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The morning that Stephie George’s half-naked body was discovered in Swindon’s railway goods’ yard by a railway policeman’s German shepherd caused a tsunami of shock, sorrow and deep concern all around the town as the news fed through the gossip channels.
She was found lying spread-eagled on her back in between two tracks of goods wagons, one leg bent underneath the other, wearing muddied, torn white jeans and a single fluorescent pink trainer. Her upper body was completely naked except for one arm, half covered with the torn sleeve of a pink cotton blouse. The vermillion nail varnish on her one bare set of toes shone in contrast to the leg of the white jeans. The area around her neck was red and heavily marked and her face was twisted sideways, awkwardly, eyes wide open. A cursory look showed she had been brutally strangled but had put up a valiant fight with her killer.
She was known locally as Diana’s double or DD after the town’s other star Diana Dors and also for her much admired bosom.
The railway policeman recognised her as the singer who often performed at the ‘Hornets’ Nest’ night club. He remembered vividly her husky voice and particularly her rendition of ‘Blue Velvet’. He would later tell his mates that he had seen the tits she was always flaunting and they didn’t disappoint.
The next surprise was experienced by Detective-Sergeant Tony Harris first on the murder scene. He recognised her straightaway as the woman who had served him in the Tesco Express the previous day. He had never attended a crime scene where the victim was known to him previously. The disturbing effect of this coincidence remained with him throughout the investigation and right through the ensuing trial.
But the biggest surprise of all came on the slab in the mortuary when it was found that Miss Stephie George was an unknown male in his early thirties. The number of Swindon men who had admired Stephie’s cleavage over the years ran into considerable numbers. The shame and self-loathing would spread through the town like a plague and for some, considerably more than embarrassment.
The level of shock and horror continued its upward spiral reached its peak in the town mayor’s office when informed that the police pathologist had discovered the mayor’s crumpled, damp business card, clutched in the victim’s right hand.
Mayor George Stevens, recently appointed after unfounded revelations regarding business associations with the region’s organised crime syndicates failed to block his appointment, was about to face his biggest challenge yet.