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by Robert Cooper

Chapter 4

Once I had a map I would be able to give an accurate reference to the services to see if they had cable or pipes nearby and find out costs of installing electric, gas, water and sewerage. Then having enquired dimensions with the pre-made buildings maker I can get estimates for foundations for buildings and excavations for the pool.

Once I had my feasibility study made I will then have to get an architect to submit plans for Planning Approval to the local council. Meantime I shall just have to be patient.

On Steven's affairs I had heard more news about his father. Seems the Mr. Wilkins had a computer disc full of sadistic child torture porn and was thus looking at least 20 years in prison for keeping and distributing child pornography. The police had also found a notebook with names and addresses of his contacts so Mr. Wilkins was in deep trouble.

This made it imperative that Steven gets psychiatric help as a matter of urgency. Some of the videos found were of him, his father and another man. I was meeting Steven for a chat after dinner this evening.

I had an e-mail from the accountants saying that I had plenty of collateral so no problems with raising capital for the Leisure and School projects.

Edward had researched prefabricated buildings manufacturers and made contact with two reputable companies. He had outlined our plans and asked for their recommendations. Pool on ground floor, gymnasium and squash courts on the first floor. He had also contacted a sports facilities company for their suggestions for tennis courts and mini golf and driving range beside. He had held off enquiries about the school building pending my approach to the local Education Department. I had a meeting scheduled for Mr. Timms and I to meet the Director of Education in two weeks time.

From the questionnaire survey we had most interest in school up to year 11 and 'O' level.

Virtually none for 6th form. Of 300 survey forms sent out we already have 200 back and they were only distributed two weeks ago.

From the maps that Edward obtained for us I have been able to give the various utility companies an accurate grid reference of the proposed buildings and asked them about supplies. Edward has also made contact with a local architect with a view to making an outline planning application for the project. This man has had plenty of contact with the local planning department and knows well their requirements.

That evening, after dinner, Geoff. and I waited in our private office for Steven and Jay to appear. I told Steven that we would be talking about very personal matters and did he want the others present. He agreed to Geoff. and Jay staying.

I told him about the new findings by the police and of the video recordings on his father's computer. I told him that both myself and Mrs. Sloan felt that he needed special support to help him deal with this. Would he like me to arrange this for him? I also told him that he would eventually be interviewed by the police to establish the extent of the abuse he had suffered. This would cause him additional stress and we would all be on hand to help and support him.

He asked about the police interview and I told him that they would be specialist officers and that he would always have myself and our solicitor with him to ensure things did not get too much for him. He could call a break at any time.

He also asked about the 'specialist help'. I explained that there were psychiatrists who specialised in helping children to deal with abuse. The one I wanted him to see was recommended by Mrs. Sloan but if he did not get on with this one we would find another. It was essential that he trusted the doctor and established a rapport with him.

We agreed that despite her somewhat severe looks she had his best interests at heart.

I told him to think about our chat and ask any questions he wanted however trivial. We would speak again tomorrow O.K.?

It was at this point that I discovered a new facet to my Geoff. Having found the extent of Steven's fathers abuse he went ballistic. He threatened all sorts of violence should he ever meet Mr. Wilkins and it took me some time to calm him down. My cool and calm boyfriend had an unexpected streak of violence. It took a large brandy to get him back to his normal affable self. We watched a bit of T.V and then went to bed.

Next day after breakfast I telephoned the psychiatrist to make an appointment for Steven to see him. I mentioned Mrs. Sloan's recommendation and gave a brief outline of the case.

He offered an appointment early the next week. He gave directions to his consulting rooms and we agreed a time. I sent an e-mail to Mrs. Sloan for her information.

Thank goodness for the diary programme on the computer, It helps prevent double booking.

Now into schoolroom for work on our module. It is getting more difficult to find time for education but we must get it done. ' A' levels start in May and we must be ready.

Mr. Timms says we are making good progress but we must not relax. After school I will ride over to the villa and see what progress has been made. Geoff. will come with me. Telephone Mr. Lang to ask him to get Black Knight and Molly ready for about 4.00 p.m.

Steven cannot 'work' until he is 13 so we need to keep an eye on what he does.

When we got to the villa site we found great excitement. Whilst excavating in the inside they had found what looks like a mosaic floor. The Lead Archaeologist was about to phone us and ask for a bit of latitude on the inside of the villa to follow up this lead. Of course I said "Go for it ". Geoff. and I hung around for a while and soon saw what promised to be a pretty fine piece of tessellated floor. It was already about 1 meter square and ongoing. This caused great excitement and lots of photographs. I reminded the team leader that this site was still private and not to release the pictures outside the faculty. I could foresee however that if the site got more interesting information would leak out and we would have to see about some security to prevent looting.

The weekend passed with no great happenings and it was time for Steven's interview with the psychiatrist. Steven, Jay and I were in the Range Rover and driven to the clinic. I asked if Jay could go with him for support and the Doctor encouraged it. They were in the consulting room for about an hour. When they came out I was asked to go in. The Doctor said that Steven seemed surprisingly only mildly affected by his abuse but he would need to be carefully watched, especially during and after the police interview as he may show more reaction when he had to tell all of his experiences in full detail. I told him that I intended to be present during that interview and would call a halt if Steven showed signs of distress. We parted with a further session after the police interview agreed.

I found the boys in the waiting room and as it was near lunch time we adjourned to a local Mc D for a burger and chips then back to the Manor.

That afternoon I had a session with Mr. Watson for signing cheques for various suppl ie s and also authorising the payroll for this month. He mentioned that Mr. Sheldon wanted to talk to us about a new tractor as repairs to the existing machine were not economical. I told him to consult the diary programme and enter it as convenient. The programme would automatically send me a message.

I went to find Standish and asked him about the Manor Christmas customs. He looked at me surprised and said "There are none" " We just have an informal party at a convenient time.

I asked " Would the staff like a 'proper' party? With partners and spouses invited. "

He replied" I think so but I will ask and let you know."

I asked if the ballroom was useable yet. He replied that it could be made useable as it had been cleared out prior to the rewire.

I suggested a decent size tree in the foyer and another in the ballroom with all suitable decorations. Live band in the ballroom and snacks and drinks in the dining room.

Food to be made in advance as I wanted the kitchen staff to enjoy the day and not be working all evening.

I will ask Sheldon if he has any trees on the estate and also I had seen some at Upton on the north side.

Standish doubted if there were any decorations in store but he will look and see.

Oddly enough Standish, normally quite formal, seemed quite enthusiastic about the whole idea. As it was mid October we would have to get the band organised soon if we wanted a decent troupe. (Edward.)

Christmas Day is on a Wednesday this year so perhaps Saturday 21 st or Sunday 22 nd might be good?

I retreated to my sitting room where Geoff. was waiting. I told him about Christmas thoughts. I asked him if he wanted to spend time with his family over the Christmas Period. He said he would think about it. We worked a while on our module then watched T.V and went to bed.

After breakfast next morning I received a telephone call from the Police Inspector dealing with Steven's case asking for an urgent meeting, preferably later that morning. He said the matter was urgent. I had already checked my day on the diary programme and we could see him at 10.00 that morning. Did he want Steven there.

He said "No not at this stage but Geoff; and perhaps Standish should be there."

I said "O.K. then see you at 10.00" I wondered why he suggested Standish but I would find out at the meeting. I called Edward to inform Standish.

At the time, Geoff and I together with Standish and Edward were in my estate office at the conference table. One of the footmen showed the Inspector up to us and closed the door.

He introduced himself as Detective Inspector Johnson. I introduced our team.

He then proceeded to brief us on the progress so far.

"Mr. Wilkins is in detention for various charges. His list of names proved very useful and had opened up plenty of other leads. Unfortunately they were unable to detai n all of them and most of them had been released on bail pending enquiries but their computers and

mobile phones had been seized and were being analysed ,

The point of today's meeting is to tell you that we are very concerned about Steven's safety. He is the main witness in this case and without his evidence the whole case will collapse."

"Sadly, on our present budget, we are unable to provide 24 hour coverage on the boy and we are looking to you for your suggestions"

He sat down and looked at us.

Geoff stood up. " We must make sure that Steven is not alone at any time."

Standish then said " It is a pity we don't have C.C.T.V. coverage"

Edward chipped in with "security gates with camera."

Standish then said " We needed a full staff briefing, including Mr. Sheldon to increase awareness of strangers even include Upton Lodge as they are on the borders."

Geoff added "Include the Archaeological team the more eyes looking the better"

I then said " Camera coverage is not expensive these days and was on my future list anyway"

"I will get Edward onto it as soon as we finish here. We can soon arrange a rota for watching the cameras. Steven knows his father's contacts so he could be ideal."

"What are the danger times Inspector?"

"Dawn and dusk are the most dangerous."

"Steven will have to know and I am sure he would want to help."

"Does Mrs. Sloan know of this?"

"No, not yet. I wanted to know your reaction first" said the inspector." I will call her when I get back to the office. Expect her to call you."

"No problems, just ask her to hold off until after lunch so I can get some things organised."

"O.K. people, lets get organised. Standish will you deal with the staff briefing, Geoff. go find Sheldon and brief him, then go on over to Upton and alert them to strangers. I will go and see the diggers and warn then. By the time I get back Edward will have found a security camera company who can move quickly. Try the people who did ou r computer system first, I noticed on their letter heading that they do surveillance camera systems.

"Any thoughts Inspector?"

"None for now, I will leave you to it for now but I will set up a hot line for you to call if you are suspicious of anything."

On the way out he did confide that he thought Steven should be safe here and he would tell Mrs. Sloane that.

I called Mr. Lang and asked him to get Black Night dressed for me and make sure somebody is with Steven at all times. I will explain more later.

I went up to the office to find Edward busy on the telephone with a pile of notes beside him and tomorrows diary page open on his computer screen.

I changed into riding clothes and went to the stables. I told Mr. Lang what was going on and the need for increased vigilance and that I was going over to the dig site to make them aware of the general situation without any personal details. I felt happy that, with all the extra eyes about, an unskilled intruder would be at a disadvantage. With security camera and movement activated flood lamps we would have done all we could to keep him safe.

Steven was already a popular boy and when people heard that he was in danger they all rallied round for his protection.

The company who did our computer system promised to send an engineer to survey and advise after lunch today. Edward had managed to express the urgency.

I had Steven come to my office after lunch and explained what was going on and that for the time being he was not to be alone, especially outside in the grounds. He had already identified the second man on the computer video as one Thomas McMillan, a nasty piece of work who took great pleasure in making Steven scream when he inflicted pain on him. He suspected that this man was the one the police were concerned about. He readily offered to take his turn at the security cameras when they were installed. He felt sure that his cousin Jay would keep him company on his watch duties.

The camera engineer came and did his survey and rendered his report by e-mail next day.

I called in Geoff. Edward,Standish and Mr. Lang to discuss.

There was a coverage of ten wi-fi lamps and cameras around the manor and five in the trees around the area. They were fitted with motion sensors which activated an alarm sound on the computer system. The main gate was also fitted with a sensor and again would sound on the system. The gate would have to be closed at 7.00 p.m. There was another camera overlooking the gate. There was another gate on the east side of the manor which was mostly used at harvest time for farm machinery but rarely otherwise. This also had a camera and would be a good access for police as it was close r to the local station. We suspected that any intruder would come in through the main gate as the east gate was virtually unknown except for farm staff.

I had noticed that Mr. Lang had been cleaning his shotgun recently. I cautioned him "Leg shots only please, we want him in court."

Manor life settled down to normal but watchful for the next few weeks.

Now November, Mr. Wilkins' trial due on 15 th I sent a warning out for extra vigilance. If anything was going to happen it would happen soon.

With Mr. Lang's assistance all the stable boys were taking turns at the cameras which gave better monitoring.

I had kept in touch with Inspector Johnson and he agreed with our assessment and said he would keep the hotline monitored 24 hours. We also agreed that weekend 9/10 would be a likely time.

From Friday night, all boys would be in side the Manor. Mr. Lang and J o would be in the stable loft keeping watch. They had blankets and thermoses of hot coffee for their comfort. Computer screens would be under constant watch. The Manor was ready!

Nothing happened on Friday so Saturday night we were all as tense as could be.

A couple of owls and a fox triggered the lights at about 11.00 p.m.

At midnight Mr. Lang called and reported a car going past the gate very slowly, then turning round and going back even slower. He called again to say a person had crawled up the ditch and cut the false wire to the gate lamp. Put there at the suggestion of the engineer. He then wriggled through the wire fence and moved up the drive towards the Manor House. It was a half moon night and Mr. Lang could see him clearly. He watched the man walk round the house and then he set off the light sensors. Meanwhile Edward had called the hot line. The intruder found the window that we had left ajar and was half way th r ough when Lang grabbed h is legs and Geoff. and I grabbed his arms. He was rapidly secured with plastic cable ties. At this moment Inspector Johnson and his men arrived.

The man was brought into the lighted area where he was confronted by Steven.

"Hello Mr. McMillan"

"Have you come to rape me again?"

"Little fag bastard, I came to stop you shouting in court what we did to you. Without you they had no case."

"What were you going to do with me?"

"We were going to shut your mouth for good to protect your Da and our mates."

Inspector Johnson stepped forward,

"Henry George McMillan I am arresting you on a charge of attempted murder, conspiracy with others to commit murder, trespass with intent to do harm. Do you have anything to say? Y ou do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence. Do you understand? You have the right to have a solicitor present before you say anything".

He clicked his radio " Round them up for questioning we are going to be busy tonigh t "

"Mr. McMillan, for your information apart from Steven's evidence, two of your so called friends offered information to avoid a charge of conspiracy to murder so your journey tonight was not necessary."

"Take him away and put him in a single cell away from other prisoners".

"Otherwise he would not get a legal trial."

"His next 20 years or so will be pure hell"

With that he was bundled away into a police car and peace returned to the manor.

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