I have typed out a complete transcript of Her Story for your reading enjoyment!
Interview One – June 18, 1994
A black coffee thanks. No sugar. I’m sweet enough as it is.
My name is Hannah. H-A-N-N-A-H. It’s a palindrome. It reads the same backwards as forwards. It doesn’t work if you mirror it though, it’s not quite symmetrical. But, well, you get the idea. Sorry! Hannah Smith. I live at 31 Gladstone Street.
Simon. Simon Smith. He works at Ernst Brothers Glass. They do windows, all kinds of glass. Simon does the more special work. Mirror making, feature windows. Artistic things. Really beautiful things.
A mobile phone? Yeah… Well, they have one for the glaziers but it’s only for work. I can’t remember the number. It’s in the kitchen. I saw it plugged into its charging cradle.
Um…Simon is six foot. Darkish blonde hair. Average build. He’s clean shaven. If his beard grows, it goes ginger, so he shaves it… Not that there’s anything wrong with ginger hair. I brought a photo. They said I should bring a photo. This was taken last year on holiday in Rome. It’s the best one I have.
No, he doesn’t have any tattoos. He has a scar, down here near his stomach. Past his hip. Cut himself with some glass. That was before…a long time ago. He looks just like the photo. He’s not got his glasses on here though. He takes them off for the camera. But he needs them to see properly. You know, when he has to read. A newspaper or a menu in a restaurant. Not books so much. Or watching TV. He likes TV.
He was wearing, um…a shirt. A blue turtleneck shirt and jeans. He has a watch. It’s a really nice one. That was a gift from his boss, Eric. He had his coat. A long gray duffel coat, like Paddington Bear. But he would have taken that with him. It’s not in the house.
So…it was Friday evening. We had an argument. He left… On Saturday he didn’t come back. I waited all day. He was supposed to go help Eric out with something on the Saturday afternoon…they had a job. He didn’t show. So Eric was ringing on the phone. I checked at the Rock, that’s our local. They said they’d seen him on the Friday night, but not since. He still wasn’t back this morning, which just isn’t like him at all. Still not back by dinner time. It’s getting dark, again. So I decided to come see you. His parents haven’t heard anything either…
It’s the Rockington Arms. The Rock. It’s run by a nice couple, Peter and Susan. There’s some other regulars there that Simon likes to drink with. And the barmaid they have in sometimes, Helen. Peter said Simon had been in and had a few drinks.
No. I think he spoke to Helen. She said he was upset about our argument, but I’m not sure what else he said. He likes Helen. He likes blondes.
It was married couple stuff. A stupid argument, nothing specific. No one knows how to push your buttons better than those you’re close to…
No. I mean yes. We have arguments, but…he never runs off. He always comes back, we make up. It’s always that way.
A long time…We got married when I was seventeen.
Childhood sweethearts? Something like that. Are you married, detective?
Suicide? No. He would never do anything like that. He’s not the kind of person to do anything like that. To hurt himself? No.
No. Not drugs. I mean, he drinks. But never very much. He goes to the pub and has one or two. Sometimes we go together. He drinks wine with food. But no he doesn’t have any kind of drinking problem.
Yes. There’s a car that we share. A Cavalier. And a van he uses for work. It’s owned by Eric, but we look after it. Both of them are there now, parked in the street. I’m not sure about the keys for the van. I can look for you when I get back.
No. I’m not sure what strange would be, but he hasn’t been acting odd. He’s been busy at work, but nothing too stressful.
Sure. Yes. Of course. If that would help. Will you phone the house to let me know when you want to come around? Then I can make sure that I’m there.
He has a wallet. A huge, silly thing. Leather. Real leather, I think. He packs it full of stuff. Business cards, receipts, lottery tickets. He always carries it in his back pocket. I think that’s why he’s got a bad back. Offsets the discs. I haven’t seen it so he must have it on him. He always takes it out of his back pocket before…when he comes in, if he’s in the house.
Yes, that would be in his wallet. It’s a Visa. A silver one. He doesn’t like to spend money he doesn’t have, so he usually pays with cash, but…Eric convinced him to get one.
Sure. I think. I do all the bills and paperwork and handle all the money stuff so…should be easy for me to find. Do you want them dropped off to you?
Yes! There’s an Amstrad one. No one uses it for very much. There’s a printer so you can write letters on it. Simon sometimes plays games. You know, climb the tower, save the princess. That kind of thing.
No, he doesn’t keep a diary. That’s my thing. I’ve kept one, well, as long as I can remember. Since I was a girl. Helps make sense of my day. When you’re forced to put something into words…just gives you perspective. Everyone’s on the same page.
Simon isn’t the type to run off or do anything crazy. Someone must have done something to him or there must have been some kind of accident. So what do we do next?
Yeah, thanks. Please find Simon. I love him so much.
Interview Two – June 25, 1994
Could I have a cup of tea?
I haven’t been in to work, I’ve been…I mean I guess I’ve just been waiting. Waiting to hear from you. Hear from my husband.
Bruise? Oh, yeah. No, it’s nothing. I was going through the top cupboard in my kitchen…and the chair slipped and I kind of hit the door with my face. I mean, it hurt like hell.
I’ve been round to Doug and Eleanor’s and they’re very worried. I feel sorry for them.
Well, Eric was like an uncle to him. They were pretty close, they spend a lot of time with each other. Especially when they have to go to conferences. Have you met his wife Diane?
Diane is really nice. She helps out at the glaziers, organizes the Christmas party, that sort of thing. They have two kids, really sweet kids. She used to look out for me when I worked there.
OK. I’ll try my best to remember.
Yes. He left after the argument. It was about 8:00.
Yes, that’s my birthday. Not one of the big ones but I guess you can see that.
Yeah. I guess. I’m quite a private person and I didn’t want to really get into the detail of the argument.
It was my birthday, like you said. We were going to have a meal at home. We had our meal. He gave me his present. I guess I didn’t like the present.
It wasn’t the present so much. It was one of those arguments that had been simmering for a while. The present was a mirror. A nice mirror. He’d engraved the glass. The kind of mirror a princess would have in a story. He made it specially for me.
When you’ve been married for ten years, stuff accumulates. We could argue about anything. And he’s so nice, that doesn’t help. He tries to smooth things over and that just makes it worse. We’re both passive aggressive so we never normally argue directly about anything.
What about us?
I did? Well, we met when we were seventeen, both working at the glaziers.
Yeah, when I was at school. I worked part time, in the front shop. It was sort of an extended family thing. My dad used to work there, my mum worked there before I was born. I took care of paperwork, filing, typing out invoices, that type of thing. It was a good job for a girl back then. I didn’t work a till or anything,I was quite shy so I wouldn’t have liked to have worked a till.
No. He was as shy as me. I asked, well, I asked a friend to ask him out for me. We had our first date at the Odeon in North End. We went to see Risky Business. I had on my one best dress. Simon paid and bought me a Wispa and I was worried about getting chocolate on my teeth.
I got pregnant. Both our parents had a big pow wow. We weren’t even in the room and they decided we should get married.
I guess you could call it that, but we were both, both happy to get married. It was a beautiful wedding. We had our first dance to “Come Back and Stay”. I’m not sure if that’s a good wedding song, but I loved it, I chose it. It was genuinely our first dance. We’d never danced together before. It was probably awful to watch, but I enjoyed it. It felt like it was just me and Simon, for that moment, just the two of us.
We spent the wedding night in a hotel in Brighton. It would have been too much to do more, we were saving for the baby. It was wonderful to be in a hotel, away from home, just alone together. Since then, we’ve always tried to go away for our holiday.
We couldn’t afford our own place. Simon dropped out of school, went full time at the glaziers. That was Eric’s generosity. We moved in with his mum and dad. They had a spare room for us and the baby, if it came. It was a nice change, time to myself, living there for those months, full of hope.
No. I lost the baby. Had a miscarriage at eight months. We carried on, living at Simon’s parents until, well it was only a few months after…
Then my parents died. It was the worst year of my life. The miscarriage and then my parents.
At the time they said it was poison. Food poisoning. I felt so guilty. If I had still been at home, maybe I could have done something. I don’t know.
Yes. I inherited it from my parents so it made sense to move back. Me and Simon. Felt like going back to old ways, before the pregnancy. Reminded me of being a girl. The dollhouse in the attic, old things. We didn’t sleep in my parents’ bedroom for a long time. We decorated it as soon as we moved in, but it was another year before we started sleeping there.
I got a job. To contribute, you know. Doug knew someone and I got a job as a dinner lady at the primary school. They said it didn’t matter if I could cook or not, just don’t poison the kids! So you see it’s always been complicated between me and Simon. It’s never just been the two of us. There’s always been pressure.
I mean, I don’t know. Something must have happened to him on his way home. He could be hurt. I mean why hasn’t he phoned? It doesn’t…I don’t know.
Oh, God. I don’t know. I mean…I guess The Rock? You’ve spoken to everyone there? Someone must have seen where he went. I don’t know. So many things could have gone wrong.
No. I mean he was…everyone loves Simon. He was so…nice. To everyone. He loves me.
Fine. I’ve never had my fingerprints taken before. I once burned my hand on the oven…
OK. I’ve given blood before. Do you need to take that for your records?
Interview Three – June 27, 1994
No, it’s OK, the other detective has just gone to get me one.
Oh, it tastes fine to me. As long as it’s black and strong. I’m good.
Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. The blood…it’s probably the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.
The bruise? I have a really fast metabolism so stuff like that just comes and goes. I don’t know if there’s much more that I can tell you that I haven’t already told the other policeman. I found the body. I…
You think it’s murder? Clearly it’s murder. Well, what can I do to help?
It was after dinner. I’d spoken to Simon’s parents on the phone. I locked up for an early night and I suddenly had this thought…I think it was something his mum had said. She’d been speaking about old stuff. Sad stuff. About when we lived there. About the baby. There’s some boxes in the cellar. Nursery stuff. Stuff we never needed and I never had the heart to throw out. I suddenly remembered that when I’d looked down there the week before…those boxes…that pile was in the wrong place. I went cold all over. I went down there with a torch and went straight to the back…and that’s when I saw the bin bags. Pulled them open. Saw the body. I screamed and that’s when I called the police.
His body…it didn’t look real. His throat…it looked like his throat had been cut. And I didn’t see his glasses. He has these thick glasses. Doesn’t always wear them.
No. The whole thing was wrong. The bags. I think they were from our kitchen, you can probably check that. We never go into the cellar. It’s just a place we put things we don’t need. Dad used to grow mushrooms there. The bags were taped up. I think it was parcel tape. I think it was ours.
I wasn’t in the house.
I wasn’t in the house all of Friday night. After the argument, after Simon left, I left too. I was upset and I wanted to get away. So I took the car.
I got in the car and I drove. I just kept driving north. Just kept going, just wanted to get as far away as I could. When I finally stopped, I was all the way up in Glasgow. I was so tired, I just had to sleep.
I left the next day, Saturday. I slept for a few hours in the car, and when I woke up, I came straight back. Simon wasn’t returning my calls and I wanted to try and make up. I got back to the house and Simon wasn’t there and I… Excuse me! Is there a bin? *vomits*
Yes, I’m fine. I won’t be sick again. This happens some days. I’m pregnant. It’s morning sickness.
No. Well, yes. He found out on my birthday. I told him I was pregnant.
Yes. It was a shock to him, I mean we never thought it was possible. I don’t know what he…I mean…I hadn’t decided whether to keep the baby…I wasn’t really ready to talk to him about it.
It was late. Early Saturday morning.
Yeah. I pulled over and slept in the car. This was just by the side of the road. I was exhausted.
I think when I drove back it was about eight or something. I got back to the house about three. Three.
When you suspect someone of murdering their husband?
OK. So you want to eliminate me as a suspect?
OK. Sounds weird. I’m not great at making up stories.
OK. There’s a girl and she’s staring out of the window. She’s sad? She’s trapped. She’s here… She’s looking out the window because her mother won’t let her out.
It’s Rapunzel. The story starts when she’s born. Mother Gothel, a witch, takes Rapunzel from her parents and keeps her locked up in this tower. Rapunzel gets pregnant by the prince. Mother Gothel is furious so she cuts off her hair and throws her – Actually, her hair is already short here so that’s already happened. She throws her into the wilderness, and Rapunzel is reunited with the prince, who’s blind…but she cures him with her tears and so it’s a happy ending. Is that too much?
Sorry. Sorry. The picture, the way it’s drawn, it just reminded me of the books we used to read as children. I read those fairy tales over and over, they were so real to me. Rapunzel was my favorite. My brain is just full of it. Are any of these in color?
Yes. Like a story. A beginning, a middle, and an end.
OK. Well…she has a knife. She’s been cooking? I guess she’s been cooking him his favorite meal? She’s his wife. He’s asleep and she doesn’t want to wake him. Because he’s ill. That’s why she’s sad. Because he’s ill and he might die? It’s kind of a sad story so I’m not sure how it ends.
She’s crying, I guess. She’s sad because she thought she saw her husband with another woman. But it’s OK, because she finds out it wasn’t her husband, it was his brother. And so it’s fine.
OK. She’s being chased. They’re trying to catch her because…she did something bad. I guess she broke the rules. Or maybe they think she did something bad. Maybe it wasn’t her fault. She looks scared, not guilty. Maybe it was mistaken identity. Do they catch her, though? I don’t know.
Did I pass? Sorry I messed it up with all that Rapunzel stuff. Do you need me to do that card again?
Yes. I read a lot as a child and watched lots of TV. Then, the dollhouse we had, still have, in the attic…It’s kind of a fairy castle. We used to play up there and make up our own stories.
From when I woke up? OK. I woke up. Simon was already up and he made me a birthday breakfast of Eggs Benedict. We both had to go to work, so we saved presents till later. I got to work. Had some birthday cake. The children sang me Happy Birthday. Then I came home. The birthday meal was a takeaway. And Simon gave me his present, which I didn’t mind. And after that we talked about the baby. It turned into a big argument. Simon left. I was furious. I wanted to get as far away as I could, get some space to think. So I left…
Yes. Um, I got to Glasgow. I was exhausted. So I pulled over and slept in the car. I woke up because a rubbish truck went past. I got some petrol, bought a coffee and a pastry. Tried calling Simon from a payphone then headed back.
Let me see. Yes. I drove in here because I remember, well, I went over the river. And then there was a church. There. Yep. And I probably parked, well I remember seeing a street sign called Princes Street. Look, there it is. Yep, so I’m pretty sure it must be this one. Look, there it is. There.
Yeah, that’s Simon’s watch. It was a gift from Eric. He got it this year. It was a wedding anniversary gift. Steel. It would have been Diane who chose it, she has really nice taste. That time. That must eliminate me? I was in Glasgow then?
I didn’t. I slept in the car. I left about nine that night. I wasn’t there.
No. I don’t think so. Glasgow was deserted that early in the morning.
Ask the hospital.
When I arrived in Glasgow, I was exhausted. The streets were empty. I was driving badly and I hit a taxi. Not a big crash. Just paintwork. The guy was so pissed off because I didn’t have a driving license on me. But when I told him I was pregnant, he made sure I got to the hospital so they could check me out. It was fine. The hospital must have details, when I was looked at. There’s a scratch on the car.
That should eliminate me as a suspect? If I was in Glasgow? I can’t be in two places at once.
I thought it made me sound suspicious. It’s not a normal thing to do to drive to the other end of the country. I just, I wanted to keep it simple. I know it was stupid to not tell you everything. Saying I spent the night in Glasgow when my husband went missing…I thought it would, you know, distract you from what was important. It’s different now. Now he’s…
Interview Three (cont)
No. Everyone loved Simon. He’s a glazier, he doesn’t have much money. I don’t know. I don’t know.
God. I don’t know. It could be anyone. Maybe someone followed him back from the pub? But why would he let them in? It doesn’t make sense.
Yeah. I had to let myself in. The door locks if it swings to.
Yes. I always pull it shut and then lock the bigger lock with the key.
Um…no. No, I don’t think it was. I turned the key but it was already unlocked.
No. They were shut. Most of the windows are really hard to open anyway. It’s stifling in summer. They were painted over by my dad. He could have left a door open, accidentally? There’s a cat flap in the back door.
No. No cat. My parents had a cat before they died. Called Domino. It was this little black thing with white dots. We never did anything about the cat flap, but if you were thin, you could maybe squeeze through it?
I think so. I mean, to get into our garden, you’d have to climb through other gardens. All the gardens back onto each other, so you’d have to climb over one…two, three gardens to get to ours. I mean did anyone see anything? Did anyone see anyone come and go? An intruder?
When will the police let me back in the house? They let me take a bag of clothes with me, but…
The mirror? I can’t remember. I put it somewhere safe…upstairs I think. I haven’t looked at it since.
Simon’s parents offered to put me up, but I didn’t think it would be a good idea. It would be too sad. Not right now. I’m staying at a friend’s.
Interview Four – June 30, 1994
A cup of tea would be good, thanks. Just the one sugar.
Well…fine. Considering. I got back into the house today and that was weird. Knowing your people have been there, been through my things. It’s like I’ve been burgled. Worse. Obviously. I don’t know. I haven’t looked in the cellar yet. They sent a cleaner in. As good as new, he said. But they had to throw some stuff out. Couldn’t get the blood out. And I’m still waiting to hear from the coroner, so we can get a date set for the funeral. It’s going to be a cremation. So?
No. No one has been in the last few weeks. We had a plumber come in. Three, four weeks ago. Someone Simon knew from The Rock.
In the bedroom?
I hoover, I dust. Every week. Maybe less. I once asked Eleanor how often I should dust and she said, “If people ask, tell them you do it once a week. But every few weeks is OK.” I think she was just trying to make me feel better. I mean when I was there she was hoovering every day. You know, ran an ordered house. You know how that generation is, putting on a brave front. She has secret stashes of cigarettes. Doug doesn’t even know she smokes. When I was there I saw her. She has these sort of porcelain vases. Ornamental. Next to the Reader’s Digest books. Cigarettes inside. And she still has them. I mean last time I was there I looked in a vase…there was a fresh pack. I mean, all those years of marriage and she still has a secret like that.
A week or so ago. It would have been the Saturday before my birthday? You know, I get like that on the weekends. Have a lie in and then want to get up and blitz the house.
Yes. Yeah. I would have cleaned them. I changed the sheets too. Were there fingerprints in all those places?
Could they be my parents’ fingerprints? I’m not sure how long they last for, but…is that possible?
That can’t be right. In the bedroom?
I sleep on the right side of the bed, as you come in from the door. You can tell because I have two pillows and he just has one.
What kind of hairs?
A wig? You mean…well, what type of wig?
No. I’ve never worn a wig. What kind of wig?
Could the hairs have come from somewhere else? I mean…could they…we have a lot of dolls in the attic. There’s a Rapunzel doll with long blonde hair. Could they have come from there?
OK. I parked up on the street. It was busy so I had to park down the end of the road. Walked up. Knocked on the door. No answer. I took my keys out of my bag and unlocked the door. The main lock was unlocked. You can tell because the key doesn’t turn when you try to turn it to the left. I walked in. Simon’s coat wasn’t on the peg. I couldn’t see his shoes in the shoe rack. I shouted out. I walked straight into the kitchen because he usually sits in there to have a cup of tea and read his paper. But he wasn’t there. I touched the kettle. It was cold. I looked quickly in the living room. Nothing. So I walked upstairs to the bedroom. He wasn’t there. I didn’t search for him because it was pretty clear he wasn’t there. I had a shower. The phone rang whilst I was in the shower. I didn’t answer it. I think it was Eric. Then I was just exhausted so I lay down on the bed and I fell asleep though I didn’t mean to. I woke up a couple of hours later and I was surprised to see no one in the bed next to me. And then I remembered where I was and what had happened. That’s when Eric called again. This time I spoke to him. Then I called Doug and Eleanor. And then I decided to come and see you. That enough?
Yes. This is it. He made it himself. It’s a special one off. He made it. He decorated it. That’s his thing. Where did you find it?
Silver leaf? No. He normally silvers them properly. This mirror, it’s supposed to look antique. The reflection isn’t as good. It’s the perfect mirror for someone who doesn’t like to look at their own reflection.
Well, on his clothes? That would make sense. He made it. By hand. I mean, he brushes the silver onto the glass. It’s not how they make mirrors these days. I mean, he made the mirror…he gave it to me.
In his throat? How?
An affair? Simon wasn’t having an affair.
No. Simon wasn’t seeing another woman.
Good. Happy. I mean, ups and downs like any couple I guess, but we’d been married for over ten years.
I don’t know if anyone really changes. You just become more yourself. Simon was my prince and that hasn’t changed.
Really? You’re going to ask me about my sex life? I mean, isn’t that private?
Are you married? How is your sex life?
Well, there you go. How many kids?
So, our sex life is probably “fairly average” for a couple after ten years of marriage.
No! I have never been unfaithful. I’ve never cheated on Simon.
No! You’re talking to the wrong person if you think I’m some kind of slut. If you think I’m the kind of person that would have had sex with all those guys.
Not really. He would go to the pub. He had his drinking buddies there. But no one ever really came back to the house. Sometimes Eric, his boss, and his wife would come over for dinner. That would be us returning the favor. Diane is a really good cook, into her trendy ingredients. The last time Simon cooked something off Masterchef. He got the recipe off Ceefax. And I did my Lloyd Grossman bit, commenting from the sidelines. I had to find fennel from the supermarket. Have you ever eaten fennel?
Hurt someone? Yes. But everyone thinks that from time to time, right? You just want to lash out?
Well…my friend, Eve. I mean, she was a friend from when I was a kid. She was always more popular with the boys and I used to hate her for it. I mean, really hate her sometimes.
Yes. We’d fight. We fought on the beach once and I held Eve’s head underwater. There was no one else around, it was at the far end of the beach, and…I held her head under, and I kept it under. And for a moment I just wanted to kill her and watch her drown. But that was it. It was just a moment. We made up afterwards. It was a love-hate relationship.
A police station? Yeah. When I was young. We ran away on my birthday. Bob Dylan was playing in London and we thought we could break into his tour bus and have him take us with him. The taxi driver we paid to drop us off…I mean, we’d saved money, pinched a bit here and there to pay for the fare…he was suspicious because we were so young so he told the police. So they came and picked us up and took me back to Portsmouth. My mum picked me up from the station. But I blamed everything on my friend Eve, so my parents let me off.
Maybe a fresh cup of tea?
Hannah. Hannah. Hannah. What are you doing talking about Eve? *tapping* Poor Simon…
Just the one sugar. Thanks. Is that camera recording?
Nineteen eighty four. It was an awful year in the end. We were living at Doug and Eleanor’s. I lost the baby at the end of spring and my parents died in the summer. It was a hot summer, a heat wave. So when they discovered the bodies it was just awful. Because of the circumstances, them dying together like that, they brought in a lot of police. A forensic entomologist. I had to look that up. It was because of the heat. It was just awful.
They said it was food poisoning. There was something in the food they ate. My dad liked to pick mushrooms, grow them too. They said it was the mushrooms. It was hard to believe. Death Caps. They have a skirt around the cap. My dad taught me that. But, I mean the police had no reason to think it was suspicious. They lived alone…and no one had any reason to hurt them.
Interview Four (cont)
Yeah. They’d gone to bed feeling ill, thinking it was flu or something. The neighbor called me and I had to use my key to let them in. We found them dead in their bed. They’d been there for days. No one had noticed. Just awful. It was so soon after my miscarriage. The worst year of my life. I’d been so happy to get married and after that it was just like: ♥♥♥♥.
Yeah. I was infertile. Thought I was. They told me I was infertile after the miscarriage because of complications.
I would have been a good mother. I was young but I would have been a good mother. She was a girl, by the way. The baby. We were going to call her Sarah. Simon wanted to call her Ava after his nana, but I didn’t want her to have a symmetrical name.
It’s all that matters really, the baby. Simon’s dead. But the baby…that’s how he will live on. Our baby.
No. No, Simon didn’t play guitar. He wasn’t very musical. He liked to listen but he was tone deaf.
Yes. Yeah, it’s my guitar.
Interview Five – July 1, 1994
July 1, 1994
Black, no sugar. Thanks.
OK. I parked up on the street. It was busy so I parked down the end of the road. I walked up to the house. I knocked on the door. No answer. I took my keys out of my bag, unlocked the door. The main lock was unlocked. I could tell because the key wouldn’t turn when I tried to turn it to the left. I walked in. Simon’s coat wasn’t on the peg. I couldn’t see his shoes in the shoe rack. I shouted out for him. I walked straight into the kitchen. He usually sits in there to have a cup of tea and read his paper. He wasn’t there. I touched the kettle. It was cold. I looked quickly into the living room. Nothing. I walked upstairs to the bedroom. He wasn’t there. I didn’t search for him because it was pretty clear he wasn’t there. Then I had a shower. Whilst I was in the shower, the phone rang. I think it was Eric, his boss. I didn’t answer it. Then I came out and I was just exhausted…so I lay down on the bed and I fell asleep but I didn’t mean to. I woke up a couple of hours later and I was surprised to see no one in the bed next to me. And then I remembered where I was and what had happened. That’s when Eric called again. I spoke to him. Then I called Simon’s parents. And then I decided to come and see you. That enough?
Yes. I speak with Eleanor at least once a day. Not that there’s anything much to say. It’s more just as…*spills coffee*
No, I’m OK. ♥♥♥♥.
Oh. My tattoo? I got it to express my individuality. It’s an apple and a snake.
About eight years back. It was a present to myself. I shouldn’t even be drinking coffee with the baby. It’s been hard trying to give it up. I think they say you can have one cup.
You have children?
Cute. You must love them very much. What ages are they?
They must think it’s very cool that their dad is a police detective.
Yeah…we were seventeen. It was a nice wedding, people said. Simon looked very handsome in the photos. His parents paid for everything. He’s an only child so it was important to them. It was what they called a shotgun wedding, but if you looked at the photos you couldn’t tell. The dress was beautiful. It looked like Princess Diana’s. The train wasn’t quite as long though! There’s a great photo of the bridesmaid helping to carry it out of the car.
Was he my first? No need to be so coy. No, he wasn’t my first. That would have been Carl. He was a local boy. In a band. He was a bit of a ♥♥♥♥, but he was sexy. We were fifteen.
No. I was fifteen. Carl was older, seventeen I think. I was really into him. Regardless of how he actually behaved. Lots of drunken teenage sex. We did it in a church once. Stupid. So, he got tired of us and we split up after about six months. It was sad but…those early experiences, they help you realize who’s really important to you. You know…family.
Family. So…Carl ♥♥♥♥♥♥ off, and there were other boys here and there. And then, Simon.
At the glaziers. I worked there some weekends, and Simon had a part time job there too. That was Eric’s generosity. He was always good at helping out other people’s children. Simon was quiet, more thoughtful than the other boys. Even then he had a sense of craftsmanship. Wasn’t always rushing stuff. Boys that age are just running around like headless chickens most of the time. Plus he had that look. He looked like a fairy tale prince from one of my books.
I wouldn’t say that. It could be passionate. It’s just…there was more than that. It wasn’t just sex like it had been with the other boys.
Have I ever cheated on Simon? You asked that question yesterday.
Simon was very moral about that sort of thing. He wouldn’t just walk out there and sleep with anyone. He wasn’t that kind of guy. He took his marriage very seriously.
Simon never cheated on me. He was devoted to me and I was devoted to him. Nothing in life is easy. We were good to each other. Life isn’t a fairy tale. You do what you can.
You’re reaching here and I don’t know why. No, I’ve never cheated on anyone. I’ve never taken anything from anyone. Simon is dead. But I have my baby to care for. Why are you trying to make me sad? Why are you so obsessed with sex and affairs? You cheated on your wife? Is this your thing?
And what did your wife do? She didn’t kill you. You think I killed Simon because he was having an affair? Well I didn’t kill him. I wasn’t even there. I was in Glasgow worrying about whether my baby was still growing inside me. I mean why would I kill Simon? I loved him.
This other person doesn’t exist. I don’t know what the blonde wig is but it could be anything. Have you looked at the cat flap?
I mean what if they were crazy? You hear about these crazy people all the time. I mean why would anyone who knew Simon want to kill him?
No. I’ve had enough coffee for today thanks. A glass of water?
Is that camera recording?
If you put me on You’ve Been Framed, I want the money.
Yeah. That’s me. But February? I mean that was months ago. What’s that got to do with Simon’s murder?
Well I don’t know. I probably had to pop out and get something. That’s why I was speeding. And that wouldn’t have been noted on my time sheet. But I really can’t remember back to February.
Well I remember the ticket. Of course. I paid it without telling Simon. Didn’t want to get told off. And they put points on the license.
Like I said I think I was popping out to get something. Ran out of something. Had to grab something. I sometimes drive too fast. If you want you can arrest me for that.
You must be desperate for leads if you’re getting hung up over six month old speeding tickets.
There was a conference. Something to do with double glazing. In Oxford?
Are you sure? What would he be doing in Oxford if there was no conference? I remember calling him. He said it was boring and he spent most of the time in the bar.
And the hotel said he was there?
OK. You got me. I’ll confess. We were there. It was a dirty weekend. Simon was going to expense it, pretend it was a business trip. I used a made up name. We stayed at the hotel. Had room service. Didn’t leave the room. It had a great view of the river and you could hear the church bells. Like you said, it was very romantic.
It was supposed to be a secret. Just because Simon is dead, it doesn’t mean I have to give up all his secrets? It doesn’t have anything to do with what happened to Simon. No-one murdered my husband because he cheated his expenses for a romantic weekend in Oxford.
You want me to play something? I’m not the world’s greatest guitar player. OK. Probably needs tuning. Nope. It’s OK. How about a traditional ballad? Should be right up your street.
There were two sisters came walking by the sea
Oh the wind and the rain
The eldest one pushed the other one in
Oh the dreadful wind and rain
See they both had a love for the captain’s son
Oh the wind and the rain
But he only cared for the youngest one
Oh the dreadful wind and rain
Oh the eldest envied her sister fair
Oh the wind and the rain
With her pretty little face and her long blonde hair
Oh the dreadful wind and rain
So she pushed her in and held her down
Oh the wind and the rain
And watched her as she slowly drowned
Oh the dreadful wind and rain
Oh she floated up and she floated down
Oh the wind and the rain
Floated till a ship came by
Oh the dreadful wind and rain
Out comes the captain’s son
Oh the wind and the rain
Father dear here swims a swan
Oh the dreadful wind and rain
And then it gets really weird, so I think that’s a good place to stop.
Interview Five (cont)
Really? OK. Here’s the rest.
Oh they laid her body on the dock to dry
Oh the wind and the rain
‘Til a fiddler with a fiddle came walking by
Oh the dreadful wind and rain
And he made a fiddle bow of her long hair
Oh the wind and the rain
Yes he made a fiddle bow of her long blonde hair
Oh the dreadful wind and rain
And he made fiddle pegs of her finger bones
Oh the wind and the rain
Yes he made fiddle pegs from her finger bones
Oh the dreadful wind and rain
And he made a fiddle out of her breastbone
Oh the wind and the rain
The sound could pierce a heart of stone
Oh the dreadful wind and rain
But the only tune that the fiddle could play
Was oh the wind and the rain
Yes the only tune that the fiddle could play
Was oh the dreadful wind and rain
Anything you sing may be used as evidence against you.
Simon and Eric arguing? No. I can’t imagine they’d be arguing. They get on so well. Unless it was something to do with work. Maybe Simon was being too much of a perfectionist. But I don’t know. You should ask Diane.
Interview Six – July 2, 1994
Coffee I guess. Milk and sugar.
This is the third day running you’ve called me in. I speak to Doug and Eleanor every day. They say you’ve been asking a lot of questions. About me. Should I be worried? Am I a suspect?
I don’t see how it’s hard. We’ve established I was in Glasgow when he was killed. You’ve spoken with the hospital?
Rehearsed? You ask me the same question, you’ll get the same answer. Is that your evidence? Of course I thought about what happened then. It’s all I’ve thought about. My husband is dead.
Twins? Really? Are you really asking me that question?
Are you out of your mind? Twins?
Really? Go on then. Take the cup. Run your fingerprints. They’ll match. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ idiot.
For ♥♥♥♥’s sake. Can I leave? Are you going to arrest me? No. They’d laugh you out of the building. A lawyer would make mincemeat of you.
Are you arresting me? No. ♥♥♥♥ off. Open this door!
Interview Seven – July 3, 1994
This is a nicer room. This is where you take people when it’s time to arrest them?
Yes. I understand my rights. No I don’t need a lawyer.
Yes. No lawyer. What are you going to arrest me for?
I didn’t murder Simon. You’ve got it wrong. You’ve got the wrong person.
Yes. I’ll take a lie detector test.
I’ve never taken a lie detector test before. Does it really work?
Yes. My name is Hannah Smith. Oh, ♥♥♥♥. Sorry.
Sorry. Yep, I get it. Yep. Yes.
I can take this stuff off now? Did I prove I’m innocent?
My name? That was the only question I failed. Your lie detector works.
My mother called me Eve.
Well, she wasn’t my real mother but she raised me. Do you want to hear the story? It’s a real life fairy tale.
Across the road, when my parents first lived there, was a midwife called Florence. When Hannah was born, I was born at the same time. The midwife was there to help. I’d been throttled by the cord, probably wrapped around my neck by Hannah. The midwife told my mother I was dead. But I wasn’t. She wrote all this stuff in a diary. Amazing what people will admit to on paper.
Florence took me home with her. Mother hadn’t been expecting twins and had a healthy baby. I guess she was just happy for Florence to clean up. Take away the evidence that this was anything but a happy occasion.
Florence raised me in her home. I never left it. She kept me out of sight. It wasn’t odd for people to see a midwife with a baby. Carrying in supplies, washing nappies. That sort of thing. I never knew any different. I grew up looking out of my window and seeing her across the road. I thought it was like a reflection in a mirror. She was me.
Yes. The first time we saw each other, it was strange. We both realized at the same moment, I think. We must have seen each other before but there was this instant when we first realized it wasn’t a reflection. The reflection was staring back. I think I was five. It was my birthday. My reflection was wearing a party hat and waving. I knew what party hats were from books. And it suddenly occurred to me. Today must be my birthday. I waved back and…we just spent ages waving at each other and copying each other’s movements.
Mother wanted me to grow my hair long but I kept cutting it myself. I wanted to look like my reflection. She always had short hair when she was little. Mother would hide the scissors but I would find a way. Cut it with a bread knife, something like that. My reflection would always leave her house and go on adventures. But I never could. Mother taught me at home. And I had books and TV. TV was magical. But it was only on when it wanted to be so…I spent a lot of time reading books.
Fairy tales. Stories about lost princesses. Evil witches. Magical mirrors and lost children. So you see, even before I knew the truth I’d found it in those stories.
Florence was a warm, kind person. But she was broken, I guess. When I found her diary I also found a biscuit tin with other stuff in it. Older papers. Letters. That kind of thing. Her story was in there. I never spoke to her about it, I was far too young to really understand. I guess I just put it together later. Once I was older. She had loved children, planned to have a large family. But her husband died in the war. That was back when you married for life. She never felt like she could marry again. Isn’t that strange? She was a widow from her twenties. But I mean, I guess it was different then. You know, you married for life and she felt she could never marry again. I guess it was harder…a war widow. Honor the dead? I don’t know. Maybe there was more to it than that. I don’t really know.
No. It was just me and her. Eve was the name they were going to call their first child. They talked about it and were going to try when he came back. Florence’s family had a history of firstborn girls so they were convinced it was going to be a girl. It’s hard to know if this is all true. These are stories I remember. That I read when I was a child. Maybe I misread, maybe I misunderstood, or…sometimes it’s hard to remember what happened last week.
When I was eight, mother died. She slipped down the stairs. It was an accident. I had read her diary at that point and I knew she wasn’t my real mother. So I burned the diary that day and I left. Walked out and across the street.
I wanted to see my reflection. I thought that if I touched her…something would happen. We would become one. One girl. The fairy tale was over. The witch was dead. And I’d be restored to my rightful place…
She recognised me from the window. She told me to come inside and she hid me. They had made the attic into a place where Hannah could play. There was a dollhouse. She hid me up there. No one else ever went into the attic. It was her place.
Yeah. I’m not sure where the dollhouse came from. Don’t know if it was given to them or they inherited it. I mean they wouldn’t have had the money to buy it. It was so huge. It must have been taken up into the attic in parts and then reassembled up there. It’s a beautiful thing. Wallpaper to scale. Little furniture. The lights work. Mirrors, beds. Little duvets and pillows. We spent hours and hours playing in it. Invented all these characters and families who lived there. We wrote paperwork for them all, passports, diaries. Gave them all really elaborate stories. Once, a moth got trapped in there. We’d left a light on. It was making the most horrendous noise. We tried to kill it, but it was tough. We ended up crushing it under a copy of The Arabian Nights.
It just became our way of life. We would swap places and take it in turns to do things. And we were very careful. Whoever had been out that day would come back and write a detailed diary so that we were on the same page. We had a list of rules that said what we could and couldn’t do in any given situation. It was exhaustive. We lived a second life through those rules. Rules for things that could only ever happen inside our imaginations. We would consider all the permutations of future events and agree rules to walk our way through them.
If one of us got hurt, the other one would have to be hurt too. A grazed knee. A bruise. When I lost my tooth first, we had to pull out Hannah’s to match. Once I slept with a boy who was seeing another girl. The girlfriend came up to Hannah the next day and punched her in the face, gave her a huge black eye. That night, she had to do the same to me. She almost went too far. I couldn’t see out of that eye for days. She snuck frozen peas up for me from the kitchen. So much of our bodies were synchronized anyway. We started our period on the same day. All our childhood diseases. Stomach bugs. Nits.
Mum and dad never had any reason to notice. They were always busy. If Hannah was eating a lot, they didn’t mind. She didn’t put on any weight. That girl has a healthy appetite. If they heard us talking in the attic they just thought it was Hannah playing one of her games. And that Eve was our imaginary friend. Once, she was already up and dressed and ready to go to school and I snuck down for a piss. Mum saw me in my underwear and she went mad. Get dressed this instant! So I ducked into our bedroom and seconds later out came Hannah, dressed and ready! Mum was amazed.
Interview Seven (cont)
When we weren’t together we would send secret messages by tapping out a code that we’d learned from a book. The Knock Code. Something prisoners of war would use. We’d tap them out on radiator pipes, or the attic floor. *taps on table*
Dad thought we had mice. But they couldn’t find any. Bought a cat anyway.
We loved our cat. Domino. He had this little bell around his neck to stop him from killing birds in the garden. We used to write each other notes and put them in the bell. And we could send him to each other. Mum found some of the notes once and she thought I was just writing to myself because our handwriting was identical. And we had our own words for things, so she didn’t quite understand them anyway.
We were obsessed with fairy tales. Not just the pretty, pretty ones, but the traditional ones. They were dark and real. Bizarre and violent. Felt like life. We had this huge old book that I think mum must have bought from a library sale. The illustrations had thin tracing paper over them to protect them. They were in color. Shiny plates. At the front of the book was an index of illustrations. We read that more than the actual stories. We’d read aloud the captions and flick between the pictures. There was something intimate about peeling back the tracing paper, undressing the pictures. Rapunzel’s hair is cut. The eagle plucks out his heart. The princess pricks her finger.
There were always princes and princesses. They were the special people, more important than the other characters in their stories. We knew we were like that. Twins. Magical. We were the princesses. We had a poster of Princess Diana from the newspaper, up in our attic. It had pride of place. And underneath we used to put all our special things. When her engagement was announced, we were obsessed with everything she did. And later, when her life went so bad, we felt for her. Her divorce last year just kind of drew a line under things.
When beautiful people died, we always felt like it was a sign. You remember Princess Grace? Grace Kelly? She died in a car crash the year before we met Simon. We used a Ouija board to speak to her and that gave us the power to find him. That’s what we thought then. That people who die tragically leave some kind of magic behind. We used to share dreams. We used to wake up and write them down in our diaries immediately and compare them.
Mum and dad never knew what was going on. We got so good at it. We were so in sync that we’d use each other to cheat. If one of us had a hangover, the other one would go to school. Whoever was best at a subject would sit the exam. There were lots of differences between us. Some things one is better than the other at.
Differences? She’s a better driver than me. She passed the test for us. I tried to take it and nearly crashed the car. Learned you can’t rely on confidence to get you through everything. She is the shy one. She was especially shy around boys. If Hannah liked a boy, I would have to pursue him. It was that way with Carl. Hannah met him first. She had such a crush. I let him take my virginity after a night that his band had played at. It got difficult. When I was with Carl, we would have sex, but Hannah couldn’t. Couldn’t let him see she was a virgin. She had lots of excuses. After a while, we decided that I should take Hannah’s virginity. It’s not that different to a bruise, pulling a tooth, a graze. We used a hairbrush. After that we took it in turns, though I was always the one who seduced the boys. Until Simon.
Hannah was so smitten with Simon. She started getting jealous, didn’t want to share. Even the first date…we went to see Tom Cruise at the old Odeon. We both went and kept changing places in the toilet. We only had the one best dress, so we had to keep swapping clothes. He must have thought we had terrible bladder problems. The next date, it was my turn. At the end I let him kiss me, but that was it. We didn’t want another Carl on our hands and the Ouija board had said to hold back. After that, it was Hannah’s turn and…she slept with him. Broke the rules. Deliberately broke the rules. She wanted to be the first to sleep with him. I mean, that’s when she got pregnant. From that one time.
Can you imagine? I tried. I tried to get pregnant too but it didn’t happen. I slept with so many boys. Men. My body refused. I think my period stopped because hers had. I was pretty ill. I mean how could we stay the same now? It felt like Hannah had really ♥♥♥♥♥♥ things up. Set us down separate paths. We had become different.
No. The parents decided there would be a wedding. And after the wedding, Hannah moved in with his parents. There was no way I could follow. So we were separated again. I stayed in the attic. It was hard. It was like I suddenly didn’t exist. I would sneak out but in case anyone recognized me I started wearing a wig. Hannah and I would meet up in the park. I was trying to get pregnant. But I couldn’t. I mean I couldn’t do it with anyone we knew, so it was…sex with strangers, drunk guys I’d met in clubs. In parks and alleyways. I was seventeen. It felt like I was being punished. But it was Hannah who had betrayed us. I had to stop when one of the guys gave me an STD. When we met up it was disturbing. For the first time my reflection, she didn’t look like me. She was fatter. Flushed. If anything I was getting skinnier. I found it hard to look sometimes. We talked about what to do. Was it time to become our own people? I mean, that seemed like the right thing to do but neither of us wanted it. We agreed that her and Simon would get their own place as soon as possible…and then I could move in. That was the plan.
Hannah had a miscarriage. This was late in the pregnancy and it left her infertile. It felt like the universe had corrected its course. We were aligned again. But…Hannah and Simon were still living with his parents. They were married. Simon had a job at the glaziers now. Eric had given him a full time position after he’d left school. And then…
I was living in the attic. It was a very hard time. I was depressed. I was still pretty sick off the STD. Then I came down one morning and they were dead. They were in bed and both had been sick. They’d thrown up a lot. And I’d slept through it. The police said it was the mushrooms they ate. Dad was a mushroom expert. I mean, he used to take us picking with him and he taught us how to recognize them… There’s no way he would have picked death caps. But the police believed that’s what happened. They never even looked in the attic.
Yes. It was a cremation. For the best. We both wore black and had veils so it was easy. After the funeral everyone came back to the house. Hannah served up sandwiches and I stayed out of sight.
The legal stuff was completed very quickly. Hannah moved back in, with Simon. Eric gave Simon the week off to help with the move. He decorated. Modernized. Wallpaper. Curtains. Hannah insisted the attic be left as it was, dollhouse and all. Simon never went up there.
It lasted about six months. I tried to carry on but everything was different. Hannah insisted I not pretend to be her around Simon. Let alone sleep with him. We didn’t share him like the others. The rules had changed. Me living in the attic had become weird in a way it hadn’t been before.
So, I moved out. Got a small bedsit. Got my tattoo to mark the occasion. I was singing in a bar in the evenings. So I had some money, enough money to cover my rent. I’ve been doing something similar ever since. I haven’t put down any roots. I don’t exist.
Interview Seven (cont 2)
He saw me singing. One of my shows. Pure chance. I’m not sure I remember what he was even doing there. Afterwards, I had a drink at the bar and he came over and we got talking. I knew who he was. Obviously I knew who he was, but he didn’t know who I was. He was fascinated by the likeness. He guessed my name from my tattoo. Told me it was a palindrome like that would impress me. I enjoyed talking to him. It was amazing to be able to sit and interact and talk to him after all this time. He didn’t tell me he was married. I’m not sure what he was thinking. He later told me it was like he was dreaming. A waking dream.
No. No he wasn’t wearing his wedding ring.
Nothing else happened that night. We talked. Then I said goodbye. Then next week, I was singing in the bar again and there he was. And again the next week. He offered to buy me a meal. I told him I had already eaten. And so we got chips and ate them on the beach instead. When we said goodbye he asked me to kiss him. Romantic.
Yes. I thought about telling Hannah. I felt guilty after the kiss. But then it began to feel like this was the way it should be. Sharing, like we had before. He never mentioned her to me. There was the Simon with me and the Simon with her. It was almost like it was a different Simon. But…
After the kiss. The next time…he took me back to the house. To our parents’ house. To their house. So…it was definitely him. I sometimes think he wanted to get caught, to prove to himself that we were different people. He told me about his marriage, told me how his wife was completely different to me…I almost burst out laughing.
I think it was that time, the first time, at the house, in his bed…that I got pregnant. Amazing, right? His ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ magic sperm. And they say lightning doesn’t strike twice. I didn’t tell him. I missed three periods. I have pretty irregular periods anyway, but three…I had always thought we were infertile, both of us. I didn’t tell him. Just waited. Hannah and I were meeting for our birthday and I told her because I thought she would be happy for us both. I think she was.
No. I told her it was one of my boyfriends, someone I had met in a bar. I think she was happy. But I could tell that she was thinking why couldn’t it happen to her and Simon. They were the ones with the real life. Why not them?
Then she told me she wanted to help more. She said I should move in with her. She would come clean with Simon about me. I was family. I couldn’t have a baby in a bedsit. I told her I didn’t want to tell Simon. Told her to wait for the time being.
When she went home, Simon had a birthday tea waiting. Afterwards, she told Simon about me. Told him I was pregnant. She wanted me to move in with them, this sister he didn’t know she had. She knew that instant. The look on his face. She knew.
She sent him out of the house. Kicked him out. Called me up, crying, and I went round. I guess I had a feeling. I could hear something was wrong in her voice. But I wasn’t sure what it was. She called me sister on the phone. She never calls me that…
This was nine, about nine? I went round and she was waiting for me. She was furious. And so angry. The kind of anger you can only have toward yourself. We screamed at each other. Argued. Cried. We fought. I hit her back, left a bruise. I had my wig on from performing. She tore it off. Eventually we grew tired of fighting and I left.
It’s like I told you before. I drove. I took the car and drove. I don’t have my own car, but I have a spare set of keys. I just drove north. I wanted to think, put some space between me and them. Everything I told you before is true. I stopped at Glasgow. I was tired, exhausted. I pulled out and I hit a car. My car was OK, but I was worried about the baby, so I went to A and E to get the OK. Everything was fine. Slept in the car. When I woke I tried to call Hannah from a pay phone. She wasn’t answering. And then I decided to drive back. I had decided that she was more important to me than Simon.
Like I said before, it was three. Something like that. I walked in. Saw Simon. He was on the floor of the living room. His throat had been cut. There was a lot of blood. He was dead.
She was sat behind him. She had my wig on. And she had been there all day. And she had blood on her. And she was in shock.
Her story was that she’d waited for him to come back. She put on my wig, some of my clothes. Pretended to be me. They talked. She’d enjoyed being me. He said he wanted to be with me. Then he took out a present. Another mirror. Just like the one he’d given her earlier. That unique present. She went crazy. Smashed the mirror. They argued, screamed. He hit her. So she grabbed a piece of the mirror, just swung it round. She cut his throat clean open. She’d only meant to scare him off.
It happened very quickly. We hardly had to talk to each other. We agreed almost silently. The baby was what mattered. We’d help each other. We cleaned up. We bagged up the broken mirror, her clothes. They’re gone. We took him down to the cellar. We knew I, we, had an alibi and we wanted the body to be found later. We wanted to have suspicion on us, so we could then disprove it…rather than have it linger. Better to keep the body in the house than risk being seen with it. The watch, that was my touch. To make sure the alibi stuck.
My sister is gone. And she’s never coming back.
Can you arrest someone who doesn’t exist?
I’d like to speak to a lawyer now. Please. You have no murder weapon. You have nothing. And all these stories we’ve been telling each other. Just that…stories.
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