Broadchurch: A Sandbrook Case Update

The penultimate episode of Broadchurch finally provided us with some answers regarding the Sandbrook case, but there's still more secrets to be revealed....

The opening scene of episode 7 showed another flashback scene of Claire lying next to Alec, but is all as it seems?

Claire: It never ends well does it?
Alec: What doesn't?
Claire: Love. It makes you strong and then it pulls you down.

When Alec wakes up Ellie and Tess are looking through files. Ellie informs him that Claire has left the cottage he was renting for her. She says that when she got there she found a pile of ash in the sink which is from where Claire had burnt the photograph of herself wearing the missing pendant.

Alec: You're saying Pippa's pendant actually belonged to Claire?!
Ellie: Well, Claire was wearing it in the photograph I saw. So she must have given it to Pippa at some point.
Alec: And now she's burnt the photo..she's panicking. That's good eh? I like it when they panic.
Ellie: So what? Claire kills the girls and Lee covers for her? What would be her motive? Unless she was grooming Pippa for Lee?

Tess is busy looking at the notes on the wall and spot Gary Thorp's name and it seems there's a strong link between the mysterious Gary Thorp and Pippa's parents, Ricky and Cate..

Tess: I knew I'd seen this name before - Gary Thorp
Ellie: Yeah, he runs that incinerating business, Thorp Aggri Services
Tess: Yeah and he was also on the invite list of that wedding that Ricky and Cate went to, RSVPed yes, didn't turn up on the day.
Alec: So does he know Ricky and Cate? Did we ever talk to him?
Tess: There was no connection until now. I'll get on to it..And no, it doesn't mean that we're going to reopen the case.

Alec then tells Ellie that she's going to have to give Claire one last chance to confess and the plan is to 'set a fire under her'..

Later Ellie calls Claire to find out where she is. She's been sleeping rough in a beach hut. Ellie tells her she saw the photograph and wants to know why Claire was wearing Pippa's pendant.

Claire: It wasn't Pippa's it was mine. My gran gave it to me.
Ellie: Ok why did Pippa Gillespie have it? Why did you burn the photograph?
Claire: Do you know I am sick and tired of my life being defined by this Ellie. I keep being dragged into something I had nothing to do with.
Ellie: Then why do you still keep secrets from us?
Claire: The truth doesn't help.
Ellie: Well it gives peace to the families involved.
Claire: Do you think so? Your friends, the parents of that boy your husband killed are they at peace now? No I didn't think so.
Ellie: Ok Lisa Newbury then? We need to know if she's dead or alive, is there a body to be found?
Claire: I had a life Ellie and it was destroyed and the ripples, they just keep coming at me. When is it ever going to stop?

Meanwhile Alec has tracked down Lee to the farm land he's working on and puts his plans to make Claire confess all in to motion..

Alec: Where's Claire?
Lee: Don't you know?
Alec: She's left the cottage
Lee: What did she do that for?
Alec: Anyway, I actually came to say thank you
Lee: For what?
Alec: South Mercia constabulory have authorised the Sandbrook investigation to be reopened. New leads, new evidence, I couldn't have done it without you, all that new information you gave me. Yeah, it's not going to take long to wrap it up now.
Lee: You alright? There's something different about you today.
Alec: Oh I'm more than alright Lee. I'm reborn.
Lee: What?
Alec: I always thought this case would kill me. I thought I would die not knowing, having failed. And I had an operation, and after it, when I woke up, and I was alive, and I didn't expect to be alive, do you know the first thing I felt?
Lee: What?
Alec: Angry. Really properly angry. For the Gillespies, for Pippa, for Lisa, I haven't felt that angry in years. That is a beautiful feeling, because I was worn down, I was tired, I was beaten. Now I've got a new lease of life. Whereas you of course, you're exhausted.Sick of running, sick of not being able to escape what happened. I get that.
Lee: You don't get anything about me.

Alec then tells Lee a secret that he has helped Claire to hide from him...

Alec: What I don't get is whether you're lying to protect yourself or someone else. Because you know with Claire, I always thought she was lying to protect you. Maybe it's the other way round. You can't trust her.
Lee: You're wrong.
Alec: Am I? Did she ever tell you she was pregnant?
Lee: When?
Alec: Judging by the dates, well before the night Pippa and Lisa went missing, so all the time you were in custody..
Lee: You're lying.
Alec: Ask her.
Lee: So what happened to it?
Alec: Why don't you ask her...

We then see a flashback of Alec lying next to Claire on a bed.. but it's not a romantic encounter as we first believed..he's with her in a hospital supporting her after she has been through an abortion.

Claire: If he ever finds out about this...

So it seems that Alec knows full well that Claire is terrified of what Lee will do if he discovers the abortion and he's just told him all about it and thrown Claire to the wolves. His desire to protect Claire has long gone.

The next day after yet another horrific day in court for Ellie, she and Hardy go to interview Gary Thorp who has been tracked down by
Tess. Alec and Ellie turn up and introduce themselves as South Mercia Police, during the chat Gary admits that he knew Cate and Ricky Gillespie and had dated Lisa...

Alec: Are you the same Gary Thorp who own Thorp Aggri Services
Gary: I used to, it was my dad's business, when he died I took it over, went bankrupt.  What's it about?
Alec: Did Cate Gillespie do your business accounts?
Gary: Not to my knowledge
Alec: Have you ever met Cate or her husband Ricky?
Gary: Yeah once, he lent me some cash when I was in trouble, the money came through his niece Lisa..
Alec: So you know Lisa Newbury?
Gary: We went out a couple of times.
Ellie: Was it serious?
Gary: I wish..I fell for her, big time. I thought she was one, she didn't feel the same about me.
Alec: Why didn't you come forward when Lisa disappeared?
Gary: I wasn't in any state.
Alec: Why not?
Gary: The business was in a state because I wasn't paying attention to it, my whole life started unravelling really quickly, everything went out of control.
Ellie: What do you mean out of control?
Gary: I used to follow her a little bit. Stand outside where she was, I'm not proud of it.
Ellie: Like when she was baby sitting? Did you stand outside the Gillespies house when she was in there?
Gary nods
Alec: Where were you on the night that the two girls disappeared?
Gary: In hospital....I tried to kill myself.

When Lee Ashworth presented Alec with a collection of research he'd conducted in to the murders in a bid to clear his own name, we discovered there was a mysterious man lurking around the estate where Pippa lived for a few weeks before her death and the disappearance of Lisa. That man had been seen by several witnesses though never looked in to by the police.
Since Gary's confession that he followed Lisa about we've discovered that the mystery man was him.
But why did he try to commit suicide? Was the love of his life romantically involved with another man, thus dashing his hopes of ever being with her? And does he know more than he's letting on? Had he seen something he shouldn't whilst spying on Lisa?

Next Alec and Ellie turn up at Ricky Gillespie's office to quiz him about his connection to Gary Thorp and find out why he gave him money. Ricky immediately says he's never heard of him...

Alec: Have you ever given money to a Gary Thorp?
Ricky: Nope, never heard of him
Ellie: He went out with Lisa a couple of times. Got a business called Thorp Aggri Services?
Ricky: Yes, yes I did give him some cash. Lisa asked for some help and said he had a cash flow problem and that I'd get it back.
Alec: Why didn't you tell us about this at the time?
Ricky: Because it didn't seem important, you know it never came up
Ellie: Did you know he ran an animal incineration business?
Ricky: Jesus, do you think he had something to do with it?

As Ellie and Ricky talk Alec spots the picture of the blue bell wood on the wall of Ricky's office..

Alec: How long have you had this picture?
Ricky: .....A year? Two?
Alec: You like blue bells?
Ricky: Er, yeah, yeah they're alright. You know they're a .. They're a flower..

Alec that notices Ricky's office phone and suspects that the number on Claire's mobile could be his. As he and Ellie stand outside the building he asks her to call the number. They hear Ricky's phone ringing confirming their suspicions..
Inside the office Ricky approaches the picture of the blue bells and strokes it....

Ricky's clearly lying again, he was happy to deny all knowledge of Gary until he realised that Ellie knew about him dating Lisa. Yet he'd previously told her that Lisa didn't have a regular boyfriend.
And why the picture of a blue bell wood scarily sinister to the one close to where is daughter's body was found?

Back in Broadchurch Lee approaches Claire who was sunbathing on the beach, a loving kiss from him soon turns to violence as he grabs Claire by her hair and drags her in to the sea. He shoves her head under the water and asks her what she's got to tell him.
After half drowning her he snarls that he knows she was pregnant.

Claire: I wasn't ready to tell you and then you were arrested. I didn't know what was going to happen. I was so scared. I was so scared.
Lee: What happened to the baby?
Claire: I had an abortion..
Lee: How did Alec Hardy know about this?
Claire: Alec? He told you..
Lee: How did he know?
Claire: He came to the clinic with me, he stayed with me.
Lee: Was the baby mine? Was the baby mine?
Claire: You have to ask me that? You have to ask me that? After all I've done for you?

Claire then attacks Lee and the pair violently shove each other around in the crashing waves..

Lee: I don't want you near me

Later a despondent and half drowned Claire is found by Rev Paul Coates. Again Claire lies for Lee. Telling Paul that she got in to a scrap with another girl to explain her bruised face. It's as though lying for him is her default setting.
She laughs at his suggestion to report it to the police. The irony being that it's Alec's fault that she's taken this beating in the first place.
After Paul shows Claire some kindness she admits it was her husband who attacked her because of her abortion.

Claire: It was my husband, he found out that I'd had an abortion.
Paul: Has he been violent with you before?
Claire: Not really

Paul offers to drive her to a women's refuge, but Claire refuses saying it's not like that and it's more complicated. Again she's making excuses for his violent temper. He's not a wife beater according to Claire, it's more complicated...

She asks Paul what she should do now that she has nowhere left to run and he explains that he once lived rough and turned his life around by facing the demons he'd been avoiding. This seems to hit home with Claire.

Back at Alec's he and Ellie are continuing their work on the case.

Alec: Recurring suspects, what wee they doing in the 12 hours before Lisa and Pippa went missing?
Ellie: Well Claire left work at 4 o'clock and she went to do Cate's hair for the wedding party that night. Ricky, he got home at 4.45pm having spent the afternoon at a building site doing foundations..
Alec: Lee finished a job that morning, putting in flooring in a church hall, and then he went to buy stock, we've got him on CCTV in the suppliers car park and reciept timed at 14:27 so that all tallies. And then Claire and Cate both remember hearing him working on his own floor when Claire was doing Cate's hair

Ellie spots a photo of Claire and Lee with Pippa..

Ellie: When was that taken
Alec: Round about a week before.. So that leaves Gary Thorp who says he spent all day and most of the evening at work. The place was in a 7 day 24 hour activity during that period.
Ellie: What so the furnace was alight all weekend? Who else knew that?
Alec: See this is what bothers me, when I asked about Thorp Aggri Services he lied he said maybe it was connected to Cate, he'd heard that name before he knew it was connected, how?
Ellie: Well Gary Thorp is a credible suspect, especially if he was stalking Lisa.
Alec: I mean how does how Lee Ashworth know that, we only know that because Thorp told us, Ashworth would have no reason to know that.
Ellie: Unless Lisa told her himself?
Alec: Exactly. Oh Miller, there it is. That's the lie. That's the wee lie. He wanted me to think he'd heard about Thorp through Cate, but what if it was through Lisa.
Ellie: Well if that's the case, Lee must have known her better than he's ever admitted.
Alec: Mustn't he.

With Lee back as his prime suspect Alec arranges to meet him at the harbour, sending him a text message that reads "I've got something wrong" to lure him there.

Alec: Did you ever sleep with Lisa Newbury?
Lee: No.
Alec: Did you want to?
Lee: No.
Alec: Did she turn you down, knock you back?
Lee: No.
Alec: What did Claire make of you and Lisa?
Lee: There was no me and Lisa. I barely even spoke to her.
Alec: Right, just slept with her? .. What's it like to kill someone Lee? What's it like to be in the room when the life goes out of a person? How do you feel to be responsible for that?
Lee: I told you. I don't know.
Alec: I think you do. I look at you and I see someone stained by death. I think it haunts you every single day. Just confess Lee, I'm nearly there anyway.
Lee: I've got nothing else to say.
Alec: Between you and Claire I think there's plenty still to say. I'm going to make you say it.

We then see a flashback of Lee looking in to the furnace...

Later Claire and Lee meet up at the beach hut to end heir relationship and go their separate ways..

Claire: It's over isn't it between us?
Lee: I think it might be
Claire: How does it work though, us without each other, do you trust me to keep your secrets?
Lee: As much as you trust me to keep yours.
Claire: What will you do?
Lee: Go back to France I suppose.
Claire: Oh what's so great about France?
Lee: Nobody knows me..Almost nobody.
Claire: You shouldn't have hit me.
Lee: You're lucky I stopped there.
Claire: What did you say?
Lee: It's a joke.
Claire: Thank god you never became a father.
Lee: Where will you go?
Claire: You're so stupid...

Just who is that DOES know Lee in France? Could Ellie's theory about Lisa still being alive be correct?

Claire is a woman on a mission as she marches up to Alec in court and thrusts the pendant in to his chest.

Claire: You want the bloody pendant, have it!
Alec: No, you took this?! You had this all along?!

As the court is called back as a jury has been announced Alec insists that Claire stay by his side and takes her to the courtroom with him, he sits her next to him and texts Tess to tell her to get to the court right away.
As the episode ends both Claire and Joe Miller await their fate..