A small NSW country town in the rich farming area of the MIA of around one thousand citizens where very little causes a ripple.
The ten year drought the toughest in the region…the whole of NSW, Victoria, and Queensland suffering from the worst drought for more than a century. Then the drought broke with floods…but regular rains now meant a bumper winter harvest and a decent year or two…crossed fingers and confident smiles the ‘new’ norm from the black moods and scowls.
A well-known local girl shoots her abusive partner to death. Confesses several times … even at Trial.
A Television Investigative Journalist prepares a semi-doco that is aired as the young woman is released from Prison having served her time. Out on an eighteen month parole period needing to be served before she returns home to that small country town in the rich Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area.
Because of the TV Program an Order from on high is issued for Detective Four Joseph Lind and his new partner Detective-in-Training Isabella ‘Sophie’ Grasso to reinvestigate the crime and put to bed all the innuendo, half-truths and straight out fabrications sensationally presented.
Detective Lind knows he and his young partner will be in a tricky situation not welcomed by most of the townsfolk who think their presence is a slap in the face of their local much loved coppers. It was too late to turn over cowpats according to the citizens of this law abiding community…or is it?
Homicide in the ‘big city’ was a dying breed as us Dees on the floor did not have a current Case to satisfy our existence. We were dabbling in the ‘Unsolve’ Cases and investigations sent down from the Night Shift guys who were terribly overworked. We were hoping that the drastic actions of the State Government to force the entire State into ‘lockdown’ because of the Covid Delta strain that was escaping across the State would cause a peak in Domestic Violence homicide cases, giving us something to do. The lockdown would cause tempers to flare and domestic violence to increase…there was a slight spike but nothing to stimulate our interest or make us dance with glee.
The very want of extra Homicide Cases a little worrying to us all…but what the heck, everyone wants to feel as though their contribution causes positive vibes in the wider community.
A Domestic Violence Homicide was never going to stretch our investigative skills…you knew who the guilty person was just by looking…
It was now after the Lunchbreak, and I’d done my ‘lunchtime stretch’ down in the Sub-Basement gym. I was now relaxing with a decent coffee. My eyes closed, my stocking feet rid of the boots’ restrictions. My feet in new socks upon the open lower drawer of my desk and me leaning back as far as safety and common sense would dictate in my office chair.
This morning my partner, the young, pert Sophie Grasso and I had written off another terrible case of a former husband bashing his ex-wife and young child to death. His anger and illogical conclusions fuelled by an Ice habit. The DPP was satisfied with the paperwork involved and another angry man was slated for twenty years in prison.
I was half asleep when Hendo headed for my desk…it would be nothing but unwelcome news whenever the Chief Clerk zeroed in on your desk…you could bet your house on it and a quiet ‘heads up’ from my young partner had me cocking one eye open at him as he came my way pushing a four wheel Document cart.
“Joe?” Hendo stopped the file cart beside my desk and returned to the front of the Squad Room to wheel up another cart full of official looking white Folders.
“The current Correctional Services files, her Arrest and Charge Files which give step by step information into the investigation of the homicide death of one Barry Paul Grieves formerly of Katoomba NSW and all the Court Documents detailing her Court Appearances and Sentencing…that should keep you busy for some time just going through the whole collection, eh? Your present layback stance a bit of an embarrassment to anyone entering the Squad floor”.
He thrummed his fingers over the white Folders heaped onto the two Document Carts…we would need to learn every word in every Case File Folder, so he reckoned. At least they were ‘beefier’ than the ‘borrowed’ Cases we had been perusing of late.
“Yes…and? The woman is alive I suspect, so why am I being given her Record of Incarceration?”
“She’s due to be released at the end of the month from Emu Plains…there are loud whispers she was incorrectly charged and sentenced for a homicide she did not commit…so say some especially after that Exposé on the TV last week…”
“Didn’t see it…I hate watching those types of shows…innuendo and supposition…many questions asked; few answered”. I replied disinterestedly. “Another Case where the partner kills his better half…so what can be more transparent than that?”
He shrugged. “Yeah, me neither…I very rarely watch those types of shows…deliberately made to be sensational and largely inaccurate…no, this time the girlfriend pays out punishment on her abusive partner…a little different to the norm to make life worth living”.
“Mmm…so? Sophs and I have to reinvestigate the initial homicide and prove beyond doubt her innocence or the wheels of Justice had turned correctly this time placing her in prison for her dastardly actions…that recent TV exposé to be debunked…that about it?”
“Yer got it in one Joe…yer’ll thank me some day for my largesse. Word has it the instructions came down from on high with your name attached…yer reputation precedes you, ma’ man”.
“Oh! To be less popular…” I pouted, hitting my chest like a satisfied sturdy Silverback still in charge of his troop!