‘Objection!’ Barbara Craven said. ‘This evidence is not relevant to the case.’
‘Your Honour it is evidence that shows the defendant’s anger at the affair.’
‘Overruled, you may answer the question Miss Lacy,’ the judge said.
‘What did Thomas do when this happened?’
‘He followed her outside to try and calm her down.’
‘Was Thomas violent with his wife at any point?’
‘In your relationship with the deceased was he ever violent towards you?’
The question burned inside her brain. Elizabeth blinked. Thomas would have wanted to shed her own tears in private.
‘He never hit me,’ she said.
‘Did he ever show anger towards you in any way?’
Elizabeth deliberately looked away from Martha. Instead she focussed on Richard Blake, who was now making sure the jury were in full view of his witness.
‘Thank you that will be all.’
As Barbara Craven, walked towards her, Elizabeth’s tongue felt numb. She could feel an icy stare. It was like coming face to face with the ghost of her own mother.
‘Elizabeth, you have told my colleague about your relationship with the victim.’
Shoulders tensed as she glanced over to Martha.
‘As I understand it, he worked at the same firm as you?’
‘Can you tell me where you first encountered the victim?’
Elizabeth’s thoughts journeyed back to a time where life was simple and lonely. ‘He applied for a job as an assistant manager, and I work – worked as a personal assistant in that department.’
‘Worked Miss Lacy. Does that mean that you are no longer employed in that role?’ Barbara Craven said, as she arched her back towards the jury.
‘I lost my job about the same time as Thomas was murdered.’
‘Objection!’ Richard Blake reared up like a stallion. ‘This has no relevance to the case.’
‘Your honour, I assure you this is pertinent to the case at hand.’
The judge moved forwards in his seat, but his contemplation never wavered. ‘Overruled, but I must urge you to get to the point.’
As the jury scribbled on their notepads, Elizabeth fidgeted with a strand of hair.
Elizabeth licked at her dry lips. Why was Martha not more upset? Every time she looked up – she was right in her line of vision. Not smiling or crying, she was like a forgotten doll on a shelf.
‘Miss Lacy, you are under oath and to lie in court is an offence.’
‘I . . . lost my job because I changed a date on an acceptance letter.’
‘Did the victim ask you to do this?’
Somehow it didn’t sound as important when she said it out loud. ‘We needed the extra money so that he could leave his wife.’
‘Please answer the question.’
‘He asked me, but ultimately it was my choice.’
‘As I understand it, you were fully aware that the other candidate couldn’t take the post because his wife was due to have her child.’
Elizabeth tried to ignore the eleven individuals, who filled the room with their silent murmurings. The young man was so gentle with his wife. It had never sat right with her. Thomas had been so persuasive at the time. ‘We – Thomas wanted a fresh start; it had been so difficult with his wife.’
‘At any point did you show your reservations about what he wanted you to do?’
‘I didn’t want to let my manager down, but Thomas was insistent it was the only way we could be together.’
‘How did he persuade you?’
‘He made some valid points,’ Elizabeth said, ignoring the loud rumbling inside her stomach.
‘I put it to you that he asked you to lie, knowing to undertake such an act could ultimately lose your job if you were found out.’
‘He never forced me to do anything.’
‘Yet, it was the victim who suggested it.’
For the first time, Elizabeth contemplated their first meeting, where she had been photocopying the application forms. Thomas had appeared out of thin air and within weeks they were a couple.
A cyclone relationship from the beginning.
‘You have borne witness, under oath, that Mr Whitman was never violent towards you.’
Elizabeth repeated her last statement like it had been on her lips for years. ‘He never hit me.’
‘We’ve only got your word for that.’
‘He was kind, generous and I loved him.’
‘Was there any time you felt threatened by him?’ Barbara Craven said.
From her broken heart to her flat heeled shoes she had to focus. This was no time for doubt – Thomas’s memory had to be righted, even if it meant perjuring herself in court.