Excerpt from CrossFire
‘Do you know why we have brought you here today, Ann?’
Ruth thought she would ease her way in, rather than accuse her straight off, for triggering any hostility wouldn’t get them anywhere.
The woman stared at Ruth, her pale, colourless eyes searching for clues. ‘Nah… but I ‘spect you’ll get to it pretty quick…’
Ruth indicated a brown paper bag on the table beside her. ‘We found a pair of work boots at your house, Ann. According to your husband, they’re not his. Are they yours?’
Ann Taylor glared at Ruth. She seemed to be enjoying the interview, her arrogance showing through the previous nervousness. ‘Dunno, can’t see them can I?’
Ruth undid the bag and placed the dirty boots on the table. Most of the mud had dried and fallen off, but still didn’t seem like the kind of boot a woman would wear. ‘Are these your boots, Ann?’
Without looking at the boots, she shook her head. ‘Nah, I don’t think so.’
Ruth looked at Snow, but not for confirmation. She wondered why he was choosing to stay silent. What was the point of sitting in if he wasn’t going to contribute? Not that she cared, one way or the other. She had only looked at him to signify inclusion.
She looked back at the woman. ‘Are you quite sure, Ann?’
The woman shrugged her shoulders and refused to speak.
‘For the benefit of the tape, Ann Taylor has refused to answer.’
Ruth decided to read out the coroner’s report, detailing every bruise and damage to the child’s body. When she read the part about the boot imprint on the child’s back, she slid the photograph across the table in front of the mother.
‘Did you do this, Ann?’
When the woman didn’t answer, Ruth decided it was time to play the ace card, and she looked forward to it. This cold-hearted bitch of a woman was about to be arrested, but not before Ruth had enjoyed herself. ‘Are you aware that the person who wore these boots would have left significant DNA inside them?’
Ruth paused, watching as the realisation sunk in. ‘And are you also aware that we have tested your DNA and it has been proved that you are the owner of these boots?’
The fear and shame were beginning to show on the woman’s face, and Ruth watched, wondering what she would do now. She didn’t have to wait long to find out.
Ann Taylor’s face seemed to implode, as the terror of being found out took effect. ‘I swear I don’t remember that part… I know I were angry, but when she fell over and banged her head, I thought she was dead…’
‘So what did you do then, Ann?’ Ruth knew what had happened next, but not which one of them had done it. ‘Were you aware that Amy was still alive when you dropped her into the canal?’
The horror was all-encompassing, as the woman realised the enormity of what she had done. She looked around the room, just once, before she started screaming…