Corpus Delicti

 by Cath Greene


I sat huddled by the window, my fingers stumbling over the keyboard, laptop attempting to connect to the invisible mess of the web. Outside the water lapped through the reeds; would I ever feel as peaceful?


The EDP news page dropped onto the screen. It was the top story:


Norwich man convicted for the murder of Pippa Colgan.


Reading the headline over and over, I swallowed the ache in my throat; no tears, not now. I stared at the cursor hovering over the article. Just one more click:


October 4th


Three years after being arrested and cleared of the murder of Adam Colgan, Norwich man Stephen Bain is today starting a life sentence for the murder of Pippa Colgan, Mr Colgan’s sister.


Despite Miss Colgan’s body never being found, and Bain pleading ‘not guilty’, the evidence presented at Norwich Crown Court left the jury in no doubt of Bain’s guilt. Seven women and five men took only two hours and nineteen minutes to deliberate before returning a unanimous verdict. 


Miss Colgan, 23, from Cringleford, described as a ‘cheerful and friendly young woman’ with ‘a promising law career ahead of her’, was last seen on December 1st, heading away from the Red Lion, Bishop’s Gate. Friends of Miss Colgan said she left the bar after a heated argument with Bain had left her ‘obviously shaken and upset’.


Sprowston plumber Stephen Bain, who was ‘just having a quiet pint’ after fixing a leak in the cellar, denied seeing Miss Colgan after the incident. However, witness statements taken from several other drinkers said Bain, who was ‘kicked out’ by the then landlord, Freddy Talbot, ran down Riverside Walk shortly after Miss Colgan was seen taking the same route.


On December 2nd Miss Colgan’s failure to return home was reported to the police.


When Mr Albert Featherdew alerted the authorities to a blood stained shoe discovered by his dog in some bushes near Pull’s Ferry, a short distance from the Red Lion, police began treating Miss Colgan’s disappearance as suspicious.


Bain, 34, was quickly linked to Miss Colgan’s last known movements and given their history, a search of his home was conducted. Several items were removed from Bain’s residence, including a wrench hidden in an outhouse. When forensic examinations revealed traces of Miss Colgan’s blood on the wrench, her disappearance became a murder enquiry and Bain was arrested.


Miss Colgan’s mobile phone was later retrieved from the river after the police dragged a large stretch of the Wensum, and a handbag, strongly believed to be Miss Colgan’s, was recovered from a bin outside the Cathedral vestry. Forensic examinations of Bain’s van subsequently revealed small amounts of Miss Colgan’s blood on the driver’s seat, thought to have transferred from Bain’s clothing…


I snapped the laptop shut. Numbness drenched me. I can still see Bain’s face, grinning like guilt was his best friend. He may have walked away from Adam’s murder, but at least he’s not walking away from mine.



© Cath Greene