Expert Witness is the 826th episode of The Bill

DC Rod Skase and PC Dave Quinnan arrive to deal with a robbery at a petrol station, fighting off a woman who’s rather annoyed that she has to walk down to the newsagents to get her paper and a tin of cat food because they won’t let her in. New DS Don Beech parks on the forecourt, despite Dave’s protests for him to move and his attempt at stopping him getting in. When Don reveals who he is, Dave apologises and tells him how to get in. Don speaks to SOCO who don’t hold much hope in getting much evidence as other people have been in and out, leaving Don and Rod to try and get as much as he can from the girl behind the desk, Nina.

Nina explains that she was late and that by the time she arrived, the robber was already inside. She saw her employer on the floor unconscious and the man stealing the cash from the till and several packets of cigarettes before running out. Don is suspicious that she can remember he was holding a metal bar, but not what colour the balaclava was that he was wearing, or if he was wearing a jacket.

Rod recounts an earlier case of an attack on a post office with the same MO, a snout naming the main suspect as Jason Miller who he and Don go to see, taking his trainers away with them to test against the print found. Rod is rather taken with the forensic scientist, Janet Kennard, that Don introduces him to, although when she proves it was Rod who messed up the main footprint they have, he’s less keen – and at the receiving end of Don’s sharp tongue.

DC Jim Carver is unimpressed when he and DC Alan Woods are lumped with investigating several robberies, especially when Rod was the investigating officer in most of them. He questions Alan about why they’re landed with them, discovering that Alan doesn’t hold Don in high regard, despite only just meeting him that morning. In the canteen, the Relief gossip about Don, Dave quick to inform them how out of his depth Rod was, PC Polly Page explaining how CAD had been busy all day with personal calls from women calling for Don.

Nina has remembered more about the attack, giving a very detailed account of what the man had been wearing. Rod fills Don in on what Nina had said before his snout finally arrives and fills in some of the gaps, telling them that Miller is about to take a holiday to escape some women trouble so they need to act fact.

Forensics have drawn a blank from the footprint, the bit from the print they need being obscured by Rod blundering in that morning. However, the results on the fibres they found contradict what evidence Nina has given, but it’s still not enough to arrest Miller until it is revealed the tyre lever that they took from Miller when investigating the Post Office robbery has evidence that ties him to the scene of crime. PC Donna Harris does some of her own detective work and discovers that Nina is the girlfriend of a known criminal, Clive Andrews, and is a known associate of Miller.

Alan, still not sure about Don, did some digging, talking to a friend from Barton Street. A criminal was leaned upon by Don and appealed against his conviction; although the appeal was eventually dismissed the general consensus was that Don had been sailing too close to the wind.

Don visits Nina again and threatens her with a charge of perverting the course of justice, encouraging her to open up and tell the truth. She says that it was Andrews who was the robber and that he’d threatened her to keep quiet. Don and Rod visit Andrews and arrest him after finding a ripped jacket that fits the description of the fibres and the stolen cigarettes. Don chases after Nina after seeing her nearby and she finally agrees to testify against him.

When later watching Miller, they’re surprised to see Nina pleading with him not to leave, even throwing herself into his moving car to try and stop him. When he finally stops and Nina is thrown from the car, Rod seizes the opportunity to arrest him for assault.

Later in the pub, Rod gladly reveals that Nina has come up trumps and given the evidence on Andrews. However, he’s not so pleased to see Don appear with Janet on his arm. When she hands him the evidence that proves Miller was involved with the Post Office robbery, he tries to get her to agree to a drink, only for her to turn him down flat and flirt with Don.

First appearance of D.S. Don Beech (Billy Murray).

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