Chapter 4

Written by: Jasmine Groves

“Court is now in Session. Can the accused please take the stand for opening statements,” the judge’s soft voice brought Jenna from her reverie of thoughts.

Pulling herself upright, scraped the chair back across the worn dark and faded lino of the courtroom and brushed quietly past her defence team.

Awkwardly tugging at her skirt, she absently brushed a loose strand of hair away, took one last breath and walked in a dignified and unrushed manner to the stand.

She sat and was sworn in, the breath in her throat catching, heart racing in her chest. As those in the gallery bore down upon her, she felt she could hear their thoughts vibrating from them. There had certainly been enough coverage, hype and speculation in the media leading up to tthe trial for people to have her already judged GUILTY.

Mother abused, daughter’s vendetta’…. ‘Links to central European smuggling ring found’… ‘Spies of the old country living next door’… ‘Husband tries to kill wife in fit of passion’…. All the headlines of the last few weeks swarmed in front of Jenna’s eyes while she tried to focus on Mr Alfredson as he approached.

So much confusion, even after weeks with her Grandmother. It felt like fear had taken over after the anger had sparked in her grandmother. One thing Jenna felt sure of, knew in fact, was that she had killed a man, and she was there to be tried for his murder.

“Over the coming days of trial, the prosecution will prove without a doubt that Jenna Shields took the life of Adrian Shields. You will hear from the defence that it was manslaughter, that the accused was trying to save her mother’s life, but we can assure you, it was murder in the first degree and that it wasn’t spontaneous but a planned attack by the accused who had patiently waited for her opportunity to take Adrian’s life in a way that she may then seem not guilty” Mr Alfredson paused for effect.. turned and paced back towards the jury, past engaged judge and gallery.

“In fact, we will prove that not only is the accused a patient and violent person, but all is not what it seemed in the Shields' household. And that daughter and mother alike should be standing trial!”

Jenna’s defence lawyer leapt up and slammed his fist on the desk “I object… you cannot implicate other suspects in an opening … that could indicate just cause. Which has yet to be established!”

“Sustained,” the judge's nose crinkled, she adjusted her glasses. “Mr Alfredson, if you could please stick to the relevant points of the case in regards to Shields vs Shields on the charge of murder.”


….Her mouth felt like it was full of cotton wool and she felt like she was wrapped in it. She tried to open her eyes, but they pinched as though sewn shut.

Feeling blind, she raised both hands… “Oh, Jenna. What have you done?” she whispered.