How To Throw Your Life Away

By: Laurie Ellingham

To A, T and L, with love


Thank you to those in the know who answered my questions about police procedures. Thanks also to eagle-eyed Kathryn Jones for her proof reading skills, and to Maggie and Mel Ewings, my first draft readers. My dad, Steve, also needs a mention, for his unwavering encouragement. And finally, Andy, my amazing husband, who is always in my corner, even when I start sentences with ‘and.’

Writing can be a lonely path, so I’d like to say a special thanks to the writers and bloggers on #BookConnectors for making me feel part of a wonderful community.



Katy stared at the shiny silver bolt holding the table leg to the floor and wondered, not for the first time that afternoon, how she’d come to throw her life away. Not to mention, how she’d come to be arrested for assault.

Sergeant Mackenzie pressed a button on the black recording device until it beeped. ‘Interview number alpha uniform six three nine. Today’s date is Saturday the second of July, 2015. The time is six thirty-eight pm. Present in the interview is myself, Sergeant Mackenzie, and my colleague, PC Donavon. Please state your full name and address for the record.’

‘Katy Marie Davenport. Fifteen Hamilton Close, Henley, Essex.’ Her heart thumped in her chest. Nausea danced and churned in her empty stomach.

‘Please confirm that you are waiving your right for legal representation.’

‘I am.’

Did she even know a solicitor? There was Mr Melford who had worked on the purchase of her house a few years ago, but he wasn’t the fastest solicitor in the world. If she counted on him, she’d probably find herself celebrating next week’s thirty-third birthday with Sergeant Mackenzie and PC Donavon. What was the point of a solicitor anyway? She’d done it. She’d thrown her life away.

Sergeant Mackenzie reached into a pocket in his uniform, removed a black notebook and flipped it open. He looked a little like her dad. Maybe it was because he was about the same age, or maybe it was the comb-over. Or maybe it was because the last time Katy had felt so ashamed was when Claire had persuaded her to sneak out of the house when they were sixteen and go to a nightclub she’d been forbidden to go to.

Her dad had been waiting at the kitchen table for her in his red plaid dressing gown and matching slippers. ‘I’m not angry, I’m disappointed,’ he’d said. How ashamed she’d felt then. And now? Now shame didn’t begin to cover it.

‘In your own words, Miss Davenport, please explain the event which led to us being called to the stated address earlier this evening.’

‘Er right,’ Katy drew in a shaky breath as heat crept across her cheeks, ‘I hit my boyfriend over the head with the TV remote.’

PC Donavan let out a sharp series of coughs. Katy glanced at the young policeman. Was he laughing at her? PC Donavan looked too young and too short to be in a policeman’s uniform. Didn’t they have a height requirement anymore? He’d had to stand on his tiptoes and stretch his arm out just to guide Katy’s head into the police car. As if being led away from her house by two policemen wasn’t embarrassing enough.

Sergeant Mackenzie turned his eyes towards his colleague, and the young officer fell silent.

‘Your boyfriend is Mr Adam Cartright?’ Sergeant Mackenzie asked.


‘And when you say that you hit your boyfriend with a television remote, was it just once or more than once?’

‘Four or five times I think.’ The heat in her cheeks spread down to her neck as she spoke. The events of the afternoon felt distorted and unreal, as if she was recalling a vivid dream, or a nightmare, except it wasn’t a dream or a nightmare. It was much worse. This was her life.

‘What was Mr Cartright doing at the time of the attack?’

Katy’s entire body cringed. Had she caught him in bed with next door’s gorgeous nineteen year old daughter? No. Had he told her it was over after five years of her life spent with him? No. Had he been sitting on the sofa minding his own business? Yes.

‘He was watching television,’ Katy said, watching the look of confusion cross the officers’ faces. ‘I asked him what he wanted for dinner and he didn’t answer me. I asked him three times and he didn’t answer.’

‘Did he say anything or do anything after you started hitting him?’ Sergeant Mackenzie asked.

‘He said “I want pizza” or something like that.’ The truth sounded even worse out loud than it had in her head.

PC Donavan snorted.

‘Interview suspended at six forty five pm,’ Sergeant Mackenzie said, pressing another button on the recording device in the middle of the table. It responded with two short beeps.

‘Miss Davenport, please excuse us for one moment. Can I get someone to bring you a cup of water?’

‘Yes please,’ Katy attempted a smile. It was not returned by either officer.

Katy watched as the senior officer took PC Donavan’s arm, almost dragging him out of the room. The muffled sound of his raised voice carried from the other side of the door.

Katy scooped her long dark brown hair into a pony tail and then let it fall back down her back. Some of it still felt wet, clinging to her neck after the hot afternoon she’d spent digging in her garden.