Broadchurch: A Sandbrook Case Update


The mystery of Sandbrook continued to deepen in the latest episode of Broadchurch. As the episode begins we see Alec Hardy in the midst of a nightmare where he is under water, when he awakes he is greatly distressed and begins sobbing. In the morning he calls the hospital to try to talk to his consultant about an increase in his symptoms, but is told to call his GP. To compound his misery local news reporter Olly Stevens turns up at his chalet and questions him regarding Lee Ashworth. Olly has recognised Lee as the Sandbrook suspect after seeing him in the offices of The Broadchurch Echo and wants to know why he is in Broadchurch and if he is dangerous? He tells Hardy that he is fed up with the way that he speaks to him and makes it clear that he intends to speak to Lee and get his side of the story regarding the Sandbrook murders. 
It's plain that there is still no love lost between the pair with Hardy still holding a grudge against Olly for the way he reported on the death of Danny Latimer and his part in the subsequent suicide of Jack.

Olly: I'm just doing you the courtesy of asking you first.
Hardy: You people, you think that you're saving the world, you just make it harder to live in.


Later outside the court Lee Ashworth approaches Ellie Miller and gives her the change for the parking meter. Ellie is understandably wary of him and tells him she hopes he's not following her. He attempts to find common ground with her by telling her he has heard about the way she was trashed in court. He of course insists that he too is a victim of the  judicial system. He also points out to her that she has lost her husband and her son, just as he has lost his wife Claire. He then drops the bombshell that Hardy and Claire have had a sexual relationship that may be effecting the case.

Lee: Hardy has slept with my wife. That's why he is so obsessed with the case. 
Ellie: Well, what's that got to do with me?
Lee: He's poisoned my own wife against me, even though I'm trying to help him solve it. I just want Claire back.
Ellie: Yeah, well I'll talk to her, and you stay away from her. You are not good for her.

When Ellie meets up with Hardy in the court, she relays what has happened with Lee to him and he is more interested in Lee paying for the parking. He suspiciously completely ignores her when she mentions that Lee says he has slept with Claire. But decides that he will be going up to Sandbrook at the weekend and Ellie will have to come too to drive him. He tells her there is an officer there that he can talk to about getting the case reopened. Ellie is reluctant to go with him and points out that she is not a taxi service. Alec proves how little he thinks of Ellie's life outside of work by forgetting the name of her youngest child, Fred, whilst telling her to leave him with her sister.



Ellie drives Alec to visit Claire so that he can tell her that he'll be away for a night or two. He continues to act in a protective manner towards her, he is softer with her than with other people. He tells her he's asked another police man Bob from the station to pop in and check on her and gives her a card with his number so that she can call him if she's worried about anything. Despite his efforts to protect her Claire just stares at him with her arms folded. When he asks if she is still mad at him she asks why Ellie can't stay with her. When he says that Ellie can't as she is going away with him, Claire replies, 'Oh dirty weekend away' Alec ignores this comment and reminds her not to go near Lee and to lock all the doors. As Alec and Ellie drive away, Lee is hiding behind a tree watching them leave.



While Alec and Ellie are en route to Sandbrook she asks him what his theory is for what happened. He tells her the following:

Alec: Someone went in to the Gillespie house, abducted both girls, got rid of the bodies. 
Ellie: Why Lee Ashworth?
Alec: Ricky and Cate Gillespie said that Pippa always used to like going next door to see Lee.
Ellie: If Ashworth was in their house, their must have been forensics 
Alec: Yeah there were, Ashworth's DNA was all over the place. A strand of his hair was found on Pippa's pillow. 
Ellie: What was his argument?
Alec: That he'd been in the house plenty of times, which was true, but he still wouldn't say how the hair got on the pillow. At one stage he said it had been put there to frame him. 
Ellie: By who? This Ricky? Pippa's Dad. 
Alec: That's what Ashworth claimed. But this case Miller, whenever you think you're close, it slips away from you. 
Ellie: Is that why it got to you, cos you can never be sure? 
Alec: I found her. Pippa Gillespie, she was in the river. 



We then see a flashback to Alec wading through a river to uncover the body of a young girl. It becomes clear that this is the trauma that has triggered the nightmare that left him sobbing and distressed at the beginning of the episode.

Alec: It was deeper than I thought, I got pulled under. 
I just managed to get free and carry her body on to the bank. 
She'd been in there maybe three days. 
Water rots the body. 
She was the same age as my daughter.
I can still feel the weight of her, water dripping off her clothes all down me. 
What sort of a person leaves a child like that? 

Both Alec and Ellie fight back tears as they think about Pippa.



Meanwhile back in Broadchurch Olly has tracked Lee down to where he is working repairing fencing. He tells him that he recognised and him and knows a bit about his case. Lee tells him he doesn't want to talk to him and carries on working. Olly is undeterred and continues to ask him questions, why did he come down to Broadchurch? Is it because of DI Hardy? Lee gets annoyed and pushes Olly away. He's not interested in telling him his side of the story. As Olly leaves he checks his phone and we see that he's taken a sneaky photo of Lee that he no doubt plans to use in the paper.

When Alec and Ellie arrive in Sandbrook he tells her that Gillespie family actually own Lee and Claire's house as well and that they rented it to the couple. Cate Gillespie still lives in her old family home. Ellie is shocked that she's still want to live there, after all Ellie moved out of her house after Joe's arrest, but Alec says that Cate wanted to be there in case Lisa came back.


Back in Broadchurch Claire is alone watching her TV when there's a knock at the door when she goes to investigate she finds a plastic carrier bag on the door step and sees Lee standing watching her. He sends her a text telling her to look in the bag as it's her favourite.
She picks the bag up and goes in. She doesn't seem unduly scared by him being there though and certainly doesn't rush to get away from him. 

In Sandbrook Ellie and Alec have arrived at the hotel and found that they have to share a room with a double bed after the hotel lost their booking. Alec offers to sleep in the car in case Joe's legal team find out, but Ellie points out that as they've already been accused of having an affair there's not much else they can do. They agree to share the bed her under the covers and him on top as long as he doesn't snore. 



We find out that the contents of Claire's mysterious plastic bag is a takeaway and she eats it leaning against her front door with Lee on the other side. She eventually finds their close proximity too much and opens the door to him and they begin kissing passionately immediately. Lord knows what was in her fried rice, but it certainly took effect quickly.

There's no such passion for Alec and Ellie back at the hotel where she gets in bed with her flannel pyjamas buttoned up to the neck and he lies on top of the duvet fully clothed. 

Ellie: Bit weird. 
You never did answer me, did you ever have sex with Claire Ripley?
Hardy: Go to sleep Miller.



As Alec turns away from Ellie we see a flashback of Claire looking into his eyes as they lie in bed proving that they have slept together and that Alec probably does still have feelings for her. The image he sees of Claire is bathed in golden light and lying on crisp white sheets.  Unfortunately for him at that moment Claire is lying sweaty and naked in bed with Lee and far from being scared of him she's instructing him to tie her up for their next sex session - a far cry fom the angelic image in Alec's memory.



The following morning Alec hands Ellie keys to Claire and Lee's old house, telling her that he had copies made before he had to hand the originals back. She's clearly a little shocked by this and it's certainly not going by the book. He tells her to have a look round the house and see what she thinks whilst he goes next door to talk to Cate.

Cate Gillespie is not pleased to see Alec and he asks her not to slam the door. She is still resentful towards him for the trial against Lee collapsing. She reluctantly allows him in to the house after he says he will only be five minutes. 

Ellie is next door, complete with black leather gloves, having a snoop around. She can make out muffled voices through the wall as Alec talks to Cate and Cate reveals some new information that she should have told the police in the first 
place regarding her husband and Claire. 


Alec: I came because I though that you should hear this from me. Lee Ashworth is back in the country.
Cate: Where?
Alec: Nowhere near here. I'm keeping him under observation.
Cate: If I see him, I'll kill him. 
Alec: I know. I'm sorry to hear about you and Ricky.
Cate: It was a long time coming.
Alec: Well, going through something like this..
Cate: Oh, we were broken before then. All that cock of the walk, every woman loves me bullshit. Only so much any woman could take. Even over the fence, when he knew I was watching. With Claire. He'd check I could see. 
Alec: I'm sorry you never told us.
Cate: Even the moment his daughter was being killed.
Alec: At the wedding? You were at the wedding together.
Cate: He was shagging one of the bridesmaids. Tiffany Evans.
Alec: You always said you were together that night. You never mentioned it. 
Cate: Well what did it have to do with you? It makes no difference now anyway.
Alec: I will get you justice
Cate: It's too late
Alec: It's not



Later Alec and Ellie meet the officer that Alec says can help them to reopen the Sandbrook case in a cafe. 
He tells her that he has potential new evidence in the form of the pressed bluebell sent to Claire Ripley. Ellie also explains that Claire told her that the night the girls went missing Lee drugged her with rohypnol and she slept all night and when she woke up he was cleaning the place. 
The other officer then says, "So Claire Ripley's done it to you too?" implying that this is not the first time that Claire has changed her story. She then tells Alec that there is no way she would want to reopen the case after what it did to them, it's then that Ellie realises that she is Alec's ex wife Tess. She refuses to reopen the case and reminds him not to be late for a meal with their daughter Daisy. 

Later on at the restaurant, Alec muses that he has missed so much of Daisy growing up and Tess agrees with him and tells him to let the case go, but he refuses. Just then Ricky Gillespie bursts in and demands to know if Tess has given Alec a bollocking. Tess explains that Ricky had called her earlier to lodge a complaint of harassment against him. 



Ricky: Leave Cate alone, she's too fragile.
Alec: We all want the truth.
Ricky: We had the truth and you screwed it up for us.
You're a failure. You can never put it right.

As Daisy comes back to the table Ricky is particularly creepy towards the teen.

Ricky: How old are you sweetheart?
Daisy: Fifteen.
Ricky: I had a girl like you. She was murdered. And thanks to your dad that man's still free. 

Alec and Ellie drive home through the night in silence and it's not until the next day at the court that she asks him what's bothering him.

Alec: Ricky Gillespie. Why would a father not want an investigation to restart  in to the death of his own daughter? What if Lee Ashworth didn't do it? What if he's been telling the truth? What if I've been wrong?

Ellie then tells Alec about checking Claire's phone the night that they went out drinking together.

Ellie: Firstly all the internet searches are about Lee. Lee Ashworth killer, bit odd.
And she only had two numbers in her phone, the first one was yours and the other one I didn't recognise. 



As Ellie decides to call the number we see an office of what looks like a building firm, with Ricky Gillespie sitting at a desk. His phone is ringing but he ignores it. 

Olly has published the story of Lee being in Broadhchurch and we see Lee, Claire and then Ricky in his office reading about it. 
Behind him is a photo of a bluebell wood....

To find out more about Alec and Tess' marriage and their investigation of the Sandbrook case we recommend reading Erin Kelly's short story Over The Side. Read our review and buy the book here.

Read more of our Sandbrook updates here..

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