Almost before we had even exited the front of the hospital both Helen and I had our phones out and were hitting the dial pad. It was time to start the ball rolling, to put our plans into motion which would culminate in the arrest of Andy Jarvis; assuming of course that we had all our ducks lined up in a row and the Inspector gave us the green light.
Once outside the building I listened to the phone ring at the home of Martin’s parents, while I could also hear Helen talking to the Inspector.
‘Yes sir,’ I heard her say. ‘We have statements from both boys and we’re ready to move. Can we meet back in the squad room in half an hour to go over everything with you, please?’
I watched her as she listened intently to our commanding officer, but before I could hear any response from her my own call connected.
‘Hello,’ a rather breathless sounding woman said.
‘Hi Beth,’ I said. ‘Sorry, did I make you run?’
‘Oh my god, Rick? Is that you?’ she cried. ‘It’s okay . . . I was just out in the back yard. Now, what’s happened? Is everything alright?’
‘I’m fine. Nothing has happened . . . apart from a new job in the inner city. How about you and Tom? Everything okay, I hope?’
‘Oh, you know how it is . . . we’re still getting by. He’ll be retiring soon, then we’ll see what happens after that. We’re thinking of taking a trip somewhere.’
‘That sounds like a lot of fun.’
‘We hope so. Oh, it’s so great to hear your voice again. It has been too long, dear.’
‘Yes, I’m sorry . . . I know I should call more often.’
‘Yes you should. And you should come and pay us a visit,’ she scolded. ‘We do miss you, you know.’
‘And I’ve missed you guys too. And as for paying you a visit, well, that’s kind of why I called. There is something important that I need to talk to you about, but I was also wondering if I might be able to ask a huge favour of you both?’
‘Of course, sweetie.’
‘You might want to hear me out before you say yes,’ I warned.
‘That sounds ominous.’
I glanced across at Helen, who was still talking on her phone, so I moved away a little and sat down on a seat near the footpath, then began to explain the situation regarding Jimmy and Shane, and my hope of our being able to get them out of the city, at least for the short term.
She listened without making any interruption, but after I had finished she said nothing for a while, as she digested what I had told her.
‘These boys . . . they’re not in trouble with the law?’
‘No Mama. They are helping us, but they may be in danger, so that’s why we need to get them out of the city and keep them safe. There will only be three people who will know where they are . . . we can’t afford to have anyone find out where they’ve disappeared to.’
I had been calling her Mama for almost as long as I could remember, as she and her husband had been as much a family to me as my own . . . if not more so. The fact that I was their only son’s best friend since childhood, and later on I was much more than that, well, that only seemed to strengthen the bonds between us. When Martin and I came out to his parents there were no better people to have on our side. Any trepidation we may have felt was soon swept away in a tidal wave of love and support, and despite what happened, the love they have exhibited toward me has been unwavering.
‘Okay then. I understand the importance, but just let me talk to Tom first . . . though I’m sure he’ll be fine with it.’
‘Thank you. I know it’s putting you on the spot . . .’
‘Shhh . . . it’s fine. If it’s important to you, then it’s important to us as well. Now, what’s this other thing you wanted to talk about? Does it concern what happened to Martin?’
‘In a way, yes,’ I uttered. ‘But I’d rather not talk about it over the phone. I’d prefer to talk to you about it face to face.’
‘Can I call you back tonight? Then if Tom is happy for us to bring the boys up I’ll explain everything to you then.’
‘All right then dear, that sounds like a plan. We’ll talk to you tonight then.’
After we disconnected I have to admit to having some feelings of guilt, not only for my phoning them out of the blue like this, for the first time in quite a long time, but also because of the possibility that involving them may also be placing them in a potentially dangerous situation, if things went wrong. Knowing both Tom and Beth as I did, however, I had a feeling that Tom would have no issues at all with taking the lads in. I just wanted to be totally up-front with them and make sure that they knew everything there was to know about what was going on down here, not only with regards to the boys, but also with the new developments concerning Martin’s death, and the only way I could do that would be if I sat down with them and talked it through.
It was while these thoughts were running through my mind that Helen came over and sat down beside me, looking slightly exasperated.
‘What’s up?’ I asked. ‘What did the old man have to say?’
‘Would you believe he’s more interested in us organizing that bloody Mardi Gras float, than us catching bad guys? Or at least that’s the impression I got. Anyhow, I told him we’ve got it under control, so that seemed to have settled him down a bit.’
‘And do we?’
‘Fucked if I know,’ she sighed. ‘I’ll give Elvira a call in a sec and see how she and Jimmy Tan are getting on out at Redfern.’
‘And what about Jarvis?’ I prompted.
‘The boss wants to review what we’ve got, but it looks like it’s all systems go. I told him we’ve got the boys’ statements, and leads on Jarvis’s right hand man as well, so he’s happy enough for us to pick them up. When I told him we might have them for the murder charge as well, that seemed to be the clincher.’
‘So, what’s next?’
‘A quick trip back to the station, then we set off in search of Jarvis. How did you get on with Martin’s parents?’
‘Good, I think. I just need to call them back tonight.’
‘Yeah, Marty’s dad, Tom, is at work, so Beth will talk to him first.’
‘How soon before you think we’ll be able to get the boys out of town?’
‘If Jarvis is in custody this afternoon, then first thing tomorrow I hope. If we can arrange for the charges to be laid today and get him a remand hearing overnight, we’ll be all set to move them in the morning.’
‘I’d feel better if we could get Shane out of here today,’ I remarked, while jerking my head toward the building behind us.
‘So would I, but I before we can do that we have a few hurdles we need to jump first.’
‘I guess,’ I sighed. I was then that I recalled what Shane had mentioned about faces on the television, so I asked, ‘So tell me, what was it that Shane said about cops on the telly that caused you to go all white when it was mentioned back inside his room?’
‘All in good time, my good man. All in good time.’
* * *
As expected, the Inspector was waiting for us when we made it back to the squad room a short while later. We found him pacing up and down like a caged animal and just as soon as we had arrived he ushered us both into his office, where we also found another man waiting for us.
‘Okay then, you two, this is Warwick Cooke, Police Prosecutor. So, tell us again what you have,’ he commanded.
We shook hands with the man, who was dressed smartly, but seemed to lack the usual smarminess of those involved in the legal profession. As we all sat down on opposite sides of the Inspector’s massive desk, I had the distinct impression that I was being sized up by the man.
Helen started at the beginning, right from Jimmy’s desperate phone call, which felt like a lifetime ago now, and finishing with our visit to the security control room at St. Vincent’s Hospital, backed up by the boy’s statements.
For some reason she left the hospital CCTV printouts in her pocket, and as she didn’t raise them I thought it best that I shouldn’t either. I figured she must have had her reasons, or at least a plan in mind, so I figured I would just let that play out.
‘And what about the murder?’ Warwick asked.
‘We have a witness who saw Garry being hit, then later being carried out by Jarvis and his right-hand man, Gus,’ Helen offered. ‘We also have another witness who overheard Gus talking about dumping someone, which the other kids all assumed was Garry, but can’t be sure about that.’
‘That’s not very conclusive,’ Warwick said.
‘No, I agree,’ Helen replied, ‘but I feel sure that once we have Jarvis and Gus both collared, and we can talk to some of the other boys, without them fearing for their lives, then I think that the flood gates will open and we’ll have more information on Jarvis than we had ever thought we would find.’
‘So, in your opinion, Warwick, where does that leave us right at this moment?’ the Inspector asked.
‘I’d say that we’ve got more than enough that we can use to pick him up with and charge him. There’s prostitution, assault and grievous bodily harm for starters. With the statements you have, especially if they can be corroborated by some of the other boys involved, I’m sure that we can make all of that stick. As for the murder charge, we’ll throw that into the mix as well, and if we can make that stick also, then all the better.’
‘That’s excellent news,’ the Inspector replied.
‘Now, what about these two young witnesses that you have statements from . . . where are they right now?’ Warwick asked. ‘Are they secure?’
‘One is safely tucked away with some friends of ours,’ Helen replied. ‘And the other is still in St. Vincent’s Hospital, recovering, but under guard.’
‘And after Jarvis is picked up?’
‘We’re making arrangements for them both to stay with some friends out of the city . . . which will hopefully be first thing tomorrow morning.’
‘That’s good then, provided that they’ll be available for further interviews and any possible court case. And, of course, the fewer who know their whereabouts, the better.’
‘Absolutely. I’d like to think that the only people who will know where they will be are those who are sitting in this room right now,’ Helen added.
‘Of course,’ the Inspector agreed. ‘This is a very delicate matter, and the fewer who know about it the better.’
‘Indeed, indeed,’ Warwick added, while getting to his feet. ‘Well, just keep me posted about what happens, will you. And good work, you two. This is one fish we’ve wanted to fry for a long, long time.’
‘We certainly will, Warwick,’ the Inspector remarked, as he moved around the desk and shook his hand.
‘Thank you, sir,’ Helen and I both replied, as we both shook Warwick’s hand as well, before the Inspector then showed him out the door.
‘Is there anything else?’ the Inspector asked, as he turned and faced us.
‘Errr . . . yes, sir,’ Helen replied. ‘This is actually a bit more than just a delicate matter, Inspector. I think there is more at stake here than we had first realised. Jimmy and Shane and young Greg Walls are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.’
‘Both Jimmy and Shane told us a good deal more this morning, which hasn’t been included in their statements yet, as they were already typed up and signed. Shane in particular has indicated that some of their clients are quite high profile.’
‘They recognised them off the television. Sportsmen and television hosts for starters.’
‘And why do I get the impression that there is still more to come?’ the Inspector asked flatly.
‘He said some of their clients were also cops,’ she added. ‘And one was a cop that he recognised from the television as well.’
For the second time that day I saw someone go pale at the mention of this. The inspector slumped back into his chair, then started drumming his fingers slowly on the polished timber desk.
‘Has he given a name? Or have you shown him a photo?’
Now I was more than intrigued and when Helen glanced my way I raised my eyebrows at her.
‘The only cops that are regularly on the telly, Coop, and who people might actually recognise, are the Commissioner and the two Deputy Commissioners,’ Helen said.
‘And,’ the Inspector added, ‘it wasn’t so long ago that Deputy Commissioner Barrett was reportedly photographed leaving an establishment in Kings Cross that could only be described as a gay sex den, even if it was all hushed over at the time. The police force can be a relatively closed shop at times, and while many of us had heard the rumours, it was kept from the mainstream media, thanks to some pressure applied in the right places, no doubt.’
‘So, if Deputy Commissioner Barrett is tied up with Jarvis somehow, then he could be in a whole lot of trouble,’ I asked.
‘Yes, but there’s more to it than just that,’ the Inspector added. ‘There were others who were also implicated at the same time. We have no way of knowing just how far and wide the whole shooting match will go.’
‘And then, Inspector, there are also these,’ Helen offered, as she pulled the CCTV print-outs from her hip pocket and handed them to him. He took them, then reached for his glasses on the desk.
‘And these are?’
‘CCTV images taken at St. Vincent’s Hospital. These two are the cops who have been visiting young Shane and telling him how much trouble he is in because of what he’s been up to. Do you recognise them, sir?’
The Inspector simply nodded, then for my benefit Helen said, ‘They’re from the Vice Squad . . . Azzopardi and Ryan. Well known hard heads, who have been rumoured to be on more than just the Police payroll.’
‘So . . . is it just me, or is there a connection being formed here?’ I enquired.
‘No, it’s not just you, Coop. We can all see it. The questions are, though, just how wide has this tangled web been spun, and just how the hell do we handle it?’
* * *
Before we left his office we discussed our more immediate problem, being the location and arrest of Andy Jarvis.
We knew that it would be reasonable to assume he would know we were coming for him at some stage, especially considering his hired helpers, Azzopardi and Ryan had already been to visit Shane in hospital to try and apply some pressure to the kid. What we couldn’t be sure of, however, was whether Jarvis knew we had Jimmy tucked safely away, and more importantly that we had the statements of two boys who were willing to testify not just against him, but also against others who worked for him or helped him.
As far as the three of us could see, we held all the aces, and Jarvis, even if he thought he was safe enough, was in a whole world of trouble.
‘So, how do you intend going about this?’ the Inspector asked us.
‘Well, sir, that will depend on where he is,’ Helen replied. ‘Ideally we’d like to be able to raid all his possible lairs at once, but given the nature of the whole situation, and also given the scant resources we have, I guess we’re just going to have to take a punt.’
From what I had heard and read in the few days since I had been here, Jarvis was known to own several locations in and around the city, including a home in the eastern suburbs, the house he used for his rent boys, and several businesses – which appeared (from the outside at least) to be legitimate.
‘I’d like to keep this as low key as possible,’ the Inspector added, ‘so we won’t go in with a task force or all guns blazing. Just the three of us, I think. I’ll tag a long so you have some back-up, and without involving any other members from this command. The fewer involved, the less chance there is of any outside element interfering.’
‘We appreciate that sir, ‘ Helen replied.
‘Now, I’ve also spoken with the Department of Community services and advised them of the likely situation, and that there may be minors involved, so they are prepared to go in after us, if needed.’
‘I agree,’ Helen replied.
‘And what if he’s not at his house?’ I enquired.
‘Then we look at his business premises,’ the Inspector offered.
‘And if someone tips him off that we’re looking for him? You don’t think he’ll go to ground someplace?’ I added.
‘I think he’s too arrogant for that,’ Helen said. ‘I’m sure he thinks that he’s got the whole police force all wrapped up in the palm of his hand and can get away with anything he wants. The bastard will be in for a bit of a shock when we slam that cell door shut on him tonight, though!’
‘Well, how about we go and test that theory?’ the Inspector suggested.
It sounded like just about all eventualities had been covered, so it was with high hopes that the three of us left the squad room and descended to the underground car park and piled into Helen’s car.
I sat in the back seat in silence as we made the trip across town, from Darlinghurst to Rose Bay, and located the house we were looking for, which proved to be an older style, two-story home, with a lavish garden and located behind a low sandstone wall. From where we stood beside the road we couldn’t see the harbor, but I suspected that from the second floor of the house the views would be well worth the asking price, which I figured would be in the millions.
‘Very swish,’ Helen remarked as she got out of the car. ‘But I kind of expected gates, high fences, security cameras and a slobbering Rottweiler pacing up and down inside the perimeter.’
‘Even the dodgy characters need to project an air of respectability, Wheeler,’ the Inspector dryly remarked. ‘How else do you think they would be let into a neighbourhood like this?’
‘But once you’re accepted by the neighbours, you’re in for life, eh boss?’
‘I think it works something like that,’ he replied. ‘Come on, let’s do this.’
I followed the pair of them up the driveway, taking note of the silver BMW parked outside the two-car garage at the end of the driveway, before we climbed the steps to the porch outside the front door.
Helen did the honours and rang the doorbell, which was answered a few moments later by a very well-dressed woman who appeared to be in her fourties, wearing a tight fitting, sky blue dress complemented by a strand of pearls and a new hair-do. Judging by her appearance I guessed she was about to head off to some fancy fund raising function for the Gould League of Bird Lovers, or some equally obscure group.
‘May I help you?’ she asked, while looking from one of us to the next.
‘Mrs. Jarvis?’ Helen asked.
‘I’m Detective Wheeler, and this is Inspector Richardson and Detective Cooper,’ she said, as we all flashed our identification at her. ‘We were wondering if your husband was at home, please?’
‘No he isn’t, I’m afraid. Just what’s this all about?’
‘We would just like to ask him some questions,’ Helen replied. ‘Do you know where we might find him?’
‘I’m sorry, but I haven’t a clue,’ came the curt reply. ‘He doesn’t tell me where he goes every day. He could be at one of his businesses, or on a golf course for all I know. Why don’t you try calling him? Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a function to be going to,’ she added, following which the heavy wooden door was then abruptly closed in our faces.
‘Well, ain’t that just great!’ Helen growled.
‘Relax Wheeler. He’ll turn up,’ the Inspector proffered. ‘He won’t be getting away from us this time.’
As we stepped down off the porch and started back through the rose garden toward Helen’s car, we heard the sound of an engine start and looked up to see the silver BMW being backed down the drive way, with Mrs. Jarvis at the wheel.
She gave us one long look, doing nothing to disguise the obvious disdain she felt toward us, before then backing out onto the road and slamming the car into gear, then speeding off.
‘Lovely lady,’ I remarked, having taken an instant dislike to her. ‘Do you think she’s aware of the full extent of her husband’s business interests?’
‘That’s a good question,’ the Inspector replied. ‘If I was a betting man I’d say that even if she doesn’t know the full extent of it, she would at least know that some of what he does isn’t one hundred percent kosher.’
‘Which could make her an accessory?’ I ventured.
‘Only if she did actually know what he was up to and was involved in some way,’ Helen replied.
‘So, we’d really need to prove it then?’ I mused.
‘Yes Cooper, we really would,’ the Inspector replied with a sigh, and with what sounded like just the slightest hint of amusement in his voice. I guess, if anything, he could have been annoyed at my obvious stupidity, but I’m sure that even a man like him can understand the frustration of coming up against someone who was quite possibly guilty of an offence, yet we were unable to pin it on them.
‘Don’t you know that all good things come to those who wait, Coop?’ Helen remarked.
‘And next I suppose you’re going to tell me that patience is a virtue?’ I scoffed.
‘Well . . .’ she simply shrugged.
‘Okay you two, in case you hadn’t noticed we’re yet to collar our crim, so if you’re good and ready, how about we go and track him down?’ the Inspector stated, still sounding slightly amused.
‘Yes, sir,’ we both replied, as we followed him toward the car.
It wasn’t long before we were back on the road once more and heading toward the city. Helen punched an address into the GPS and we followed the instructions, arriving at a rather run-down looking auto body shop about twenty minutes later.
‘Classy,’ Helen remarked as we pulled to a front outside the drab looking building.
Getting out of the car we crossed the road and walked in through the large open doorway, where we were immediately accosted by the acrid smell of paint and chemicals. There were numerous vehicles inside, all in various stages of repair, while a team of workers scampered around. Nobody seemed to pay us any attention, but as I had a look around us I soon noticed a small office located in a corner at the front, just inside the main doorway and close to where we were standing, so I walked over to the doorway.
‘Can I help you?’ a rather plain looking, middle-aged woman asked as she looked up from her desk and noticed me there.
‘I’m looking for Andy Jarvis,’ I replied. Suddenly her eyes narrowed and she was on full alert.
‘Who wants him?’ she asked.
Pulling my badge from my pocket I flashed it in front of her and watched as she gave it the once over.
‘So, what’s the stupid bastard done this time?’ she asked, before then letting out a rather large sigh.
‘It’s okay, Detective. You don’t have to sugar coat it. That son of mine is going to be the death of me, I’m sure . . . Lord only knows he did a good enough job of putting his own father in the ground.’