But thank heavens, the boy was still green. He should have made far more of the time issue when Craig was in the witness box. Arnold would have counted the paving stones between the Dunlop Arms and the front door of Craig's mews house, with a stopwatch as his only companion. He would then have returned to his own home, undressed, showered and changed into a new set of clothes while once again timing the entire exercise. Arnold suspected that the combined times would amount to less than twenty minutes-certainly no more than thirty.



After he had picked up a few groceries and a local paper from the village store, he set off on the return journey. He stopped by the village green for a moment, Pearson smiled as he recalled the 57 he had scored against Brocklehurst some twenty years before-or was it thirty? All that he loved about England was embodied in the village. He looked at his watch, and sighed as he accepted that it was time to return home and prepare for the morrow.



After tea, he went to his study, sat down at his desk and ran an eye over the questions he had prepared for Beth Wilson. He would have the advantage of hearing Redmayne examine her before he had to ask his first question. Like a cat ready to pounce, he would sit silently at his end of the bench waiting patiently for her to make some tiny mistake. The guilty always make mistakes.



Arnold smiled as he turned his attention to the Bethnal Green and Bow Gazette, confident that Redmayne would not have come across the article that had appeared on the front page some fifteen years ago. Arnold Pearson may have lacked Mr. Justice Redmayne's elegance and style, but he made up for it with the hours of patient research, which had already uncovered two further pieces of evidence that would surely leave the jury in no doubt of Cartwright's guilt. But he would save both of them for the defendant, whom he was looking forward to cross-examining later in the week.



***



On the day Alex was bantering with his parents over lunch in Bath, Danny was running around the exercise yard at Belmarsh prison and Arnold Pearson was visiting the village store, Beth Wilson had an appointment with her local GP.



"Just a routine check," the doctor assured her with a smile. But then the smile turned to a frown. "Have you been under any unusual stress since I last saw you?" he asked.



Beth didn't burden him with an account of how she had spent the past week. It didn't help that her father remained convinced Danny was guilty, and would no longer allow his name to be mentioned in the house, even though her mother had always accepted Beth's version of what had taken place that night. But was the jury made up of people like her mother, or her father?



Every Sunday afternoon for the past six months, Beth had visited Danny in Belmarsh prison, but not this Sunday. Mr. Redmayne had told her that she would not be allowed to have any further contact with him until the trial was over. But there was so much she wanted to ask him, so much she needed to tell him.



The baby was due in six weeks' time, but long before then he would be free, and this terrible ordeal would finally be over. Once the jury had reached their verdict, surely even her father would accept that Danny was innocent.



On Monday morning, Mr. Wilson drove his daughter to the Old Bailey and dropped her outside the main entrance to the courts. He only uttered three words as she stepped out of the car: "Tell the truth."



CHAPTER NINE



HE FELT SICK when their eyes met. Spencer Craig glared down at him from the public gallery. Danny returned the stare as if he was standing in the middle of the ring waiting for the bell to sound for the first round.



When Beth entered the courtroom, it was the first time he'd seen her for two weeks. He was relieved that she would have her back to Craig while she was in the witness box. Beth gave Danny a warm smile before taking the oath.



"Is your name Elizabeth Wilson?" inquired Alex Redmayne.



"Yes," she replied, resting her hands on her stomach, "but I'm known as Beth."



"And you live at number twenty-seven Bacon Road in Bow, East London."



"Yes, I do."



"And Bernie Wilson, the deceased, was your brother?"



"Yes, he was," said Beth.



"And are you currently the personal assistant to the chairman of Drake's Marine Insurance Company in the City of London?"



"Yes, I am."



"When is the baby due?" asked Redmayne. Pearson frowned, but he knew he dare not intervene.



"In six weeks," Beth said, bowing her head.



Mr. Justice Sackville leaned forward and, smiling down at Beth, said, "Would you please speak up, Miss Wilson. The jury will need to hear every word you have to say." She raised her head and nodded. "And perhaps you'd prefer to be seated," the judge added helpfully. "Being in a strange place can sometimes be a little disconcerting."



"Thank you," said Beth. She sank onto the wooden chair in the witness box, and almost disappeared out of sight.



"Damn," muttered Alex Redmayne under his breath. The jury could now barely see her shoulders, and would no longer be continually reminded that she was seven months pregnant, a vision he wanted implanted in the minds of the only twelve people who mattered. He should have anticipated the gallant Mr. Justice Sackville and advised Beth to decline the offer of a seat. If she'd collapsed, the image would have lingered in the jury's minds.



"Miss Wilson," continued Redmayne, "would you tell the court what your relationship is with the accused."



"Danny and I are going to be married next week," she replied. A gasp could be heard around the courtroom.



"Next week?" repeated Redmayne, trying to sound surprised.



"Yes, the final banns were read yesterday by Father Michael, our parish priest at St. Mary's."



"But if your fiance were to be convicted-"



"You can't be convicted for a crime you didn't commit," responded Beth sharply.



Alex Redmayne smiled. Word-perfect, and she had even turned to face the jury.



"How long have you known the defendant?"



"As long as I can remember," replied Beth. "His family have always lived across the road from us. We went to the same school."



"Clement Attlee Comprehensive?" said Redmayne, looking down at his open file.



"That's right," confirmed Beth.



"So you were childhood sweethearts?"



"If we were," said Beth, "Danny wasn't aware of it, because he hardly ever spoke to me while we were at school."



Danny smiled for the first time that day, remembering the little girl with pigtails who was always hanging around her brother.



"But did you try to speak to him?"



"No, I wouldn't have dared. But I always stood on the touchline and watched whenever he played football."



"Were your brother and Danny in the same team?"



"Right through school," replied Beth. "Danny was captain and my brother was the goalkeeper."



"Was Danny always captain?"



"Oh, yes. His mates used to call him Captain Cartwright. He captained all the school teams-football, cricket, even boxing."



Alex noticed that one or two of the jury were smiling. "And did your brother get on well with Danny?"



"Danny was his best friend," said Beth.



"Did they regularly quarrel, as my learned friend has suggested?" asked Redmayne, glancing in the direction of the Crown prosecutor.