Years from now, becoming increasingly desperate for a new life away from London, Alice and Geoff Hewitt make the move to what they think is the perfect village in the English countryside to begin afresh. Their idyllic new start is cut tragically short when their seven year old daughter Joy is abducted and murdered by a paedophile named Leo Faulkner as she walks home from school with her sister Kate.
The whole of the United Kingdom is forced into a bleak winter of soul searching as the Government tries to introduce legislation to restore the death penalty and execute Leo. The young Prime Minister and his Justice Secretary face stiff opposition from human rights groups and heavy pressure from the tabloid media, whilst Joy's parents differ on their definition of justice.
The Hewitts try to rebuild their life after Joy's death but find their differing views driving them apart and ruining their marriage. Geoff 's relationship with Alice takes an abrupt dive into alcoholism and violence. Leo waits in jail for his fate to be decided and when Kate becomes a mother she is forever haunted by the trauma of what happened to her sister. Everything changes when Leo undergoes a dramatic transformation of character, and the parole board are tasked with the unthinkable decision of whether or not to release the reformed murderer back into society.
Just how much is a human life really worth?