Sacrifice (Paul Finch) by Paul Finch

Sacrifice (Paul Finch) by Paul Finch

Author:Paul Finch
Language: eng
Format: mobi
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Published: 2013-07-17T23:00:00+00:00

Chapter 27

Overnight, Horwich Zoo became the biggest crime scene in British history, but as Charlie Finnegan had said, it was a nightmare gleaning any useful information from it. Despite the preponderance of cameras at the site, there was surprisingly little security footage that they were able to use, which appeared to reinforce Heck’s suspicion that the perpetrators had been on familiar ground.

In an observational report, he wrote:

The intruders at the zoo either had an accurate floor-plan, or already knew the procedures in minute detail. Evidence of this can be found in their highly efficient assault on the zoo’s security staff – which, owing to the complete lack of physical evidence in the security cabin’s kitchen area, was most likely achieved by a single infiltrator – and the speed with which the rest of the team moved so unerringly from their point of entry, the wall at the zoo’s northeast corner (only 8ft high and overlooking a stretch of unoccupied wasteland known locally as Red Moss), to the Reptile House, a journey of nearly 500 yards. In both cases these separate journeys were made in complete darkness and without use of electric torches.

It is also noteworthy that, in both cases, the intruders managed to avoid all the zoo’s main CCTV points. We know this because the route they chose to the Reptile House was not the most direct one. They circled south around the lion and tiger enclosures, but could have halved their journey time by cutting these out altogether. Of course, if they had done that it would have taken them past the Nocturnal Forest attraction, where there are two camera stanchions facing east and west. They also circled around the rhino and camel enclosures instead of taking a shorter route past Lemur Island. In both cases they would have been forced to pass a camera, but the camera next to Lemur Island, which they avoided, is functional, while the camera at the junction of the camel and rhino pens, which they chanced, is not.

Another clue can be found in the camera overlooking the southern approach to the Reptile House. This one was also operational, and the intruders would have had no choice but to pass directly beneath it in order to enter. Thus, the target arrow that shattered its lens and put it out of action, does not just indicate that the archer responsible is highly skilled and proficient (as also proven in the two deaths on the West Pennine Moors in February), it also proves that the perpetrators were fully conversant with the threat posed by this particular camera, and had made plans beforehand to deal with it.

All of this suggests knowledge of the zoo’s security arrangements, which goes far beyond the norm. It is my strong recommendation that every member of staff at Horwich Zoo be assessed and interviewed rigorously.

For all this, the killers hadn’t completely avoided visual detection. From some distance away, a camera perched on the roof of the aviary had captured a snippet of them proceeding along the walkway past the rhino enclosure just after two o’clock in the morning.


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