S16 E37 – S17 E9
Melanie Collier is wife of local policeman David, and they have two young children, Lisa and Jane.
We are first introduced to Melanie Collier when she is seen wandering disorientated and bleeding in the streets of Holby. Duffy drives past and concerned, she stops to help. Melanie is confused and tries to push her away but it is obvious that Melanie has been quite brutally attacked, so Duffy calms her down, tells her that she is a nurse and that she is taking her to hospital. We also find out that Melanie is pregnant.
Once in hospital, Lara comes to examine Melanie along with Duffy. Melanie does not talk, she is too shocked. However when Lara and Duffy find some marks on her shoulders, she manages to stammer: ‘he bit me,’ and she begins to cry. Concerned, Lara decides to call the police, ready incase she wishes to make a statement. When Melanie’s police sergeant husband, David, turns up, he accuses Lara of breaching confidentiality and makes a complaint against her to Harry. Melanie later loses her unborn baby, and Lara breaks the news to David. He asks her about scarring of the bite marks made to her, but Lara becomes suspicious as she never told him about them. She confronts Melanie, who admits her husband attacked and raped her. Lara urges her to leave him and get help, but she refuses. David gets Melanie transferred to another hospital, and as Lara is leaving, he threatens her.
In S16 E40, we see Melanie again by her husband’s bedside in ITU. In a previous episode, David had returned to the hospital on police business and again argues with Lara who threatens to tell his colleagues about what he did to his wife. He then tries to attack Lara in the carpark; but in self defence she hits him over the head with a brick. He is seriously injured. A loyal Melanie stays by his bedside, even though when David wakes he continues to threaten her. She brings the children in to see him as his condition deteriorates, but nothing can be done and he later arrests and dies. Melanie is heartbroken and refuses to believe what Lara says David tried to do to her. Lara is later arrested for her part in David’s death.
As Series 17 begins, so does an inquest on David’s death. In court in S17 E2, Melanie denies that her husband ever attacked or raped her. She says he was a good man and a good father to their two daughters. She does not support Lara’s allegations that he was violent; things don’t look good for Lara. The trial continues and Melanie is present always. Harry and Duffy arrive to give evidence on Lara’s behalf. Duffy meets Melanie in the toilets and asks her why she is lying to protect her dead husband. She tries to persuade Melanie to see that Lara was just doing her job but Melanie stands up for herself and says that if she told the court Duffy was talking to her in this way she could be in trouble. Lara is found guilty of manslaughter and sent to prison for three years.
Duffy is distressed by this news as she knows that Lara is innocent; a feeling increased after visiting Lara in prison, who is close to giving up. Duffy feels that Melanie is the key to turning round the sentence – if she would only admit the truth about David. With this in mind, Duffy goes to visit Melanie at home in S17 E8. She explains her thoughts to Melanie who is not keen to listen, and tells Duffy to leave.
However Melanie later turns up in A&E. Duffy is hopeful and thinks Melanie has changed her mind, but she has only come in because she has a serious cough and chest pains; she requests codeine. Duffy and Harry suspect she’s addicted to this drug and find out her GP will not give it to her any more therefore they can’t either. On investigating her medical records they discover old x-rays from when she had rib fractures. Duffy also finds out she’s been admitted to the department a number of times using a false name, ‘Melanie Vivien’, with lots of small injuries. They also discover Melanie’s daughter was once brought in too. Duffy confronts her in the cubicle but Melanie walks out. However later outside A&E, Melanie breaks down and admits her husband used to hit her and her children and that she now must help Lara, who was only trying to defend herself. Melanie says that she hid the truth because she didn’t want to hurt David’s reputation, as this would reflect badly on her daughters. Duffy says that she needs to show her two young children that women who defend themselves are good and should not have to put up with abuse.
In the next episode, Melanie’s last, Lara’s case is brought again to court. This time, Melanie bravely confesses the truth about her husband. Due to this statement, Lara is released and is a free woman once again (S17 E9).