Sisters 62

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“All rise!”

We’d found a space for the car, but it was of course at stupid prices, which hurt. While I was locking it up, a PC came over to us, walking quite quickly.

“Inspector Powell?”


“Want to follow me? We’ve got you a slot in the station yard”

Once again, the local boys were looking after me, and I had an awkward thought about freemasons before looking at the parking charges and wincing. Besides, the trial had been listed and adjourned so many times that Siân and I were both starting to show quite well, and walking any distance was becoming a pain, so we followed the panda round to the nick, parked up and took a gentle walk through the woodland to the court.

Ambrose was there, looking rather neater than I was accustomed to, and as we passed an interview room I caught just a glimpse of Angharad Roberts waiting for her moment.

“All rise!”

The judge entered, the jury were seated and the familiar dance began. I had been surprised that Carwyn had taken it beyond his initial plea and directions hearing without holding his hands up, given what must have been a very heavy load of evidence against him. He sat in the dock as we waited for the opening statements, and there was just a flicker in his face as his gaze swept across my wife and then myself. No obvious expression to his face beyond a blank dismissal of our existence. His reaction to hearing the charge was equally dismissive. “Not guilty”, with the muttered addition of “Naturally”

Consistency is sometimes reassuring. To be dismissed as irrelevant by someone like him was actually a boost to my self-confidence. Twat. My dearest took my hand, her grip threatening the circulation.

The openers were for once interesting, and just for once I was allowed to sit in and listen to everything. The prosecution laid out an unpleasant collection of hints for our delectation, while the defence were more open in their attack on the convicted criminal Angharad Roberts. Delyth Siencyn was the first witness to be called, and I was astonished to hear her affirm rather than swear on the book. She was younger than Angharad or Carwyn by around ten years, and a drab little thing, her movements reminding me of a sparrow. Her testimony was in Welsh, and for the benefit of the jurors who weren’t fluent there was an interpreter, which meant that the tone of her responses was a little filtered. Her body language, though, was clear.

“Delyth Ebrill Siencyn, Heol y Nant, Bae Colwyn”

“Ms Siencyn, could you tell the court how you know the accused?”

“We were at the same chapel, in Bethesda. I played the organ”

Siân leant into me to whisper in my ear.

“Mam and Dad thought the local one was too soft on sin”

That fitted. The prosecution continued, and I found it interesting to see how the interpreter kept a level tone even as the former organist’s mood started to ramp up.

“Could you tell the court how you ended up living so far away”

“It was Carwyn. Carwyn Roberts, there in the dock. We set up a home together when he separated from his wife”

“What was her name?”


“Do you know why they separated?”

“Carwyn said that it was because his wife had driven their daughter into unnatural acts of sin and fornication”

The defence rose, languidly remarking that they objected to the inclusion of hearsay, and the judge nodded. Prosecution bowed, and continued.

“Ms Siencyn, did you know their daughter?”

“Yes. She’s the red-haired woman in the stalls there, sitting with her fellow pervert”

The judge’s rebuke was a lot sharper this time, and even though the interpreter’s delivery was flat, the message was clearly received. Up bobbed our man.

“May it please the court, the daughter in question is in a same-sex civil partnership, fully in compliance with the law of the land. We will hear evidence later from Angharad Roberts herself which will clarify these matters. Ms Siencyn, you left your home to cohabit with the accused. I must admit to some confusion here: surely your faith would militate against such an action?”

That brought a twitch to her face, and a sharp sideways look at Carwyn.

“Carwyn, Mr Roberts there, he is very good at explaining things”

Her face tightened in a remarkably nasty way.

“Very, very good at it. Very good at… at finding just the right verse to show how things should be. I took some time before the Lord showed me how much Carwyn’s explanations were sophistry and deceit”

“Ms Siencyn, if I may…”

The wig took her back, and I was impressed by his skill in steering her memory along such a convoluted track, but in the end, as a fully paid-up diversity-spreading copper, the pattern was clear: grooming. What he had done differed in detail, but the method was exactly the same as that used by an internet-infesting nonce. First, find someone vulnerable, then let the target reveal their concerns. Sympathy, apparent empathy, a reinterpretation and finally, after as slow a build-up as necessary, a solution can be offered that will end all the confusion, erase the pain.

“Ms Siencyn, surely your faith precludes what must of itself be defined as adultery?”

“Genesis 2:18 and Luke 20:34 to 36”

“Ms Siencyn, for the sake of the jury, who may not be as godly as yourself, as well as for the records of this hearing, please explain the references”

She looked him up and down, dismissing his worth in an obvious sneer, and I decided right then that Carwyn was welcome to her.

“The Lord God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. That is Genesis 2:18. The Apostle Luke tells us that Our Dear Lord said that the children of this world marry and are given in marriage, but they which shall be accounted worthy to attain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage: neither can they die anymore, for they are equal unto the angels, and are the children of god, being the children of the resurrection”

“Thank you. Would it be possible to elaborate on how those verses were interpreted?”

She shot a glare of utter hatred at Carwyn, before returning to our man, and once again the almost-bored tone of the interpreter belied the venom in her voice.

“Simple, isn’t it? Even the Godless can see the meaning!”

“Pray humour me”

“Adam wasn’t married, was he? Nobody to do that but Our Lord above, so was that adultery? No! And for those who have obtained God’s Holy Grace, who are deemed worthy for His Estate, no marriage either. Our Lord could see that we were simply following his revealed plan, and as Genesis 2:18 reveals, it is not good that the man be alone, and he could not stop with a whoremonger and facilitator of perversion, could he?”

The judge coughed once more, and she ducked her head as if expecting a blow.

“What happened then, Ms Siencyn?”

“Well, he left that den of—Carwyn left the marital home and joined me, and then we departed for a new address in Colwyn Bay. I mean, we couldn’t stay in my place any more—it was unfit”

“Why was that?”

“Angharad Roberts. That was why. She pumped… she put a hose through my front door and pumped in a whole trailer load of cow manure. Slurry. Wet. Horrible. We had to move”

I swear the interpreter’s eyes closed at that, and even though his voice and tone never varied from their anodyne drone, he must have been within a gnat’s hair of corpsing. Several of the jurors, however, as well as most of the public gallery, had less restraint. Even the judge’s mouth quirked at the edges, just a little. He let the laughter subside, and then nodded for the wig to continue.

“Yes, we called the police, and she was arrested. Served her right, the… Anyway, we moved”

Our man looked at his notes for a few seconds, then asked the killer question, his voice gentle, soothing.

“What broke the spell, Ms Siencyn?”

Whatever it was came to life again behind her eyes, and she started to tremble. The judge nodded at the usher, and a glass of water was produced, along with a box of tissues.

“I didn’t realise… I didn’t see, for some time, but I should have. He had his mail redirected, you see, and there were publications that came, magazines”

“What sort of magazines, Delyth?”

She was trembling now, the glass raised to her lips in displacement threatening to overflow down her blouse.

“American magazines. Christian magazines from America”

“Bible study works?”

“Domestic discipline”

“Please tell us what that means, Delyth”

“Ephesians 5:22 to 24. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, and is the saviour of his body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Proverbs 13:24. He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. Proverbs 23: 13 and 14, withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell”

Our man looked sharply at the interpreter, who turned to the judge.

“May it please the court, your Honour, but I was a bible student before I started this job. I am rendering Ms Siencyn’s words into those I remember from King James’s Authorised Version of the Good Book. If you would prefer, I can speak them more plainly”

Once more, a nod from the judge.

“Not necessary, and we thank you for your explanation. I would venture that the phrasing in English is in keeping with the flavour of the witness’s testimony?”

“Yes, your Honour”

“Pray continue in like manner, then. Proceed”

“Delyth, please could you let the jury know, in as simple terms as you feel you can, how this affected you in your life together”

The trembling intensified, and she looked down at the microphone that gave the court her testimony. Long, slow breaths, each with a catch at the end of it.

“The needs of the flesh are not ‘needs’, exactly. They are not necessary, not in that sense. The Saints of old did not succumb to them, and I do not feel their tug in my heart, nor in my flesh. I recognise that men are formed of simpler clay, as Adam was, and while I… while I joined with Carwyn Roberts as a consort and a wife in God’s sight, I did so that a man I thought Godly could be free of the seduction of the earthly, the call of the flesh. I… I felt that an occasional deliverance would suffice for his needs”

I could see the jury nodding, and knew they were on the same track as me. Let the old bastard have the occasional shag, and that would keep him quiet. She hadn’t finished, though.

“I was mistaken, for his needs were stronger than I thought, and the man weaker than I had considered him. I found my duty to be onerous, then insupportable”

‘Duty’. I thought of my sister, and her delight in her huge man, of my beautiful wife, of the way she smiled at me when…

‘Duty’, for fuck’s sake! What happened to love, passion, simple sodding affection?

“Delyth, may I ask… a delicate question? We may assume, no doubt, that there would therefore have been moments when Carwyn Roberts’ needs of the flesh were not coincident with your own. What happened on such occasions?”

“Plastic piping”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Carwyn’s magazines explained in elaborate detail how discipline should be applied to one in need of it. There were warnings about interference from worldly authority, Caesar’s men, who would fail to comprehend the wisdom, necessity and holy authority of discipline. The magazines gave advice on what instruments to apply and where to apply them. Plastic piping was one such item. It leaves less evidence than other scourges”

“Delyth, please explain further”

“When I would not consent to the gratification of his flesh, Carwyn would mortify my own”

“In simpler terms, please, for the ladies and gentlemen of the jury?”

She took longer over this one, and there was an instant where she tried to speak to the interpreter as if he was merely a bystander. He turned to the judge with a shrug.

“Your honour, I have explained to the witness that I cannot do as she asks and discuss her words before I translate them”

“Thank you for your service, Mr Norley. Please remind the witness that a question has been asked”

She winced at that, and began to speak again in a low monotone, Norley translating in the same manner.

“You wish it in simple, base terms? Then hear my words. When I did not wish to consent to Carwyn’s low needs, he would beat me. Once he had beaten me sufficiently, he would sate those needs. In sating them thus… You wish it in simple terms. Each time Carwyn used my flesh for and as his own, after such a beating, he would be louder and more vocal in the act. And not as long in the performance of it”

Siân slapped my arm, and I realised I was crushing her hand, for the faces I saw before me, while multiple, mostly had the name ‘Evans’ attached to them, Evans and Pritchard and all the other bastards we had taken down that night. I felt the swing of my asp, that backhand stroke into the face of a rapist, and I wondered how Carwyn Roberts would enjoy some fucking discipline of his own. I despised Delyth Siencyn, but in this particular part of her story she was simply another victim, like Diane, like little Chantelle. Bastard.

What the hell was Angharad going to tell us?

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