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Title: Broadchurch: Sins Of The Father

Date of commencement: September 22 2013

Date of completion: December 24 2014

Series: Broadchurch, a sequel to the original, and following on from Life Without Joe

Rating: M

Authors: tkel_paris and tardis_mole

Summary: Two years after Danny's death, life is slowly getting back to normal in Broadchurch. But Hardy's happy life is about to be turned upside down by a spectre from the past he had hoped had been laid to rest. Someone from his past wants to talk to him, someone wants revenge, someone wants to see him ruined. But it's not one 'someone'. But first, he must face the girl in his garden.

Disclaimer: We own nothing, but this is based on Broadchurch by Chris Chibnal, with added clues from the novel by Erin Kelly. We gain nor financial benefit nor gratuities, only the enjoyment from writing and working together on this epic journey, shared for the enjoyment of others.

Dedication: Chris Chibnal, long time friend. bas_math_girl, for her beta. And each other for hopefully not ruining each other's lives for too long during the writing part.

Warning: If you have not watched Broadchurch in its entirety, do not read this. We mean it. You will be spoiled. Stop and go back. Now. Ideally you have seen the entire show, not just what was aired on BBC America if you live on that side of the pond, but this is understandable in either case. Also, if you have not read tardis_mole's Life Without Joe, that's okay. It's possible to read this without reading that, if you're not on Moley's approved list. You'll probably find this makes a little more sense if you have read it, but you should be fine without it. Take the time to read Erin Kelly’s novelization, if you can, as it provided certain details that helped with writing this. Though you won’t need to rely on it.

Authors' Notes: See Episode One, Part One. They're a bit long to include in each post.

/=/=/=/=/=/

Previously...

Episode Seven. Part Six: Facing The Evidence

Questioning Tess and Bruce proved worse than difficult. Even when faced with the evidence, they remained silent. Their injuries, their DNA, their car proved they were the people responsible. Bruce remained silent. Tess only spoke to rebuke the one officer that was not involved. Her ex-husband.

Even as officers arrived from Sandbrook to question Bruce about the evidence that pointed to his activities, even as they questioned him about the photograph that had sparked the death of Louise Dusk and the planned attacks on Daisy and Hailey, he refused to speak, even in his own defence. But as further officers arrived to question him about his involvement in the Sandbrook Labs case, which resulted in sixteen hospital deaths and seven cases of paternity resulting from rape, he finally opened up. His own inner anger at being left sterile had moved him to deny others the right to be fathers, out of jealousy.

“It was always expected in my family that you father kids. Nineteenth birthday. I noticed lumps on my balls. Before long I was told I had to have them removed. So I escaped the cancer but was left sterile. Had to leave home because the shame was too strong. So I was angry. Not so sure I wanted kids but I wanted the option. Being left without it... I didn't want others to be fathers. So when I got to be a genecist at a lab that did paternity testing, the opportunity was perfect. Especially when it was a man whose wife I fancied. Worst part was, I quickly realised after moving in with Tess and her children that I don't like children. But I was stuck. If I walked away I’d lose her income and lose my contact inside the police. Never mind the stick she would've raised. I didn't need that.”

The officers listening just narrowed their eyes, and kept prodding for answers.

/=/=/=/=/

It was several more hours before Tess finally broke.

“What got to me was hearing a witness description of what happened at the hotel the night Ben collapsed,” Ellie stated. “I recognised the signs of a heart attack, identical to DI Hardy’s condition, and corroborated by the doctor in charge of both his and Ben Hardy’s care. It was at that time that I heard about Bruce Stratton’s meddling at Sandbrook Labs. Would you like to enlighten me on that?”

Tess went silent, her tirade finally halted.

Ellie pressed on. “I suddenly wondered if the original test for paternity could be trusted. Ben called him Dad in public, he looks like Alec Hardy, he has the same genetically inherited heart condition, one which neither you nor Bruce Stratton have, so it seemed the logical conclusion that someone was covering something up. The order to redo the DNA test was easily obtained because of the accusations the hospital brought forward.”

“What accusations?” Tess snapped.

Ellie turned a hard look on her. “Ben has bruises on his arm that look like he has been grabbed far too hard. There are half-healed broken bones and other bruises that indicate he had been kicked, thrown down stairs and pushed over.”

“He has infantile MS!” Tess retorted.

“Infantile MS doesn’t cause sixteen separate fractures to the ribs, collar bones or to the upper arm; which, before we go any further, was a twist break, caused by someone twisting the limb in what is known as a Chinese Burn. It’s the only way to cause such a break. So, let’s cut the crap and get to the facts! Your son was being systematically tortured and you were turning a blind eye!”

Tess swallowed dryly and paled.

Ellie knew she had her now. “Add that to he was terrified at the thought of being left alone with the man you call your husband, and Daisy was exhausting herself making sure that didn’t happen, and the staff felt obliged to report child abuse to us and the Social Services. The only reason Children’s Services didn't swoop in was that I convinced them to quietly investigate instead. I already suspected Bruce might've killed at least one of the girls in our investigation, and I was worried that he would run before I could prove it. What I want to know if how and why a mother would ignore the suffering of her children?”

Tess finally dropped the glare and the pretence. “I didn’t know what was going on. I know how it looks and I know you probably don’t believe me, but I honestly didn’t know. I was lax with Daisy, I know that now. But I was getting so tired of her whining, whining, whining. My belly hurts, my belly hurts, my belly hurts. All the time, every day. I never wanted kids. I admit that. But I never hurt them. I stopped being in love with Alec years ago, when Daisy was first diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. So I stayed with him, for her. Because my parents expected it. He did all her doctor’s appointments and hospital visits. He did her medicines. Until he left I didn’t realise just how much he did do. And I just couldn’t find the time. Crohn’s doesn’t respond to medication anyway, so I stopped her taking it. I noticed her taking more and more of Ben’s time and care on herself and I misunderstood her motives. I thought she was trying to replace me. So I shut her out instead of asking her why. And I turned a blind eye to what she was getting into with the shoplifting and staying out at all hours. But it all came to a head when Daisy said she was meeting friends in Broadchurch. I knew Alec was here, but I didn’t know Daisy knew. So I hatched a plan to get him back.”

Ellie waited, poised for the confession.

“I wanted to test Alec’s skills, show him who the better officer was. He’d pipped me for DI, because he’d got me pregnant with Daisy and left me a year short on service record. I was convinced it on purpose. And then I got pregnant again. I was so sure Ben was his and that he’d left me right in it when he demanded a DNA test. I was shocked and in disbelief when it came back negative. I was sure he’d rigged it somehow. So I was going to get him back, get him accused of murder, get him dropped like a hot potato from the Force. Disgrace him like he’d disgraced me.

“I saw the girl at the bus stop, distracted by a text, I think. I grabbed her phone and chucked it down, grabbed her from behind and stabbed her with a Swiss Army knife I keep in the toolbox in the back of the car. But she struggled, so I had to find another way to kill her. I dragged her to my car and hit her head on the rear door. The latch must had been off or lose because the door opened and hit her again. She was dazed, but she was still struggling,” she recalled. “I grabbed her neck and squeezed. And she went limp. I was exhausted. So I folded her up in the back behind the rear seat and shut the door. But it wouldn’t shut. I saw her phone lying there and I picked that up and put it in her pocket. I covered her with a travel blanket and shut the door. Took me several tries.

“Later on that night, I took her up to Hardy’s place and hid her behind his car, under the hedge. I caught my leg on the bloody gate! I left her there, knowing that she’d be found when Hardy got into his car. He wouldn’t have been able to miss her, lying right there. But I was so careful. I was wearing his old shoes, left them on his doorstep and walked backwards down the path to the road, tripped on a bloody tree root.

“I thought I’d got away with it, but almost immediately things began to go wrong. Bruce began to act strangely. Like he was nervous. He said he’d had bad news from back home. I told him he was holiday and it could wait. Then he disappeared for an hour. Came back soaked through. He said there was a leak in the bathroom and he’d had a go at the hotel owner, thinking of suing her for the damage to his clothing. But then the police turned up, and someone was dead and we were all turfed out to that place up on the hill. We were barely there a couple of days before Bruce suddenly decided to go jogging. He hasn’t been jogging in months. He looked like he’d seen a ghost, but he said it was fine now. He’d sorted it. I never thought...” She stopped, her chin wobbling. “I never thought he’d do that. And my daughter was next?”

“We have evidence that points to that possibility,” Ellie hedged. “Do you know Ben is Alec Hardy’s son?”

“I do now. Alec told me this morning just before you turned up and arrested me for killing that girl.” She wiped her face. “Bruce twisted us both with that one. Alec told me he’d had a vasectomy. But he’s had kids since, so how can that be true?”

“Apparently the procedure can reverse itself,” Ellie replied. “Did you, at any time, suspect Bruce of murdering two girls?”

Tess shook her head. “No. Not once, not one clue. Ok, so I didn’t see him at the times those girls were killed, but I don’t follow him about every second of every day.” She wept silently for a few seconds, holding her head in one hand. “What happens to my kids?”

Ellie did not reply.

“Please. Tell me. Mother to mother. What happens to my kids, now?”

Ellie felt no such compassion. “You deliberately denied your children access to their father for five years, allowing an abusive tyrant to move in and take advantage of you and the kids. You allowed him to terrorise Ben and Daisy for all that time, uncaring that he knew he was not Ben’s father. He was trying to avoid detection. That's why he kept discouraging you from having the record changed, because he knew someone would have exposed him. That, Tess, is why he was cagey about his family's medical history. He knew that if he gave any indication that he was not the father, his foot in the door with you and all you knew about the Sandbrook case would be gone.”

“He used me.”

“I think it’s time you dropped any sense of loyalty for Bruce Stratton, and tell us the truth,” Ellie replied. “Children’s Services have been called in anyway. The hospital staff have already spoken with my husband about Ben’s injuries and a social worker has been in to speak to him. It will help your defence if you tell us exactly what you know, your actions and how complicit you were with Bruce’s behaviour.”

“I was never complicit!” Tess wailed.

Then Ellie focused a harder glare on her. “You let him do it. You didn’t stop him. We have witnesses who have told us about times that prove this. Daisy tried to tell you, but you dismissed her. She even told her father, the one moment he got to speak with her, that she didn't dare leave Ben alone with Bruce. And despite all of your efforts to prevent them from speaking, she got a note to him, in which she expressed the fear that Bruce was going to kill her and Ben, and that you contributed to that fear by not protecting her from those who hurt her, emotionally and physically.”

Tess could only shake and sob.

“You're not just facing prison for murder, but also for allowing harm to a child. If we can make abuse stick, we will. As you once said to DI Hardy. When the Sandbrook police come to you this afternoon, I suspect you to also be charged with theft of Crown evidence.”

“I never stole anything from evidence.”

“You didn't, but you deliberately switched cars with DI Hardy, in an attempt to make it look like he was having the affair and that he was at the hotel the night the Sandbrook pendant was stolen. Am I right or am I right?” Tess, Ellie noted, was sheet white. “Someone was paid to break into your car, at that car park, at that hotel, on that night. Now, why would you have gone to that hotel, with Hardy’s car, if not to implicate him in the theft of Pippa Gilespie’s pendant?”

Anyone who could see Tess’ face would have sworn blind she was on a mortuary slab. She had a reason for her silence now. Ellie had her in a corner. Bruce had suggested the switch. His cousin... “Oh god,” she whimpered, a hand to her mouth as her stomach lurched. “Goddy... He turned up just before I got the call to say they’d found the pendant... Oh god... I was set up. They made me an accessory... And Alec took the blame.”

Ellie was not sure what amazed her more. That Tess now showed horror over what she had allowed to happen, or that she had made the wrong guess at the hospital. Either way her opinion of the woman as a copper had sunk even further, something she had not thought possible.

Not that she would let her know that. Let her wonder who Hardy's new wife really was, since she never asked and Karen had not bothered to enlighten her.

/=/=/=/=/

In Bruce’s interview, resumed after Ellie paused Tess' to let her decide what she wanted to hide, things were even less smooth.

“You're not just facing prison for murder, but also for causing harm to a child.”

“What child?” he demanded briskly.

“Ben Hardy,” Ellie replied. She cited the same evidence she had mentioned to Tess. “When I finish here and the Sandbrook officers take over, I suspect you to also be charged with theft of Crown evidence.”

“What evidence?” he strongly denied. “I never stole nothing!”

“You didn't, but you knew Tess Hardy had deliberately switched cars with DI Hardy on the night she went to the hotel to meet DS Salt. She did that in an attempt to make it look like he was having the affair.” There was noting in his expression yet, but she bided her time. “The night the Sandbrook pendent was stolen, someone was paid to break into that car at that car park at that hotel on that night. Does the name Godavari Ghosh mean anything to you?”

Bruce’s temple pulsed.

Ellie nodded grimly. “You paid Godavari to break into DI Hardy’s car. I don't know if you told her ahead of time, but you wanted to disgrace her then husband, who was the lead investigator. You knew she wouldn't mind if he took the fall to keep his daughter from learning about her mother's affair. We traced the cash payment you got from Trevor Medley to make critical evidence go away. It worked until your aunt moved into a home, and the new occupants found the evidence bag in their new garden shed. Your aunt remembers you visited the same day as the break-in, said you had a bag with you and that you went into the shed, but you didn’t went you left. She was used to you coming and leaving things behind, so she assumed you’d come back for it. Oh, don't look so shocked. She became very talkative when she learned that the stolen evidence was hiding on her property the whole time.”

“I spoke with her, myself,” said the seconding officer, a Sandbrook DS by the name of Grant Norris, his rich Durham accent rounding out the vowels as he spoke. “She was not exactly surprised to learn that you had turned to the wrong side of the law. Said you never really cared for anyone but yourself. That she should have known you were only visiting because you never thought anyone would find it there. You told her you were borrowing a lawn mower. You weren't known for gardening, and you didn’t have a lawn, so that one stuck out in her mind.”

Bruce managed a choked cough of shock.

“Not that that matters now. Trevor Medley’s fingerprints were on the pendent and he’s safely tucked up for a long time. Godavari’s prints were found on several other items found in that shed and he’s now safely tucked up ready for trial on a number of car robberies, besides other crimes. But it wasn’t until you found out three innocent girls took a photograph that you decided to take the matter further.” He observed Stratton closely. “We already have telephone records between you, Medley and Ghosh. Including one in which you said, and I for the record I am playing back an accidental recording from Bruce Stratton’s mobile.”

He pressed play on the small device on the table in front of him. Out poured two voices; one distinctly Asian and the other distinctly Bruce Stratton’s.

“I told you not to phone directly...! I had no choice. We’ve got a problem at the House... I couldn’t give a monkeys...! You should. One of the girls got out! Where are you...? I’m at the hotel... What possessed you to go there in the first place? Has she said anything...? No, she’s not said a word. Suggested we come down to this dead-end dump. I only agreed because her old man’s down here... What will you do if you see him...? I’m going to nut him. What do you think...? But if he recognises you... It’s he fault Trev’s inside... Yeah, but what do I do about this girl? Should I move the body...? Oh for god’s sake, do I have to think for you as well? Leave it where it is...! But it’ll begin to stink! Perhaps I should get the boys to move the girls...? No, not until I’m in the clear... You’re pretty calm about this. It’s Hailey Bridgewater we’re talking about here. Do you even remember her...? Yeah, some blonde bird... Yes, she’s one I recruited on your request. She’s more feisty than the others girls. But the blonde ones are better lookers in the films... Yeah, ain’t they just... What if she goes to the police...? Then kill her if she gets ideas... Killing is your job! Besides, she is one of Pippa’s friends... You know what I mean. If she saw something, I’ll smack her one myself...! And Daisy? What about her...? I’ll deal with her. Down here no one knows her... Then do it and hurry up. And one of the girls in House 2 is pregnant. Kelly. Do I do her in now, or wait until it starts to show? The thing is, the customers have been asking for her by name... You can easily make another five grand on her... I’m not playing midwife, Bruce. Having kids in here was not part of the deal. It’ll drop us right in it with the police...! You just stick to your story... I know the story! I’m not stupid. I have to get after Hailey... Yeah, see that you do! I want no witnesses.”

The officer pressed stop. “Might interest you to know that this conversation was overheard,” he said. “Also, Mr. Ghosh has been very co-operative. Been singing like a canary since his arrest at Weymouth train station. And he has a lot to say about you.”

Bruce shook and cried out incoherently.

“The bruises on Ben weren't from you, after all. Were they?” Ellie pressed. “You knew it was going on, but you did nothing to stop Ghosh’s abuse. He injured Ben to bully Daisy into the shoplifting and join his gang. But you wanted her for another purpose. Would that be House 1 or House 2? But... it seems circumstances gave Daisy breather space, which is why she was eager to come to Broadchurch. She hoped her dad could act to protect her and Ben.”

Bruce exploded in fury, but it never got as far a coherent words.

Ellie nodded grimly. “Daisy's note to her dad confirmed it. Although it didn’t tell us everything Godfrey did, she wrote more than enough to get us and Social Services involved, and the medical examination did the rest.”

Bruce was sweating now. “Ghosh went too far,” he said quietly. “Ben wasn’t my son. He was just a means to an end, but I’d never have done that.”

“But you didn’t stop it,” Ellie put in. “That’s the point. You allowed a child to be abused.”

There was a long pause.

“Shall we move on to the Broadchurch murders?” Grant wondered.

There was another long pause.

“It was not an offer,” Ellie snapped.

/=/=/=/=/

“That’s all of it,” Maggie spoke.

Elaine looked at the huge pile of carefully documented and filed evidence now standing on her desk. This was going to be a logistical nightmare, but from her point of view it was a gold mine. Everything to shine light on and expose Bruce Stratton, Godavari Ghosh and Tess Hardy was in these boxes.

“I even took the liberty of transferring them onto disc,” Olly added, holding out a CD.

Elaine almost snatched his hand off. “Does Sandbrook CID know about this?”

“We dropped off a copy on our way down,” Maggie replied. “All I can say is, good luck going through it all.”

Elaine couldn’t quite hide the pained look. “This will get our cases to Court. That’s the main thing,” she replied. “Justice must and will be served. I can’t thank you enough.”

“My pleasure,” Maggie replied. She frowned. “You seem distracted.”

Elaine suppressed a smile. “If there has been one bright spark in all of this, is the baby found on Enoch Grebes’ doorstep. I’ve been in to see him a couple of times. Beautiful baby. And the article your team wrote about him for the Echo was very nice. You have a good team, Maggie. They’ve done the newspaper and Broadchurch proud in your absence.”

/=/=/=/=/

Ellie was eyes-deep in a live demonstration of how SOCO worked. Their meticulous fine tooth-combing was almost like a ballet. A thorough search of the boy’s suitcase had turned up nothing, and SOCO had carefully returned everything they had taken out, whilst explaining to her everything they were doing and learning, even though it looked like there were no clues.

“No clues are the biggest clues,” Brian continued behind his mask.

Ellie had been relegated to the threshold for this and was glad of that. She had never envisioned herself as SOCO. She had had only one aim when she had signed up - CID. And only because blood made her faint and she never had a penchant for driving over the speed limit. And strictly speaking, beyond her training and her stillborn baby, the only dead body she had ever seen had been Danny Latimer’s, until Tom had found the girl.

Brian was giving her a second-by-second account of what they do, how they do it and why, just in case it came up in court. As it often did. He and his seconder had gone through Daisy’s suitcase, still full of her stuff, which meant she had not left town nor intended to leave town, so her destination was probably the hospital. On foot. Only she may not have made it if Nigel Carter hadn’t found her.

They returned her clothes to her case, noting the number of sanitary packets she had and Ellie ticked that on her list, and Brian took out Tess’ suitcase.

“Aha,” Brian said quietly.

“What have you found?” Ellie asked.

“It’s more what we haven’t found,” he replied. “There are no shoes. Women always have a suitcase full of shoes. Don’t they?”

“Not all of them,” Ellie retorted tightly.

“No, but a spare pair, surely? Holiday shoes; flip-flops, sandals? Tess Hardy come on holiday with only one pair of shoes.” Brian thought that was odd.

Ellie realised it was an important detail. It probably meant that the shoes they confiscated off her when she was arrested were the shoes they were looking for. They had certainly looked like the right style.

“No sanitary products,” he noted. “How old is she?”

“I didn’t ask,” Ellie recalled. “About forty-two?”

They found an empty bag in the inside pocket, neatly folded despite being one of those bag-in-a-pouch bags. It had Iceland printed on the side, but there was no indication as to what had been in it. So they put it back where they had found it. There was no phone in the suitcase, but there was a charger for an early iphone. Daisy had one, but there was no proof that this was hers.

Brian and his assistant moved on to Bruce’s suitcase. The contents were jumbled, unfolded and in a mess. And in short order they found another carrier bag stuffed into an internal pocket, and this one stank. Carefully they opened it and pulled out a badly bloodstained pale blue skirt with a white flower print on it. It was Luiz Gotleib’s.

/=/=/=/=/

Brian entered the CID room, trying to hide the skip in his step. Barely a day since the raids and he was in seventh Heaven. CID were busy cataloguing evidence for the various cases. He felt jealous, if he were honest. He only had three silent witnesses to deal with. He’d heard that several properties up in Sandbrook had been dug up, with a total of six bodies to investigate and over twenty-eight rescued girls in interview and return to their families. On second thoughts, he was fine with just the three.

“Ellie, got a minute?”

Ellie looked up from her mound of paperwork. She was drowning in it since her male suspect had been arrested for the Broadchurch murders, arrested for the grooming case, arrested for child abuse, and was now being questioned by Metropolitan Police for his actions at Sandbrook Labs. An arrest for that would not take long, either. Corporate manslaughter cases generally took a year to get to Court, which meant she had to make sure he was already in prison for murder and everything else, first. Never mind the female suspect who had caused just as much grief with her deliberate actions in Broadchurch, and before. She was now being questioned by Metropolitan Police about the abuse and what information Bruce had obtained from her access.

“Not really,” she said.

“I think you’ll make a minute for this,” he said confidently. He held up three evidence bags. One contained a gold chain, another contained a broken half-smoked cigarette and the third contained and an epi-pen found in Bruce’s suitcase. He was also holding a photograph of a plant and a few torn leaves.

Ellie stared at them and then at him and shot to her feet.

“A cigarette butt found at the High Street bus stop. We analysed the DNA fragment on the tip; it’s a match for Sarah Wallace. We found the missing epi-pen in the bag with the skirt. The skirt and blood are Luiz Gotleib’s. We traced the epi-pen’s batch number and discovered that it was issued to Louise Dusk. The chain was also found at the bus stop on the High Street and it matches the description of the one DI Hardy gave his daughter. We also found drag marks, foot prints, which match Tess Hardy’s shoe, and this delightful seakale plant with its leaves torn off. The tear line matches the leaf fragments we have from Sarah’s body. With all this together we can not only confirm the High Street bus stop as the murder scene for Sarah Wallace, we can also prove who killed her and who killed the others.”

“Oh Brian! I could bloody kiss you!” she blurted out.

Brian smiled gently as the room fell silent.

ĐĐ

To be continued...

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