It’s been a harrowing few months for poor John Palmer (Shane Withington). First, he was diagnosed with a brain tumour and now the day he has been dreading has arrived – is he going to prison?
Despite Morag’s (Cornelia Frances) best efforts, John could be facing a lengthy spell in jail.
Numb with shock, a distraught Marilyn (Emily Symons) faces the possibility of life without her beloved husband.
Morag insists they’ll appeal if the verdict goes against them, so Marilyn clings to the hope that John will be set free.
She tries to maintain her positive attitude – reassuring him that everything is under control. John, in turn, puts on a brave face for Marilyn’s sake and insists he’s coping with the possibility of going to prison.
The married couple have been to hell and back since it was revealed John was the arsonist who lit the bushfire that led to the death of Billie (Tessa de Josselin).
When Dr Nate (Kyle Pryor) and police officer Kat Chapman (Pia Miller) broke the news, John was devastated.
‘A tumour like John’s can cause blackouts and memory loss,’ Nate reveals. ‘Someone with John’s condition could have no memory of it.
And while Billie’s brother Ash (George Mason) was able to forgive him for his sister’s death, John still can’t forgive himself for his actions.
‘I know now you weren’t yourself,’ Ash reasons. ‘The tumour made you do things...’
John interrupts him, saying: ‘That doesn’t make me any less ashamed.’
He’s beaten the tumour, but will John, if he’s found guilty, be able to survive life behind bars?
This story originally appeared in this week’s New Idea – Out now.
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