• Detective Sergeant Pam Yates sighs as she enters the lift on the way up to the new crime scene. This has been the

    sixth murder in as many months as she can already picture in her tired mind what the victim will look like.

    She arrives at the top floor of the Croydon Regal Hotel and shows her I.D badge to get past the mass of

    uniformed officers who are keeping the whole floor clear of civilians.

    Croydon is on the outskirts of London and whilst it isn’t the best place in the city it’s also certainly not

    the worst. Of course its has its fair share of crime and that includes many murders but it has never before been

    under the grip of a serial killer, until now that is.

    As she enters the room she is met by the head of the investigation team, Chief Superintendent Arthur Rowley

    from the Serious Crime Office based in central London.

    He doesn’t look happy with her but being the true professional he won’t say anything in front of anyone out

    with his team. “Morning Pam. The maid found her this morning when she went in to do the room. The crime scene

    guys haven’t quite finished yet but it’s definitely the same guy. Go in and have a wee look but remember and be

    careful that you don’t touch anything.”

    The victim is, as the previous cases, tied spread-eagled on the bed and gagged, all done with the same blue

    linen strips. We have ascertained that this material has all been cut from the same batch, possibly just a common

    bed sheet.

    Then she looks at the wounds, her neck is cut wide open from ear to ear. Almost her entire blood system is

    now soaked into the once crisp white sheets and mattress. The killers tell tale sign, which has so far been kept

    from the publics knowledge, is that her eyes have been carefully cut out of their sockets and have been taken

    away as some sort of trophy. Pam is no longer shocked at this sight.

    She has her look around without see anything new and returns to the Chief to get her assignment. After the

    second murder the Serious Crime Office had been called in to take over and they had put together a couple of dozen

    officers including her. She has always felt she was only picked to be the token local copper on the team.

    Rowley is already giving out orders to four members of the team by the time Pam gets there. She guesses all

    the prime tasks will be gone by the time he gets to her.

    “Pam, come walk with me,” Rowley tells her once the others have left and they go out into the corridor.

    He is not happy, “You only live a mile or so away Pam so how come it took you so long to get here? I need to be

    able to rely on my people.”

    “I’m sorry sir. I was took one of my children to school and then the other to the dentist without

    realising I forgot to take my phone. It was only when I got to the station that I was told about the murder. I

    promise it won’t happen again.”

    He looks at her, not believing her promise but still nods his heavily wrinkled bald head. “Okay Pam. The

    victim is Maureen Burton, aged 36, an actress who was in a play at the Fairfield Halls. She has been staying at

    this hotel for two weeks and was booked in for another until the shows run was finished. I want you to go to the

    theatre and speak to the people she worked with, see if anyone was hanging around or the like.”

    Not the best job but not too bad see tells herself. She replies “Yes sir and thank you sir. I will go there

    now as they should be turning up soon to get ready for the matinee performance.”

    She leaves the crime scene and goes back down in the elevator. She has time to study herself in the mirror

    lined box. Dressed in a navy skirt and jacket and with her blonde hair straight out of a bottle she looks more

    like a saleswoman than a police officer.

    She had turned forty just before the first murder and now she was thinking more and more about her future. Her

    nine year old twin kids, Jack and Katie were by far the most important thing in her life and she wanted to spend

    as much of her time with them as possible.

    She had decided she was going to leave the Criminal Investigation Department as soon as this case was over.

    She wanted to stay in the police so she planned to get a transfer to some sort of nice easy nine to five desk job.

    Her husband David had always been a huge support throughout her career but even he was starting to get fed

    up with all these crazy hours.

    She then realises that she wants this case over more for her own personal reasons than it stopping more loss

    of life.

    Pam looks down, unable to look in the mirror anymore.