With Sergeant Richards attending the post-mortem examination of the body at the dead man’s lodgings and the men from Scotland Yard not expected to arrive in Garnant for another 18 hours, PC Thomas was given the relatively straightforward task of securing the Star Stores.
News of the crime had spread through the Amman Valley faster than a firedamp explosion underground and crowds had begun gathering outside the shop immediately rumours of the murder had begun to emerge.
All day Sunday and throughout Monday morning ghoulish sightseers had gathered along the valley road, exchanging titbits of information and speculation while attempting to peer past the drawn down shades of the Star’s front windows.
PC Thomas had been left with strict instructions to ensure that none gained entry to the shop and with the lesser, more hopeful task of encouraging those gathered outside to disperse.
While the two doctors were cleaning the wounds of Thomas Thomas less than a mile away from scene of his grisly end, a determined knock at the front door of the Star drew PC Thomas’ attention from the darkening pools of congealed blood behind the provisions counter.
He opened the front door a little to see the general crowd had pulled back, allowing a small gathering of formidable-looking women armed with buckets, mops, rags and brushes to present themselves on the doorstep.
The deputation was led by a number of the village matriarchs, women grown strong and determined by brutal lives spent dealing with husbands and sons hardened by long days underground and loud evenings in the pub.
Faced with such a fearsome mob of housewives, PC Thomas’ protestations bore little likelihood of success.
While the men of Garnant defined their lives down the pit, on the sports pitch or in the pub, the women were governed by far higher powers.
Each Sunday, the many chapels of the Amman Valley were filled with the faithful while fire and brimstone ministers preached Hell and damnation from the pulpits.
PC Thomas was told in no uncertain terms that for the blood of Thomas Thomas to have been left to go cold and dry on the floorboards of Star Stores was ungodly, unchristian and quite simply unacceptable.
The authority of the Carmarthenshire Constabulary or even Scotland Yard paled into insignificance compared to that of the Almighty.
To the woman of the Garnant, every drop of blood on the floor of Number Two, Commerce Place, was blasphemy and an abomination to the eyes of God.
Faced by laws of the good book and women who feared the policeman’s uniform no more than they did the fist of a tired, drunken husband, David Thomas was powerless.
His arguments were dismissed and he found himself pushed aside as the women streamed in, galvinised metal mop buckets clanking and screeching as they were laid out and pushed with soapsuds overflowing around the Star as the women set about their pious chores.
Thomas sent word to Sgt Richards to come at once, but he knew his effort would be in vain – by the time his senior officer received the call and returned to the shop, the last of Thomas Thomas’ blood would be gone.