The finishing line is finally in sight.  Sharon Collins and Essam Eid will be sentenced on Monday November 3rd, four weeks away.  So know we know when the end begins and the story finds it’s conclusion (until the appeal comes around of course).

Court 1 was full this morning, the confusion over whether today was to be the actual sentence or not ensured the press pack gathered and the tension built just in case the information was wrong and they were going to sneak in a sentence under everyone’s unprepared noses. We heard how both the Courts Services and the Department of Justice had seen to it that Sharon was psycholigically assessed.  When her defence team stand to speak in her favour they will have plenty of material to pick from all due to this confusion they were keen to point out.

But to some relief it turned out the law is more civilised than that.  Eid’s legal team had not quite gathered all the medical reports they were looking for so it was only a couple of minutes business while a date in four weeks’ time was found.

Both of them were sitting in their old seats.  Eid smiling at the prison guards up near the judge, while Sharon waited for her boys in the alcove under the stairs in the reception area.  While she waited she chatted earnestly to a prison guard, her hands fluttering underlining her points as her eyes flicked towards any figure passing towards the Round Hall.

After three months in prison her hair is longer now and she no longer has the groomed look she wore throughout the trial.  A prison diet has added pounds to the skinny frame she once used heavy duty obesity medication to maintain.  Weeks of worry and misery inside had deepened the lines on her face and darkened the shadows under her eyes.

Eventually one of her son’s turned up.  David, the younger of her two boys, 22 years of nervous energy sitting beside his mother sharing a moment of rare semi privacy.  As always during the trial he took his seat before his mother, insulating her from her co-accused.

Today they were relegated to the back row of the benches that serve as a home to the accused when they are on trial.  The press had spilled into her usual perch, staking their claim now she was a convicted felon who didn’t need to be stepped around.

So it’ll be November before everyone gathers again.  The first Monday is when it all kicks off.  In a way it’s nice to get the break but it would be nice to draw a line under this book and give it an ending.  Still four weeks isn’t that long.