couple-arguing

Gripped with blind panic, Sam called Emergency Services to report a serious incident. She had to make a number of attempts to dial the very simple 3-digit emergency number before she got it right; she never had to call emergency services before so she wasn’t sure what to ask for.

Operator: Hello, what service do you require please?

Sam: Eh, ambulance, no the police please

Operator: Putting you through

Police: Good evening, Police Emergency

Sam: I would like to report a serious accident; someone is seriously hurt

Police: Do you need an ambulance Madam?

Sam: Yes, no, I am not sure

Police: Can I have your name and address please?

Sam: My name is Samantha Conway

Police: Your address?

Sam: That’s not relevant, the accident didn’t happen here

Police: Can I have the address where the accident happened please?

Sam: I don’t exactly know where it is, somewhere in Edinburgh

Police: So, how do you know there has been an accident, Madam?

Sam: Because I witnessed it!

*****

Within 15 minutes, the police arrived at Samantha and David Conway’s home in West London. An Inspector Jack Rigsby and Constable Joanna Appleby were hoping to make sense of this unusual incident.

Inspector Rigsby a wiry and world-weary soul was gentle but firm in his questioning, While Constable Appleby mostly listened and took notes. It was clear to them that Samantha Conway was very distressed but nothing about her demeanour or the state of the apartment to suggest she was unstable, under substance influence, or simply attention seeking. They had no choice but to take her story seriously.

Sam explained that she and her husband David had been arguing the night before about the usual things in life such as finances, domestic chore duties and not spending enough time together.

David, an outwardly confident person but with a fragile ego, worked as a sales manager for a computer software company; things had not been easy for him at work lately. Sam on the other hand, a fiery, short-tempered, sharp-tongued individual, had a very demanding but steady and well-paid job as a senior accountant at a major retailer.

The argument was not resolved so they went to bed in separate rooms and woke up to carry on with their argument until David left around 7:00 for Heathrow Airport to catch the morning flight to Edinburgh.

Shortly after that, Sam left for work and tried to forget about the argument, resolving to make up with him in the evening when they spoke on Skype, as was their habit when David was travelling.

*****

When she finally got home around 7:30 pm, she rested for half an hour or so and as she began to prepare a light supper, her iPad rang the familiar tone of Skype and she knew it was either her mother or David and hoped it would be David.

Clearly, David was very agitated and was not in the mood to patch things up with his wife. Having had a long and hard day at the office herself, it didn’t take long for the argument to flare up again but; this time Sam felt the argument had shifted emphasis somewhat.

David: Sam, I just cannot believe you sometimes

Sam: What do you mean?

David: You have become hard and uncaring

Sam: Me? I am not the one who saunters in at all kinds of hours most nights

David: Do I saunter in from the pub? Do I saunter in with a girl on my arm? Do I saunter in asking for my dinner to be on the table?

Sam: Oh, you want your dinner on the table prepared by little wifey who has nothing else to do all day but to think of feeding you?

David: See what I mean? You hurt like no one else, you really do

Sam: Well what do you want David?

David: I want you to appreciate me more; I am working my fingers to the bone for you here

Sam: And I am not?

David: You are Sam and you are more successful than I am and I am not providing for you like I am supposed to, what else do you want me to say?

Sam: That’s not the point I was trying to make and you know it

David: What is your point then Sam?

Sam: My point is that you need to rethink about your career. You are working yourself to an early grave without much to show for it

David: And my working myself to an early grave is not something you respect or appreciate, is that it?

Sam: Frankly, no! You need to have a fundamental change in your career

David: And until I do, I cannot count on your support and understanding, is that what you are saying?

Sam: You have always had my support David but there is a limit to everything, I am not getting any younger and we need to think of our long-term future and if we are ever going to start a family…

David: I knew you would bring that up sooner or later!

Sam: Bring what up sooner or later?
David: I cannot help it if I am not in the mood for sex these days, Sam!

Sam: That’s not what I was talking about! God, you are such a paranoid!

David: Now I am a failure, impotent and a paranoid, anything else while you are at it?

Sam: As a matter of fact yes; you are an arsehole and I hate you!

David: Thank you, you are a sweetheart

Sam: oh God! Why are you crying now? I am the one who is supposed to cry, who is the man here?

David: I really don’t see the point in carrying on like this

Sam: Nor do I frankly, I would rather have a meal and an early night

David: What is the point of life if what I do is not getting me anywhere and not being appreciated by those nearest to me?

Sam: You need to have an early night yourself and maybe we will talk when you get back tomorrow night

David: I am not sure I will be coming back

Sam: What are you saying, you want us to separate David?

David: We may as well; you just said you hated me

Sam: Fine, that’s what you had in mind all along when you called, wasn’t it?

David: Not exactly, I am just not sure about us any more

Sam: What is that supposed to mean you son of a bitch?

David: Actually, I was hoping we would make up but you took things to the next level Sam

Sam: I took things to the next level? You are the one who is playing the pathetic role to get me angry and say things I don’t necessarily intend to say

David: But you meant every horrible word you said

Sam: Look we are not getting anywhere so let’s finish this once and for all.

David: For the first time tonight I agree with you, I want to finish this once and for all

Sam: Fine! But I am not moving from here, you better find yourself somewhere else to live

David: That won’t be necessary

Sam: What do you mean? Oh shit, is that a gun in your hand?

David: I really thought we were meant for one another Sam; I had so many dreams and plans for us. Where did it all go wrong Sam?

Sam: David, is this a toy gun in your hand? If it is a joke it is not funny at all

David: Yeh a joke; hilarious, isn’t it?

Sam: I don’t believe you, you are bluffing! You don’t own a gun or even know how to use one

David: Am I not competent to pull a trigger Sam?

Sam: It takes more than pulling a trigger David. Put the fucking thing down and let’s talk properly

David: You think I cannot pull the trigger?

Sam: Real or toy David, put the gun down you are annoying me now

David: You think I don’t have the guts to pull the trigger?

Sam: DAVID! Enough is enough now. Stop messing around

David: You think I don’t have the balls to shoot?

Sam: No you don’t have the fucking balls you bastard, go ahead kill your miserable self, see if I care

Suddenly, there was a loud echoing bang and the Skype line went dead. For a moment or two, Sam froze looking at the Skype screen telling her the duration of the conversation and urging her to rate the quality of the session she just had. Then the realisation of what had happened dawned on her. She screamed long and hard then fumbled for her phone.

*****

By the time she disclosed to the police officers that she technically urged her husband to commit suicide, the case took a different and more dramatic turn. Inspector Rigsby suddenly stiffened and recited the legal line that she is cautioned to be careful what she said and that anything she disclosed to them might be used in evidence at a later stage

Rigsby: I think it is best if you come with us to the police station Madam

Sam: What? But I didn’t do anything

Rigsby: We need to establish that Madam but we also need to find your husband

Sam: You haven’t found him yet?

Rigsby: Well, you haven’t given us much to go on Madam; “a hotel room somewhere in Edinburgh” is what you might call a needle in a haystack type situation

Sam: Are you arresting me then?

Rigsby: I am only taking you in on suspicion of a crime at this stage, until we find your husband and in what state, we cannot be sure what had taken place.

*****

Sam spent a torrid time at the station. First, search was mounted around all hospitals and hotels in Edinburgh to see if anyone was admitted with gun wounds in the last few hours. Three cases were reported but two of them were gangland related and the third was a female victim of crime of passion but none of the incidences took place in a hotel room.

In the meantime, Sam insisted on and got the family lawyer Richard Hall to come to the police station before she answered any further questions. She was happy to repeat her story as she related it to Inspector Rigsby and Constable Appleby while at home but Mr Hall advised her not to answer questions regarding her “urging” her husband to shoot himself as the investigating officer put it to her.

Sam was finally allowed a few hours of rest in a holding cell at the police station while the officers on duty carried on their investigations as to what exactly happened to her husband earlier that evening. Sam was totally exhausted but wide-awake. How could she sleep? She kept recalling her last fateful conversation with David over and over again, analysing every element of it and finding clues to have indicated to her he was suicidal. How could she have been so stupid? How callous of her to humiliate him the way she did. Yes, she was frustrated with him and for him for not doing something about his career but, he was trying his best. Clearly his sales role with the software company was not right for him, his background is consumer retail but he changed jobs because this role offered him the opportunity to improve his income considerably and match his wife’s earning powers. But, his personality did not suit this kind of corporate sale and he was struggling badly. He was too straightforward, too honest, too basic and while he had the common touch, he did not have the finesse required in boardrooms to clinch the big software contract deals.

At around 8:00 in the morning, Sam was taken back to the interview room at the police station and this time waiting for her was a female officer who looked and acted like she owned the place, other officers were scurrying around trying to please her or do what she commanded.

In her mid forties, quite attractive but hard and buttoned up, Chief Inspector Hilary Jones had graduated with a degree in criminal psychology some 20 years earlier and immediately joined the police force to follow in the footsteps of her beloved father who rose to head one of the biggest police forces in the UK and was knighted two years before his retirement. Hilary Jones was divorced and without children so, she dedicated all of her energies to her job and everyone knew she was made of the right stuff to become Chief Constable of a major police force, perhaps even London itself, the most prestigious of all the senior police posts but, others were determined to keep her down due to misogynistic jealousy, and she knew it

C.I Jones: Mrs Conway, I am Chief Inspector Jones and my officers have briefed me on your case. I would like to aske you a few questions

Sam: Okay

Jones: Has your husband always kept guns?

Sam: I have never seen my husband with a gun

Jones: So, how do you explain the gun you claim to have seen with him?

Sam: I claim? I saw the gun in his hand

Jones: Be it as it may, what was your husband doing in Edinburgh?

Sam: He said he had business to attend to in Scotland

Jones: What sort of business?

Sam: He works as a sales manager for a large software company

Jones: How often does he go to Edinburgh?

Sam: Not very often but, he has been a couple of times

Jones: And does he stay at the same hotel?

Sam: I don’t know

Jones: Why don’t you know Mrs Conway? Wives normally ask their husbands where they are staying when they go away, at least out of curiosity, don’t you do the same?

Sam: Sometimes I ask, sometimes I don’t. On this occasion I didn’t

Jones: I am not sure your story stacks up Mrs Conway.

Sam: What do you mean it doesn’t stack up?

Jones: You report an attempted suicide, you claim to have seen your husband with a gun on Skype, you claim he never owned a gun in his life and when we call our colleagues in Edinburgh to find out what might have happened to your husband, they cannot find a trace of him. We also checked your husband’s phone, which he used to Skype you and it seems to be switched off, strange for a man to commit suicide while using his phone to Skype his wife, and in his last moments on earth he has the presence of mind to switch his phone off, don’t you think? Further more, when we check with the airlines, no one by the name of David Conway had boarded a plane to Scotland in the last 6 months

Sam: Well, that’s bizarre! He definitely left home yesterday morning to Heathrow Airport on his way to Edinburgh

Jones: Bizarre is not the word that comes to mind Mrs Conway. Wasting police time is a more accurate description. I am also inclined to wonder whether you are up to something entirely more sinister in collusion with your husband or worse, in collusion against your husband!

Sam: How dare you Inspector Jones! I will have you know…

Jones: I am CHIEF Inspector Jones, Mrs Conway!! Now listen to me and listen very carefully: I don’t know what your little game is or what scam you are up to but I intend to find out and when I do, I am going to throw the book at you so hard you will be lucky to see the light of day again. Now, I am releasing you for the time being but you can rest assured that my men will be watching you and you had better watch what you do, what you say, where you go and with whom you consort. Have a nice day Mrs Conway

Sam left the police station, hailed a passing taxi and climbed inside. On the way home, she called the office and reported sick, she then called Richard Hall and asked if she could see him later that day. As a matter of morbid curiosity, she called David on his mobile phone and sure enough, a recorded message was triggered saying:

“Hi, this is David Conway, I am sorry I cannot answer your call right now, please leave a short message and I will get back to you as soon as I can.”

To be continued…