Vera The Sea Glass explained as the hit ITV drama sees Ann Cleeves' detective facing one of her most emotionally devastating cases yet

Vera The Sea Glass is airing again and fans might have more than a few questions about this multi-layered episode...

Vera The Sea Glass explained. Seen here is Vera played by Brenda Blethyn
(Image credit: BritBox/ITV)

The Vera The Sea Glass episode ends with a heart-wrenching revelation about the killer’s identity and it’s not one to miss.

Whilst many of us wait patiently for a new series of Vera, ITV have got us covered with plenty of the best episodes from past seasons of the hit drama. Based on the characters created by author Ann Cleeves, the show has run for 12 years now and ITV is known for re-showing episodes fairly regularly. Currently episodes from season 6 are being shown again on ITV3 with the latest one, The Sea Glass, airing at 8pm on 10th August, as per the ITV guide. This first landed in 2016 and is an especially twisty tale set against the backdrop of a fishing community.

Here we explain the Vera The Sea Glass episode, including who killed Tommy Stonnall, who burnt the fish market down and when we can expect another episode of Vera…

*Warning: Spoilers ahead*

Vera The Sea Glass ending explained: Who killed Tommy Stonnall? 

One of the things that makes each episode of Vera so unmissable - not to mention intriguing and intense - is that they’re standalone stories, just like Silent Witness Southbay and the Annika ending. The Vera episode entitled The Sea Glass focuses on DCI Vera Stanhope’s investigation into the death of trawlerman Tommy Stonnell. Vera’s determined questioning soon causes a few ripples in the small fishing community he’s part of and from the beginning when his body is found, it’s revealed Tommy had been missing for two weeks.

Tommy’s two sons Steve and Lee were distraught - particularly Lee, who blamed fish market owners Jay and Ellie Connock. Around a year earlier Tommy had a feud with the siblings’ dad Joe Connock and so when the fish market had burnt down in a fire, killing Joe, he was suspected. Nothing was ever proved but the locals largely turned on Tommy and Jay held fast to his belief he’d killed Joe. 

Now Lee is equally convinced Jay or Ellie killed Tommy in revenge, but by the end of Vera The Sea Glass it emerged that Steve Stonnall had been responsible. Tommy’s older son had been in town the night Tommy died as his wife Karen had left him for another man and he’d essentially been stalking her, trying to see her. After getting into a fight with her new boyfriend, Steve had run into Tommy who’d offered to give him a lift home.

BRENDA BLETHYN as Vera Stanhope and KENNY DOUGHTY as DS Aiden Healy.

(Image credit: ITV STUDIOS FOR ITV)

Only, Tommy had told Steve he was selling the trawler - the entire Stonnall family’s way of life, income and their passion. Tommy had lost his passion for fishing when his late wife died years earlier and had recently fallen in love with someone else. He’d told his sister-in-law Anna Marshbrook about selling, saying he would keep his share and she could split the rest with the boys. But the already upset Steve was horrified and fought with his dad, punching him and pushing him until Tommy hit his head on the road.

As Vera remarked to a tearful Steve in the closing stages of Vera The Sea Glass, if he’d called the police then he’d have faced two years in prison for manslaughter with mitigation. Instead, he was being charged with murder as he’d loaded Tommy into his van and driven him to Blythe Point where he’d put him on his aunt Anna’s boat and taken him out to sea to dispose of his body. Anna had later realised that Tommy and Steve had been in the same place that night and might have crossed paths.

Still of boats from the Vera season 6 trailer

(Image credit: YouTube/ITV)

She’d known how her nephew would’ve reacted to learning about the trawler sale and tried to save him by setting fire to her own boat to cover up any evidence. Ultimately, it couldn’t save him and Steve’s own cover-up operation sealed his fate, whilst Lee also found out what his brother had done. Their family was even more shattered as a result of Steve's actions and the fact that a son had unintentionally killed his own father makes this one of the most emotionally devastating episodes. 

Steve even reminisced about his first memory of going out to sea with Tommy, with tears in his eyes. At the end, he was arrested by DS Aidan Healy - who joined the show in season 5 after David Leon left Vera - and taken away to face his future trial and imprisonment. 

Who burnt down the fish market?  

Tommy might have been suspected locally and blamed by Jay Connock, but it was Ellie and Joe Connock together who previously burnt down their family business. It had been failing and the Connocks had payday loans, credit card debts and had re-mortgaged. Tommy argued with Joe because he’d accused him of fixing prices because of financial difficulties. The money problems turned out to be real and Joe had tried to fix everything by burning down the market and claiming on the insurance.

Vera in the Vera season 6 trailer

(Image credit: YouTube/ITV)

His mistake had been wanting to provide some evidence that he’d tried to put out the fire just in case. This claimed his life and Ellie was grieving her dad and hadn’t come forward to exonerate Tommy and explain what had really happened. Vera didn’t take too kindly to this and told Ellie in an interview that her choice “destroyed his life” as the community believed he was a murderer.

What happened to Zahra?  

Throughout the course of Vera’s investigation she came across young single mother Zahra Suleiman and her son Ahmanuel. They had been brought into the country by another trawlerman who was human trafficking and who’d employed Tommy to drive the van to drop off people after they arrived on his boat. Tommy was described by Zahra as “different” to everyone else and he treated her and Ahmanuel with respect, helped her get a job in a café and was living in the same B&B as she was. 

Vera in the Vera season 6 trailer

(Image credit: YouTube/ITV)

Vera later asked Zahra if Tommy had been in love with her and she’d replied that he said he was, though she didn’t seem to believe it. Despite her uncertainty, though, it was Tommy’s feelings for her which inspired him to sell the trawler to get the money to help her. At the end of the Vera The Sea Glass episode, the DCI found Zahra by the beach and gave her the contact details for an amazing immigration lawyer who had said he’d help Zahra with her case to stay in the UK legally. Vera certainly seemed hopeful that this lawyer would mean Zahra and Ahmanuel could stay and have a happy life.

When is the next episode of Vera on? 

Since Vera season 12 ended quite a while ago many fans might be wondering when the next episode of Vera is on and the answer is Sunday 13th August. Two episodes will be showing from 2-4pm and 4-6pm though it’s likely these will be repeats of the episodes shown during the preceding week, including Vera The Sea Glass. The next episode known to be continuing the Vera chronology is set to air on Wednesday, 16th August at 8pm

This will be episode 1 of season 7 as Vera The Sea Glass was the season 6 finale. The next episode of Vera will be Natural Selection where Vera investigates the murder of a wildlife ranger, Gemma on an island off the coast. Season 7 first aired back in 2017 and it seems that Wednesdays and Thursdays on ITV3 are the days for Vera fans to re-watch the older seasons in order as we wait for a new episode of Vera to premiere on ITV1. 

Seasons 1-12 of Vera are also available to watch on ITVX.

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!