London England, September 2008
Cyril Klawitter sat behind his desk in his plush, air-conditioned office and gazed across the desk at his client.
Klawitter was the manager of the Lakeside Bank in Mayfair and at 52, he was short and plump with light brown hair and inquisitive blue eyes. Today he wore a black suit with a light blue shirt and a black tie, and he was looking very dapper.
“It’s all there,” said Klawitter in his posh accent. “£100,000 in £50 notes.”
John Dangerfield glanced at the briefcase and gave a of approval.
At 56, he was tall, dark and handsome with dark brown hair and intelligent brown eyes. He wore an immaculate, tailor-made, dark blue suit that fitted him like a second skin.
“Thanks, Cyril. You’re the best bank manager in the world.”
“Would you like to count it?” said Klawitter.
“I trust you,” said Dangerfield in a posh London accent. “I’m sure it’s correct.”
“Sure?” said Klawitter as he stared at him.
“You’re always right,” said Dangerfield. “There’s no need for that.”
“Okay,” said Klawitter, shrugging his shoulders as the two men gazed at each other.
“I know it’s none of my business,” continued Klawitter after a pause, “but is there any specific reason why you need this kind of money at such short notice?”
“You’re right, Cyril, it’s none of your business.”
“You’re one of my best clients, John,” said Klawitter, “and I like to know about my clients financial affairs.”
“Never mind, Cyril,” said Dangerfield, rising to his feet and grabbing the briefcase. “I’m gonna dash. I’m in for a hectic day.”
He walked towards the door and Klawitter followed him, a puzzled expression on his face.
“Thanks for your help, Cyril,” said Dangerfield with a dry smile as the two men shook hands at the door. “You’re very kind.”
“No problem at all,” said Klawitter. “If you need any further assistance, give me a call.”
“Will do,” said Dangerfield as he opened the door.
Dangerfield drove the gleaming, black Bentley along the A3 Motorway towards Surrey at 50 miles an hour. The vehicle was fully air-conditioned, fully loaded and every little luxury had been catered for. In fact, the manufacturer had worked overtime on the extras.
It was a nice sunny, September afternoon and as he drove, his mind was busy.
Dangerfield was the CEO of Casterton PLC, a major food processing firm and he was a multi-millionaire.
What a predicament! he thought as he continued to drive. It was two-thirty in the afternoon and the traffic was light.
Twenty minutes later, he cruised onto the driveway of his exclusively detached house in an affluent neighborhood in Epsom and pulled up beside a silver Mercedes.
Carrying the briefcase, he let himself into the opulent house and closed the door behind him.
As he entered the house, a beautiful blonde emerged from the living room and stared at him.
At 53, Suzi Dangerfield was tall and gracious with a nice, curvaceous figure and lovely blue eyes. She was a beautiful woman and most people thought she was in her early 40s. Today she was wearing a white frock.
“Have you got the money?” she said as she stood in front of her husband in the corridor, a worried expression on her face as her eyes moved from his face to the black briefcase he was holding and back to his face.
She spoke with a posh accent.
“Yes,” said Dangerfield as he stared at her. “It’s all here.”
The doorbell rang sharply, and they gazed at each other.
“Are you expecting anyone?” said Dangerfield, frowning at her.
“I’m not,” she said, frowning back.
“Take this into the living room,” said Dangerfield, handing her the briefcase. “I’ll see who it is.”
She took the briefcase and went into the living room. Dangerfield moved towards the door and opened it.
As he opened the door, a tall, good-looking man with light brown hair and shrewd brown eyes, wearing a navy blue suit gazed at him.
Another man was standing behind him.
“Hello,” said Dangerfield as they gazed at each other.
“Mr John Dangerfield?” asked the man.
“That’s right,” said Dangerfield cautiously, a frown on his face as he glanced at the other man, then focused on the man in front of him.
“Detective Sergeant Cliff Wheeldon,” said the man, flashing his warrant card. “And this is my colleague, Detective Sergeant Paul Jefferies. We’re from the Epsom Police Station and we’d like to speak to you about a certain matter. Can we come in?”
He spoke with a London accent.
“What’s it regarding?” said Dangerfield, frowning at him.
“Can we come in?” said Wheeldon, repeating the question.
“If you insist,” said Dangerfield, reluctantly letting them in.
“This is my wife,” he said as he led them into the deluxe living room.
Suzi Dangerfield was standing around in the living room, a curious expression on her face as she watched the police officers follow her husband into the living room.
“Hello, Mrs Dangerfield,” said Wheeldon as Jefferies nodded at her.
“Hello,” said Suzi.
“They’re from the Epsom Police Station,” said Dangerfield.
Suzi nodded as she looked from one officer to the other.
“What can I do for you?” said Dangerfield, looking at Wheeldon as they all stood around in the living room.
“Sorry to disturb you, sir,” said Wheeldon, realising that Dangerfield hadn’t offered them a seat and from the look of things, he wasn’t going to. “It’s regarding a certain matter. We received a phone call from your bank manager, who was very concerned that you suddenly withdrew £100,000 with two hours notice today.”
“So?” said Dangerfield, frowning at him.
“It’s very unusual to withdraw that kind of money at such short notice, Mr Dangerfield,” said Wheeldon. “Why did you withdraw the money?”
Dangerfield gazed at him.
“I need it for a business deal.”
“We thought you were being blackmailed,” said Wheeldon.
“What could have given you that impression, Officer?”
“Just a hunch,” said Wheeldon, shrugging his shoulders.
“Well I’ve got some advice for you,” said Dangerfield. “Don’t jump to conclusions, Officer. It doesn’t pay.”
“What business deal is that, Mr Dangerfield?” said Jefferies, speaking for the first time.
“Don’t be impertinent, Officer!” snapped Dangerfield, his eyes flashing with anger. “That’s none of your business!”
The two police officers gazed at him.
Wheeldon had a feeling that Dangerfield was hiding something.
“Sorry to turn up like this,” said Wheeldon after a pause. “We called the office earlier and we were told that you had left for the day.”
“Next time I’d prefer a phone call,” said Dangerfield. “Please don’t turn up like this again.”
“We can’t always call,” said Wheeldon. “Sometimes, we have to show up. Your bank manager was right to call us and we had to act on the information.”
“If there’s nothing else,” said Dangerfield, “I’ve got to go. I’m very busy.”
“Thanks for your time,” said Wheeldon.
“You’re very welcome,” said Dangerfield.
Dangerfield followed the officers towards the door while Suzi watched them leave.
“Thanks for calling in,” said Dangerfield as the two police officers walked out of the front door into the glorious sunshine.
“Have a good day,” said Wheeldon.
Dangerfield closed the door behind them and returned to the living room. As he entered the living room, seething with anger, his wife stared at him.
“That bloody bank manager!” snapped Dangerfield as he dashed towards the phone. “I’m going to give him a piece of my mind.”
Dangerfield reached the phone, grabbed it and dialled a number.
As he waited, he heard the phone ringing at the other end. It rang a few times, then someone answered the phone.
“Lakeside Bank,” said a young female voice at the other end.
“I’d like to speak with the manager,” said Dangerfield. “Cyril Klawitter, please.”
“Mr Klawitter’s in a meeting,” said the girl. “Can I take a message, sir?”
“I don’t care if he’s in a meeting with the board of directors!” snapped Dangerfield. “It’s urgent! Can you get him?”
“May I know who’s calling?” said the girl.
“It’s John Dangerfield.”
“Hold the line, sir.”
There was a moments delay, then Klawitter was on the line.
“Cyril, it’s John Dangerfield.”
“Hello, John!” said Klawitter breezily. “How’s it going?”
“That was very unprofessional, Cyril!” snapped Dangerfield. “Why did you call the police?”
“I was concerned,” said Klawitter defensively. “I thought you were being blackmailed, John.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” said Dangerfield angrily. “And how about client confidentiality? Doesn’t that count for anything?”
“I consider you to be a friend, John,” said Klawitter.
“If this happens again,” said Dangerfield, cutting him short, “you will lose the account.”
He ended the call.
“That Cyril Klawitter’s an idiot,” said Dangerfield as he dropped the receiver and looked at his wife.
“Maybe we should go to the police,” said Suzi, staring at him with frightened eyes. “He’s our only child, John.”
“That’s why we shouldn’t go to the police,” said Dangerfield as his mobile started to ring.
He removed his mobile from his inner jacket pocket, glanced at it and swiftly answered the call.
There was a pause. Then someone started to talk.
“Have you got the money?”
Dangerfield recognised the harsh, working-class, London accent. He pictured the guy to be in his 40s.
“That’s right,” said Dangerfield.
“Lovely!" said the guy. “Start driving down the A3 towards Central London at eight. You’ll get further instructions from there.”
“I want to speak to my son,” said Dangerfield as Suzi stared at him, an anxious expression on her face.
“Hold the line, mate.”
There was a brief delay, then someone started to talk.
“Dad? It’s me.”
Dangerfield recognised the voice.
“Chris! Are you all right?”
There was a note of concern in his voice.
“I’m fine, dad. Please pay the ransom. They won’t hurt me if you pay.”
“No problem, son,” said Dangerfield, seething with anger. “I’m going to pay the ransom tonight.”
“Is mum there?”
“Yes,” said Dangerfield, glancing at his wife. “We’re here together.”
“We’ll speak to you at eight,” said the kidnapper, suddenly interfering. “And remember, no cops and no tricks or your son is going to die!”
He ended the call.
“What did they say?” said Suzi, looking extremely concerned.
“They want me to pay the ransom tonight,” said Dangerfield as he put his phone back into his inner jacket pocket.
“Is Chris all right?”
Dangerfield hesitated as he stared at her.
“He sounded all right. They won’t hurt him unless we call the cops.”
“If anything happens to that boy, I’ll kill myself!” snapped Suzi as tears began to stream down her face.
“Don’t talk like that, darling,” said Dangerfield, moving away from her and heading towards the liquor cabinet.
He urgently needed a drink.
Detective Chief Inspector Sean Rigby was tall, dark and handsome with dark brown hair and in his late 40s.
He wore a dark brown suit with a white shirt and a dark brown tie.
As he sat behind his desk in the Epsom Police Station, working on his computer, he heard a knock on the door.
“Come in,” he said, looking up from his computer.
The door to his office slid open and Detective Sergeant Cliff Wheeldon walked into his office.
“Hello, Cliff,” said Rigby as Wheeldon waltzed into his office.
“Hello, sir,” said Wheeldon, walking towards his desk.
“How did it go?” asked Rigby as Wheeldon got to his desk and paused. He spoke with a Home County accent.
“He said he needed the money for a business deal,” said Wheeldon. “But when Jefferies enquired about the business deal, he became aggressive and asked us to leave.”
Rigby stared at him.
“When a man as important as John Dangerfield suddenly withdraws a hundred thousand in cash on two hours notice, I smell a rat. Being the CEO of a major food processing firm with an annual revenue of £2.2 billion makes him a prime target for blackmail. But if he said he isn’t being blackmailed, we’ll just have to leave him alone.”
“I think he’s hiding something,” said Wheeldon. “I think he is being blackmailed and we should keep an eye on him.”
“Maybe he is,” said Rigby. “But if he said he’s all right, we’ll just have to leave him alone.”
Wheeldon looked very disappointed.
“I still think we should keep an eye on him, sir.”
“Let’s leave it at that,” said Rigby, cutting him short. “It’s his money and we’ll just have to wait until he comes to us.”
“Okay, sir,” said Wheeldon, turning around and heading towards the door.
Dangerfield drove the Bentley along the A3 Motorway towards Central London at 20.02pm. Daylight had concluded and darkness had gradually descended upon the face of the earth. There wasn’t a lot of traffic on the A3 and as he drove, a thoughtful expression on his face, his mind was busy.
He was thinking about his son. He loved his son with all his heart and he couldn’t wait to have him back. The £100,000 that he was about to part with meant nothing to him. Money was immaterial when it came to his son. And all he could think about was his son’s safety. His thoughts shifted to his wife. She had suddenly become a nervous wreck and it broke his heart to see her like that.
As he continued to drive, his mobile started to ring, and Dangerfield, who had connected his mobile to his Sat Nav for hands-free access, answered the call immediately.
“Are you alone?”
Dangerfield recognised the kidnapper’s voice as it drifted through the speakers.
“Head towards Twickenham. When you get there, stay in the car and you’ll get further instructions.”
“Okay,” said Dangerfield as he continued to drive.
“And remember, no cops and no tricks or you’ll never see your son alive again.”
“Do you have to keep repeating that?” snapped Dangerfield, suddenly losing his temper.
The kidnapper ended the call.
Dangerfield continued to drive towards Central London at 50 miles an hour. He was heading in the right direction and he was glad that he didn’t have to make a detour. But why had they asked him to go to Twickenham? He was expecting to leave the ransom near the A3.
As he drove, he glanced into his rear-view mirror to see if he was being followed, but all he could see was the distant headlights of a few approaching vehicles, and they were too far away to be following him.
His mind suddenly drifted to Klawitter. That idiot could have had his son killed.
Thirty minutes later, he got to Twickenham and as he approached the station, his mobile started to ring.
“John Dangerfield!” he said, answering the phone immediately.
“Are you there?”
The kidnapper’s voice came clearly through the speakers.
“Yes,” said Dangerfield as he pulled up outside the station.
There was a pause. Then the kidnapper continued to talk.
“Head towards Hampton Court Pier. When you get there, stay in the car and you’ll get further instructions.”
“Okay,” said Dangerfield as he drove away from the station.
The kidnapper ended the call.
Twenty-three minutes later, he arrived at Hampton Court Pier, parked near the waterfront and killed the engine.
Dangerfield glanced around as he killed the engine. There wasn’t a soul in sight. There was an eerie kind of atmosphere that made him feel very uneasy.
He remained in the car and waited. Ten minutes later, his phone started to ring.
Dangerfield answered the phone immediately.
There was a pause. Then the person started to speak.
“John, it’s Stan.”
Dangerfield was extremely disappointed as he recognised his friend’s voice and suddenly noticed his number on his mobile phone. He was so sure it was the kidnappers that he didn’t check the number before he answered the call.
“Life is good,” said Dangerfield, realising that every second he spent on the phone was crucial. “Listen, Stan, I’m very busy at the moment. I’ll call you tomorrow.”
“Okay. I just called to say hello.”
“I appreciate that,” said Dangerfield, determined to end the call. “Thanks for calling, Stan. Speak to you later.”
“Speak to you later, mate.”
They ended the call.
Fifteen minutes later, his phone rang again.
“John Dangerfield!” he said as he answered the call immediately.
“Listen carefully, Dangerfield.” He recognised the kidnapper’s abrupt voice.
“I’m not going to repeat myself. There’s a white yacht moored at the pier. Leave the money in the yacht and drive away.”
He ended the call.
Dangerfield remained in the prestigious vehicle for a few seconds, his heart thumping rapidly.
He opened the boot from within the car and slid out of the car.
As he slid out of the car, he removed the briefcase from the boot, closed the boot and started to walk towards the pier. As he got to the pier, he noticed a white yacht moored to the pier and he started to walk towards it. He left the money inside the yacht, walked back towards the car in the eerie semi-darkness and got into the car. Then he started the engine and drove along the road.
Twelve minutes later, a tall, shadowy figure emerged from the shadows, got into the yacht and sent the yacht shooting across the Thames.
“It’s me, darling,” said Dangerfield as he drove along the road and his wife answered the phone.
“How’s it going?” she sounded very anxious.
“I’ve just paid the ransom,” said Dangerfield.
“Have they set him free?”
“I don’t know,” said Dangerfield. “They told me to leave the money in a yacht and I did it. But anyway, I’m on my way home.”
She started to say something, but Dangerfield cut her short.
“Listen, darling, I can’t talk now. I’ll see you when I get home.”
He ended the call.
A few minutes later, as he drove along the road, his mobile started to ring.
“John Dangerfield!” he said cautiously, realising it was an anonymous call.
“We’ve got the money.” He recognised the kidnapper’s voice. “Thanks for being so reasonable.”
Dangerfield breathed a sigh of relief.
“Have you released my son?”
“He’ll be free to go,” said the kidnapper after a pause. “But on one condition.”
“What do you mean?” said Dangerfield, his heart beginning to thump.
“We want another one hundred thousand in twenty-four hours.”
“Are you crazy?” screamed Dangerfield as his heart skipped a beat. “I’ve just paid you a hundred thousand pounds!”
“You heard me,” said the kidnapper. “And keep your voice down.”
“I can’t raise that kind of money in twenty-four hours again,” protested Dangerfield.
“Twenty-four hours!” snapped the kidnapper.
The line went dead.
As Dangerfield drove along the road, his heart thumping furiously, his mind darting around like a wild animal, he started to call his wife, then he stopped. He wasn’t too sure how she would react if he told her the latest news over the phone. It would be a lot better if he broke it to her gently in person when he returned to the house.
But as he continued to drive, he dreaded the very moment that he would have to do that. What an ordeal! In addition to that, he now had to raise another one hundred thousand within twenty-fours hours, or else… He couldn’t even bear to think of what the outcome would be if he failed to pay.
The phone started to ring and Suzi Dangerfield, dashed towards the phone and grabbed the receiver.
“Hello,” she said cautiously, her heart thumping as she answered the phone.
“Hello, darling!” she said cheerfully, a dazzling smile appearing on her face as she recognised her son’s voice. “Are you all right?”
“I’m fine. It was a payment from heaven, mum!.”
“Well done!” she said as she continued to smile.
“There’s going to be another one in twenty-fours hours.”
“Lovely,” said Suzi as she held onto the phone. “Nice work, Chris.”
“One for you and one for me.”
“Good boy!" smiled Suzi. “He wouldn’t have given us the money if we had asked for it.”
“I know. Look, mum, I’ve got to go. I’ll give you a call when I’ve got it.”
“Okay,” she said. “Take care, Chris. I love you."
“I love you too.”
The line went dead.
Still smiling blissfully, she replaced the receiver, walked over to the sofa and sat down.
Thirty minutes later, as she relaxed on the sofa, the doorbell rang.
Wondering who it was, a frown appearing on her pretty face, she got to her feet and wandered towards the door.
She reached the front door and opened it.
As she opened the door, Detective Sergeant Cliff Wheeldon gazed at her.
A plain clothed detective stood behind him and also gazed at her.
“Evening, Mrs Dangerfield,” said Wheeldon. “Detective Sergeant Cliff Wheeldon and Detective Constable Ian Dainty from the Epsom Police Station. I was here this afternoon.”
He showed her his warrant card.
“Evening, Officer,” she said as she glanced at his warrant card and stared at him. “I remember. What can I do for you?”
“Can we come in?”
Suzi stared at him.
“What’s it regarding?”
“Can we come?” said Wheeldon, repeating his question and meeting her stare.
“Sure,” she said, letting them into the house.
They followed her into the living room. Then she faced them.
“Tell me, Officer! What’s it regarding?”
“Where is your husband?” said Wheeldon, watching her closely.
“He’s not in,” she said.
Wheeldon regarded her.
“I’m sorry to tell you this. Your son was intercepted at Putney Pier with a briefcase full of money. £100,000.”
Her heart skipped a beat.
“Oh, my God! We thought he’d been kidnapped!”
“Your husband didn’t mention that earlier,” said Wheeldon.
“He was sworn to secrecy,” said Suzi rapidly. “They said they would kill him if we called the police.”
“Did they?” said Wheeldon.
“Yes,” said Suzi, feeling extremely nervous.
“When will your husband be back?” asked Dainty.
“I don’t know,” said Suzi.
Wheeldon gazed at her.
“Your husband withdrew £100,000 from the bank today, and that was the exact amount that was found on your son when we arrested him. Can you explain that, Mrs Dangerfield?”
“What do you mean?” snapped Suzi, her eyes flashing angrily as she glared at him.
“I’m sorry to tell you this, Mrs Dangerfield, but I planted a bug when I was here this afternoon. This house has been under surveillance for the past couple of hours.”
“I thought that was illegal,” said Suzi as her heart thumped furiously.
“We intercepted the phone call that you just had with your son,” continued Wheeldon. “You’re under arrest, Mrs Dangerfield.”
“What’s going?” snapped Dangerfield, suddenly walking into the living room, a puzzled expression on his face as he gazed at Wheeldon.
“I’m afraid you were played for a sucker, Mr Dangerfield,” said Wheeldon. “Your wife and son engineered the fake kidnap.”
Dangerfield gaped at his wife, an astonished expression on his face.
Klawitter was an angel in disguise, he thought. If it wasn’t for him, they would have got away with it.
Originally Written in February 2009 for the Printed Words Blog.