When the trial began, Hunter started describing how Fiz and husband John's dilemma began, with them "conspiring" to steal the identity of Colin Fishwick, who had emigrated to Canada. He mentioned how "problems arose" when Colin returned to Weatherfield and discovered this. He claimed that Fiz and John's response was to murder him and hide his body and that Charlotte Hoyle was also killed after she found out what had happened. The third murder, according to Hunter, came when Colin's mother Joy pestered the Stapes about the whereabouts of her son. Hunter gave his personal opinion that the alleged crimes were not "crimes of passion" or "the result of anger or strong emotion" but were "deliberate cold-blooded executions" carried out by John and Fiz who were acting together.
Hunter's first witness was Brian Packham, who had interviewed John, who was posing as Colin Fishwick at the time, for a job in the English department at Daisyfield High School in April 2010. Brian confirmed that John had presented himself as Colin as he was unable to pass a CRB check after spending time in Highfield Prison for keeping Rosie Webster hostage for several weeks. Brian opined that Fiz must have known about John's identity theft as she had addressed her husband as Colin rather than John and accepted when Brian addressed her as Mrs. Fishwick. Hunter concluded that the identity theft was a double act - both John and Fiz were pretending to be people that they weren't. Brian also confirmed that the Stapes home, Number 5 Coronation Street, was just some yards away from the Underworld factory, where Hunter remarked that Colin's body had been found. Nicola Taybarn protested at this remark and the Judge berated him for it.
The prosecution's second witness was Charlotte Hoyle's mother Dorothy, who claimed that the first time she became aware that her daughter was involved with John Stape was when Charlotte told her and Alan that she'd met someone and wanted them to meet him. Dorothy told Hunter that he wasn't introduced to them as John, but as Colin. She said that she and Alan had a good first impression, and were pleased that Charlotte had found the right man, but that it soon became clear that he was certainly not and was conning her because she knew about his involvement in the real Colin's death. According to Dorothy, Charlotte was eventually killed for that reason. Dorothy continued that the first time she encountered Fiz was when she and Alan saw Fiz leaving Charlotte's house, before they entered to find the place had been ransacked, but Charlotte wouldn't tell them what had happened. Another occasion mentioned was after Charlotte had been killed, when Dorothy experienced who she thought was Colin stuffing money through her and Alan's letterbox, and that they had sent for his "friend", who turned out to be Fiz. She made it clear to Hunter that Fiz had posed as his friend, not his wife.
After the defence also questioned Dorothy, Hunter questioned Joy's solicitor Ben Dean, who claimed that Fiz had arrived at a meeting posing as Colin Fishwick's wife to discuss Joy's will and claimed that Colin couldn't attend as he was in hospital following a mental breakdown. Ben told Hunter that he had no reason not to believe Fiz at the time and concluded that she must have known the real Colin Fishwick wasn't going to turn up as she knew he was dead, to which Hunter remarked that she knew because she and John had murdered him. Taybarn again protested at this.
Hunter then went on to question Fiz's friend Hayley Cropper, who mentioned that she and Roy had fostered Fiz because her mother had struggled to cope with her. Hunter asked Hayley about the night Colin died and she said that they held a party at the cafe for Fiz's brother Chesney's birthday on the evening of the 30th July 2010. She said that Fiz was but John wasn't in attendance. She also said that Fiz went off for about twenty minutes to find John but was keen to return to the party. At this, Hunter concluded that Fiz could've been involved in Colin's death whilst she was away. Once again, Taybarn protested to the Judge, who berated Hunter again.
Hunter put up a strong case for the prosecution, supported by forensics. Forensic expert Dr Goodridge claimed that Colin Fishwick's cause of death was severe brain haemorrhage, and that many fibres found on the body were those belonging to John Stape, and a smaller amount belonging to Fiz, with many focused around a head wound. The Doctor also confirmed that Joy's cause of death was an angina attack, which would have been prevented with use of her GTN spray, which was found in her handbag next to her body. Finally, Goodridge revealed to Hunter that Fiz's fingerprints were identified on the spray.
When DS Redfern was called to the witness box, Hunter established the fact that Fiz had persistently lied to him about her part in John's crimes. After an interval, Taybarn talked to Chesney, who did his best to support his sister, but Hunter later made out that he was lying to protect her.
Fiz was eventually found not guilty of the murders of Joy and Charlotte but guilty of Colin's murder. Hunter later appeared at Fiz's sentencing where the judge sentenced her to life imprisonment with a minimum of fifteen years behind bars, despite Taybarn's pleas about John's recent deathbed confession.
List of appearances
- The character was credited as "Andy Hunter QC".