OK. So it was all conjecture.
But from what I'd gleaned from interviews, archives and sheer good luck, I was fairly certain that's how things had panned out.
It wasn't going to convince an Old Bailey jury but, then again, I ain't no Columbo.
Bert falls in love. The girl gets it in the neck. Bert fingers Hartley for the dirty deed.
Bert dies. Willie McCallion makes a fortune.
I still had to figure how that worked out ...
Billy Swinton had an uneasy feeling about William McCallion.
He'd just told the poor b.....d that his brother had been plugged by an officer in no-man's land. To top that, his brother had sworn with his dying breath that the same bloody officer had also murdered some blade from an estaminet.
Now, if Billy Swinton had been in that position, he'd have lost the bap and headed off for a fair-dig with the ********. Officer or no officer.
"You sure you got this all right Paddy," asked McCallion, peering at the big Ulsterman in the dim light thrown out by the oil lamps of the estaminet.
A hand shot out and McCallion felt it tighten on his throat.
"Number f..king one. My name is Billy, don't f..king call me Paddy again. Number f..king two, yeah, I go round doing this for a laugh. Jesus and you people make up jokes about the Irish being thick."
Swinton released his grip and McCallion coughed.
"We straight on that cove?" asked Swinton. It was more of a statement than a question.
"Sorry mate," rasped Willie McCallion. "Just hard to take in, that's all."
Swinton sat back in the chair and examined the Mudshire man.
"Look, I'm just out of the line. A lot of me pals are gone and I'm not in the best of moods. Sorry for losing the head like that," he sighed.
There was an uneasy silence, finally broken by the Ulsterman.
"So .. what are you going to do about this? If it comes to the bit, I'll do witness for you .. if you're going to nail this Hartley bloke."
Willie McCallion betrayed little in the way out emotion. He offered a woodbine across the table and mumured: "Nail him? I'll f..king crucify him."