‘Can I ask you, how often you visited Thomas in his home?’
‘Once every couple of weeks and every few months they would hold a neighbourhood watch meeting.’
‘So, in a year, you spent approximately thirty days in their home. You expect the jury to believe that you knew the victim well. I put it to you that Mr Whitman showed you a picture he wanted you to see.’
‘Stuff and nonsense, I have many years of experience. I assure you I can tell when a man has a good character or not!’
‘But as you have told us in court you only visited on a few occasions and that Mrs Whitman came to your church in tears. A place she felt it was safe to escape to. Not only did you push her away, but you called the man responsible for her unhappiness.’
Witness for the Prosecution
There were no doubts that the man sat in the dock could deliver the justice Martha so desperately yearned. He looked qualified enough to understand the delicate detail needed to convince the jury of her guilt. She studied everyone during the previous witness statements, a scattering of outraged faces bore testament, but there were a few, whose expressions were unreadable. The steady stream of witnesses, who had passed through the courtroom, had not made the jury’s job any easier.
Martha had memorised them all.
Charles was the only person to give a true account of Thomas. But if Charles knew of his slight indiscretion, would he have tried to persuade him to not stray? He had said having a baby out of wedlock was a sin. But wasn’t adultery a sin too?
She wasn’t surprised Thomas hadn’t confided in his friend about his affairs. His sermons were always full of marriage being the most important thing on earth.
Elizabeth was a strange creature dressed in blue. If she stood in front of a mirror would Martha’s reflection stare back at her? She lost weight and was resigned to be in the witness box. On the only occasion that Thomas had hit her – was it in the same aggressive manner or born out of stress?
Richard Blake’s deep tone bought Martha out of her thoughts.
‘Could you tell the court of your findings during your investigation?’
‘When we attended the crime scene, we examined the evidence,’ he said, each word pronounced from an intelligent view.
‘Can you tell the jury what your findings were?’
‘There were fragments of glass on the carpet. We also measured the blood splatter on the walls.’
Lips set into a thin smile, finally the evidence built up around her case. This was a witness the jury would have no choice but to acknowledge.
‘Submitted into evidence are pictures of the room, victim and the accused,’ Richard Blake said.
As they were passed to the judge, defence barrister and jury, the courtroom was like a graveyard. Nothing was clearer to Martha than it was now. They could be sure of her intentions, when she struck Thomas over the head with his mother’s crystal vase.
‘Could you tell the court about the wounds inflicted on the victim?’
‘The severity of the injuries, by blunt force trauma, is dependent on the amount of kinetic energy transferred and the damage to the tissue is sustained. There was glass embedded in the contusion and the edges of the glass vase were clearly visible.’
Martha didn’t understand a single word of what was being said, but it sounded important. His testimony was vital to a guilty verdict. She tried to visualise what happened, but her nightmares were soon forgotten in the light of day.
‘In your professional opinion the accused would have had to use excessive force to kill the victim in this case?’
‘Yes, the mass of the object multiplied by the surface area wouldn’t have been enough to kill him.’
‘For the court can you explain what you mean by that statement?’
‘The head can be the most vulnerable part of the body, but the contusions and indentations in the skin mean that only excessive force was used.’
Martha turned her hands over, so weak. How had she let anger get the better of her, when her diary was always within reach.
‘During your investigation, did you examine the accused?’
‘Yes, we took samples of her fingerprints and clothes for evidence.’
‘What were your findings?’
‘Her fingerprints matched to those on the fragments of the vase, and we analysed the blood on her clothing. The accused was no more than a metre from the victim when she killed him and didn’t encounter the victim once he died.’
‘Could you please tell the court your reasons for these results?’
‘If a person encounters the body, fibres of her clothing would have been found. There was no evidence of any transfer on the body or his clothes. Also, the blood on the defendant’s clothes weren’t centralised, and could have only transferred while the killing was taking place.’
Photographs were again examined. Each juror’s gaze lowered, until they looked to her for confirmation. For the first time in the trial Martha felt like justice would be her friend. The facts, the unarguable facts, proving beyond any reasonable doubt that she had to be charged with murder.