Well, that was grim. Tonight, Channel 4’s fascinating fly-on-the-court-wall docu-drama moved slightly away from the fictional murder itself and into the darker side of defendant Simon Davis (played by Michael Gould).
The jury and viewers at home had to sit through several accounts of the university lecturer using violence against women – including Carla Davis, his murdered ex-wife. Would a past history of such actions give reason to think the accused was guilty?
The jury’s verdict will be delivered on Thursday (9pm, C4) before we find out what 'actually' happened. But based on the evidence so far (see the summary below), do you think Simon Davis should be declared guilty or not guilty? The Trial Day 2 –Is defendant Simon Davis guilty?
If you’re not sure then here’s a reminder of tonight’s evidence (see what happened last night here).
Simon, you are the father
Yesterday we learnt that Carla was pregnant at the time of her murder and early in tonight’s episode we learnt Simon was the second parent.
This could indicate that Simon and Carla were indeed trying to re-start their relationship and were sleeping together, as previously asserted by Simon. Plus, if Carla told Simon she was pregnant, would he be so cruel as to kill his partner and unborn child?
However, this evidence could work against Simon. As we can’t be sure how the child was conceived, it doesn’t mean for sure that the two were in a loving relationship. And Carla’s pregnancy doesn’t rule out Simon’s motive for murder. As prosecutor Max Hill speculates about the minutes before her death: “Perhaps as a result of something she said to him – or as a result what she said she would do – he breaks.”
Some further genetic evidence came to light tonight: Simon’s DNA was found on the back of Carla’s neck – the same region as when she was strangled.
But maybe it’s not that damning on Simon: the forensics officer who gave this evidence conceded that this trace could have found its way via his saliva. And Simon was talking to the paramedics on the phone while trying to resuscitate his ex-wife – could this action have left the evidence?
Is Simon a controlling man?
Yes, claimed both Carla’s workmate and her sister. Both gave accounts suggesting Simon liked to be sure where his wife was (“If she didn’t reply to his texts within minutes then he’d call her,” said the sister).
And then there’s the domestic violence. First Carla’s friend recounted a time at their house when the couple were arguing upstairs. “They started screaming at each other. He shouted at her to shut up. And then it kind of went silent,” she recalled. “He came down the stairs and he broke his phone. He broke his flip-phone in two.” Carla later confided in her friend that Simon had grabbed her face and pushed her across the room.
Then came the account of Simon’s previous partner. She took to the stand to recount the end of their relationship, where the two had an argument and “he slapped me round the face”.
However, when asked by the prosecution, she admitted she didn’t think Simon was capable of murder.
Carla was no saint
During this episode it emerged that Carla had several affairs during her relationship with Simon and her impulsive habits made her hard to live with – as even her own sister asserted.
Did this simply mean that she wasn’t perfect? Or, as several members of the jury suggested, did it imply that Simon was a good person who loved his wife, no matter what harm she would do to him?
Is Simon guilty? Cast your vote above.
The Trial: A Murder in the Family is on C4 Sunday to Thursday, 9pm