THE MAN I was looking at, that the entire courtroom was watching, looked like any other man. In a sharp blue suit and crisp white shirt, he was better presented than his lawyer. Being cross examined, he had been cool and spoke in a clipped accent, fluent and steady. I couldn’t picture him covered in the blood of five victims. Each murder represented a cross section of society, from child to pensioner, women and men.
We were all there to see the invisible, to see justice. The unfortunates never get it. The lucky receive it in their lifetime. No matter what the offence, the sentence never seems enough. You cannot put a price on it. Well, that’s bullshit isn’t it?! Law is all about money. Silence can be bought. Witnesses can be bumped. The best lawyers are sickeningly the worst simultaneously.
I was one of the hundreds packed into the sardine can of a courtroom, the only thing missing was the brine. Shoulder to shoulder, a collapsed clavicle seemed like the most likely outcome for me, as I struggled to keep my balance.
People would pay hundreds of pounds to be where I was. The court missed a trick on that. Here we were, gathered to see the trial of a monster in The Trial of the Century, that seemed to come around at least once a decade. Where did they all come from? Monsters weren’t born. They were created. From every tale of obscene depravity, there was a background of terrible parents, of horrendous beginnings that shaped the lives and actions of serial killers, rapists and child molesters.
Suddenly a hush. The judge and jury returned. Judge Carnaby surveyed the courtroom, waiting for absolute silence before beginning. “The jury and I have deliberated and come to our decision…”
Chairs squeaked. Camera shutters fired.
“…we find the defendant…not guilty!”
Amidst the chaos and eruption of voices in disbelief, with anger surging through me, I noticed the sketch by the courtoom artist as he applied the finishing touches of the defendant, catching me off guard, exposing the truth that lay underneath: