Continues from The Squatter in the Lavender Shop.
It only took Stuart Kennedy and Warwickshire Police just over a day to find Christopher Shakespeare, who was having a coffee in Coffee #1, loving referred to by people of the acting profession as the ABC cafe. (Actor’s Budget Cafe).
Christopher willingly went with the Police, knowing that he time was up. He then spent the next few nights in a detention cell before his trial. Being detained was as bad as Christopher feared, but he kept calm and carried on.
A few days after he was placed into custody, Christopher made a trial appearance at Warwick Crown Court.
A lot of people were in attendance at his trail including his friends and family, the friends and family of Ethan Stone; the man he’d murdered, and the residents of Lower Strangling; who were involuntarily dragged into the situation.
“Order! Order!” The judge called as he banged his gavel.
Christopher was initially confident, until he saw that the Prosecution Barrister was Terome Lancaster; the scariest man in England.
The trail was in session.
“We will now hear the case for the Crown vs Christopher Shakespeare.” The judge called.
Christopher gulped, this was it.
After Terome had introduced himself and the Defence Barrister, a man who’d walked his dog at the time Ethan’s murder happened went to the stand as the first witness for the prosecution.
“I walked Fenton at about 6:30 as I usually do, and Ethan was walking in the other direction. I said hello to him,” the man said.
“What happened after that?” Terome asked.
“I saw Ethan walk further into the field, again as he usually does,” the man said.
“Ok,” Terome said.
“Then I saw another man slowly walk into the field from the other side. I thought ‘that’s odd.’ The man continued.
“What did this man look like?” Terome asked.
Instead of describing the man, the dog walker slowly pointed at Christoph. “Well, like him.”
The jury and the audience gasped, as if they didn’t know who’s trial it was.
“What did you see this man do?” Terome asked.
“Well, I saw him rush up to Ethan and slit his throat.” The man said.
The jury and the audience gasped again, despite all knowing how Ethan was murdered.
“What happened after you saw this horrific event?” Terome asked the man.
“I ran away, I was too scared to stay” the man said.
“Are you sure the man was Mr. Shakespeare and not someone who looked vaguely like him?” The Defence Barrister asked the dog walker during the cross examination.
“Yes, I’m pretty sure it was him. I’d recognise him anywhere.” The man replied.
“Ok,” the Defence Barrister replied.
After the dog walker had finished the cross examination and the re examination, he left the stand and the other witnesses for the prosecution came on, including Ethan’s wife and a member from a local rambling society.
The Defence Minister then made an application of no case, believing that none of the witnesses had a good enough view of the incident to really identify Christopher as the murderer.
The judge however, did not accept the application, as he felt no one could look enough like Christopher Shakespeare and yet not be Christopher Shakespeare.
So the Defence Barrister brought on the witnesses for the defence, mainly Christopher’s fellow acting chums, and his mother.
“He is such a good boy,” Christopher’s mother said, “he’s never murdered anyone, only their careers.”
Christopher didn’t know whether to be embarrassed or comforted, so he went with somewhere between the two.
“The man cares about his craft,” one of Christopher’s fellow actors said, “if he did murder this man, it was purely to improve his performance.”
“So you believe getting a five star review is worth ending an innocent man’s life?” Terome asked during the cross examination.
“Potentially, yes,” the actor said.
Christopher knew he was going to prison, but right now he felt he could relax.
Once all the witnesses for the defence had come to the stand, the defence barrister declared the case.
“There could have only been one man who killed Ethan Stone,” Terome said, “and that is Christopher Shakespeare.”
Christopher’s stomach did a somersault inside of him.
If only Terome wasn’t so good at his job, or at least the defence barrister.
“It doesn’t matter how many awards he has, or whether you liked him in King Lear. Murder is murder, and Christopher is most assuredly guilty of such.”
“The incident was spotted at a distance of about five miles,” the defence barrister said, “how could someone make out Christopher’s exact features from that distance?”
Christopher began to feel odd, both barristers were so convincing in their case that it could really go either way.
“I’m sure there are plenty of men who look like Christopher from afar, or maybe even up close. So what we have heard today cannot possibly condemn this man to any form of imprisonment.” The Defence Barrister said before sitting down.
Christopher heart began to beat fast as the jury left the court to decide their verdict. What happened next would change his life forever.
Christopher’s heart sank when the jury returned with their verdict; Christopher was guilty.
Christopher was expecting to be found guilty, but was convinced that the Defence Barrister might have changed things. Unfortunately it was not to be.
“I hereby declare that Christopher Shakespeare is guilty and will be sentenced to life imprisonment.” The judge said before banging his gavel.
Christopher’s mother began to weep.
“You must consider yourself lucky,” Terome said, “if I had my way you would have been hanged.”
Christopher was then taken out of the court and taken to prison, where he would live for the rest of his days.
Thus the year long mystery of the murder of Ethan Stone finally came to a close, and everyone who cared slept soundly that night.