Vera (2011–…): Season 6, Episode 3 - The Moth Catcher - full transcript

Vera investigates the murder of 22-year-old Alex Gartside, victim of a hit and run in a remote Northumberland Valley.


Subtitles Deluxe
Sync: Marocas62

"The Moth Catcher"
Season 6 - Episode 03

White female, early 20s.
Injury to the side of the head.

- Blunt trauma wound.
- Have we got a name?

Nothing yet. No phone, no bag.

- Time of death?
- Sometime within the last hour.

- No sexual assault?
- Clothing's still intact.

It's unlikely.

Did she die here
or has someone dumper her?

Suspected displaced
fracture wounds.

Consistent with being hit by
a moving vehicle.

Hit and run.
Remote country lane...

No witnesses...

What are those scratches
on her arms?

Sharp branches?

I'm guessing from those trees.

So, have you checked for
tyre treads, broken glass?

We've cordoned off the lane.

Proper sweep will have
to wait until morning.

Who called this in?

Old fella,
walking back from the pub.

Has he got a name...
this old fella?

Percy Monkford.

- Mr. Monkford?
- Aye.

DCI Stanhope.

- You found the lass?
- I got caught short.

The beer, you know.

It comes to us all, pet.

Knocked me for six,
I don't mind telling you.

Do you recognise the lass?

Well...she'd been into the pub
a few times.

- Local, then?
- Aye.

She was staying
at the Carswell house.

Big one.
Top of the hill.

- Have we checked that out?
- Yeah. The place was all locked up

when we called, ma'am -
no-one at home.

Do you happen to know
the lass's name?


Susan will do.
She cleans for them.

- Susan?
- My daughter.

She's a nebby one.

Well, why don't we
give you a lift home

and see what she can tell us?

Alex Gartside.

Your dad said she was staying
with the Carswells.

That's right.

They've gone to Australia.
Daughter's having a baby.

So was Alex
a friend of the family?

She were...

Agency sent her.

Happy enough for me to clean.

Rather trust a...stranger
to look after t'place.

That big barn conversion
down the lane.

Who lives there?

Brian and Lorraine.

All the lights are on.
Looks like a party.

Well, they're new to t'valley.

Second wife.

Did the Carswells
leave a contact number?

Mobile - in case of emergencies.

- The number, love?
- Right.

- And we'll need access to the house.
- Well, I shouldn't erm...

..really leave my dad on his own.

Oh, that's all right, love. Just give
us the key. We'll let ourselves in.

What's this, then?

That's a moth trap.

Where's the light switch?

There's a light over here.

I'll look upstairs.


I need you down here!

Get another Forensics team up here.

We've just trampled all over
a murder scene.

You been in there all night?

Just giving them some space.

What's he doing here?

- That's the new DC.
- Yeah, I know.

But he's not due to start
till Monday.

Well, he's keen.
I'll give him that.

DC Cherradi, ma'am.

- I thought you could do with an extra pair of hands.
- Right.

Well, thanks for coming in.

Can you shed any light
on the body in the house?

Not yet, ma'am.

some clown's contaminated the scene.

But I've just been chatting to
the gardener, Harry Benton.

Said he knew the dead student.

- You might wanna follow that up.
- Right.

Then maybe you
could bring me up to speed?

But first, I want checks
on every vehicle in the valley.

Run the plates through PNC.

Scratches, dents, broken lights.
The lot.

Vehicle checks?


Not that one, mate.
That's the clown's!

Mr. Benton?

DCI Stanhope.
I'm heading the investigation.

- Thanks, love.
- Was it a hit and run?

Well, possibly.

So, you work for the Carswells, yes?

Doing what?

Gardening, livestock -
whatever needs doing.

And you knew the deceased.

She was studying moths.

Some sort of university project.

Do you know which university?

I think she said Northumbria.

So that'll be one of her traps, then.

There's quite a few of
'em scattered round the valley.

I help to put some.

So, when did you last speak to Alex?

Hadn't seen her in a couple of days.

- Did you ever see anyone else with her?
- No. I can't say I did.

And what about your movements

We did the beds in the morning,
tidied the garden.

Rest of the day I was in the valley.
Checked the sheep.

A small herd of
Northumberland Blackface.

And what time was this?

Must've been about six.

The late lambs are vulnerable
to foxes.


Now, can you give your
personal details to DS Healy?

We might need to chat again
if anything crops up.

Just need a contact
name and address,

just in case we've
got more questions.

- You still here?
- Charming!

So, what can you tell me?

Aside from the fact that you might
have contaminated evidence -

- Marcus!
- Attacked with a knife.

Single puncture wound.
And someone went out of that window.

Well, he's a big fella to mess with.

- Any ID?
- No, nothing.

Set of keys,
some loose change...

And a bus ticket from Bebington.

But that's...what?
10 miles away, isn't it?

What's a Bebington fella doing
in a posh home like this?

I don't know. I'll leave that one
for you to work out. I'm going home.

What about the post mortem?

After we've both had some sleep!

So she climbs out through the
window... Where are you heading?

- The lane is that way, right?
- Yeah.


So, mud on her shoes...

scratches on her arms...

From the branches.

Look at that.

I'd say she couldn't
get out of there fast enough.

This doesn't look like a burglary.

Well, there's no sign
of a forced entry.

And look.
Someone's made themselves at home.

That fella they've just carried out?

Alex invited him.

Now, then. Yesterday evening,
two deaths in the Gilswick Valley.

The first, a female found

in a shallow ditch
off Ashbourne Lane.

Alex Gartside - 22.

Possibly a hit and run,

but the post mortem will
have to confirm that.

Now, Kenny.

What do these tyre tracks tell us
about the vehicle?

Pretty inconclusive, ma'am.

A small van or a 4X4 maybe?

I checked out the registered
vehicles in the valley.

- They've all come back clean.
- Right.

Now, she was house-sitting...
for the Carswells.

That's an elderly couple
on holiday in Australia.

Have we made contact with them?

We've spoken to Peter
Carswell in Brisbane.

He said that they're gonna
stay there for now.

What about the agency
who got her the job?

Gilswick Residential.
I spoke to the director.

She only takes on people of
impeccable character.

Well, she might want to revise that if
it turns out she's killed this fella.

Well, Alex was doing a masters
degree - environmental science.

That could explain
the moth traps.

- So, clever, then.
- Yeah.

One of her tutors
provided a reference.

Alan Randle.

We'll need to talk to him.

The other body, single stab
wound to the chest. No ID.

We ran his prints, but nothing
comes up on the database.

There was a bus ticket
from Bebington on him,

so let's call him Mr. Bebington.

So, what's his connection with Alex?

They could've hooked up for sex.

I think she's a bit out
of his league, Kenny.

There's no account for taste,

Isn't that right, Kenny?

Well, he could've got into the
house under false pretences.

Made his move on her,

she stabbed him in self-defence
and...went for help.

So where's the murder weapon?

Who ran her over?

We've checked the beer bottles
from the house.

Mr. Bebington's prints
are all over them.

Well, if she's offering him beer,

I'd say they knew each other.

Get over to Bebington.

Talk to hostels,
shelters - the lot.

Talk to all the dossers.

And take DC Cher...
What does your mam call you?

- Hicham, ma'am.
- Take Hicham with you.

And the rest of us,
lets work with what we've got.

Alex Gartside.

Phone records, e-mails -

I want every space on
this board filled in.

We should really
follow up these statements.

Give me five minutes.

And we'll go talk to
those neighbours again.


We found another body
up at the Carswell's house.

Do you recognise him at all?

No. No idea.

Doesn't ring any bells?

I don't think so.

He'd been stabbed, we believe
sometime yesterday evening.

And there's us
sitting out drinking.

What about the other
people you had over?

Might they recognise him?

Well, that lot's mostly
old mates from Midlebrowm.

- I migh ask them, but...
- What about on the lane?

Did you drive anywhere later
in the evening?

Drop anyone off?

No, we, er...we'd both had a bit
to drink by then, hadn't we?

Neither of you nipped out
for anything?

we were both here till...

..till your officers arrived

and said that girl
had been run over.

And what about her, Alex Gartside?
How well did you know her?

I came across her
down the pub a few times.

- She ever with anyone?
- No.


I wish we could be of more help.

Obviously this place is
at your disposal if you...

you need a base.

Oh, you wouldn't want my lot
trampling through, love.

- That's a lovely spot, mind.
- Aye, we were lucky.

An old mate told me
the Carswells were looking to sell

and I turned up the next day,
cash in hand.

What, just like that?

All right for some.

OK, thank you.

Alex's tutor.

He's expecting us
later this morning.

Why did Alex choose to house-sit
round here?

No friends to speak of,

stuck on her own,
great big empty house,

middle of nowhere.

Well, some people
like to get away from it all.

So, it's been some fantastic work
you've been handing in recently.

I'd really like to talk
to you about that further.

Professor Randle?


When did you last see her?

That's tricky.

She missed the
last couple of months.

- Was that like her?
- Masters students.

They're not kids, but they're not
completely grown-ups either.


if they go off-piste it's not
unknown, let me put it that way.

When she didn't turn up,

I just presumed she had
some person she is.

Did you talk to her about it?

I e-mailed her a few times.
She didn't call me back.

She's been setting up moth traps
in the Gilswick Valley.

- Is that to do with her studies?
- She wasn't studying moths.

It was nothing to do with
her Masters.

- Right. Thanks, Professor.
- OK.

Did she have a locker?

Diagnosed as bipolar
seven years ago.

Quite young for that diagnosis,
I'd say.

Self-described periods
of depression,

manic episodes.

On medication all that time?

Prescribed, but there was none
in her system post-mortem.

So I can assume
she'd stopped taking them?

I can run another screen,

but they tend to remain in the bloodstream.
So she could have been off them a while.

- That would have affected her how?
- Really depends.

She could have been OK.
It's hard to say.

But that would have been a rocky
road emotionally, wouldn't it?

Bipolar - mood swings,

It's not my place to say.

- And there was no sexual assault?
- No.

Broken fib and tib
when she was hit by the bumper.

Killed by the head wound

sustained on impact
with the windscreen.

So dead before she hit the ditch.

Didn't lie there waiting for help.

I'd say she died instantly.

We found some flecks of white
paint on the hair.

So a white vehicle.

Probably an older vehicle.

Rust smears on her jeans.

Anything on the footprints
next to the body?


Plus his blood on her trainers.

So we can place her at the body

when he was stabbed at least.

Single stab wound to the chest,

short-bladed knife
about three inches long.

Any other significant
prints found at the scene?

No. We did find some
fibres in the knife wound.

They could have transferred
on the blade.

- Could they have come from her?
- We're running tests

on the clothes she was wearing -
we'll know soon enough.

Something else
that was rather intriguing.

The handkerchief we found
in his coat pocket.

Smell this.

Pear drops?

Ethyl acetate.

Commonly used as a solvent.

That takes me back.

Hector, my dad,
used to use that in his killing jars.


Get yourself a cup of tea.
I've got this.

Mrs. Gartside?

I...I have a photo-fit...

of the man we found at the house.

Do you recognise him at all, love?

We think Alex met him

through a shared
interest in moths.


Was it to do with her Masters?

I thought it was
about something else.

I don't
know. I...

Were you in regular contact?

She rang, a few weeks ago.

We didn't really talk about much.

Did she tell you she was
behind in her studies?

No. She was working hard.

She was doing well.

She was very conscientious.

What about her friends?

Did you meet anyone
from college?

She never...
brought people home.


Alex had never been interested
in boys.

I always hoped it was just a phase.

Can I ask about her medication?

We know she was
diagnosed with a...

bipolar disorder a number
of years back.

Her brother died. Ten years ago.
Asthma attack.

My marriage fell apart
soon afterwards.

I think the trauma of that and...

Simon dying...

She worshipped her brother.

She just...

seemed to...
close down.

Medication helped.

sort of evened her out,
stabilised her.

Did you know she'd stopped taking
her medication recently?

- No. I didn't.
- Has that happened before?

- Once or twice.
- And how did that affect her?

- Her mental state?
- I see!

Did she go doolally?
Is that what you mean?

It's just we can place Alex
at a murder scene.

I have to ask.

was never violent.

She had never been violent.

I'm not suggesting she was.

People never understand!

They always make assumptions
based on God knows what.

It's ignorance!

- Look, I'm sorry, love.
- You know where I'm staying.

Just let me know
when I can take her home.

- That went well!
- Shut up!

Kenny had good news.

Barmaid in Gilswick
recognised Mr. Bebington.


Maybe now we can
dignify him with a name.

- Are you Lizzie?
- Yeah.

Yeah, I saw him.

Ordered a half.

Sat at that table with
his head in the paper.

- Did he meet anyone?
- I'm not sure. It was busy.

Did Alex Gartside come in yesterday?

She showed her face, yeah.

- Did she speak to the man at the table?
- Not that I noticed.

They certainly didn't
look like friends.

You don't know if they
left together.

I don't know.

I went down to the cellar
to change the mild

and by the time I came back up,
they'd both gone.

- What time did you finish?
- Around midnight.

I'd done a double shift.

Always early,
never tips.

How did she seem
the last time you talked to her?

A bit distracted.

Had things on her mind,
I expect.

Well, thanks, love.

He was murdered then,
the fella who came in?

Afraid so, yeah.

What do you think happened?

Well, that's what we're
trying to find out.

Here we go.

Those fibres we found
in the knife wound.

They didn't match the
clothes worn by Alex.

So she's not the killer.

Have you got any ID
for our Mr. Bebington?

Not yet.

Well, someone must be missing him!

Well, I've tried the shelters
and the dosshouses.

Complete waste of time, ma'am.

So what have we got?

A bus ticket...

house keys with no address...
and yesterday's newspaper.

What's that?

Some handwriting.

"Dusky Brocade. 3:15."

It's the name of a moth.

I read it in a book once.

Hey, did you hear that, Kenny?
DC Cherradi reads books!

It's also the name of a horse.

- Is it?
- Yes, ma'am.

Dusky Brocade...
3:15, Hexham.

Odds 8-1.

And there's a bookies
in Bebington.

Kenny, you are a genius.


There you go, mate.

Martin Neilson.

Placed a bet yesterday morning.

- You sure that was him?
- Spent a lot of his time in here.

So he liked a flutter, then?

He was never very lucky, mind.

Used to pain me
to take his money off him.

Did he have an account?

I need his home address.

Rudd Street.


Right, thanks.


Open up.

Go on.

- Phone's still connected.
- Well, dial 1471.

There's no number.

Pear drops.


It's all right, love.
We're not going to hurt you.

My name's Vera.
I'm a police officer.


Kitty? Are you all right?
The front door was open!

It's all right, love.

- I calmed her down.
- Good.

She's fast asleep.

How long has his mam
been like this?

Couple of years now.

I pop in when I can, check she's OK.

Is it just the two of them?

His dad died a few years back.

Did he do this often? Lock her up?

I don't know.

They've been trying for months
to move her into a home.

He worried about her.

Did Martin leave any contact numbers
in case his mam needed him?

He didn't have a mobile,
I know that much.

Bebington dialling code.

- Can I just borrow that?
- I never had cause to ring it.

Did he ever have any visitors?

Young lass, name of Alex?

I don't think
he had any friends.

Not that I saw.

What about other family?

- It was always just the two of 'em.
- Ma'am.

Channels North East.
It's a charity for ex-offenders.

Well, let's pay 'em a visit.

Thanks, love.

Full-time employment,
that's the aim.

Some of you already have the skill
to set up a small business.

We can offer assistance with that
and funding wherever possible.

Just give me one minute.

- Hi.
- Could I have a word, pet?

Ash, could you hand the pens out
for me? I'll be one minute.

We're here about a man called...
Martin Neilson.

Is Martin in some
kind of trouble?

I'm afraid he was found dead
last night.


What happened to him?

His body was found in
a house in Gilswick.

He'd been murdered.

- Oh, my.
- Did you meet him through the charity?

Yeah, yeah.
Martin was working here.

He volunteered to help.

Basic filing,

We didn't have the funds
to pay him.

He said he wanted to work,
to get back on his feet.

His mother's been ill.

How long had he been here?

A couple of months.

Was Martin an ex-offender?

He served a short sentence.
It was over ten years ago.

That's why he's worked here.

- What was he inside for?
- I didn't ask.

When did you last see him?

We had to let him go.
A couple of weeks ago.

It was inappropriate behaviour.


He made some lewd comments.

Suggestive remarks.

Shirley felt uncomfortable.

I told Martin it
wasn't working out.

It was a loose arrangement.
He didn't question it.

Was he in any
trouble with clients?

- Arguments? Altercations?
- No, no. Nothing like that.

He may have been a bit strange,
but he was a gentle soul.

Well, we're going to need a list
of all the people on your books.

Contact details,
recent appointments.

Anyone Martin might have
had dealings with.

Most of our clients are trying to
turn their lives around.

- It's got nothing to do with them.
- Well, in that case,

they've nothing to worry about.

So Martin was a sex pest.

We've ruled out
sexual assault.

I know,
but all the moth stuff.


Lived at home of his mother. You've
got to admit it's a bit creepy.

That's your astute
psychological profiler?

We did nothing wrong.

Martin Neilson served a 12-month
stretch in 2005.

Public affray.

It was his only offence and...
he was a juvenile at the time.

- Farnworth Young Offenders.
- 12 months?

Well, he must have stepped
out of line while he was in there.

Doesn't look like it. From what
I read he kept his head down.

Good report off of the guv'nor,

complied with education,
even helped out in sick bay.

Well, that's unusual for them.

Most inmates who go through it
come out worse.

Are you sure there's no history
of re-offending?

I'll double check.

He could have got back in touch with
someone from prison through the charity.

Wasn't the happy reunion
he'd been expecting?

Or he could have an enemy
the random person.

Alex was in the wrong place
at the wrong time.

Check through that list of ex-ofenders.

Check 'em all against the PNC

and flag up anyone with a
history of violent crime.

No problem.

I've got a breakdown of Alex Gartside's
phone logs that you ask for.


She made the last recorded call

to Martin Neilson's landline

at 11:16 on the day they both died.

- So they did plan to meet.
- There was also...

three recent calls to Alex
from another mobile number.

Well, come on.
Put us out of our misery.

OK, well, if you hear from her,
we would like to have a word.

Lizzie left an hour ago.


Excuse me.
What's this concerning?

- Lizzie's my daughter.
- Mr. Hallam.

Well, it's about
the hit-and-run case.

Well, she didn't even know the girl.
She doesn't drive.

We still need to speak to her.
Do you know where she is?


You can't tell us where
she might be?


- I don't know.
- Where does she normally go?

- Or does she disappear on a regular basis?
- No.

she's just a quiet girl.

Look, I'll track her down
and tell her to get in touch.

Well, as quick as you can, love.

Now what was that?

Was that lying or
was he surprised?

Ah, could be either. Or both.

Or just being protective.

You'll be the same.

I've been looking at an
image on a speed camera

just outside Gilswick.

And I've spotted a white van
going through the village.

It was... yesterday evening,

Did you get the plates?

Yeah, it's...
registered to Jason McNeive.

He has a previous for ABH, and
I've got an address in Bebington.

Get that open.

Hey. You all right, mate?

Who's done this?

Have you hit your boyfriend before?

We just had a massive...

It got out of hand.

Well, a couple of stitches...
he'll be fine.

Now, domestic violence.

I won't take that from a bloke and
I'm not gonna take it from you.

So I suggest you tell me
the mitigating circumstances

if you want to avoid
an assault charge.


- I completely lost it.
- Why'd you lose it?

I just did.

Well, what was
the argument leading up to it?

- Normal stuff.
- Jealousy, that sort of thing?

He gets really jealous.

Was he jealous of Alex Gartside?

See, we...have a record...

of several unanswered calls
from your phone to hers,

right up to the time of her death.

Yeah, OK.
We were good mates.

Just that? Or was it more than that?

We were just friends.

She came into the pub...
we got talking.

She'd lost her brother.
I'd lost my mum.

She just understood how I felt.

But Jason didn't see it like that?

He knew she was into girls.

He didn't like it.

Would he have tried to warn her off?

Is that the sort
of thing he'd do?

I don't think she'd
have listened.

- He'd have had to...
- He'd have what?

Had to do something
drastic to scare her of.

Yeah, exactly.
And he wouldn't.

Did you know he came into Gilswick
yesterday in his van?

Poor thing, it's more scared of you.

Now, this...

is you doing 60...
in a 40-mile-an-hour zone.

They changed the limit on the road.

I a hurry.
I had a job on in Hexham.

- Who for?
- Some old biddy.

I can get you her details.

Doing a quote for her lounge.


Do you recognise this fella?

- Nah.
- No?

His name's Martin Neilson.
He lives in... Bebington.

Nah, still don't know him.

He was murdered the other night.

I don't know him.
I mean...that's sad, I suppose.

Yeah, it's sad.

But you do know Alex Gartside,
don't you?

Course, she's close with
your girlfriend.

That must have been some row.

Only, Alex was killed

by a white vehicle
travelling at speed.

And I know you had

- a problem with her.
- No! You've got that wrong.

Lizzie said you did.

And I'm gonna take that
at face value.

I suggest you went to Gilswick

to have a little word with Alex.

To tell her to back off,
put the wind up her.

Did Lizzie say this?

Don't listen to her.

She's gone completely psycho
since that Alex turned up.

Well, you were very upset about
all that, weren't you?

How's this for an idea?

You go to the house. Confront Alex.

It gets heated,
as we know it can do.

Martin steps in and there's
a nasty, unplanned outcome.

I was nowhere near.

And we found blood
on your jeans.

Where's that from?

No idea.


Is that all you've got?

- Lizzie.
- Don't.

- You're not gonna press charges, are you?
- I am, yes.