inherited too much of his grandfathers nature, trusty, loyal, hard working but dull, and life would be perfect. The fact that since Henry was born whenever they were alone with him either one or the other or both had their noses stuck in some file or other, didn’t help to make him anything other than serious and distant, but of course neither of them would accept any responsibility for that when it was far easier to blame his grandfathers genes.

  -Hello Mr Carroll, - started Harvey.

  -Call me Martin, we don’t need the formalities do we? - Gillian had called him earlier and given him a quick briefing on Harvey, the fact that Harvey didn’t like either titles or those that enjoyed using them being one of the details she had given him.

  -No Martin I suppose not, as long as you are comfortable with that, by the way how is Gillian taking this? - Harvey knew Gillian extremely well, her position as under secretary of state at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office encompassed immigration control procedures, something that brought her into contact with him on an almost daily basis and part of his file on her described her husband as overly officious and excessively fond of using her influence. Not at all congruous with the image he was trying to project at that moment, which left Harvey in no doubt that Gillian had briefed him.

  -She’s remaining calm; she understands the procedures and that you are the best people to find our children. As I have the afternoon free, my pre-trial instructions meeting having been cancelled, we agreed that I should represent our interests and that she should fulfil her obligations. -

  -Represent your interests? You mean your son? -

  -Yes sorry, one doesn’t always remember that one is dialoguing with those unaccustomed to our legalese. -

  -Yes it must be difficult for one. - Harvey was developing an acute dislike for Mr Carroll and was struggling to take into account the reasons for them being there. –Could you give me a briefing on Henry, his friends, shared activities etc, any romantic interests, any society’s he’s part of? -

  -Well he’s a quiet, studious young man dedicated to his development at Alleyn´s. He doesn’t really have time for friends; he’s aware that his future depends to a large degree on his achievements during these formative years and shows the necessary dedication. As to romantic interest, well I don’t think so, he did spend the weekend with Jennifer at the American Embassy but I don’t think there is any significance in that. You’d best ask Ms Forbes our housekeeper, she is more informed on the social aspects of Henry, I’ll give you her number. -

  -No don’t bother; I’ll get someone over to your residence to interview her if that’s okay with you. -

  -Yes that’ll be fine. -

  -I need to inform you that what I am about to tell you must not be revealed to anybody not directly involved with this investigation. I cannot go into details but it would appear that your son has been kidnapped by Al Qaeda agents, the reasons for which we are unaware of, but we expect to receive demands shortly. As Gillian is aware, this should mean that we have time on our hands; negotiations of these types are always prolonged. I cannot give you any further information at this time but will keep Gillian informed as and when we have developments. I would suggest that you go home and wait there for further news, there is little to do here. -

  -No I think I’ll go to the office, one needs to keep ones mind occupied and all that. Thank you. -

  Harvey made a mental note to ensure that he had no further contact with Mr Martin Carroll.

  Martin called Gillian immediately upon leaving the Grace and Hobbs Room to inform her that she needed to use her influence to establish the reasons for Harvey believing that Al Qaeda were involved and not the driver of the mini bus who appeared the obvious candidate to him. His next call was to Ruben Feinstein OBE, Chief Leader Writer and weekly columnist on legal affairs for The Times and golf partner of his.

  Martin abandoned the Hotel through the revolving front doors at the same instance that his prime suspect, Jamie, was escorted through them in the opposite direction by Agent Granville.

  Harvey decided to finish with the parents before interviewing Jamie, waiting would only serve to make him more nervous and that could only work in his favour. To make him even more nervous he was led to the anti room of the Grace and Hobbs room where he would have to face Peters´ and Julian’s parents as they entered to meet Harvey.

  Lord Hart of Eastcliff, Deputy Leader of the House of Lords was next to meet Harvey.

  Lord Hart of Eastcliff was the eldest son of the late Lord Hart of Eastcliff as was his father, and his father before him etc...etc. Young Julian was named after his father as had been his father, his father and all their fathers before them. The difference was that the actual Lord Hart of Eastcliff could have been christened without the use of a Christian name. Few if any of his peers knew what his first name was and none of those below his station. When someone reached the highest levels of confidence with him he would allow them to simply call him Lord Hart but few had reached such a hallowed distinction.

  Lord Hart of Eastcliff occupied the perfect position for his abilities. As Deputy Leader of the House of Lords he was
responsible far trading favours on behalf of the Leader of the House and therefore indirectly on behalf of the Prime Minister. Known mockingly as Lord Loofah due to the number of backs he’d scratched, he was extremely influential and exactly the pretentious, self important type of person that Harvey deplored and detested. The only reason that he wasn’t kept waiting until last was that Peters´ father was going to be asked to attend the press on behalf of the others, a decision that Harvey had taken unilaterally understanding him to be the only one that could possibly attract public sympathy.

  -Good afternoon Lord Hart, -started Harvey aware that he hadn’t been given permission for such familiarity, - I’m sorry to have kept you waiting. -

  -No problem old boy, I’m sure you have your reasons. Now, what can you tell me about my boy? -

  -Well, the truth is, not a lot. We believe that they have been kidnapped by a group acting for Al Qaeda. -

  -Why? - interrupted Lord Hart.

  -Why what? Why were they kidnapped or why do we believe it to be Al Qaeda? -

  -Well both I suppose. -

  -Well it’s too early to say why they have been kidnapped, although we have reason to believe that they want publicity from this. -

  -Why? -Interrupted Lord Hart once again.

  -I’m afraid I can’t tell you that at this moment and before you ask, it’s because I am not authorised to do so. -

  -Then the PM is aware of the reason, I assume -it was not a question it was more of a statement of the obvious, the PM being the only person that could authorise Harvey to do anything, Harvey being above all other levels of command.

  -He is being kept informed, -stated Harvey tersely, -Now if I can continue? The why we believe Al Qaeda to be responsible is that we have CCTV footage of the kidnappers and they would appear to be the three terrorists that we believed to be killed in the bombing in Dudley the other day.

  I’m sorry I can’t give you any further details as yet and I would be grateful if you would maintain the confidentiality of what I have been able to tell you.

  Now, could you give me some details of your son, friends, associates etc, how he may react in this situation, anything that you feel may help. -

  Lord Hart of Eastcliff was as useful to Harvey in describing his offspring as had been the other parents, “he’ll remember his station”, “he won’t let the side down” and “you’d best ask the housekeeper about that” being, the apparently, standard responses. It was amusing and at the same time concerning to Harvey that the formation of the, supposed, future leaders of society was left to housekeepers and teachers while their parents observed from a distance. It was no surprise therefore that many of these children grew into cold and distant adults outwardly bereft of the family values that they were to be entrusted to guard.

  It was therefore with great relief that he met Peters´ father. Sir Robert Edward Newall (knighted for services to the environment) was what is euphemistically known as a self made millionaire. Known simply as Rob to his friends and colleagues and Sir Bob to the press, he was an impressive man. Six foot four tall and large framed, the first impression he gave was that of a gentle giant with his willing smile and effusive manner.

  The only son of a former Yorkshire miner, who, with the help of government grants and union friends, managed to obtain the scrap and salvaging rights for the Caphouse, Acton Hall and Bullcliffe Wood Collieries in Wakefield, North Gawber and Cortonwood Collieries in Barnsley and Brookhouse Colliery in Rotherham after they were closed following the collapse of the Miners Strike in March 1985. It was generally believed that he had been one of the mythical MI5 National Mineworkers Union “informers” hinted at in Dame Stella Rimington´s (Director-General of MI5, 1992 – 1996) autobiography published in 2001. Whatever the truth of the matter, Robert Newall Snr made a substantial fortune from the scrap and waste that he salvaged. Old Man Newall was a deep rooted Yorkshireman, astute, wiley and extremely careful with his money, he possessed an incredible ability to calculate the financial possibilities of scrap without either the desire or need of a calculator. With no formal education he was an immensely proud man who never ceased to remind his son and any that had dealings with him that he was living proof that “where there´s muck there´s brass”.

  Aware that an uneducated Yorkshireman would never be accepted into the higher levels of society and government, where, what he described as “THE REAL DECISIONS”, where made, he promptly dispatched Robert Edward to private school and later to Oxford Brookes University Business School where he took an MSc in Business and Enterprise to later go on to do the prestigious Masters Financial Economics at Oxford University.

  After a short break, spent travelling in the Far East, Robert Edward joined his fathers business. What had started as basically a scrap metal business had been diversified into all types of recycling activities during Rob’s time at the helm and “Newalls Scrap and Salvage” had become “RENEWALLS”, a clever marketing strategy combining his own name and the change of emphasis of their business from that of scrap to that of recycling, renovating and renewal of resources both physical and human. The repositioning and redirection of the business had resulted in RENEWALLS becoming one of Europe’s most successful and profitable companies, present in more than twenty countries and employing more than three thousand people. Their dominance in the marketing of used mobile phones was almost total, giving up to 30% discounts on new phones if the purchaser traded in their “old” mobile, which was then cleaned, repaired and repackaged as a RENEWALL phone, to be then sold in the developing consumer markets of South America, Africa and Asia where they not only achieved better selling prices but also government sponsorships to aid the development of their respective communications markets.

  In recognition of his talents Rob was drafted onto several Quangos, at the government’s request, dedicated to Environmental Protection and Protection of Resources. According to Robert Edward, the greatest resource is the Human Resource and consequently placed great emphasis on the training and development of his employees and the reinsertion of the unemployed into the working environment. If he had a slogan it was “A working man is a potential customer”. In 2005 he received his knighthood for his services to the Environment, a knighthood that he fervently wished to have been bestowed on his father who had died only three years earlier after a long battle against lung cancer. A battle not helped by the three packets of cigarettes that he smoked daily until the day he died.

  -Good afternoon Sir Robert. -

  -Just plain Rob if you don’t mind. -

  -Okay, good afternoon Rob, how are you, given the circumstances? -

  -Well I don’t really know how to answer that. Stunned, I suppose, it’s a cliché but you really don’t think this sort of thing happens to you, these things happen to others, people who exist at a safe distance from our lives. -

  -I know what you mean, it’s got to be very difficult, the only thing I can say is that you shouldn’t think the worst, the percentages are very much in your favour that we will get a successful resolution to this situation. -

  -Yes I’m sure you’re right but it doesn’t make it easier. Is there anything I can do to help, other than not interfere, knowing who the parents of the other kids are I imagine you’ll have enough of that? -

  -They are as concerned as you would expect, -responded Harvey with a wry smile. It was the moment that he had hoped for, the moment when they would break the ice, the same moment that Rob had provoked. –You could start by describing your son to me if you don’t mind, then I have a favour to ask. -

  -I hope you’ve got time, when I start to talk about Pete I tend to become a bore, -replied Rob laughing.

  Rob spent the following half hour describing in depth the intensity of their relationship, their shared interests, their differences especially his desperation that Pete had become a Man U fan when he and his father before him had been avid Liverpool fans. It was a monologue full of anecdotes, humour and complicity only possible for those that truly share their

  Harvey was left with the impression that Peter was quite a complete young man who would respond well to the circumstances, would probably take the responsibility of leadership and would almost certainly adopt a protective role in respect of Jennifer with whom he had secretly maintained a relationship for the past six months. What concerned Harvey was the form that his protectiveness would take. The quick wit and sharp tongue that Rob described could prove extremely prejudicial in such circumstances and his willingness to intervene on behalf of his friends could become an explosive, possibly lethal, combination. Peter’s father had described how he had been embroiled in several scuffles over the previous six months during football and hockey matches, to the extent that his attention had been drawn to the matter by Peter’s sports master. It appeared that it was invariably as a result of him “stepping in to help a friend” but equally invariably involved his opponent receiving a painful reminder of their encounter. The sports master recognised the merits of Peter’s motivation but was concerned that he was starting to enjoy the status that his character and physical presence created; in short, he was starting to discover that beating the crap out of someone on the pretext of helping a friend bestowed a certain aura upon him, an aura that attracted his female peers and caused respect amongst his male colleagues and they didn’t want him to develop a pleasure for the violence. The CCTV footage that Harvey had seen appeared to confirm his protective nature and it concerned him. The brave tended to be sacrificed first in these situations; it removes a threat to the kidnappers and at the same time undermines the resistance of those that remain. Harvey kept his opinion and the CCTV footage to himself.

  -Thank You Rob, that has been most helpful and may I say refreshing. Now I need to ask you a favour. I need you to face the press. I need you to plead for the publics help. We have reason to believe that the people that have kidnapped your son are linked to Al Qaeda and that they are the self same terrorists that we believed to have been killed in the Dudley bomb blast the other week. We are in a bit of a quandary, we need the public to help us search for them; they will not be far away but far away is a relative term and covers virtually the entire south of England but at the same time we don’t want them to know that we have identified them therefore we would prefer not to suggest to the public that this is related to Al Qaeda at least for the time being. We also need a short time to organise ourselves and we don’t want to be distracted by the press confusing the issue by concentrating on our wrongly identifying the terrorist’s bodies. What we do want is for the public to be looking for the vehicle seen speeding away from the scene

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