This. Is. It. We’ve heard all the evidence from C4’s docu-drama The Trial and now the jury – and viewers at home – have to make up their minds: did Simon Davis kill his estranged wife Carla?
Tonight we heard the final arguments from both sides (summed up below), laying out the key evidence from the fictional crime. Did, as the prosecution argued, abusive ex-husband Simon murder his wife after she told him something he didn’t want to hear? Or did new man on the block Lewis Skinner kill his cheating partner, as speculated by the defence?
With all the facts heard, there’s no more time for uncertainty. You’ve got to decide: is Simon Davis guilty of murdering Carla Davis?
The show jury’s verdict will be delivered on Thursday night (9pm, C4) before we find out what ‘actually’ happened.
What happened on the morning of Carla’s death? Lead prosecution barrister Max Hills says Simon Davis entered the house (after inviting himself over), and killed his ex-wife. Hills then said Simon planned what his next move would be, stepping outside the house where he was spotted by a neighbour.
The prosecution then highlighted how Davis couldn’t explain why he cancelled a 999 call only to phone again eight minutes later – “He has no answer on the crucial issue of what he did to get help for the woman he says he loved. He’s just standing there.”
Hills then reminded the jury that Simon was a man that had previously slapped one of his former partners, and one of Carla’s friend claims he had hit Carla during an argument. Plus, Simon had repeatedly sent Carla many abusive texts and emails, allegedly revealing that this wasn’t the happy relationship Simon portrayed in court.
But what about Danny Mullen’s testimony? The man who claims to have spotted Lewis Skinner by the crime scene at the time of Carla’s death only saw a person from 50 metres away, said the prosecution. This could have been anyone as Mullen did not make eye contact with them – instead he was looking down at his phone.
Is that enough to discount Mullen’s evidence and convict Simon Davis?
The case for the defence
Is there reasonable doubt Davis killed his former ex-wife? Defence lawyer John Ryder made the case that Simon didn’t have a motive to do it, that the two had reconciled – Carla was pregnant with Simon’s child, after all.
Was she going to share the baby news with Simon before he found her dead?
“He loved Carla and had everything to look forward to,” Ryder argued. “He would neither deprive himself or his children of her presence.”
And there’s also the case of Lewis Skinner, Carla’s boyfriend at the time of the murder. By Lewis’ own admission, their relationship had broken down and – as supposed by the defence – he had reason to suspect she was having an affair was Simon. This, they argued, would lead Simon to confront Carla.
And he might do this with force. Ryder also reminded the jury that Skinner had committed seriously violent acts in the past, having been dismissed from the police service for violent misconduct. While a constable, Skinner had broken a rib of a suspect, leading to an assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH) conviction.
But even if he had the motive and the violent history, was Skinner at the scene at the time? No, he said, he was walking to a garage to pick up his car. However, an acquaintance, Danny Mullen, had spotted Skinner around Carla’s house 50 minutes before Simon Davis alerted the emergency services.
And, as Ryder pointed out, Mullen’s description of Skinner’s clothing appeared to match what he wearing in CCTV images captured earlier that day: “He didn’t just see somebody that looked like Lewis Skinner. The person he saw was wearing the same top – he had a dark top with the collar turned up.”
Does that give reasonable doubt that Davis killed Carla? Vote above.
The Trial: A Murder in the Family concludes on C4, Thursday, 9pm