The search for Matthew Taylor’s real killer came to its conclusion tonight on ‘Innocent’.
If you want to avoid spoilers for ‘Innocent’, stop reading now.
The episode opened with Bethany (Amy-Leigh Hickman) at home trying to find Sam (Jamie Bamber) but finding the house empty and his car gone. Sam was still with Sally (Katherine Kelly) as she was telling him that the thought of him had kept her going after she lost their baby. She told him that Sam had really want to be with her if they were going to get back together and he mentioned that Karen (Priyanga Burford) had been a big support to him.
Mike (Shaun Dooley) was called and told that they had a match on the DNA following Karen’s samples being taken. Karen called Bethany and told her she would be home soon, knowing full well that may not be the case.
Sam left Sally’s house and picked up the voicemail from Aaron, the man who it seems had lied to the police about being Sam’s alibi.
At the police station Karen was informed that her DNA matched a hair on Matthew’s clothes. Karen said it was impossible and continued to lie to the police. Mike and Suzy (Laura Rollins) continued to push her and Karen suggested maybe she’d seen him at school and that’s how her hair had landed on his coat. Mike wasn’t buying it and told Karen they already knew from Sam that there had been an altercation between her and Matthew.
That prompted Karen to come clean about what had happened. She told Mike that Matthew was shouting abuse at her about Bethany and she retaliated by grabbing his coat and telling him to leave her family alone ‘or else’.
Sam went to see Aaron and it was revealed that the two weren’t together on the day Matthew was killed. Aaron blackmailed Sam asking for two payments of £500 to keep his secret. Sam reacted angrily, slamming Aaron into a wall and threatening to get him put back behind bars if he didn’t leave him alone.
Back at the station, Mike told Karen that he knew she was off work with glandular fever for two weeks after Matthew was murdered. He pointed out that she hadn’t gone to see her doctor and Karen admitted she wanted to spend time with Bethany as she was in a bad way. Suzy revealed that they’d looked at Bethany’s social services file and found that Karen had changed them.
Bethany stored into Sally’s classroom and accused her of setting her mother up, and of sleeping with Sam. She called her a slut, spat in her face and ran out of the classroom.
Mike and Suzy discussed Karen, and Mike revealed that if he’d been in Karen’s shoes he might have been capable of anything.
Sally spoke to Emily (Krissi Bohn) about the incident and Emily had been told by Bethany that Sally started the fight by manhandling her. Sally told her that Bethany was lying and Emily then asked if Sally had slept with Sam, which Sally angrily denied insisting they’d talked about the situation and the fact they loved one another. Emily said she needed to take it to the governors to decide what to do next.
Sam picked Bethany up, who was still raging by the time they got home. Bethany asked if Sam was going to tell Karen the wedding was off as she believed he’d been sleeping with Sally. As Bethany ran off, Sam followed her upstairs and explained that nothing had happened with Sally. Sam told Bethany that it’s possible to love two people at once, which made Bethany even angrier.
As Bethany shut herself in her bedroom, the doorbell rang and it was Mike, who wanted to question her. Mike asked about Karen’s whereabouts on the day Matthew was murdered and Bethany was caught in a lie. Bethany was adamant that Karen had nothing to do with Matthew’s death and became angry again, swearing at Mike and storming out of the room.
Sally sat with her mother at the nursing home and talked about her time in prison. Her mother still didn’t recognise her but patiently listened.
Mike returned to the station and briefed the team about John Taylor’s whereabouts on the day Matthew was murdered. John’s sister had provided an alibi but Mike wanted her bringing in for questioning. Moving on to Karen and Bethany, Mike said that Karen was likely the last person to see Matthew alive. Mia (Janine Wood) asked how Karen could have got home without anyone seeing her and Mike explained the route she could have taken. Mike ordered a search in the area that Karen may have been in with the hope of uncovering the bottle neck that was missing and killed Matthew. Matthew ordered the team to go door-to-door from Karen’s house to the crime scene to look for evidence.
Sally arrived at school and heard the governors arguing in the staff room. Emily intercepted Sally and Sally told her that she was resigning as she was a distraction but that she would work until a replacement was found.
As the police went door-to-door, Sally called Sam to tell him she’d checked into a hotel while she thought about her next steps. She told him she realised that she’d come back to Keswick for Sam and asked him to move away with her. Sam said that he wanted to come with her and they both said ‘I love you’.
Suzy called Mike and told him a neighbour had seen him in the area they were interested in every week on the same night leading up to his death.
Sam made dinner for him and Bethany, and when he went to find her in the house she was nowhere to be seen. We however saw Bethany breaking into the school and smashing up the memorial to Matthew.
Bethany was picked up by the police and she asked to speak to Mike. In the interview room, Bethany said that she killed Matthew and that she’d lied to him the day before. Bethany explained that Karen had flipped after finding out what Matthew had done to her so she went after Karen when she left to find him. Bethany said Karen bumped into him and supported Karen’s story of Matthew abusing her verbally. She then revealed that she went after Matthew rather than going to her mother. Bethany said Matthew threw a bottle at her and when he started to walk off, she picked up the bottle and hit him with it. Mike asked how many times she hit him and she said once in the neck.
Mike and Suzy didn’t seem to buy her story, pointing out that she would have been 14 at the time and Matthew was 16. Bethany stuck to her story but Mike wasn’t convinced.
At the school, Sally saw John and Maria (Lucy Black) looking at the smashed memorial. She assured them she would make the memorial right again and Maria apologised for what Sally had been through.
Mike continued to pick holes in Bethany’s story and asked what she did after she ‘murdered’ Matthew. He asked if she’d spoken to Karen about what happened and Bethany said they never talked about it. When asked why she’d come forward now, Bethany said she wouldn’t let her mother take the fall for the murder. She then told Mike that Sally had spent the night with Sam.
Sam meanwhile asked Sally if he could stay with her for a few days while he figured things out. He then told her that he was going to leave with her and that things with Karen were over. An emotional Sally kissed Sam.
Mike went to speak to Karen to find out if there was any truth in Bethany’s story. Karen admitted that she didn’t know where Bethany was at the time of Matthew’s murder and Mike accused Karen of deleting Bethany’s records because she was fearful she might have done it.
Still not buying the story, Mike theorised to Suzy that Karen and Bethany might have worked together to kill Mattthew. Mia interrupted them and told them that one of the Amazon gift cards that had been bought for Matthew was traced back to a credit card and that she had the identity of the buyer.
Sally was reframing Matthew’s phot and she noticed there was an imprint on the back. She used a pencil to colour over the imprint and find out what it said.
Mike spoke to Aaron and found out that he wasn’t Sam’s alibi and he’d lied for him. At the same time Sally found that the imprint on the back of the photo referenced Sam.
Mike briefed the team about the new evidence and pointed the finger at Sam. He explained to the team that they knew Matthew was sexually active as he had condoms in his pocket.
Sally confronted Sam with the imprint and it revealed that Sam was having an affair with Matthew. Sally accused him of murdering Matthew.
Mike located Sam via his phone and rushed off to find him.
Sam admitted to Sally that he wouldn’t have hurt Matthew but that he had been having an affair with him. Sally tried to keep it together and asked if he’d slept with any other men before him. Sam’s lack of a response led Sally to realise that the man she thought she knew was a closeted gay man. Sally asked how long he’d known he was gay and Sam explained that he’d taken the easy way out by marrying Sally but secretly having sex with men. Sam revealed that he felt suicidal and that he was going to come clean to her but she brought Matthew home, and it spooked him.
Sam said he was in love with Matthew but he ended things with him. Sally accused him of lying and Sam insisted he wasn’t. The truth then came out that Sam had killed Matthew but he hadn’t meant to. He said that he’d tried to break things off with Matthew but Matthew had accused him of abusing him. As he continued, Sam told Sally that Matthew threw the bottle at him and threatened to tell everyone about their affair. The police arrived as Sam admitted he didn’t remember hitting him with the bottle and that he’d just wanted to stop him from telling people the truth.
Sally struggled to keep it together, realising that Sam had let her take the fall for something he did. He said that he was a coward and didn’t want to go to prison as his job as a parole officer would have made him a target. Sally stood up and told Sam that she realised there was nothing in Keswick for her anymore and as she left the hotel room, Mike and Suzy arrived to arrest Sam.
As the dust settled, Mike packed up the belongings of his late family, Sally reflected at the beach, and John and Maria embraced as John poured away his beer. Bethany and Karen reconciled at home.
Mike visited Sally and wished her luck for her new life in Ripon. Before she left, Sally asked Mike is he’d like to grab that pizza they’d discussed. He said he would and the two went their separate ways. Sally sat with her mother out the nursing home and held her hand, as she contemplated the new start that was lying ahead of her.
‘Innocent’ is available to watch now on ITV Hub.