Broadchurch: A Sandbrook Case Update

There's more shocking revelations regarding the Sandbrook case this week...

The opening scene of Episode 6 of Broadchurch shows Alec and Ellie back In Sandbrook at the spot where Alec found Pippa Gillespie's body. Again we see a flashback as Alec replays the horrific memory over in his mind. Alec explains to Ellie that the lane and footpath near to the river where Pippa's body was dumped were both examined for footprints and tyre tracks at the time but nothing useful was found.
Ellie points out that it's long way to carry a body, but Alec says that it was quiet area and not even dog walkers use it often.

Ellie: So the killer had enough local knowledge to realise the chances of being spotted were low.

There are other access points to the river through the woodland.

Alec: I walked through here just before I found Pippa.
Ellie: So how far are we from where the Gillespies live?
Alec: Just about three miles.
Ellie: And you think Pippa's body could have been brought through here?
Alec: Well that's what I always thought, but it was impossible to know, it was Spring so this whole area was covered in Bluebells.
Ellie: Claire Ripley's been sent Bluebells through the post.
Alec: Oh she sent that to herself, hid it in a wardrobe in a guest room where it might be found.
Ellie: Why would she do that?
Alec: To screw around with us, that's what they all do, her and Ashworth, even the Gillespies, I don't think any one of them has ever told the whole truth.

Ellie suggests that Alec should start putting them under the same kind of stress that they put him under, starting with Claire so he calls her and tells her that he wants her to move out of the cottage that he's been renting for her.

Alec: It's me. I think we're done.
Claire: What?
Alec: I was protecting you from Lee, you don't want that any more, you keep changing your story about what happened, this isn't working Claire. I need you to move out.
Claire: Alec, where are you? Let's talk about this face to face.
Alec: No, I'm giving you 48 hours.
Claire: What's going on? You can't do that.
Alec: I can, it's over Claire, ok?

When he hangs up Ellie nods her approval at what he's said to Claire on the phone, this is clearly a strategy for putting her under as much pressure as possible.
Claire meanwhile goes mental and violently smashes up the kitchen in cottage, throwing over the table and wrecking the place.

Later Alec meets up with his ex wife Tess in the cafe.

Alec: I just want the details of the stalker that was seen around the estate in the weeks before the girls disappeared.
Tess: And against my better judgement I've put all of the statements, full sightings from the week before on here.
Alec: Thank you.
Tess: Plus all CCTV collected from the case.
Alec: And there's a company, Thorp Agri Services, if we could send a forensics team on to the site.
Tess: Stop, no forensic teams, nothing official. I'm pushing it as it is, do not drop me in it.

Alec then explains to Tess that he's going in to hospital the next day to be fitted with a pacemaker.  She's shocked and concerned. He tells her he's made a will leaving everything to their daughter Daisy. She wishes him good luck with the operation.

Alec: I miss you Tess, we could go back, still be a family.

Tess just shakes her head sadly.

Meanwhile Ellie is at the Gillespies, looking at the accounts for the last 7 years. She asks Cate Gillespie if she remembers doing any work for a company called Thorp Aggri Services. She says she doesn't think so and takes another swig from the wine glass that she seems to have permanently attached to her hand. Ricky points out that it would be a wonder she can remember anything with the amount of alcohol she drinks. The former couple clearly don't have any love for one another now.

Ellie picks up a photo of Pippa and admires it, she spots that the little girl is wearing a pendant and asks if it's the one that was found in Ashworth's car. Ricky says it was and he and Cate exchange a look but they're interrupted by the arrival of Alec who has let himself in the back way through the patio doors.

Ellie and Alec go out in to the garden, Ellie is keen to get back to Braodchurch to find out about the trial, Alec asks if she asked Cate about Thorp Aggri Services. Ellie tells him that Cate denied all knowledge.
Alec then opens the fence between the gardens of the Gillespies and Lee and Claire's old house like a gate to allow access to the back of the properties. Ellie is suprised and asks if all the houses have them. Alec says no and that it was put in by Lee Ashworth with Ricky and Cate's approval.

Ellie: "That's for kids to go in and out of each other's gardens, not for grown ups, Lee and Claire didn't have any kids, why have they got that?

As they turn Cate Gillespie is standing in the doorway of the house watching them.

Is this how the killer of the girls gained access?

As Ellie drives through Broadchurch she spots a rather sinister almost witch like looking Claire Ripley, dressed all in black standing in the middle of a field. She stops the car and goes to speak to her.

Ellie: Are you alright? What you doing?
Claire: Has he told you what he's done?
Ellie: Yeah.
Claire: Oh right, so he's sent you along has he? His pet Ellie.
Ellie: I just came to see how you were doing.
Claire: I put my life in his hands and he dragged me here to this shit hole. Hid me away. I put my trust in him, I've done nothing wrong and he just drops me like that.... Can I come and live with you?
Ellie: That wouldn't work. I live in a tiny little studio flat by the station in Devon.
Claire: What about your house in town?
Ellie: No.
Claire: Why not?
Ellie: I don't want you living there.
Claire: I thought we were friends?
Ellie: Really? I think you've been playing all of us.
Claire: Why would I do that?
Ellie: I don't know.
Claire: Well I wouldn't do that. I swear, I have not done that. And he's just jealous because I slept with Lee!
Ellie: Why would he be jealous?
Claire: Angry, OK I meant angry.
Ellie: Now either you want protecting from Lee or you don't you can't have it both ways.
Claire: But when I see him I just lose myself, it's the sex Ellie, something happens when we're together...
Ellie: Oh please. Have a little self control. Look if you want to be my friend you tell me everything. The truth. Past and present. And then maybe I'll have a little word with Hardy about you.
Claire: Fine. I will, you come over and we can talk and maybe I can do your hair.

The next day it's time for Alec to have his operation and he sneaks out of court to go in to hospital without telling Ellie where he's going. As he goes under for the op he is again plagued by memories and visions from Sandbrook and Broadchurch. As he comes round the first person he visualises is Claire calling his name.

In reality it's Ellie who is first to his bedside after she finds a text from him. She's furious that he sent her a text knowing full well that her phone would be off in the court room. Despite the fact she's annoyed with him, you know that it's only because she cares about him.
Next on the scene is Tess who offers to drive Alec home, as Ellie claims she is too busy. Tess says she had a thought he might die so drove down to see him. She's very dismissive of Ellie and gets rid of her quickly, by telling her "I've got this". She tells Alec she's spoken to the doctors who recommend he stays in, but he asks her to take him home.

Meanwhile Claire meets up with Lee in the derelict farm building he's been living in. She's come to tell him that Alec is throwing her out of the cottage.

Lee: Why is he throwing you out?
Claire: Because of you. Because you came round and we had sex there..
Lee: Yeah and you told him...what else have you been talking about?
Claire: No. We need to make a plan.
Lee: We had a plan and you screwed it.
Claire: Oh you want to talk about screwing do you?

Lee then attacks Claire and grabs her by the throat ready to strangle her before she coaxes him round and they have violent sex.

Claire: I'm not myself when I'm with you.

Later Ellie is round at the cottage to speak to Claire. Claire is doing her hair for her in the back garden. Ellie talks about getting Tom back and Claire says that she and Lee are going to look at a house to move in to.
Ellie is understandably taken aback by this. But Claire asks why wouldn't they want to move in together. She's seemingly forgotten that she was supposedly scared of him and on an unofficial witness protection scheme to keep him away. Claire tells Ellie she kept all her hairdressing stuff in her 'magic bag' and says that it was the first thing she packed when she left Sandbrook with Alec.
Ellie asks if she can have a look through Claire's portfolio of work. The book is full of glossy photos of beautiful brides with their hair stylishly pinned. Flicking through the pages Ellie tells Claire that she and Alec were back in Sandbrook the other day.

Ellie: I saw the river were they found Pippa, walked through the woods, spoke to Cate.
Claire: Is she still drinking?
Ellie: A bit yeah. I assumed that was since the deaths, but was she always like that?
Claire: Well..I don't want to speak ill of her, not after everything she's been through, but she always had a posh glass of wine in her hand and made sure we knew it was expensive..Maybe it was because we were renting off them but I just always felt she was looking down on us, well me, Lee, she just flirted with. But everyone flirts with Lee and he just flirts right back.
Ellie: You don't think..did they ever have a fling?

We then see a flash back to Claire watching Lee and Cate flirting in the garden. Lisa approaches her and sees she's watching them.

Lisa: I hate her. Sorry, but I do.

Does Lisa hate her aunt because she's a heavy drinker? Because she's a bit of a snob or because she's jealous of Lee flirting with her?

Claire then lies yet again to Ellie.

Claire: He was never interested in her. He was never looking to go older..younger maybe, but not Cate's age.

At that point Ellie turns another page in the portfolio and sees a photo of Claire. She's smiling prettily at the camera and around her neck is Pippa's pendant. Ellie can't hide her horror and Claire picks up on the vibe and glances down to see what she's looking at and sees that she's spotted the pendant round her neck. She snatches the book out of Ellie's hands and says she's nearly finished. Ellie, not wanting to arouse her suspicions, says thanks and smiles uncomfortably.

Later that day Claire and Lee are looking around the house they went to view. They go out in to the garden where the family next door are enjoying a sunny evening. There's a little girl bouncing on a trampoline and Claire and Lee stare at her..Are they lining up their next victim or are they just worried about how the family will feel if they ever find out who they are and what Lee was accused of.

Lee: We can't do this.
Claire: Then what do we do?

In the meantime Alec has successfully persuaded Tess to let him leave the hospital and to take him home. She stays to look after him and tells him how grateful she was that he took the blame for the pendant being stolen. Alec is hurt that she wasn't grateful enough to stay with him. Daisy then calls and Alec instantly cheers.

That night as Alec lies in bed Tess looks through the notes on Sandbrook that Ellie has pinned to the walls of his house. She lifts a post it note with Thorp Agriculture on it. Back in the cottage Claire has removed the photo that Ellie saw of her wearing Pippa's pendant from her portfolio and sits gazing at it..

The following morning Ellie calls Alec and is shocked when Tess answers his phone. She explains to Tess about the photo of Claire wearing Pippa's pendant. Tess asks her if she can get hold of it. But as the two women are talking Claire is already burning the evidence..

We then see a flashback to the night when Tess and Dave where sneaking off together. Tess has left the evidence bag in her car in the car park. When they leave, the side window is smashed and a hand reaches in for the bag. A dark figure walks's Claire Ripley.