Broadchurch: A Sandbrook Case Update

The mysteries of Sandbrook continue to grow following the second episode of the new series of Broadchurch. The case has driven DI Alec Hardy to the edge and he is determined to get justice, but has he got the right man in his sights?

This week Hardy's key witness Claire received a startling telephone call from her husband Lee, the man brought to trial for the Sandbrook murders, after she picked up an answerphone message from an unknown ID.
Despite the fact that Claire had given evidence against him in the trial Lee told her that he loved her and was "close now" a particularly eerie thought given that Claire was sat alone in her cottage. Clearly shaken Claire phoned Hardy immediately to let him know that Lee had called her. Ignoring Claire's query as to how Lee had managed to get hold of her mobile number Hardy scanned the horizon and spotted Lee who has been following his every move in the hopes that he'll lead him to Claire.
Promising Claire that she's safe and to stay in the cottage, Hardy hung up on her and went to confront Lee. At first Hardy denied any knowledge of Claire's whereabouts telling Lee that "Lisa Newbury's parents want to see their daughter" when he says he wants to see his wife. Again Lee states that he had nothing to do with the girl's death and again Hardy states that he doesn't 
believe him. 

Lee: "You got it wrong, it's over" 
Hardy: "Not for the parents. Not for me" 
Lee: "And what about for me? I lost my whole life, cos of you, I had to leave the country."
Hardy: "Why did you come back?"
Lee: "Because I want my life back."

After facing off with one another Lee handed Hardy his telephone number to give to Claire and revealed that it was him who broke in to Hardy's chalet and stole his mail by saying he was sorry to hear about his health - a hospital letter arranging a forthcoming heart op was one of the documents taken by the intruder..

Back at Hardy's chalet Ellie was waiting for him, after supervising SOCO who were looking for evidence from the break in. Whilst waiting she discovered his file on the Sandbrook case and was reading through it when Hardy stormed back into the building ranting at her and telling her that it's none of her business, despite previously asking for her help. 
From the brief glimpse we got at the evidence file, it included a mug shot of Lee Ashworth and more interestingly a photograph of a woodland area blanketed with blue bells. You will remember that Ellie has already found a seriously sinister pressed blue bell in a card that had been sent to Claire whilst she was staying overnight at her cottage. Are we to assume that the body of 12 year old Pippa was discovered in the woodland surrounded by blue bells? And if so is it her killer who has sent Claire the pressed flower?

Later, during a meal together, Hardy told Ellie that he had decided that he wanted Claire to meet Lee. Miller was immediately concerned asking him if he didn't see that as a risk, but Hardy saw it as one off opportunity to trap Lee and gather evidence against him to prove that he was the killer. He told her that the case was tainted and that no one would want to go near it so it had to be done unofficially. 

Hardy: "It's my failing. I've got to put it right" 
Ellie: "What if he didn't do it, what if you're wrong"

Hardy then enlisted Ellie's help to convince Claire that it was really good idea to meet up with her husband. At first she was reluctant and refused Hardy's request, but Ellie decided to take her out for some chips and a heart to heart, if there's a way to convince someone to meet a killer then that's it. 
Claire revealed that before the murders and Hardy's unofficial witness protection scheme she had been a hairdresser. She had met Lee at a client's barbecue and it had been love or lust at first sight. The fact that she told Ellie that the pair had ended up sleeping together after knowing each other for just three hours revealed that this was a passionate and impulsive relationship.

The women bonded over their shared experiences of both being married to men who have been accused of murder.
Ellie: Do you think he killed those girls?
Claire: I can't bear to think about it
Ellie: Do you think he was capable of it
Claire: I don't know. Do you think your husband was?

Claire told Ellie that her love for Lee was addictive, like a drug, giving the impression that she was afraid to meet him not because she was scared of him or of what he might do to her but rather that she was scared of herself and her own feelings towards a man that she knows she should hate, but who she can't stop loving.

Ellie comforted her by telling her that she would look after her because she needs to put things right in her own life after everything that's happened with Joe.

Meanwhile back at the cottage Hardy discovered the pressed blue bell that had been sent to Claire via a PO Box address in Southampton and he didn't look too thrilled to see it. When we next saw him he was looking the worse for wear after Ellie woke him to tell him that Claire had agreed to meet Lee. Again Ellie stressed that she wanted him to promise that Claire would be safe and he stated emphatically that she would be. The feeling that Hardy was using Claire as bait to lure Lee was still there though and Ellie still didn't seem convinced by his plan.
She was even less convinced when Hardy suggested that she should allow Claire and Lee to meet up at her family home, a place she hadn't visited since Joe's arrest. Still despite the obvious emotional pain that it caused her she agreed and went along with Hardy's plan. Hardy wired the house to record every word between Lee and Claire and then went to collect Lee from the hotel while Ellie collected Claire from the cottage. Claire was agitated and nervous during the drive but assured Ellie that Lee would never do anything to harm her saying "He's never been rough with me, not unless I've asked" again alluding to their sexual chemistry and leaving Ellie visibly shocked.

At the house Hardy told Lee he had 15 minutes to talk to Claire and that he would be in the kitchen with Ellie at the front door. 
Wondering if Hardy had made Claire record their conversation Lee went on to unbutton her blouse exposing not only her underwear but the fact that she was wearing what appeared to be her wedding rings on a chain around her neck, a further sign that her husband still had a hold over her. 
And then it all went wrong. Having seen Ellie leaving the house earlier in the day Nige had hotfooted it straight round to Beth to tell her that Ellie had moved back in. Given the fact that Ellie's behaviour towards Joe at the police station had just rendered his confession unusable Beth was keen to have things out with her former friend and that's when chaos descended.
With Hardy still in the kitchen trying to get Ellie to respond to him on his phone, Lee spotted the women fighting in the street and seized his opportunity to escape the house taking Claire with him. 
But has he kidnapped Claire or has she willingly fled her life as a 'prisoner' in Hardy's safe house to spend time with the husband that she clearly still has strong feelings for?

Catch up with more on the Sandbrook case here.