Any Opportunity Will Do Ch. 19byshandal©
The drama has unfolded, but is it yet over? Revenge is a strong emotion, but who will be the one to give it and the one to get it.
This is a story full of Characters, with two lovers at its centre, please enjoy and be aware there are some scenes describing nonconsensual sex and violence.
John and Josh walked down the road towards The Old Bailey, the mass of press and camera's spilling out onto the road. Taking a deep breath the men walked on faster, moving through the area cordoned off for people to enter the imposing structure of British Justice.
Once inside they were stopped and asked to show identification, and while they waited as they were checked off the witness list and checked out for concealed weapons Josh looked around to see if he could see Kat.
He knew the press were waiting in a frenzy to get a photo of her, as one of the two women held personally by Alexei and the one they knew was going to testify the most to help bring him down. Over the last two weeks the papers had been writing about her, spreading speculation as to what had occurred up in the attic, and reporting some of the sordid details of her time during the siege, and today was the first day of her testimony, which is why he and John had turned up to give her support.
They had both been giving their own testimony during the last week, with Josh telling the story of how at the pub she had bumped into him and how they had ended up running to the Isle of Wight to keep her safe. How they had been pulled out of bed by Alexei's men and then the dreadful details of her beating as she hung by her wrists defenceless, and then his being shot in the chest by Alexei.
He had stood in the witness box for two and a half days, Alexei staring at him with complete malice answering the questions put to him by both the Prosecution and the Defence Barristers. During the defence questions he was accused of abducting Kat himself for his own means, and felt his face flame up with anger as the smarmy bewigged and gowned man implied that he Josh had used her as a common prostitute and that is why they were found in bed naked, that he was just another of her tricks.
Biting his angry retort back he told the man that they both had willingly made love, and were due to get married as soon as the trial was over. That sent the press scribbling, and that morning the headline in the papers stated 'White Knight To Wed White Slavery Victim'.
Hating his private life being thrown across the papers for all too see he had refused all offers to sell his story, telling reporters to go to hell, and then watched as his ex wife sold hers a second time.
Sitting down in the viewers balcony of the court room, he watched as the jurors came in, watching their faces and wondering how the five woman jurors felt as they had listened to the sordid details of what had happened to the poor women taken and abused around the country by Alexei and his men, kept in houses, scared and unable to escape their fate. Did they picture it happening to them, their sisters, daughters and granddaughters? Did the men on the jury wonder if they had ever used any of the women inadvertently if they had ever visited a brothel? Did they think of how these women came to be there, servicing men, and who got the money they paid for their quick fuck with a stranger?
Looking across the row where he and John sat, he watched as Phil Amery moved towards them. Phil sat next to him and they shook hands watching as the Judge entered in his red and black gown, his wig slightly askew on his head, the court standing as he entered, to give respect to the Crown and the Law.
He listened to the legal talk of the officials discussing the handing out of maps to demonstrate to the jury the position of certain sites, and then it was time to call the next witness, Katrina. Sitting forward he watched as she entered the court, her face averted away from the defendant box where Alexei in his smart designer suit stood, glaring at her, his eyes narrowed with hate, his whole demeanour intimidating. Taking the witness box she glanced up at Josh in the balcony and he smiled a reassuring smile, as the court usher walked up to her with the Bible and she took her oath.
Standing there speaking in a clear and strong voice she answered the questions given to her, telling her horrific story of how she applied for the job of Au Pair, meeting up with the man who had arranged to meet her at Heathrow, thinking she was meeting the husband of where she was going to work, only to be taken away and locked in a bedroom of a house somewhere, gang raped and beaten until she agreed to work for them.
Josh felt his own tears fall as he listened to her evidence, his admiration for her growing as he heard her terrible story explained in front of so many people, her chin held high, no longer the victim but his Kat, a woman with an inner strength that he admired and loved.
Over the course of the day she answered the questions, only once breaking down when she told of the day Alexei came to the house and chose her to go upstairs with him, hurting her for the first time, using his hands around her neck to hold her still whilst he raped her, squeezing so that she could hardly breath and laughing as she begged him to stop.
It was at this point that the Judge called it a day and dismissing the court told Katrina and the Jury not to discuss what had been spoken of in court to anyone. As the judge left Alexei shouted across to Katrina something in Russian. His Defence Lawyer scurried over to him, trying to calm his client down, but failing as Jurors were hustled out and Katrina started to walk towards the door. Josh could hear the Russian angrily argue with his own council, his angry voice rising in an arrogant tirade.
Phil shook his head, "He knows his going to lose, and this is his final chance to hurt her."
"Do you know what he said?"
"No, but guessing from the look on Katrina's face, she did."
Over the next two days Katrina stood in the court giving her evidence, answering difficult questions, describing her time at Alexei's house, the beatings, the bondage, the raping, the pain she had experienced. Trembling she relived the nightmare, refusing to stop when ever she broke down and cried, determined to get it over with, and testify to make sure Alexei was found guilty of the charges brought against him.
Finally it came to the morning of the siege and taking a drink of the water offered her, she told of being dragged from the bed and taken downstairs, scared and naked. Under gentle questions from the Prosecution she told of the final beating and how there was a struggle for the gun, hearing the shots, fearing Josh had been killed, and seeing the body of the young Policeman laying in the pool of seeping blood close to where she lay, pinned by Josh's unconscious body.
The court listened in a tense hush, the press writing down their reports, some members of the Jury obviously moved by the young woman and her testimony, glancing across at the man in the dock they seemed shocked that something like this could happen.
Finally photos were given to the Jury, photos showing Katrina's injuries, her body being shown to strangers once again, her dignity stripped from her even in court.
Finally the Prosecution sat down and it was the Defences turn. Like with Josh, it seemed that the thrust of the defence was that she had willingly become a prostitute, leaving Belarus with that intention, taking up with Alexei as a willing and consensual participant in BDSM, and that at no time was she held captive or abused against her will. Katrina answered back, calm and quiet, her hands gripping the wooden rail, "Why would I consent to being beaten nearly unconscious by whips and crops? What possible enjoyment would I have in being given to strangers as part payment for their services to him?" pointing at Alexei, her eyes daring him to challenge her.
But the Defence kept on at her, bringing up her sleeping and having sex with Josh so soon after they met, using that to point to her being promiscuous and loose. Shaking her head she told the man questioning her that she had been a virgin when she had been gang raped by the men, and that Josh was the first man she had willingly given herself to, and until that time she had no say in who used her body from the time she got off the plane to the moment that Josh had rescued her.
Over the next two days the Defence kept on at her, trying to break her down, but she held her head up, never wavering, answering back each time the truth, that Alexei was responsible for raping and hurting her, keeping her captive and abusing her, pimping her out and for three months making her life a living hell.
Finally she was released and Josh rushed out of the viewers' gallery and downstairs to meet her in the witness room, where he held her close as she sobbed into his chest, her small body shaking with the relief that it was all over.
The next day the Polish girl walked through the door of the Old Bailey, accompanied by the Interpreter and her Case Worker, her bag clutched to her chest.
As they approached the electronic metal detector she had to walk through, she pretended to faint and was helped to a chair at the side of the area, whilst people scurried about to get her a glass of water. Giving her bag to the Case Worker who had already passed through the metal detector, she let everyone fuss over her until she felt it time to get up and move towards the arch, passing through without it beeping and continuing on towards where she was directed.
In the lift her Case Worker suddenly realised she was holding the small bag, and handing it to the frail girl, smiled and asked in English if she was feeling alright. Nodding the Polish girl looked up at the woman, smiling to reassure her, before standing in front of the opening doors and stepping out.
Alexei sat in the dock; his tie and shoe laces having been removed the night before. He realised things were not going well, but he and his Barrister hoped that if they presented these woman to have low morality and to have participated with consent, all he had to do was claim the gun went off whilst he was defending himself after being shot himself. A possible manslaughter whilst under duress was his defence against the murder of the young Policeman. His defence with the woman was they all came to work for him willingly, and therefore a charge of living off immoral earnings was the correct charge and not kidnapping and enslavement.
The court stood up as the Judge walked in and then sat back down, a murmur of expectation running around the court. With the Prison Officer sitting slightly behind him in the dock, Alexei waited for the next witness, his last little plaything, the girl with the frightened doe eyes.
In she walked, clutching her arms around her stomach, her thin shoulders hunched as if she was expecting him to reach out from the dock and hit her. Smiling he sat back, satisfied that he still had the power over this one, that she was scared of him, and that gave him a small thrill.
The Interpreter stood by her, explaining the oath as the shaking woman held onto the Bible with her hand, her brown lank hair hiding her face as she looked down, her body language speaking volumes.
Respectfully the Defence Barrister asked her about herself before she had come over to England, and in a timid voice she answered in Polish, the Interpreter translating her answers for the court. Up in the balcony watching, the press artist was drawing a sketch of her that would appear in the papers that night, and the dead Policeman's parents sat, as they had done everyday, listening to the story of the monster that had taken away the life of their son.
Halfway through the morning the young Polish girl started to cry in earnest and being offered a tissue by the court usher shook her head and put her hand into the pocket of her skirt as if to pull out her own.
As her hand rose up over the edge of the witness box there was an audible gasp, in her hand was a gun, and it pointed at Alexei. Shouting out something in Polish at him she pulled the trigger, the loud sound echoing around the wooden walled courtroom, as a security man lunged towards her, and Alexei started to rise up in shock.
Looking down at his chest, Alexei watched as his blood pumped out, falling down to his knees, and then falling forward, the wall of the dock stopping him as he was caught slumped up on his knees. His prison Officer sitting behind him leaning forward trying to help, but it was too late, Alexei's heart had stopped, deprived of the life-giving blood that now drained out the wound in his chest, his main artery severed.