Disclaimer: Doc Martin is the property of Buffalo Pictures. I own nothing.
Martin and Louisa were enjoying a quiet lunch at Bert's restaurant when DI Haines came to see them. It was a beautiful Spring day and Teri Oakwood was the last thing on their minds. Louisa knew that Martin had to give evidence at the trial so she had never asked him about the murder, although she often thought about Teri and wondered what had made her do it. She was wondering when to talk to Martin about having another child. It was too soon for her to have another one but she knew Martin liked to plan things as far in advance as possible. Martin was thinking about the latest epidemic sweeping through the village; he'd had sixteen people call the surgery with flu-like symptoms. Most of them wanted him to write a prescription and found it impossible to understand that antibiotics don't work on viruses.
DI Haines paused to speak to Bert and then came over to their table,
'Sorry to interrupt your lunch, Doctor Ellingham, but I wanted to let you know that you won't need to testify at Mrs Oakwood's trial.'
'The Crown Prosecution Service has decided not to proceed.'
'Not in the public interest.'
DI Haines was about to leave when Louisa asked,
'Is Martin allowed to talk about it now?'
'To a certain extent.'
'I can't break medical confidentiality, Louisa, you know that,' said Martin.
'I know that, Martin, but I just wanted to know why she did it. Was it the stress of Sam's death?'
'No, though it was the catalyst,' explained DI Haines.
DI Haines looked at Martin and said,
'Do you want to explain?'
DI Haines waited a moment for Martin to elaborate. When he didn't, DI Haines sat down and began to explain,
'Twenty years ago Mrs Oakwood was Teresa Evans, an extremely bright undergraduate at Imperial College, London. She was studying history and was expected to get a first. Her tutor is a professor now and he told me that Teresa Evans had an exceptional intellect backed up by a logical, analytical mind.'
'Teri Oakwood? Are you sure that he was talking about the right person?' asked Louisa, flabbergasted.
'Yes, quite sure. In her second year she met Anthony Oakwood. He was a postgraduate and as well as writing his thesis, he was earning money by helping out with data collection and analysis for clinical trials at the hospital. They started going out when the clinical trial on the drug 1-7-alphaheptalurian was about half way through. Oakwood suggested to Teri that they should become vegetarians but told her that they would need to supplement their diet with multivitamins. As far as we can tell it was at that point that he started feeding her 1-7-alphaheptalurian.'
'1-7-alphaheptalurian was supposed to be a wonder drug; an anti-depressant without side effects. Oakwood noticed that it altered the brain chemistry in unusual ways. In collating all the data, he'd read all the psychiatrists' reports and realised something surprising; people given 1-7-alphaheptalurian were more compliant and suggestible than usual. The lead psychiatrist was going to recommend further trials because he was concerned that it could be abused.'
'And it was,' said Martin bluntly.
'Yes. Oakwood used 1-7-alphaheptalurian to get Teri to do what he wanted. Within a month they were living together, within three months she had dropped out of university and a year later they were married. Oakwood isolated her from her friends and family and imposed his opinions upon her.'
'That's terrible!' said Louisa, horrified.
'Yes. And he carried on giving it to her even though he knew what it would do to her long term,' said Martin, grimly.
Louisa paled and Martin awkwardly put his arm around her.
'Yes, if he had lived a bit longer Oakwood would have had some difficult questions to answer,' continued DI Haines.
'But where did he get it from?'
'We found emails on Oakwood's computer to a Brazilian pharmaceuticals company, negotiating for a bulk order of 1-7-alphaheptalurian. It's still licensed in Brazil, though only for short-term use. He used his professional standing to persuade them to sell it to him.'
'Evil,' said Louisa, shivering.
'Yes,' agreed Martin.
'So, what changed?' asked Bert, who had been quietly listening.
'After Sam died, Teri was distraught. She kept being sick which meant that the drug didn't have time to be absorbed into her system. A few days after Sam died Teri Oakwood realised that something strange was going on. At first she thought it was grief making her view everything differently but Anthony's behaviour made her increasingly suspicious. He ordered her around and expected her to agree with everything he said and he was obsessed with her taking vitamins and having as much calcium as possible. And Teri realised that she was suffering from withdrawal symptoms. When Oakwood went out she gradually worked her way through his emails, then searched the house and found the 1-7-alphaheptalurian, still in a labelled box. She recognised them as the 'vitamins' she'd been taking for years. She found a web site set up by a support group for people who have suffered skeletal damage caused by long-term use of 1-7-alphaheptalurian. There was also information about the psychological effects of the drug as well. The next morning she ground up ten 1-7-alphaheptalurian tablets and put them in Oakwood's coffee. Half an hour later he was woozy and confused. Teri simply ordered him to lie on the floor and not to move whatever happened then smothered him with a cushion. She expected to get caught straight away but then you turned up, Mr Large, and offered her a chance to muddy the waters, which she seized with both hands.'
'Yes, she made a fool out of me,' said Bert ruefully.
'But you realised it was her. How?' asked Martin.
'Ah, well, it was the look she gave me.'
'The look she gave you?' asked Martin, sceptically.
'It's hard to explain but when Al was a lad of about five, if he'd done something wrong and was trying to convince me he hadn't, he'd give me this look, out of the side of his eyes, trying to see if he'd convinced me. When I was in the kitchen with Mrs Oakwood after we'd found the body, she said all the right things but then she looked at me just the way Al used to and I knew that she'd killed him. And I realised that she knew that I knew.'
'So that's why you were so worried.'
'Yes. I didn't know what to do.'
'So you made yourself ill with worry,' said Martin, disapprovingly.
Bert looked embarrassed and quickly changed the subject,
'So, does that mean Mrs Oakwood will be coming back to the village?'
'No,' replied Martin sadly.
'Why not? I think people would understand,' said Louisa.
Martin looked down at the floor, not wanting to annoy Louisa but unable to discuss Teri Oakwood's medical condition without her permission. Realising Martin's quandary, DI Haines answered for him,
'Not medically possible.'
'That poor woman!' said Louisa, 'He's not only stolen her past, he's taken her future too.'
'Yes,' agreed DI Haines sombrely, 'And she blamed him for the deaths of Sam and the other children too. She said that if she'd been herself, she would never have supported his woolly theories and Sam would never have behaved the way he did, so the accident would never have happened.'
'She could well be right. I tried to make Anthony Oakwood see that Sam's behaviour was mostly attention seeking and could easily be corrected by using positive reinforcement of good behaviour. He spouted a load of pseudo-psychological nonsense and then told me to mind my own business. I wish I'd tried harder.'
Louisa sounded regretful and slightly guilty, so Martin quickly said,
'It wouldn't have made any difference. The man was an evil egotist who thought drugging his wife was acceptable. He was never going to let you change his mind.'
Louisa's expression lightened and Martin realised, with a sense of shock, that he'd managed to say the right thing for once.
DI Haines left and Martin and Louisa gazed sadly out to sea, thinking of the lives damaged and destroyed by one man's evil.
They were jolted out of their reverie by Bert putting plates in front of them,
'On the house. I think we all need cheering up.'
'What is it, Bert?'
'It's my Port Wenn pudding,' replied Bert proudly.
'Martin! What's in it?'
'Well, the recipe's a secret but seeing as it's you…I took a recipe for Rocky Road and replaced half the marshmallows with dark chocolate chips and used ginger biscuits instead of plain.'
Louisa took a cautious bite,
'It's delicious! What have you called it?'
'Well, I haven't quite decided. What do you think of Ginger Road? Or maybe Rocky Highway? No, I know...Bert's Surprise.'
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