‘Mrs Martha Whitman and my date of birth is 3rd February 1962.’
Detective Evans spoke once more. ‘You have your own legal representation today?’
‘Yes,’ Martha said.
‘For the benefit of the tape, can you give your name.’
‘My name is Sarah Lamington.’
‘Before we start the interview, I will let you know of your rights,’ Detective Evans said. ‘You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention, when questioned, something you will later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.’
Martha wanted the interview to begin. Thomas wouldn’t see the point of all this red tape.
‘Mrs Whitman, are you well enough to be asked questions?’ Detective Evans asked.
‘I am perfectly well.’
Martha could see Thomas in the corner of the room. His judgement was clear.
‘Can you tell me about the events of January 12th this year?’ Detective Evans asked.
Clipped and void of anything but the absolute facts, Martha spoke. ‘I came in late from the library. I had a phone call from Thomas to tell me to cook dinner early. He had a chance of a promotion and had a meeting with his boss.’
‘What happened when he got home?’ Detective Miller asked.
‘We had something to eat, and Thomas went to the bedroom to get changed.’
‘What were you doing at that time?’
‘I was washing up. Thomas hates – hated mess.’
‘Can you tell me what happened next?’
‘He came into the front room. He found my diary and Christmas presents from my daughter. He was upset by what I wrote.’
Martha tried her best not to shake.
Detective Evans produced Martha’s diary, wrapped in plastic, from a box beside him. ‘For the tape, is this your diary?’
It was like seeing an old friend, but now the knife was firmly in her back.
‘Yes,’ Martha said.
‘For the benefit of the tape, Martha Whitman has identified Police exhibit ST14.’
‘I demand a break in the interview, so that I can talk to my client about the diary. I wasn’t aware this evidence was available before.’
Detective Evans nodded. ‘For the benefit of the tape, the time is 2:50 pm. The machine switched off – Martha was left alone with her solicitor.
‘Mrs Whitman, Martha, can you tell me what is in your diary that could be so important to your interview that it is introduced now?’
She was aware her solicitor wanted to know more about why she wrote in her diary, but to reveal that, would reveal the darkest part of her. ‘It doesn’t matter why; I just want to get on with the interview.’
‘Please talk to me. What is in your diary that could be so important to the police?’
It was easier to stare at the wall than answer the questions.
‘Martha, the police will be back in a minute and your diary is clearly important.’
Scarlet cheeks grew in stature and Martha twisted in her seat. ‘If you really want to know it is the evidence that will convict me of a crime I deserve to be in prison for. All my anger, all my frustration, and all my hatred is on those pages. Every time Thomas hit me, when my mood was dark, I wrote down my true feelings. I wanted my husband dead. Is that what you want to hear?’
‘Martha, you can’t reveal that when the police come back, it would go against you. I need to read your entries myself to get the full picture. Please answer any questions you find difficult as no comment. We can discuss your diary entries later.’
Martha resumed her position. Exhausted eyes continued their vigil on the wall. As far as she was concerned – the conversation was over.
When the detectives returned, the room had been silent for over five minutes.
‘For the benefit of the tape, the time is now 3pm.’
‘Are you okay to carry on Mrs Whitman?’ Detective Evans asked.
Martha nodded – she needed no more interruptions.
‘Mrs Whitman, why did you write in your diary?’
‘I don’t know why, sometimes when I got angry with Thomas, it helped me calm down,’ Martha said.
‘Did you often get angry with your husband?’ Detective Evans asked.
Since his death, Thomas never strayed far from Martha’s side.
‘I am highly strung,’ Martha said.
‘We are not asking you that Mrs Whitman, we are asking if you often got angry with your husband,’ Detective Miller said.
‘Yes, I did, but angry at myself too, for getting so upset at such insignificant things.’
‘As Mrs Whitman’s solicitor I will need a copy of that diary,’ her solicitor said.
‘You will get a copy,’ Detective Miller said.
‘It says in your diary. “He threatens me and takes what he wants from me. Then throws me away like I am some piece of rubbish on his shoe. Maybe, my hand should slip when I make his dinner tonight. Something tasteless, just like his suits. A touch of his car’s anti-freeze should do it. A small amount and I would watch him writhe on the floor, and he would beg me to help him.” Did you mean your wish for your husband to die that day?’