Hamilton was a six-hour drive from Adelaide. I spent the night in a motel and went to see Ellen Ford’s parents at ten on the morning after I’d arrived. I guess I could have telephoned but I thought they deserved a face to face interview, seeing I was batting for the opposing side.
They were wary of me from the get-go.
‘Are you trying to prove he didn’t kill her? The police told us he did it,’ said Mr Ford.
‘They could very well be right,’ I said, ‘but I’m trying to find out if there’s another explanation just in case they’re wrong.’
‘Like what?’ said Mr Ford.
‘Tell me about Mick Daley,’ I said.
‘Who told you about him?’ said Mr Ford.
‘The woman Ellen was sharing her apartment with.’
‘Sally?’ said Mrs Ford.
‘Well, I guess Sally’s not up with our local news, Mr Parish,’ said Mr Ford. ‘Mick’s been in the cemetery for the last six months. Silly bugger died of an overdose. Heroin, I think it was.’
‘And, good riddance!’ said Mrs Ford. ‘He was horrible to our daughter.’
That certainly put Mick Daley out of the frame.
‘Did Ellen ever mention if she was in any trouble after she moved to Adelaide?’ I asked.
‘She didn’t tell us much about her life over there,’ said Mr Ford. ‘I guess she knew I wouldn’t have approved of what she was doing, if I’d known.’
‘She talked to me, though,’ said Mrs Ford. ‘She was very happy over there.’
To be continued…