‘Is it any wonder your dad was angry. Eighteen and pregnant with a boy who didn’t trust you. In a relationship with another boy you hardly knew within months.’
‘I knew him better than I knew Thomas.’
‘I put it to you that your father had every right to be angry, so on that day his emotions got the better of him.’
Laura’s eyes narrowed. ‘Yes, I was pregnant, but he got angry very easily. Most of the time Mum said it was because he was drunk. But then he was drunk most of the time. If he came home and there was a single thing out of place, a bad day at work, it was raining, or he didn’t have a shirt ironed – it didn’t take much to set his fists flying.’
‘Reverend Charles Crowthorne tells a different story of the marriage.’
Laura’s manic laughter reverberated around the courtroom but stopped at her mum’s expressionless face. ‘He just saw what Thomas wanted him to see.’
‘What was that?’
‘A perfect home, wife and silent child. All so different when he left. He didn’t see Thomas beat my mum because she left the potatoes on for too long or spoke out of turn.’
‘It is easy to say when your father isn’t here to defend himself.’
‘I wish I had spoken out sooner,’ Laura said, her hands clutched against the unbending wood.
‘Yet throughout your whole life, he only hit you once.’
Richard Blake stepped forward and forced Laura to meet his icy stare.
‘Once, it shouldn’t have happened at all.’
The courtroom, silent and still, patiently waited for her next words.
‘I never loved Thomas, but he never showed me any love. Martin showed me and continues to show me every day what love is. When I told him I was pregnant, he said he would marry me and take care of us. That man called me a whore and killed my baby. Whatever Mum tells you; it is a lie. A lie she believes because she has told it many times.’
Eyebrows dropped and her own mum wouldn’t even look at her. Why couldn’t she let some emotion show? Anger. Fear. Sorrow. Something to show the jury there was more to her than an aloof manner.
‘I put it to you, that you are lying to the court because you never got on with your father and these fabrications are an attempt at getting revenge on the loss of your baby.’
‘I saw who that man was to the outside world. A loving father and wonderful husband. He wasn’t any of these things. Mum shut the door behind her and her perfect home split in two. I remember days when Theresa looked after me, while Mum went into accident and emergency. A broken wrist, a burn from an iron, and a fall down the stairs. All accidents of Thomas’s making.’ Laura didn’t care that she lost her temper. ‘Mum had every right to kill Thomas, he deserved to die.’
‘You believe that your mum had every reason to kill your father?’
‘That’s not what I meant,’ Laura said, her cheeks burning. ‘Mum never stopped giving excuses for him.’
‘But in your own words Mrs Masters, your mum had every right to kill Thomas and that’s exactly what she did.’