The week of all weeks starts in court with the family (Tom and Tony) muttering in the gallery, waiting for Helen’s arrival in the dock. “She looks smart in that outfit.”

    The jury are sworn in and are giving guidance by the judge. The Evil One’s brief sets out the case in the worst possible light for Helen. “Mrs. Titchner’s behaviour became erratic.” The anorexia and the threatening of Rob’s life come up pretty swiftly. Helen is being charged with attempted murder and/or wounding with intent. The Dark Lord is called to the dock first and he limps to the witness box with a cane. Ha! He gives a brilliant performance about the tuna bake. “You ate the meal, even though it turned your stomach?” “Yes I did, sir.” He refers to the Pyrex Kid as “our son.” “All I could think about was protecting him and our unborn child.” He sounds distraught and upset. Good job, Rob. Helen’s brief wades in heavy about his past behaviour and manages to get him to confess to slapping Helen. “I was nearly at the end of my tether.” She gets a rise out of him and he starts shouting and lashing his tail about. He soon comes back to his performance and begins to sob. “I just wanted her to get better. Why, Helen? All I wanted to do was love you.” Blurk.

    Fallon and Kirsty turn up at court the next day. They are worried about PC ‘Carpet’ Burns witness statement. Helen’s brief, Anna, interviews the trauma surgeon who stitched Rob up. Couldn’t the secondary wounds be caused by the Dark Lord trying to hit Helen? “Yes, it’s possible.”

    Rob’s brief includes a video statement from the Synthetic Child. Helen freaks out, seeing him. “They were fighting, but Daddy tried to take the knife from Mummy. Daddy was angry – he was shouting.” Tom is very upset about the kid’s evidence and Fallon tries to buck him up.

    Kirsty fares little better under cross-examination. She has so much to say, but the brief keeps it to the bare facts. She is shown the knife. Exhibit One. Discussing Kirsty finding Rob bleeding into the spilled custard, the barrister asks, “did Mrs. Titchner try to help?” “She had Henry to think of.” Anna tries to mend things and lets Kirsty talk about the changes in Helen leading up to the stabbing. “I’m telling you Rob Titchner is the worst kind of abuser – he leaves no bruises,” she ells from the witness box.

    Tony tells Peggy about Kirsty’s performance. Anna tells them how the case is going. “She knows this is her moment.” “Please let Helen be up for it,” prays Granny Peggy. Cruella wades into Pat. “You know what your daughter is.” In the dock, Cruella slays Helen. “Poor Robert.” The boarding school plan is brought up. “She told me to my face that she wanted to kill my son.”

    Pat is cross-examined very briefly – merely to reiterate the “I’m going to kill him,” statement. This upsets her greatly.

    Helen takes the stand. She sounds calm, assured and coherent. Anna does a great job questioning her. The Bunny Incident is calmly related. And The Boarding School Incident. AND The Slapping Incident. She tells her side of the stabbing – she feels that she was protecting the Pyrex Kid and makes it very clear that the Dark Lord gave her the knife. Anna gets the fact out that Helen had called a Domestic Violence Helpline before the stabbing. Finally, finally finally, the fact that Rob raped Helen comes out. Helen breaks down. After Helen’s testimony, Tom wants to kill Rob. Pat is in hysterics – she blames herself for missing what was really going on. “We colluded – how much easier did we make it for him???”

    Rob’s brief refers to Helen’s stunning rape accusation a “recent concoction,” and wades hard into delicate Helen. She has a very hard time of it, denying all of Rob’s twisted lies. “No, no, no – he did those things to me.” The brief tries to twist the fact of Henry’s immaculate conception against her. The judge seems to be sensitive to Helen’s plight. After, Anna talks to Pat and Tony – Jess has arrived and given a statement. Anna wants Jess as a witness.

    Rob, his dad (Bruce) and his brief are huddled, stewing in outrage. “You need to put a stop to it,” orders Rob’s dad. “What sort of barrister are you?”

    Ian is called as a character witness. Rob’s brief brings up the fact that Helen and her relationship was pretty frosty recently. Anna tries to get the court to allow Jess’s statement to be allowed into evidence. After much deliberation, Anna is allowed to call Jess as a witness. The whole saga of their relationship is laid out – including Rob’s paranoia about Jess’s imagined infidelity. Rob’s dad refers to Jess as “soiled goods” and a “gold-digging tart,” from the public gallery. Shula overhears and leaves. Anna asks Jess if Rob ever raped her. “Yes.” This makes Rob’s dad explode from the public gallery and the case is suspended. Rob is upset about his dad’s outburst. Also, during the break – one of the jury has been caught Tweeting about “man-hating lezzers like Helen Archer.” The trial is held up. Anna wants the trial to continue. The Tweeting juror is dismissed and the trial will continue with eleven jurors. Phew.

    The Dark Lord is re-called for rebuttal. “Did you ever rape her?” “It’s completely untrue. It’s a disgusting lie.” “Maybe there’s something about me that attracts needy, unstable women. I want to put it behind me and just look after my children.” Tony is disgusted and worried about the outcome. Johnny turns up surprisingly, which is a huge comfort to Tony. “We’re still a family – no matter what happens next.”

    The closing statements are well balanced. The Dark Lord’s brief is pretty bad for Helen – she is referred to as a “sick, pregnant woman.” Tony gets very upset and cries in the gallery. Johnny supports him. Anna fights back hard against the appalling circumstantial evidence. “Bullying, mind games, sexual violence.”

    The judge sums up well and sends them off to deliberate.

    What a trial. What a week.


The Week In Ambridge

The Week In Ambridge

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Welcome to my blog

I am a new listener to The Archers - my Mother started me at birth, so I have only been listening for 46 years. Apologies if I get things wrong.

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