Wednesday – Trial – A Snippet from It Won’t Happen Again

‘She was never angry, just worn down; she thought it was her fault.’

‘I put it to you Mrs Carlton that your friend was pushed to the end of her limits and had told you about her animosity towards her husband.’

‘No, Martha is the least confrontational person I know. That’s what makes this whole affair so tragic. Thomas hit her until her body could take no more. My friend isn’t the criminal – he is.’

Nothing was said as he turned to face the jury, but his knowing expression said it all. It didn’t matter that Martha was a victim of domestic abuse, or the incalculable amount of times that Thomas beat her. All that mattered was her capability to kill a man, who had caused her so much pain.

‘You have already stated that Mrs Whitman left her husband after an incident at her home on November 20th, 2013?’

‘Yes, she called me to come and pick her up from outside her home.’

‘You have said that Mrs Whitman couldn’t leave her husband because he had such a hold over her. Yet, on this occasion she chose to ring you and was able to leave him.’

‘Only because she was scared that he might have killed her!’

‘But if your testimony is to be believed Mrs Whitman was always under that threat. Why is it that she chose to call you on that night in question, but chose a totally different action on the night of her husband’s murder?’

‘I think she just snapped – one person can only take so much.’

‘Why on that occasion though? Why didn’t she just snap when he killed her unborn child? Surely that would have been reason enough to kill him then.’

‘I don’t know, all I know is that Martha isn’t capable of killing someone without good reason to do so.’

‘But she had plenty of reasons to kill her husband. No, I put it to you that when she found out about the affair, she decided to kill him. She had taken so many beatings over the years, but now she was going to lose him to another woman. It was a final betrayal she couldn’t forgive, and her husband had to pay with his life.’

Doctor Apti Patel

Witness for the Defence

As a doctor in the Accident and Emergency Department, Doctor Patel was used to many situations. Women and men of all ages would drift into accident and emergency with injuries that were obviously caused by an irate partner. Yet there was nothing she could do to stop it.

Now she could answer the questions in total honesty.

‘Did you examine the defendant on the afternoon of the 12th of January 2014?’

‘Yes, she was admitted to accident and emergency, and I was the doctor on duty.’

‘Can you tell the jury of the accused’s injuries?’

‘She had been struck with something that left indentations in her face and legs. We didn’t know what caused them. Apart from that there were bruises, both on her arms and eyes. She was unconscious when she arrived and taken straight to intensive care.’

‘Did the accused tell you of how she came by these injuries when she woke up?’ Barbara Craven sought out the jury and held their gaze with the truth of her principles.

‘Objection!’ Richard Blake instantly pleaded with the judge.

‘Overruled, you may answer the question Dr Patel.’

Martha’s bruised face never quite left her. ‘She didn’t say anything, was more concerned that she was handcuffed to the bed.’

‘What caused her to be so upset?’

‘She just kept on about her husband needing her at home.’

‘Was she aware at this time whether she had killed her husband?’

‘Objection, my learned friend is leading the witness!’

‘Sustained, Miss Craven I do not want to remind you again,’ the judge said.

‘Sorry, Your Honour. Was she aware that her husband was dead?’

‘At first, no, but once she had woken fully, she wanted to talk to the police and confess,’ Doctor Patel said, assured of her own integrity.

‘Was this the first time you met the accused?’

‘No.’

Doctor Patel had only seen Martha once before but saw countless others. They all used the same old justifications for their injuries. She knew, that without the victim speaking out, excuses would just keep on coming.

Why was it that a normally intelligent person could stay with someone that caused them so much distress? Could it be possible to save the victims from themselves, to find the valour to finally speak out against their partners? In her experience, most of the time they remained silent against overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

‘Can you tell the court when you examined her before?’

‘It was two years ago. I had been working in accident and emergency and she was admitted with a broken arm.’

‘Were there any other injuries?’

‘There was significant bruising along the upper arm.’

‘How did the accused say she had come by these injuries?’

‘She told me that she had been mugged outside her home, but refused to call the police,’ Doctor Patel said.

A young man in the jury observed Martha and held her gaze for just a second.

‘Did you believe her?’ Barbara Craven said, her voice quiet with calm.

‘Not really, I had my concerns that she might have been a victim of domestic abuse.’

‘What gave you that impression?’

Richard Blake glared at his opposition and didn’t even try to hide his sarcasm.

‘There were old fractures where the bones had healed. I tried to talk to Mrs Whitman, convince her to tell the truth, but her husband wouldn’t leave her side long enough.’

Published by writerravenclaw

I am a fifty something mother of two grown up children, and one beautiful grandchild. I have been married for nearly thirty-four years. My first book was published ten years ago. I wrote my book Sticks and Stones because of my experience of being bullied at school.

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