Who killed Hannah Ellis?


Crime drama Showtrial has kept many viewers guessing over the past few weeks with its shocking mystery, that being the horrific death of university student Hannah Ellis.

Talitha Campbell (Celine Buckens) was immediately considered the prime suspect, having exchanged threatening text messages with the deceased in the days leading up to her tragic fate.

Her arrogant and entitled attitude garners her little sympathy, with DI Paula Cassidy (Sinead Keenan) going to great lengths to fit a case around her, but evidence later emerges that points to someone else in the Showtrial cast.

Dhillon Harwood (Joseph Payne), the friend to Talitha and son of a prolific MP, is implicated in the crime and the two are ultimately tried together for murder.

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The brand new thriller is available to stream as a box set on BBC iPlayer, with some viewers choosing to watch ahead in order to get the answers they crave.

You can find all the details on the Showtrial ending right here; suffice to say, full spoilers follow.

Showtrial ending explained: Who goes to prison in the series finale?

The Showtrial finale takes us to court, where Talitha and Dhillon are being prosecuted for the murder of Hannah Ellis, with each of them attempting to argue their innocence (to some degree).

Talitha insists that she never went over to Hannah's house on that fateful night, instead going home and passing out after a long night of partying with various intoxicants.

(L-R) Cleo Roberts (TRACY IFEACHOR), Talitha Campbell (CELINE BUCKENS)
(L-R) Cleo Roberts (Tracy Ifeachor), Talitha Campbell (Celine Buckens) World Productions - Photographer: Joss Barratt

On the other hand, Dhillon says that the two of them did visit Hannah's house with the intention of making amends for their dispute, but the reconciliation quickly escalated into a threesome.

During this sexual encounter, Dhillon alleges that Talitha had wrapped her scarf around Hannah's neck to make things more intense, but in doing so had strangled her to death – he believes it was most likely an accident, but isn't totally sure.

Dhillon has the upper hand to begin with, relying on forensic evidence that suggests Talitha may have handled the backpack used in the disposal of Hannah's body.

Meanwhile, in a shocking development, a suicide note from one of her former lovers states that Talitha had discussed an interest in killing a girl during sex, but she said that any outrageous comments made in his company were only to gratify him.

Tracy Ifeachor in Showtrial
Tracy Ifeachor as Cleo Roberts in Showtrial BBC

When Talitha herself took to the stand, defence lawyer Cleo Roberts was able to change the narrative around her by bringing up repeated sexual abuse she endured as a teenager at parties arranged by her mother.

This, combined with reasonable doubt over the validity of the forensic evidence, succeeded in getting Talitha off the hook, as the jury found her "not guilty" of the murder charge.

Dhillon was not so lucky. Frustrated outbursts on the stand as well as revelations about previous accusations of harassment from other girls, led to the jury concluding that he was solely responsible for Hannah's death.

He was sentenced to no less than 23 years in prison.

Who killed Hannah Ellis in Showtrial?

With Showtrial, there was a sense from the beginning that what the jury decides and what actually happened would not necessarily match up.

However, in the final episode, we never actually find out the exact circumstances of Hannah's death, with writer Ben Richards deciding to leave it up to viewers to interpret what was fact and what was fiction.

All three stories are plausible enough, but only one version of events can be entirely true.

Theory One: Dhillon and Talitha are both implicated

Celine Buckens and Joseph Payne in Showtrial
Celine Buckens and Joseph Payne in Showtrial BBC

Perhaps Dhillon was telling the truth: he and Talitha were both present at the moment of Hannah's death, with the fatality being the result of a tragic accident during sex.

You could push this theory further to say that Talitha intentionally killed Hannah during intercourse, depending on whether you trust the note left by Stephen Vendler and Cressida's claim that her daughter is a compulsive liar.

However, it may simply be that Dhillon knew he would be suspected due to the DNA evidence on the scene, and saw Talitha as the perfect candidate to take the fall for him.

Theory Two: It was all Dhillon

Joseph Payne in Showtrial
Joseph Payne in Showtrial BBC

Despite being friends for many years, Talitha and Dhillon were quick to throw each other under the bus in court, with her defence looking to poke holes in his version of events.

They point out that it seems odd that Dhillon would not notice Hannah being choked to death (he says he was performing oral sex on her at the time), as there would have been a struggle or attempt to fight back.

They also drew attention to Dhillon's track record, having had previous complaints made against him for harassing young women at his university, including by filming them and sending them unwanted items.

In addition, DNA evidence confirmed that Dhillon did have sexual intercourse with Hannah prior to her death, while the forensic fibres linking Talitha to the scene are more easily disputed.

Theory Three: It was all Talitha

Celine Buckens in Showtrial
Celine Buckens in Showtrial BBC

From the beginning, Talitha has been viewed as the prime suspect in the Hannah Ellis murder case by lead detective Paula Cassidy and it's not hard to see why.

In the days leading up to her death, Talitha had sent Hannah abusive text messages which included an overt threat of violence, while the suicide note left by Stephen Vendler alleged she had fantasised about murdering someone in the past.

Additionally, fibres from Hannah's backpack, which was used in the disposal of her body, were found in Talitha's bracelet, although the defence argued that these could simply have been transferred at a festival they once attended together.

Another thing to bear in mind is that after Talitha had been found innocent, she dropped by Cleo's law office and seemed to drop a hint that perhaps she had been guilty the whole time.

"We did it, Cleo... we so totally fooled them," she said. "Your face... I thought it didn't matter. I thought it was all about process."

She then laughs it off and says she was only joking, but the bizarre exchange clearly gives Cleo pause, examining her former client from the window before going back to her business.

Let us know who you think the real Showtrial killer was in the poll below.

Showtrial is available to stream as a box set on BBC iPlayer.


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