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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.



Episode Seven. Part Five: Public Scrutiny

Hardy waited for the camera crew to signal that they were done filming. Now came the second half of the meeting. Questions and answers. Onto the stage, came several other key persons; Maggie, Olly, and Ellie. The hall was filled with locals and the families of those who had been killed in Broadchurch.

This was not going to be easy. Considering the mob mentality that had met him at the hospital that morning, he doubted they would go easy on him.

“We can now take questions from the floor,” he invited.

One person shot to their feet and voiced the one question they all knew was coming.

“What are you doing on the stage, DI Hardy?” the man demanded, the same man who had brought up Sandbrook at one of the meetings about Danny. “You’re the suspect. The girl was found in your garden!”

Hardy suddenly found a peace about him that hadn’t been there a moment before. “The body of a young girl was found on the property owned by my wife,” he began. “Our son found her. She had been moved there from where she had been kidnapped and murdered. We know from the autopsy that she was hidden in a vehicle for several hours. My daughter’s locket was found near the body, a photograph of my daughter was pushed inside the girl’s pocket and an old pair of shoes was found on my doorstep. These items were deliberately placed at the scene to incriminate me.”

“Of course you were,” a woman shouted, getting to her feet. “You were the officer-in-charge. You’d make every excuse under the sun to get yourself cleared!” Around her people agreed and began murmuring their approval.

“I was not the officer-in-charge,” Hardy replied.

The hall fell silent.

“That was a lie printed in the papers to discredit me,” Hardy explained.

“That's not the critical thing here,” Maggie called out, her voice alone motioning for attention. Although she could not keep the smile off her face at how Karen had looked like she was going to faint at the thought of being sued, never mind facing prison time. Revenge was sweet and public, and she had earned every bit of it. “You all know me. You trust my word. I have never printed unsubstantiated stories in my paper. Trust me now. Hardy is not at fault, nor is he guilty or anything. The important thing is that you know the truth about the accusations that have been made against DI Hardy. What you don’t know is that Karen White has been stalking DI Hardy for over a decade for a cold case in a police station he never worked at. She mistook him for an officer with a similar name who was the officer-in-charge of an inquiry that went cold.”

“Thank you, Maggie,” Ellie answered put in. She was unsure why Maggie and Olly had been given clearance to be on the panel, but she respected her Super’s decision. “Ladies and gentleman, as you should all know by now, my husband was pulled from the investigation into all three murders in Broadchurch. The reason was not that he was a suspect, but because there appeared to be links to the Sandbrook case that he was in charge of prior to his assignment to our CID. Because of the evidence placed at the scene of the first murder, our team spent far longer on that investigation than was necessary. Hindrance from the likes of Karen White and others lengthened that investigation with erroneous leads and false evidence and DI Hardy was removed from the investigation as a precautionary measure. " She took a breath. This was her first public debate on a case. She hoped her nerves weren’t showing. “If it weren’t for this, we could have caught the person responsible much earlier. Instead, I and my team had to spend many days clearing the DI’s name rather than dismissing the planted evidence. When Forensics looked at the evidence that linked him to the three murders, inconsistencies kept coming up that proved he was being falsely implicated.”

The audience stilled as one.

“The evidence on the body found in my driveway proved that she was murdered somewhere else. My officers walked from where the girl was staying to my house several times trying to find the exact spot. And during that time we had to determine how her body got from there to my garden. We discovered that while the timing was possible, there should have been evidence left in our car and on my husband’s clothes and shoes, and on his person that indicated that he was involved. There was none. My husband did not kill the first girl, and he was at the scene of the second murder while the paramedics battled to save her life, and has an alibi for the time of death recorded for the third victim. To reiterate, my husband has been proven to be innocent. He was not, at any time, suspected, arrested or charged. Shall we move on to another question? Or are their more doubts?” she asked.

“Can you go into detail?” one of the local men asked. “What evidence was found?”

“I can’t go into that,” Ellie replied. “Those details are for the Court. But I can tell you that the second girl was mistaken for someone else.”

The Gotliebs were shaking hard, German curses muttered under the father's breath. A holiday that should have been full of joy and adventure, all ruined because of mistaken identity. The father looked like he would have torn the perpetrator apart with his bare hands if given an opening.

Nearby, the Dusk family held hands. They had already guessed who Luiz Gotleib had been mistaken for. But they had not, in their wildest nightmare, have considered Louise a victim of murder. Mrs. Dusk sobbed, unable to stand under the weight of grief.

“In the course of our investigation into the death of the third girl,” Ellie continued. “We found evidence that connected our case with that of another investigation that is still ongoing in London. We found that both killers were acting out of revenge, but for differing reasons. We have been liasing with the Metropolitan Police and are confident of a speedy handover to the CPS for trial. I hope you understand that details of that inquiry cannot be disclosed at this time.”

Becca closed her eyes and lowered her head. Thank god her fears for Hailey had overridden her reluctance to come forward. Maybe she had saved a life. And now the town and the tourists would know she and her hotel had nothing to do with the murders. The last thing she needed was to be flooded with guests hunting gory details. She had already had one necrophile turn up asking questions. She would need to do some creative thinking to ensure her reputation was not damaged by this, but her job was a lot easier now.

But those poor families, she thought. The killers’ obsession with revenge for what were probably imaginary slights had ruined at least five families, kept a seasoned investigator off the job and injured reputations, kept a father and children apart through deception, and prevented them from getting the father's love they deserved. She suspected that based on where the forensics officers had taken evidence and bags from. Becca was certain that the events of this summer had made the horrors everyone felt Joe had inflicted on the town seem tame by comparison. Not that it diminished the harm, but more families and lives were directly affected this time around. Hailey had told her that at least two dozen girls were involved, and some of them would never be going home.

Broadchurch had been sent into a deeper terror. Only the memory of Jack Marshall had probably kept things from getting any worse than they did. Hardy may have been exonerated by the police, but the truth would take a lot longer to sink into the local psyche.

Nigel was sitting near the Latimers. He had been unable to make a sound for a while. He had played his part in the investigation. He had found a girl on the side of the road, but so far no one had mentioned her, explained her place in it all or mentioned whether she had survived or not. He fidgeted, wondering if he should ask, and wondered if he would incriminate himself in doing so.

Thankfully, the assembled crowd had finally accepted that Hardy was innocent and that meddling from outside and from the murderers themselves had made his life intolerable for no sane reason. Despite promises made after the Danny case, they had pointed fingers again. Anyone and everyone had been a target for their anger, and Hardy more than most.

And besides, they had to concede, what would have been Hardy’s motive? His whereabouts for the days that Sarah was in town were accounted for. He had had no opportunity to meet her. And the same fact overshadowed all remaining doubts about his guilt with Luiz. And as for Louise; Hardy hadn’t remembered that she was one of his daughter's friends until after the murder, which at that time had been graded as accidental death. The evidence held up even less when they looked into Luiz Gotlieb's murder. A careful examination proved that she scratched her killer. There were no such scratches on Hardy.

The reaction was a slow realisation of just how far off the beaten track Karen had gone with her ‘expose’. She hadn’t just questioned his professional conduct. This time she had set out to damage him personally.

“Where were you when the third girl died?” someone asked.

“At the time of the third victim's death, DI Hardy was at the police station,” the Chief Super replied to the pointed question. “We first believed she had died as a result of a severe allergy. We can now rule that out as circumstantial. The rest of the evidence points to a deliberate and depraved act that ended her life.”

Mrs. Dusk cried out in anguish and the entire room felt the pain. Their hearts went out to her.

“Then it was a coincidence that there were Sandbrook links?” asked Reverend Coates, the voice of reason.

“No,” Ellie replied. “The girls were deliberately chosen by the killers to implicate DI Hardy and in doing so exposed the links with Sandbrook.”

“Will you name killers?” asked John Wallace. “The cameras are switched off, now. What’s stopping you from naming them and the victims? If you knew DI Hardy was innocent, why keep him off the case until now? That just adds fuel to the fire that he was involved.”

Ellie noticed that more than a few people were unnerved by that. So she promptly answered. “There was never any doubt in DI Hardy’s innocence. It was felt that with the evidence linking the first girl to him, all of which was planted, that it was better to be safe than sorry. I was placed as officer-in-charge until such times as we could prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the evidence was false. The killer intended to put us off the trail, and they almost succeeded. We are certain that the goal was to keep him off the case, because the killer thought they would go unsolved and they would get away with it. But it was Hardy who convinced us that the two cases were linked even though the details said otherwise. The means and methods were completely different, and it was obvious that the girls did not know each other beyond a few brief conversations. I might not have the experience in tracking murderers that our DI has, but I've been watching the town, the tourists, and I can say with confidence what I'm about to tell you. I know who the killers are. Their mistakes made them easy to pinpoint and I made the arrests myself, this morning.”

Exclamations and murmurs burst again, but this time Alec noticed how different they were.

“There is a far more important reason for not naming the victims,” Olly interjected, suddenly feeling a need to say something. He knew all eyes were on him. “I was the person who posted on Twitter identifying Danny Latimer as the victim from the case two years ago. I thought I was breaking a story, but what I really did was take away the privacy of the Latimers, deny them the choice on who knew that Danny was dead and when. It's not just to give the investigation a better chance of successfully finding the killer, it's about having respect and compassion for the family. The attention Karen White's article brought onto the Latimers was unnecessary and cruel, and we did not want it to happen to any of the families involved in these cases – whether they're connected to the victims or the killers, or not. The families of the killers also need time to find some way of dealing with the reality of what their relatives have done, and they deserve compassion because they were caught unaware. Under British law, a person is not treated as guilty by association.”

As he leaned back, he saw the respect in his uncle and aunt's eyes. Not to mention Maggie's. The thoughtful silence that followed allowed him to notice that the Latimers – especially Chloe – seemed to have finally forgiven him. Although Beth looked a little uncomfortable and did not meet anyone's gaze.

“What about Sandbrook? How does this fit in with their investigation?” one of the women asked.

At last, the meeting was moving beyond Hardy.

“At this point, we can’t reveal all of what we know,” the Chief Super responded. “The killers and one of the victims has links with Sandbrook. Two further girls were potential targets and we both have links to Sandbrook and to an investigation that is still ongoing. That is all we can say at this point in time.”

Nigel could sit still no longer. “What about the girl I found?” he blurted out. “She was your daughter, DI Hardy. Was she a potential target? Where does she fit in?”

Mark tugged him back into his seat, but the words were out now. The hushed crowd waited on baited breath for Hardy to answer.

Hardy was trembling again. This time is was not nerves. “My daughter was a target,” he said. He could feel the emotions balloon in his chest. “That was why I could not be on the investigation. Police procedure. But if it hadn’t been for the quick thinking of my wife, her team and members of the public, a lot more children would have died.” A tear rolled down his cheek. “My daughter included. And very likely my son, as well.”

There was a long, stunned, silence.

After what felt like eons, Hardy saw his Chief Super nod. He had one final duty to perform. He took a calming breath, but his voice still wavered unsteadily. “I’d like to thank you all for coming. The Police Liaison Officer will continue to work with the families of the deceased and Broadchurch CID will continue to aid the Metropolitan Police with their investigation. I, again, urge anyone with information to come forward. I’d like to bring this meeting to a close.”


To be continued...

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