With what money, Dorothy? I ask. I barely have enough for a gallon, since I still haven’t been able to turn your ass in.
She sat back down, and DC Knight moved to the giant four metre square map on the back wall,‘Okay so this map covers an area of twenty miles from top to bottom. In the centre is central London, and the bottom of the map, down south is the Kent borders, and here we are in Bromley Cross,’ she said indicating a large red cross on the map. ‘And we’re 2.6 miles from Hayes village. It’s a popular commuter belt village, lots of people who live there work in the city of London. It takes thirty minutes to get into the centre of London by train, and it has a higher than average population of retired people. Property prices are high, and it’s a predominantly white demographic area…’
Knight then nodded to DC Temple who turned off the lights. She moved back to a laptop activating the projector, which shone a larger scale map on a blank square of whiteboard. Knight moved to one side of it and went on,‘This is a larger scale map of Hayes Village. You can see the high street here in the centre, and where the houses thin out to the north it becomes Hayes Common. The common is an area of woodland and heath, crossed by bridleways and footpaths. It’s one of the largest areas of common land in Greater London, at 225 acres. There are multiple access points to the common that can be accessed from Baston Road, Baston Manor Road, Five Elms Road, Croydon Road, Prestons Road, Warren Road, West Common Road and Commonside. At its southern end is the disused quarry where Jessica’s remains were found. The quarry was created between 1906 and 1914, when sandstone was excavated. Over the years it has twice been filled and cleared; during the Second World War there was an army base at Hayes common and anti-aircraft guns. In 1980 the quarry was cleared for the second time by archaeologists as part of a wider dig looking for Bronze Age relics. After this, it was left to fill with water. Bromley council twice put forward applications to have the quarry used for commercial fishing, but on both occasions the idea was overturned as the common is a site of nature conservation interest, and is protected.’She paused and moved to the other side of the map, the projection of the roads playing over her tired face like arteries.
‘I’ll now move on to the timeline of events leading up to the disappearance of Jessica Collins. She lived here with her family in 7 Avondale Road, which is less than a mile from the Hayes Quarry, the closest entrance being here on Five Elms Road. You can see the houses on Avondale Road are all detached with large gardens. It’s an affluent area. On Saturday 7th August 1990 at 1.45pm, Jessica left her house to go to a birthday party for her school friend, Kelly Morrison, who lived at number 27 Avondale Road. It was only a short walk of around five hundred meters, but she never arrived. The alarm wasn’t raised until over two hours later, just after 4pm, when Marianne Collins arrived at 27 Avondale Road to collect Jessica, and saw she wasn’t there.’She nodded at Temple and he went to the laptop and a Google Street view image appeared,
‘Here’s a view from the top of Avondale Road where it branches off a main road.’
The Google Street view blurred forward in bursts, the image moving past the houses on Avondale Road. ‘You can see that the houses are all large, two of three storeys. They’re all set back from the street and many of them have high hedges, trees… Here we are passing 7 Avondale Road, the Collins house… and we’re moving forward to 27 Avondale Road. I’m trying to get hold of images of the street from 26 years ago, but from the witness statements I’ve read. As is today, it wasn’t possible to see the street from inside most of these houses.’The other man looked up, releasing Jack. Oh, beg your pardon, Miss Spencer. If he was assisting you, it’s all right.
Jack turned back to her, eyes wide.The man looked down at him. Cook’s been calling your name for the past quarter hour. Go on, look lively, lad.
He tore out of the room, only to have the man catch him by the collar and drag him back. Jack did his quick version of a bow. Pleasant evenin’ to ye, miss!We’ll teach that one manners yet, the man said with a faint trace of exasperation, though I seem to be lacking them myself. I’m Davy Chase, first mate of the prize crew.