"Be sure that it doesn't," said the judge sharply.



"Miss Wilson, while you were waiting for the police to arrive, did the paramedics put your brother on a stretcher and take him to the nearest hospital?"



"Yes, they did everything they could to help," said Beth, "but I knew it was too late. He'd already lost so much blood."



"Did you and Danny accompany your brother to the hospital?"



"No, I went on my own because Detective Sergeant Fuller wanted to ask Danny some more questions."



"Did that worry you?"



"Yes, because Danny had also been wounded. He'd been-"



"That's not what I meant," said Redmayne, not wanting her to finish the sentence. "Were you anxious that the police might consider Danny to be a suspect?"



"No," said Beth. "It never crossed my mind. I had already told the police what happened. In any case, he always had me to back up his story."



If Alex had looked across at Pearson, he would have seen the rare flicker of a smile appear on the prosecutor's face.



"Sadly your brother died on the way to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital?"



Beth began to sob. "Yes, I rang my parents, who came immediately, but it was too late." Alex made no attempt to ask his next question until she had composed herself.



"Did Danny join you at the hospital later?"



"No, he didn't."



"Why not?"



"Because the police were still questioning him."



"When did you next see him?"



"The following morning, at Chelsea police station."



" Chelsea police station?" repeated Redmayne, feigning surprise.



"Yes. The police came round to my house first thing in the morning. They told me they'd arrested Danny and charged him with Bernie's murder."



"That must have come as a terrible shock." Mr. Pearson leaped up. "How did you react to this piece of news?" asked Redmayne quickly.



"In total disbelief. I repeated exactly what had happened, but I could see they didn't believe me."



"Thank you, Miss Wilson. No more questions, m'lord."



Danny breathed a sigh of relief as Beth stepped down from the witness box. What a diamond. She smiled anxiously up at him as she passed the dock.



"Miss Wilson," said the judge before she had reached the door. She turned back to face him. "Would you be kind enough to return to the witness box? I have a feeling Mr. Pearson may have one or two questions for you."



CHAPTER TEN



BETH WALKED SLOWLY back to the witness box. She looked up at her parents in the public gallery-and then she saw him, glaring down at her. She wanted to protest, but realized that it would serve no purpose, and nothing would please Spencer Craig more than to know the effect his presence had on her.



She stepped back into the witness box, more determined than ever to defeat him. She remained standing, and stared defiantly at Mr. Pearson, who was still seated in his place. Perhaps he wasn't going to ask her any questions after all.



The old prosecutor rose slowly from his seat. Without glancing at Beth, he began to rearrange some papers. He then took a sip of water before finally looking across at her.



"Miss Wilson, what did you have for breakfast this morning?"



Beth hesitated for a moment, while everyone in the court stared at her. Alex Redmayne cursed. He should have realized that Pearson would try to throw her off guard with his first question. Only Mr. Justice Sackville didn't look surprised.



"I had a cup of tea and a boiled egg," Beth eventually managed.



"Nothing else, Miss Wilson?"



"Oh, yes, some toast."



"How many cups of tea?"



"One. No, two," said Beth.



"Or was it three?"



"No, no, it was two."



"And how many slices of toast?"



She hesitated again. "I can't remember."



"You can't remember what you had for breakfast this morning, and yet you can recall in great detail every sentence you heard six months ago." Beth bowed her head again. "Not only can you recall every word Mr. Spencer Craig uttered that night, but you can even remember such details as him winking at you and rolling his tongue round his lips."



"Yes, I can," insisted Beth. "Because he did."



"Then let's go back and test your memory even further, Miss Wilson. When the barman picked up the empty bottle of champagne, Mr. Craig said, 'Wasted on them.' "



"Yes, that's right."



"But who was it who said"-Pearson leaned forward to check his notes-" 'There are times when I quite like a slut's mouth to be open'?"



"I'm not sure if that was Mr. Craig or one of the other men."



"You're 'not sure.' 'One of the other men.' Do you mean the defendant, Cartwright?"



"No, one of the men at the bar."



"You told my learned friend that you didn't react, because you'd heard worse in the East End."



"Yes, I have."



"In fact, that's where you heard the phrase in the first place, isn't it, Miss Wilson," said Pearson, tugging the lapels of his black gown.



"What are you getting at?"



"Simply that you never heard Mr. Craig deliver those words in a bar in Chelsea, Miss Wilson, but you have heard Cartwright say them back in the East End many times, because that's the sort of language he would use."



"No, it was Mr. Craig who said those words."



"You also told the court that you left the Dunlop Arms by the back door."



"Yes."



"Why didn't you leave by the front door, Miss Wilson?"



"I wanted to slip out quietly and not cause any more trouble."



"So you had already caused some trouble?"



"No, we hadn't caused any trouble."



"Then why didn't you leave by the front door, Miss Wilson? If you had, you would have found yourself on a crowded street, and could have slipped away, to use your words, without causing any more trouble."



Beth remained silent.



"Then perhaps you can also explain what your brother meant," said Pearson checking his notes, "when he said to Cartwright, 'If you think I'm gonna call you guv, you can forget it.' "



"He was joking," said Beth.



Pearson stared at his file for some time before saying, "Forgive me, Miss Wilson, but I can't see anything humorous in that remark."



"That's because you don't come from the East End," said Beth.



"Neither does Mr. Craig,' responded Pearson, before quickly adding, "and then Cartwright pushes Mr. Wilson towards the back door. Was that when Mr. Craig heard your brother say, 'Then why don't I join you and we can sort it'?"



"It was Mr. Craig who said, 'Then why don't I join you and we can sort it out,' because that's the kind of language they use in the West End."



Bright woman, thought Alex, delighted that she'd picked up his point and rammed it home.



"And when you were outside," said Pearson quickly, "you found Mr. Craig waiting for you at the other end of the alley?"



"Yes, I did."