Caroline Beale's story has been told many times. She is the woman from Chingford who was arrested in September last year at John F Kennedy airport, New York, while carrying a dead baby - her own daughter - under her coat. Caroline says that the baby was born dead. The District Attorney in the borough of Queens says she was murdered. Until June Caroline was held in jail on New York's notorious Rikers Island, and may still be tried for murder.
Paul Faraway's story is less well known. He lived with Caroline for more than 10 years, shared her bed during her pregnancy, but never knew she was carrying a child.
Paul is 34. He has lived in Essex all his life and works as an engraver at a gun factory near Leytonstone, east London. He likes football (he supports QPR) and bands like Portishead. His father is a barrister and his mother is a part-time lecturer. They have stood by him while criticism from Caroline's family and some of her friends, who accuse Paul of coldness, has mounted. "It has been hard for me, losing everything I had with Caroline and hearing people say it was my fault, that I should have known something," he says. "I know her father thinks I could have done more and he says I can't speak unless I have a few beers. It's not true. I used to dread going round to see Caroline's parents, so that's why they didn't see the best of me. I prefer to be out with my friends.
"I'm not a romantic kind of person. I didn't buy Caroline flowers or chocolates. But I did give her a good home and I thought she could tell me anything. I never thought she lacked emotional support."
Caroline kept her pregnancy a secret. She gave birth on her own while Paul and his brothers were out at a New York club. She told her psychiatrists that she cleaned up after her labour and hid what she believed was a still- born baby in her rucksack. She says she cried out for Paul during her labour but could not let him know what had happened. For the next 18 hours until her arrest she kept the baby hidden.
"You try imagining that," Paul told me a month after Caroline's arrest. "It still blows my mind.
"Looking back, everything began to go wrong when Alison fell ill," he says, his voice on the verge of cracking. "Until then we were happy." Alison Taylor was Caroline's best friend and she was engaged to Dominic, one of Paul's three brothers.
"It was Dominic who told us Alison was sick and I remember Caroline was devastated," says Paul, who rushed to be with Dominic when Alison died, leaving Caroline alone at home. Caroline claims she found out she was accidentally pregnant just days after Alison's cancer was diagnosed and says she thought her baby died inside her shortly after Alison's death.
After Alison died, Paul says Caroline became withdrawn. "She would lie under a blanket all night and then go to bed early. I would stay up late and watch the TV and then get up early the next morning. She always left the house later than me." This may explain why Paul did not spot Caroline's pregnancy. They were never around each other for long in bed or in the bathroom and they had stopped having sex.
Paul admits he should have noticed signs of Caroline's deepening depression. "If there's one thing I wish for it's that we'd talked more. If only I'd known she'd been pregnant, I would never have left her alone in that hotel room." But he is still angry.
The fateful trip to New York was Dominic's idea. "He thought it would help everybody recover from Alison's death," says Paul. "When we got there, Caroline was a bit of a pain really all week. Of course, now I know why."
Caroline had complained of stomach pains earlier that evening but after a hot bath said she felt better and told Paul to leave with his brothers. "She said we shouldn't waste our last night in New York," says Paul. "We were totally unaware of what was really going on."
In the 14 months since Caroline's arrest, Paul has not been to see Caroline once. Nor has he done anything to help raise money for her legal fees . "I have my reasons," is all he will say. In the end, these seem to come down to his feelings of betrayal.
"I've been coming to grips with the fact I would have been a dad," he says. "I can't look at a little girl without thinking of the baby." And he is still angry. "That was my baby too. I had a right to know she had our child." Throughout our many conversations, he has voiced one question repeatedly: how much guilt does Caroline bear?
"I think she went crazy, but I'm keeping an open mind. I don't believe she could deliberately hurt a child." So did she panic while she was otherwise sane? "I don't believe that," he says. "But I can't rule it out. There is very strong forensic evidence which feeds doubt in my mind." He sounds cold when he says this, as though trying to distance himself. Some people who know both Paul and Caroline say that is not surprising.
"Paul always had trouble coping with emotions," says Claire Warby, a schoolfriend of Caroline who once dated Paul. "He had trouble talking about some things in their relationship. He is a shy boy, I'd say he's very unassuming." Fiona Herd, his next door neighbour, agrees.
Paul claims he tried to reach Caroline during her darkest days after Alison's death and when they went for their ill-fated trip to New York. "I brought up the fact she wasn't interested in sex, that she was not making an effort with our other friends, that some of them felt let down. She brushed it all off and said she was depressed about Alison and fed up with work. In New York I told her we couldn't carry on as we were, that she had to tell me if something was wrong. She kept saying she was fine so I didn't press the issue. We were on holiday, after all."
Before the death of their child, Paul and Caroline would have said they were in love. Neighbours have described their relationship as "near perfect". They had a close circle of friends and for 12 years they had lived as a happy, monogamous couple. Now, Paul can't sort out his feelings.
"I've never really spoken to Caroline about what actually happened that night. I don't know if I still love her. I feel desperately sorry for her. We have a lot of talking to do when she gets back. The baby can't just be forgotten, I can't just forget that she didn't tell me."
Paul has found it difficult to maintain a social life. He longs to get on with his life but he feels everything is on hold until Caroline's case is resolved. "This is an unimaginable catastrophe," he says. "It's destroyed the life I had."
For the past five months, Dr Naomi Goldstein, an eminent forensic psychiatrist appointed by the prosecution, has visited Caroline to evaluate her mental health and decide if she could have been responsible for any crime. She has also interviewed many of Caroline's friends, family and workmates. Dr Goldstein has especially asked people about Caroline's relationship with Paul. Her final report is expected to be made public this month.
Sources close to the case say that Goldstein will not exonerate Caroline. Her report will argue that Caroline was sane at the time her baby died, although it will accept that she was suffering from "extreme emotional distress". This means that the murder charges might be dropped and replaced with lesser charges of Manslaughter One or Manslaughter Two, which carry penalties of between two and 15 years in jail.
Paul seems horrified by the prospect. "I can't believe anybody would think Caroline could deliberately harm a baby; she loves children." For all that, he has said many times that he doesn't know if he will be called as a witness for the defence or the prosecution. He says he thinks Caroline "went crazy", then says he wants "the truth" and can't accept Caroline back unless he knows what really happened.
Caroline and Paul were engaged but they had no plans to get married. This may have been one wedge which helped to divide them as Caroline fell ill. "Caroline wanted a wedding, I brushed it off," says Paul. "We're not religious. She wanted a church and flowers but I thought that was hypocritical." Not that everybody would have welcomed the wedding. Caroline's friends and parents have both said they thought she could have done better. Caroline is due in court next Monday but that hearing is likely to be adjourned to give prosecutors more time to study Dr Goldstein's findings. Should the case go to trial, Paul has not decided if he will attend.
"I sometimes feel as though I never knew who Caroline was," he says. "I'm not sure I'd know where to start if she walked in now." There is little danger of that happening. With Dr Goldstein's report likely to say that Caroline bears some responsibility for her baby's death, a trial will probably follow, but is unlikely to begin until next year. Unless Paul changes his mind about a visit to New York, it will be a long time before Caroline can explain herself to him in person. If a jury finds her guilty, it could be years.Reuse content