An unflinching new ITV documentary, led by ex-detective Mark Williams-Thomas - who helped expose Jimmy Saville's sex crimes – in an investigative role, follows in real time the unique experience of an elderly couple accused of murdering their son.
Steven Clark, 23, disappeared in mysterious circumstances following a family walk with his mother on the 28th December 1992. Then 28 years later, in September 2020, his parents Doris, 81, and Charles, 78, were arrested on suspicion of murder following a cold case review by police from the Cleveland and North Yorkshire Cold Case Unit.
Following the investigation over 17 weeks, the documentary explores both sides of the story and reveals the intense pressure experienced by the couple forced to relive the anguish of Steven's disappearance and face the prospect of going to jail for the rest of their lives.
From having their garden dug up and house searched by police looking for a body to media speculation - the couple's unfolding nightmare is witnessed by Williams-Thomas who follows them on every painful step of their ordeal.
At points throughout the weeks, Mark checks in with retired senior police officer Julie Mackay, the former Head of Major Crime at Avon and Somerset Police, who remembers the case and offers her insight on the police investigation and the decision to accuse Steven’s parents 28 years on from their son’s disappearance.
Charles and Doris also share new home video footage of Steven as a child and relive the tragic car accident when aged just three, he was hit by a lorry, which left him with a severely damaged left arm, a damaged leg and a pronounced limp. Doris says, "He was so different from the little boy before the accident to how he was when he came home, so we just worked as hard as we could to get him better."
Williams-Thomas says, "Over 17 weeks I followed Charles and Doris whilst they were accused of the murder of their son. My approach was to be totally impartial, my questioning direct, as I unpicked their accounts and explored the possible scenarios around Steven’s sudden disappearance. It’s a compelling real-life story, providing an intimate insight to the unique experience of this couple that is as close to a crime drama as you will ever see on television.”
Now ruled out as suspects in the murder investigation, Doris and Charles aim to get on with their lives and still live in hope that one day Steven will return to their family home.
Accused of Murdering Our Son -The Steven Clark Story airs Thursday on ITV.