The Crime Live event – “Real Life” Silent Witness but no time for sexual liaisons

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A previous performance of live crime with the two forensic scientists

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On May 10 not too far from the National Theatre on the South Bank a remarkable stage scene will be set up at the BPP Law University. A room with walls spattered with blood, a potential murder weapon and clues galore.

But this dramatic scene is not part of a rerun Agatha Christie play or some avant garde production on a pre West End theatre debut..

Instead of actors there will be two forensic scientists Tracy Alexander, Director of Forensic Services at City of London Police and Jo Millington, Senior Forensic Scientist at Millington Hingley both of whom featured in BBC’s Conviction: Murder at the Station.

They will take the audience through how you investigate a murder going into detail of how the evidence is gathered using the latest modern methods.

As Tracy Alexander tells the audience: “If you’ve seen Silent Witness you’ll know that Emilia Fox attends the crime scene, examines the corpse, looks for clues, performs the post-mortem, comforts the family of the victim, interviews suspects and sleeps with the senior investigating officer, all in the same nice suit without transferring vital evidence from one to the other. I can’t do all those things myself – well, not in an hour.”

The demonstration is put on by Inside Justice, a charity  which investigates alleged miscarriages of justice particularly where a fresh examination of forensic evidence can make a difference and only when they are convinced that the person usually serving a long jail sentence is innocent.

The charity’s director is Louise Shorter. She is best known for her 10 years as a producer/director of the BBC’s long-running miscarriage of justice TV series Rough Justice. Sadly with reduced media budgets such programmes are no longer made.

The last programme she made about the wrongful  murder convictions of Barri White and Keith Hyatt led directly to new evidence being found which resulted in their convictions being quashed. In 2013, Shahidul Ahmed, the real killer in this case was convicted following a cold-case review led by Inside Justice Advisory Panel member Tracy Alexander.

The charity’s panel which is largely composed of forensic scientists has since then taken up a series of cases – though faces a difficult battle in persuading police forces to release all the forensic evidence it holds to re-investigate cases.

The fact that Inside Justice exists is particularly important because of two issues- which are potentially conflicting. One is the march of forensic science which is now miles ahead of itself. The other is the effects of privatisation and cuts in police manpower and budgets.

As Louise explained to me  new developments in forensic science mean that a minute level of DNA is enough to trace one person to a spot even if he or she wasn’t there.

As she put it: ” Supposing we shake hands and I go off to the ladies toilet. I then touch something in the toilet and a trace of your DNA as well as mine is left there. Supposing unknown to either of us a crime is committed there two hours later. When the police arrive they will find a trace of your DNA at the crime scene. It is now possible to do this and you could become a murder suspect.”

Now this high level of DNA detection is good for crime detection but not so good if a hard pressed police force is anxious to get a quick conviction and you do not have an alibi. Given the growing concern about wrongful police convictions – from recent rape cases where the defence were not given all the evidence – this is not good news.

But in the  meantime it is obviously a  fascinating experience to see how forensic science can help solve real murders.

Inside Justice Poster SCREEN FILE There are two performances at the BPP Law University at 137 Stamford Street
London SE1 9NN. It is  five minutes walk from Waterloo station. Tickets for the event can be obtained from Eventbrite. GO TO WWW.EVENTBRITE.CO.UK
AND SEARCH FOR ‘CRIME LIVE’

 

Alastair Morgan to @RupertMurdoch “You are in a unique position to help us finally lay Daniel to rest.”

This comes at a time when the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel , chaired by Baroness O’Loan has made a fresh appeal for people to come forward -particularly journalists – with fresh information which should be supported. No one should have such a hideous crime on their conscience.

The Criminal Media Nexus

1DMAM1Today, on the anniversary of his brother’s brutal murder in 1987, Alastair Morgan makes an impassioned appeal to Rupert Murdoch to fully co-operate with the Independent Panel Inquiry into the murder of Daniel Morgan, chaired by Baroness O’Loan.

The full text of the letter Alastair just hand delivered to Rupert Murdoch is here . But the personal appeal towards the end is particularly striking:

The work of the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel is almost entirely dependent on disclosure and I am appealing to you today – on the 28th anniversary of my brother’s murder – to ensure that News Corporation discloses all relevant material in confidence to the Panel.

Daniel’s murder, the police corruption and the ensuing years of failed investigations have been agony for the whole family. Daniel’s children have grown up without a father and my mother is now 86 years old. We need to know the truth about what…

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Child Sex Abuse: Will the police finally catch the perpetrators ?

The extraordinary revelations at the weekend by my Exaro colleague Mark Conrad and the Sunday People should finally dispel fears that the police have no intention of investigating the VIP paedophiles and now possible murderers in the Westminster paedophile scandal.

I could tell until this weekend  many in the mainstream media  were sceptical ( and some still are) that such horrendous acts involving MPs could ever have taken place in the 1970s and 1980s without the Westminster lobby knowing. Some, including one of my long-standing former colleagues on the Guardian, emphatically told me no MP could possibly be involved in the murder of a young boy.I’ll spare his blushes until there is an arrest.

However the disclosure at the weekend  that two former police detectives are now corroborating that they had heard about a murders and were aware of a paedophile ring in Westminster but couldn’t investigate.

As the Exaro article says :A source close to the investigation said that the two former police officers alleged: “There was a significant paedophile group in Parliament who were untouchable to the police.”

They provided new information on Sir Cyril Smith, the former Liberal MP, and Sir Jimmy Savile, the BBC star, who were exposed as paedophiles after their deaths. They have also provided potentially important information on former MPs and living perpetrators of child sex abuse.”

The key thing about the police coming forward is that the story by the brave survivor called ” Nick” has now a possible chance of being collaborated by other sources. This will be essential if they are to be prosecutions.

Also in the same week I learnt that in Durham where 900 people have come forward alleging sexual and physical abuse at the now closed Medomsley young offenders institution arrests are likely before Christmas and Operation Pallial in North Wales is also expected to lead to more arrests shortly. Even the home secretary, Theresa May, has indicated that she believes  it is only ” the tip of the iceberg” so far..

Altogether the chances of this far too long running historic scandal being dead and buried again are becoming much slimmer. The police now have to throw everything at it to get at the truth.