“Well, let’s ask the good doctor, Barnesy, and see what he says. Dr Crabtree,” Knowles shook the doctor’s hand, “what do you have to tell us?”
Barnes nodded at the Forensics doctor who was looking slightly puzzled.
“Colin, you should really not be so polite and shake my hand after I have examined a dead body, you don’t know where my hands have been; the patient could have died of a contagious disease.” Crabtree wagged his finger at Knowles with mock indignation.
“Since when has being hit on the head been contagious?” asked Knowles.
“It might be in this case because the person who hit Mr Trimble on the head did so with a lot of force and, sorry I couldn’t help but overhear you Sergeant, he didn’t hit his head whilst falling into the river, unless he did a backwards somersault of Olympic class and landed on the top of his head. This was a smack on the top of the noggin.”
Barnes reddened at the thought of his idea being overheard.
“So it was a man who did it then, doctor?” asked Knowles.
“Put it like this, if it was a woman, I wouldn’t like to spill her pint,” replied Crabtree.
“Sounds like the sort of woman you’d go for, Barnesy” said Knowles.
Barnes stayed embarrassed.
“If you notice, doctor, he didn’t disagree with me, I think that’s significant,” said Knowles and winked at the doctor.
“Hello, PC Smythe,” said Barnes, “thank goodness you’ve arrived, it’s nice to see a friendly face.”
“Really, Sergeant?” said Smythe.
“Yes, really,” Barnes replied.
“It’s alright Linda, we’re just discussing his taste in women, and how he prefers them with big biceps – the rough type.” said Knowles.
Smythe smiled politely, but looked slightly disappointed.
“So, back to the blow,” said Crabtree, “unless the attacker was about six foot four inches tall, I believe that the victim was crouching down when the blow was delivered.”
“And the smack on the head was with a rock?”
“Almost certainly, Colin,” replied the doctor.
“So he didn’t drown, but died from a severe head injury.”