Mrs Audrey Bartlett was one of Vera Bates' few friends, and she lived around the corner from Vera. Bates found her name in the letters that Anna gave him, when Anna was looking to question people about whether Vera was suicidal. Anna wrote to her, but the letter was returned address unknown. When Anna did find and was able to talk to Mrs. Bartlett, she was very certain that she had seen Vera making the crust of the fatal pie in the evening of the day that Vera died. Her information is vital to Mr. Bates' defense as this took place after John Bates had left by train to return to Downton. Bates had bought the rat poison, but the poison was only found in the pie and not in the ingredients. So if the pie was made after he left, Vera had to have poisoned it herself.
When Anna Bates questioned Mrs. Bartlett about that evening, she truthfully gave this information which would clear John Bates' name (Bates having been convicted for Vera's murder). However, when the prison guard Durrant and Bates' cell mate Craig, having their own animosity toward Bates, realized that Bartlett's testimony could set Bates free, they persuaded her not to relay what she had seen to George Murray, Lord Grantham and Bates's lawyer. It was surmised that Mrs. Bartlett thought that Bates having "driven" Vera to commit suicide deserved to be punished by imprisonment, even if he had not poisoned the pie himself. She therefore denied having made these statements to Anna.
Bates, realizing what they had done, threatened Craig by saying that he would go to the prison officials with information which would extend Craig's sentence and result in Durrant's firing, unless they told Mrs. Bartlett that she must tell the truth to the authorities. They did so, and Mrs. Bartlett's testimony was instrumental in Bates' release.
|Appearances and Mentions|
|Series 3||Episode 1||Episode 2|
|Episode 4||Episode 5||Episode 6|
|Episode 7||Episode 8||Christmas Special|