Uk news Crime Scene: Photo of killer is not always the ultimate clue PremierLeague-News.Com
MetiNews.Com - Scotland's leading crime expert Professor David Wilson looks at how images obtained by police change an investigation.
Breaking News ! Does the release of a picture – not an e-fit, or a photo-fit but an actual photo of someone suspected of a crime – necessarily lead to an arrest? Would this type of evidence with its potential to harness the power of the public who might want to help to solve a crime always be the turning point in the police’s investigation? At a common sense level you would think that this must be the case. However, what if I told you that a murderer was caught on camera by the soon-to-be murder victim, using her mobile phone and can clearly be heard telling her and, her friend who was also killed “guys – down the hill”? Despite the police having images, which show us how the killer walked and a recording of the perpetrator’s voice, no one has ever been arrested or charged with the murders of Abigail Williams and Liberty German who were killed on February 14, 2017 while walking on the Delphi Historic Trails in Delphi, Indiana. The man who is wanted for questioning in Delphi I love walking and usually listen to a podcast when covering my 50 miles a week. Of late I have become slightly obsessed with Down the Hill: The Delphi Murders and was extremely surprised by the lack of progress in the case which saw 13-year-old Abby and 14-year-old Libby lose their lives. With that sort of evidence – especially in the small community where they lived – it seemed almost impossible to me that the police hadn’t been able to crack the case. It also became clear from information which was released by the police and featured in the podcast that the killer had “staged” the crime scene. This is a relatively rare but conscious choice made by the perpetrator to misdirect an investigation by making the crime appear to be something else. How to get the latest crime news with the Daily Record The Daily Record and Sunday Mail have always been at the forefront when it comes to reporting crime in Scotland. But did you know all the ways you can stay informed of the top crime and courts headlines? Sign up to our daily Criminal Record Newsletter. Follow our brand new Twitter account @RecordCrime. Join our Scottish Crime and Courts Facebook page. Get our specialised Crime web alerts on your desktop by clicking 'Keep me updated' in the pop-up box whenever you click on to a Crime story on our website. We share live crime news and exclusive court stories as well as features and columns on historical cases, keeping our readers informed and updated across the country. So, for example, a murder can be made to look like a suicide, perhaps by having the victim hold the gun that was used to kill them. Often staging occurs when the perpetrator knew the victim and might also be undertaken simply to shock investigators. Sometimes post mortem staging is part of the perverted pleasure that the killer wants to experience after the death of his victims. The Indiana police have not released details about how the girls died or what this staging consisted of but, from statements they have made, it is perfectly possible that Abby and Libby knew their killer.
The reason the Indiana police have not released this type of detail is because, they argue, it’s still an active case and that they need to keep some materials back to rule people in – or out – of their investigation. Really? After four years? I was pondering all of this on another of my walks and then thought about the doorstep murder of Alistair Wilson in Nairn in 2004 – often described as “Scotland’s most mysterious unsolved crime” –which is also the subject of an excellent podcast called The Doorstep Murder, presented by Fiona Walker. Even though that murder is now 17 years old, Police Scotland still refuse to release details that might help people to come forward with new information, or indeed solve the crime.
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Why, for example, has an e-fit of Alistair’s murderer never been released – especially when we know that several people, including Veronica Wilson, saw him on the doorstep? What clients did Alistair have at HBOS, the bank where he had worked and had just resigned from? Nor could I help but reflect that both Delphi and Nairn are small communities where people really do get to know one another. The Indiana police’s statement in their press conference that the killer might be sitting in the very room where they were speaking could equally be echoed by any number of similar press conferences held by Police Scotland about Alistair’s case.
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Of course, we are now also in the territory of “web sleuthing” and “armchair detectives” and, despite how people with these interests are often derided, it was an armchair detective called “Nate” who first got me interested in the Wilson case and a true crime aficionado who told me about the Delphi murders. It was Nate who seemed to put information into the public domain about Alistair’s murder that I hadn’t previously encountered and no one had hitherto commented on. Nor should we ignore the fact that it was an online manhunt by web sleuths that captured Luke Magnotta, who murdered Jun Lin – which would eventually become filmed in 2019 as a Netflix series called Don’t F*** with Cats. And now we have events in Gloucester where a TV production company seems to have found “human remains” that may belong to another victim of Fred West.
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I am not suggesting that the police keep these types of details to themselves because they don’t want to a member of the public to solve the case, and which might therefore cast their investigatory efforts in a poor light. That would be to take things too far. However, policing relies on the support of the public and unless the police here and in the US now seek to develop new ways of harnessing that support and people’s interest in true crime they are missing out on a potentially powerful source of skill and talent. Above all, I would suggest that they have to calculate when they have reached the point when what they gain by keeping information to themselves is outweighed by the possible advantages of making it public. Is that after four years? Seventeen years? Or when a production company starts to make inroads into the case? ●Signs of Murder: A Small Town in Scotland, a Miscarriage of Justice and the Search for the Truth – Professor Wilson’s latest paperback about a murder in Carluke has just been published by Sphere. Don't miss the latest news from around Scotland and beyond - Sign up to our daily newsletter here.
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