Broadchurch Suspect Profile No. 4 - Steve Connelly

We’re looking at a suspect a day as we approach the final episode of the enthralling ITV murder mystery Broadchurch. Today it’s the turn of self-asserted psychic Steve Connelly played by Will Mellor.

Steve is a telephone engineer who lives 30 miles away from Broadchurch and who claims he had no knowledge of the Latimer family before the murder. Steve was present in the town the morning that Danny’s body was discovered and Mark Latimer walked past him as they both made their way to work.

Steve approached DI Hardy and DS Miller at Broadchurch Police Station to tell them that he had some information about the case. The information was in the forum of a psychic message that Danny was put in a boat that night before he died. The detectives dismissed him as a timewaster, but Steve had a parting message for Hardy “She says she forgives you about the pendant” – something that rang very true with him.

After some quite menacing looking stalking of Beth Latimer around the town, Steve approached the grieving mother and offered her his services. She took offense at first, but later welcomed him into the family home where he imparted the messages from his spirit guide. First, someone close to Beth was trying to get through, perhaps a relative a relative connected to the letters R and S, possibly a grandparent, possibly someone who played the piano. The was all general broad stabs in the darks which drew a blank with Beth. Then Steve passed on a message that he said had come from Danny: “Danny wants you to know he’s OK. He’s being looked after now. He says don’t look for the person who killed him because it won’t help, because it will only make you upset. Because you know the person who killed him really well.”

Although there was nothing in Steve’s accounts were anything more than vague generalisations, it was enough for Beth to call in the police to work with Steve. However, in the meantime they had found that Steve was a conman and a petty thief, the sort that would gain Beth’s trust, only to write a bestselling book about it in the future.

Steve was working in the offices of the Broadchurch Echo the morning that news of the murder broke. Later that week he was installing extra phone lines in the police station. Therefore he had plenty of opportunity to snoop and earwig and to gather scraps of information about the case. It wouldn’t have taken much research for him to find out who Hardy was and maybe even to find out the details of the pendant, which we later learn has significance for the Sandbrook case. And as for the boat – it’s a coastal town, so it’s pretty likely that Danny would have gone in one at some point. He didn’t say how far before his death that it was either. So with a few bits of information and enough vagueness he could easily have passed as a psychic to exploit the needy Beth.

However, Steve seemed genuinely upset and frustrated when Hardy turned him out of the Latimers’ house. And before long Hardy returns to him to dig deeper into Steve’s message to him, and Steve gives him something else that is apparently true. Hardy, who has been having dreams and visions of his own, suddenly seems a little more open minded about Steve’s alleged abilities.

The difficulty with Steve as a suspect would be his motive. If he was unknown to the Latimers then it’s a random killing – but for what purpose? And how did he find Danny in the early hours and gain access to the hut, which was opened using a key and not broken into. Also, how would he have known, as an outsider, of Olly’s boat? It’s possible that he has some connection to Hardy and the Sandbrook case, but what is he trying to achieve but offering to help? And if the Sandbrook case went to trial then we have to assume that Hardy knows what the suspect looks like – unless, of course, they had pulled in the wrong man. So, is Steve responsible? Are we going to find out in the last episode that he is mixed up of something of which we are as yet unaware? Or is he a crank or a conman, out for attention or to earn a few quid by selling his story about how he helped trap the killer? Or does he genuinely have an ability?

We last saw Steve in the early hours of the morning, in Paul's church, 30 miles from home, alone and praying. What absolution is he seeking?

To find out, watch the final episode of Broadchurch on ITV at 9pm, Monday 22nd April