GRANDMASTER BREAKS THE CODE IN MYSTERY OF HIDDEN GRAVE
A chess grandmaster has cracked an intellectual puzzle in an attempt to help police solve a murder mystery.
The Masquerade-like conundrum was drawn up in a police station cell by a man who says he knows the spot where a woman’s body is buried in a shallow grave.
Raymond Keene, a former British chess champion and a chess correspondent of The Times stayed awake until 4.30am yesterday studying the man’s scribblings on two sheets of paper after he was called in by police desperate to end the six-month mystery.
Overnight Keene deduced that the body of Therese Terry, a 43-year-old divorcee from Preston, Lancashire was buried near Limerick, Ireland, possibly at a place beginning with the initial HG. This week the detective leading the investigation will travel to Keene’s London home to discuss the few remaining questions posed.
Terry disappeared after travelling to Ireland with a man in January. She had earlier returned from a trip to Australia to find that thousands of pounds had systematically been siphoned from her bank account.
A 30-year-old computer consultant from Seaford in Sussex was arrested last month and is being held on fraud charges. He has told police that the woman died by her own hand and that he knows where she is buried.
Keene, the author of 70 books on chess, was called in by police last week after they realised the man in custody was taunting them with a chess riddle. “It is like something out of Batman.” Said Keene yesterday. “The Joker has given the police an insane clue but thinks they are too stupid to solve it. So the police calls in Batman. ”
Keene. An unlikely caped crusade, decided that the first sheet of paper, entitled “area of game” by the man in custody, is both a map and a chessboard. The smaller islands at the top of the sheet represent the two main British isles with the Roman numerals standing for different places. I is Sussex, II is London, III Preston, IV Dublin and V is Cork.
He then rotated the sheet 90 degrees in a clockwise direction to discover that the larger island represents Ireland. The line drawn through it is both a trajectory, to show movement, and a diving line, providing mirror image on either side as on a chessboard. VI is Limerick.
Studying the chess pieces Keene decided that the black king was the possible killer; the lady in waiting and the black queen was Terry, his victim; the pawn his brother. The white king is the police.
One of the biggest breakthroughs for the police came when Keene pondered the second sheet, the “time scale for game” which provided various dates in January. He decided that the figure resembling a seven was in fact a vector, a mathematical sign indicating movement.
Thus, on Saturday, January 13, the black king when from Sussex to Limerick. Keene has now given police a breakdown of the movements of each person.
Police has been able to confirm some of his information. On January 19 there is the reference: “BQ makes a call. We are in IV”. A friend of Terry’s in Preston has told the police that the missing woman telephoned her on that day to say she as in Dublin with a former boyfriend.
Keene said last night: “There are references to a letter V which I believe relates to the use of a Visa credit card. The police had told me this is the type of credit card Terry had.”
“There is a horrible logic to all this. I firmly believe that she is buried at a spot north–west of Limerick indicated by the initials HG. I think HG is something small or idiosyncratic. If police can find a farm, a bog or a pond with those initials they may find the body.”
Four areas of he puzzle still elude him: the initials in the top left corner of “area for game” (although he guessed that EOT stood for Eire Office of Tourism and the police have confirmed that a car used by Terry and her boyfriend was hired from this office); the asterisk like drawing in the top right hand of the “time scale for game”; a reference to “car to b” and the heavily underlined entry “BK is S here”.
“The most sinister entry is a reference on January 21 to ‘BK BP do this’”. Said Keene. “This could be the point when the woman died.”
Detective Superintendent Roy Fletcher of Lancashire CID said last night: “We are treating this as a murder mystery but as yet we have no body. Thanks to Mr Keene, we may be much closer to solving this mystery.”