My visit to Foundation Street and the lay-by on the A12 had taken place on Wednesday 17th September 2003. Following the events of that evening, I expected Marlin to waste no time in contacting me, perhaps via telephone the very next day, or, as previous form might suggest, on the following Monday morning. As it transpired, this did not occur. To my surprise I received no communication of any kind from Peter Marlin for a period of almost three weeks.
I admit I did little in this time to further the investigation. I was content to wait for Marlin to make contact, as I felt sure he would, and as this unexpected period of silence grew, so too did my doubts regarding Marlin's claims. I began to wonder if, after all, he may be no more than a hoaxer, and had duly become bored with his game. I was occupied with more pressing work at my organisation, and with no additional information being offered by Marlin, nor any interference in my daily life, I lacked the motivation to carry my investigation forward. I had been deeply concerned by Marlin's tracking of my movements, and had at first been wary to the extreme, maintaining a high degree of vigilance, but as time passed with no further evidence of such surveillance being carried out, I allowed a certain amount of complacency to set in.
On Thursday 25th September, for reasons entirely unconnected with this case, I found myself in Ipswich town centre, and took the opportunity to visit St Matthews Street and the Victoria pub once again. I saw no sign of Vic, and despite mentioning him to a few individuals in both the pub and the underpass, my enquiries were half-hearted to say the least, and produced no information of any kind.
It was on the morning of Tuesday 7th October 2003 that Peter Marlin re-entered my life. I received a package in that morning's post, containing a letter (Note Four) and a torn piece of clothing (Photo F). The clothing appeared to be part of a man's red and white plaid shirt, the material dirty, discoloured and noticeably stained, particularly around the left cuff and the front lower section close to the buttonholes. The right sleeve and a large portion of the front of the shirt were missing. The remaining sleeve was torn. Printed inside the collar were the words "TEMPERATE FIELD WEAR / OUTFIT CORPS / T-TYPE L-S SPEC A 95".
The accompanying letter, identical in appearance to those which preceded it, read:
"[My own name],
PROGRESS IS GOING WELL MY FRIEND. SEVENTEEN EIGHTEEN DISPATCHED WITHOUT ERROR. THE DERELICT WILL TROUBLE YOU NO MORE. WE WILL MEET IN COLOR. I AWAIT OUR CONGEGATION AT 2B BAKER STREET.
As with Marlin's previous correspondence, this note was somewhat cryptic in nature and, in common with the first of his letters, featured a small number of spelling errors. It ended with what appeared to be a reference to Sherlock Holmes' fictional address: 221B Baker Street, albeit with a glaring inaccuracy. At the time this reference meant little to me (though I should add that its meaning has since become clear). A brief check of the Ipswich street listings revealed there to be no Baker Street in the area, allowing me to dismiss the possibility of a direct link with any nearby location. I chose instead to assume quite naturally that Marlin was simply using a reference to the fictional detective to draw a parallel with my own investigation, perhaps mocking my progress. I did not focus on any meaning beyond this.
The phrase 'we will meet in color' similarly lacked meaning for me. More striking however was the use of the word 'derelict', a term employed by Marlin during the second of our telephone conversations, in which he used it to refer to John, the homeless man I encountered in Christchurch Park. Memory may have served as my only point of reference, yet one thing was abundantly clear: the piece of clothing which accompanied the letter matched the shirt John had been wearing four weeks earlier. In addition, the material featured a number of marked discolourations which, ostensibly at least, seemed to be bloodstains.
The conclusion appeared obvious: Marlin was telling me that John was dead.
Copyright 2004 All Rights Reserved