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Murdering Our Son: The Steven Clark Story, review – a compelling crime case told in a peculiar way

The central mystery in Accused of Murdering Our Son: The Steven Clark Story (ITV) remains as compelling today as it did when Steven went missing in December 1992. The 23-year-old disappeared during a walk with his mother by Saltburn Pier in Cleveland. Although there were two credible sightings of him in the days afterwards, no trace of him was ever found. His bank account remained untouched.

Twenty-eight years later and as part of a cold case review, police arrested Steven’s parents, Doris and Charles,  on suspicion of his murder. What followed was a horrible ordeal in which they were interrogated, forced to move out of their home while it was searched, and spent 17 weeks fearing that they were about to be charged. The couple had contacted the former detective-turned-TV-sleuth, Mark Williams-Thomas, for help. But what followed was a true crime story told in a peculiar way.

Williams-Thomas put himself centre stage, involving talking into a Dictaphone and sharing his findings via Zoom with a retired senior police officer, but that didn’t illuminate proceedings. In the end Williams-Thomas concluded, as did the police, that the couple were innocent.

But before that point he attempted to test their innocence with his own techniques. “I’ve tried everything to break them – back and forth, repeating questions, asking them in a different manner… and they don’t falter,” he said. The camera often lingered on Charles’s face, as if to cast doubt, which felt sly.

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