Tag Archives: Murder

The End of His Journey

Having slept little during the night, Jane left the campsite hitching a lift back to Cape Town with the crew that had produced their dinner the night before.  She was very concerned at what Eric Duncan had said and really wanted to know what evidence the detective had that made him consider Duncan a murderer.  She boarded the first available flight back to Heathrow.  On arrival, she made an appointment to meet with the detective the next morning.

After offering coffee, tea or whatever Tom Cranston the detective asked: “Well now Ms Anderson, what brings you here today?”  “Actually it’s Mrs Anderson” replied Jane.  She then proceeded to tell him of her relationship with Eric Duncan and about the concerns she had regarding his involvement in his wife’s murder.

“He told me you think him guilty and had vowed to prove it” she continued.

“Yes, that’s true” he detective responded.  “But really I’m no further forward than I was at the time of the murder investigation.”

“He told me you followed him to and around Cape Town the last time he was there.”

“Yes, that’s true also.  I wanted to upset his equilibrium” came the reply.

“And is that why you were at Heathrow again a few days ago?” she asked

“Yes, Mrs Anderson, but you still haven’t told me why you are here.  Did Duncan say anything specific about the murder?”

“Well,” she said “we had both had rather a lot to drink and he wasn’t as careful in what he said as he usually is.  He talked about his wife having had her throat cut from behind, with a kitchen knife.  How would he know where the murderer was standing?

He also said there was little blood splatter which he said is usual when a throat is cut deeply and from behind.  How would he know that?”

“I can only tell you that I am convinced he did murder his wife and to instil in you the need to be very careful around this man.  By the way. Where is Duncan now?” said the detective.

“Somewhere on the way to Victoria Falls, I imagine.  Unless he too, has left the safari; but I don’t suppose he has.

Standing, the detective said “Thank you for coming in today” and handing her a card said, “If you think of anything else please call me”.  Then noting her details, he showed her off the premises.

As soon as she left he went to his computer and searched blood splatter and throat slashing on the web.  Then he went in to see his superior.

At the time of the murder, they had no reason to search Duncan’s home and so hadn’t searched his laptop or the computer he used at the office.  He wanted the Inspector to authorise two search warrants one for Duncan’s home and the other specifically and only for his computer at the solicitors’ office.  The web searches, if indeed Duncan had searched for these particular items, had been made many months ago and probably would have been deleted by now.  But the whiz-kids in their IT department would be able to find anything that had been there.

He then called Jane to find out when Duncan was due back.  It was always better to present the search warrant to the property owner rather than risk a defence team claiming illegal search.  The first warrant, for Duncan’s house, was not specific to the computer but the second one was.  Because they would be dealing with a firm of solicitors, Cranston knew it was particularly important that the search be carried out properly and in accordance with the law.  The warrant would specify the computer and give the reason for the search and the requirement to remove the computer from the premises.  If the solicitors baulked at removing the computer, the police IT team could come to their office to carry out the search.

The Magistrate signed the warrants and Cranston felt elated.  He thought after so many months of inactivity on the case they now had a possible clue.  He was impatient to start but had to wait several days for Duncan’s return.

On that day he waited at the property and as Duncan emerged from the car he presented the search warrant.  Duncan, of course, was livid.  He insisted that nobody entered his house until he had called his solicitor so taking the search warrant from the detective, he made the phone call.  His solicitor assured him that the warrant appeared to be in order and that Duncan should allow the police entry to his house.  So begrudgingly, Duncan did so.

They found little of interest in the house except one officer noticed a clear plastic raincoat hung alongside other outdoor coats.  But it looked out of place and also he thought that something had been wiped off the coat.  Maybe it was just mud but they took it anyway. They left giving Duncan a receipt for the computer and the raincoat.

The next stop was the solicitors’ office.  When they arrived Duncan had already been in touch with the practice manager so they were expected.  Cranston told the manager why they needed to search Duncan’s computer.  The manager told him that he was quite sure there was nothing to be found on the computer but reluctantly agreed that a member of their team could search the computer.  Taking the computer and promising it would be returned as soon as possible they left.

It didn’t take long for the IT team to locate where Duncan had searched the web for both blood splatter and throat slicing.  Duncan foolishly had not cleared these searches from his laptop and in a short time the police had found them.  The raincoat, though it looked clean, showed signs of blood splatter when tested with luminal.  They did not find anything on the solicitors’ computer and so that was returned the next day.

With this information, Cranston thought he had enough to arrest Duncan and charge him with his wife’s murder.  Before doing so, he called Jane Anderson and told her what had happened following her visit.  He thanked her but advised that she would most probably be called as a witness at the trial to attest to what Duncan had said.  Could she come to the station to make a statement just as soon as convenient?  She readily agreed and told Cranston that she had a call from Duncan following the visit of the police to ask her to meet for lunch.  She had refused but said he didn’t sound his usual self.  She thought he was worried at what the police might find.

So Duncan was arrested, Jane breathed easier and Cranston set to work to prove the case.

 

And the last words in this tale must go to Terry Hayes, an English-born Australian screenwriter, producer and author:

“Nobody’s ever been arrested for a murder;
they have only ever been arrested for not planning it properly.” 
Terry Hayes, 1951 –

 

Faraway Places;  It BeginsThe Fickle Finger of Fate; Murderer vs Detective;

What Happens Next? ; Question Time

 

 

 

 

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Question Time

When their flight was called he looked for the detective but didn’t see him anywhere.  If he had just been at the airport to upset him, then he had succeeded.  Because he hadn’t seen or heard from the detective for more than a year he had foolishly thought that he had given up and moved on.  Now he knew better.  How would he ever get this man off his back?

Sitting on the plane he mused over his problems, completely ignoring his companion who knew that the man he saw had upset him more than he let on and so she decided that she would find out just what was the problem. She would wait and choose her time.  Obviously, if they were going to be together for three weeks he couldn’t continue to ignore her.  She wanted to know what the problem was.

After the long flight, they arrived early in the morning in Cape Town.   He checked the arrivals, immigration and baggage carousel but there was no sign of Cranston, the detective.  Hopefully, they had left him behind at Heathrow.

But Jane was upset at his actions on the trip and the fact that she had been almost completely ignored for more than 12 hours.  She wasn’t used to being ignored and being a woman with her own means, she considered leaving him to go on the safari alone while she took off to one of the island resorts to relax in the sunshine.  She had made no commitment to this man and she was pretty angry at his treatment.

Having convinced himself that the detective had stayed behind, he brightened up a little and turned his attention to his companion.  Because he was so self-absorbed he couldn’t understand why she was upset and spent the next few hours convincing her not to leave.  They had both been to Cape Town before and had seen the sights so to placate her, he agreed to spend the rest of the day shopping.

They started at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront where could be found international and designer shops.  This was a new experience for him.  His wife hadn’t been interested in shopping, nor had she had the money to indulge.  He found following his companion, Jane into these fabulous stores was a great way to take his mind off his problems, and he quite liked carrying the bags with the fancy labels.  He thought how surprised his friends and colleagues would be if they could see him,

He had heard from his Travel Agent that a The Roundhouse a UNESCO Heritage Site was a place to visit and a great place to dine.  So they made their way there to rest after the shopping spree and to enjoy a late lunch,

By the time they arrived back at their hotel she appeared suitably appeased and she decided to let the questions wait for another day.  After an early dinner following what had been a long day, for the first time they retired to a shared room and bed.

The safari began early the next morning and as the days passed they began to relax in each other’s company. He wondered whether he had found a woman with whom to share the rest of his life.  They had many of the same interests, they both loved to travel to exotic places and as she had her own money, neither would be financially dependent on the other.

One night after another long day followed by dinner around a campfire, he decided to ask her if she thought they could be together permanently.  They had had rather more than usual to drink and after he asked the question she replied: “I think so, but you have to tell me why that man at the airport upset you so.”

Again, he responded that he was somebody that he knew in another time and place but this didn’t satisfy her.  So they went to bed with no decision on a shared future.  Later in the night, he awoke to find her sitting looking at him.  He decided to tell her about the detective and how the detective was sure that Duncan had murdered his wife.  Some of the comments led her to wonder whether the detective was in fact, correct.  This totally shocked her and long after he went back to sleep she sat thinking about what to do.

The next morning when he awoke she was gone.

Related posts :

Faraway Places;  It BeginsThe Fickle Finger of Fate; Murderer vs Detective;

What Happens Next?

What Happens Next?

Duncan’s one day in Cape Town was completely ruined by the detective.  Everywhere he went he saw, or thought he saw the man watching him.  It was clear to him that he had been followed to Cape Town and was now being followed around.

He was sure he saw him when the driver stopped at Table Mountain and all during that walk he looked for him.  He was sure he saw him when they stopped for lunch at Constanta Winery and by the time they reached the Wildlife Reserve at the Cape of Good Hope, he only wanted the day to end.

Arriving back at the hotel at the end of the tour, he had an early, solitary dinner and went to his room to try and read his new novel.

The next morning, after a troubled night, when the safari guide picked him up, he was pleased there was no sign of the detective.  Hopefully, he had returned to Sussex.

The Safari was all he had hoped for and more.  After a couple of days of enchantment with the animals, he managed mostly, to forget about the intruder. The days flew by and as he used the new camera he began to take pride in the photographs he was taking.  He had so many to show his friends when he returned home.

At the end of the 14 days trip, he made his way back to Cape Town to overnight before his flight back home.  And once again, the thought that the detective might be waiting for him when he got to the hotel played on his mind.  But there was no sign of him and he began to think that perhaps the detective had given up.

At dinner in his hotel, he introduced himself to a woman who was obviously alone and suggested she join him for a meal.  This was wholly unlike him and he marvelled at his nerve in so doing.  He learned that this woman was recently widowed, and she lived in the UK not far from where he lived.  Having enjoyed a very pleasant evening together, they exchanged phone numbers and departed to their separate rooms.  He didn’t know whether he wanted to see her again although he had enjoyed her company.  But he would wait and see what if anything transpired from this encounter.

The next day he returned to his normal life in Sussex and after a while, he convinced himself that he had indeed, pulled off the perfect murder.

A few months after his return he contacted the woman he had met in Cape Town and there begun a relationship of dinners, theatre outings and such that both seemed very happy with.  No mention of making this a permanent relationship was brought up by either party.

Then, about a year after the Safari and having had no visits from the Police, he began to think of other places he could visit.  Africa had seduced him and he thought he would go back and visit the Victoria Falls.  So a trip to the travel agents had him booked into a tour from Cape Town to the Victoria Falls.  He now considered himself a seasoned traveller and looked forward to the trip.

Having made the decision and the booking he thought how much nicer it would be to have a companion on this trip.  A call to his lady friend confirmed that she would like to accompany him to Africa and so arrangements were made for two people to make the trip instead of one.

The day of departure arrived and again, he had the driver pick him up and on the way to the airport stop to pick up his friend.  They arrived early because this time he knew they could relax in the lounge enjoying a drink and a snack while waiting for their flight to be called.

But as they left the check in counter he saw that detective again.  How had he known he was leaving for Africa on that particular day?  The detective waved a hand at him and then turned away.  He really did need a drink after that brief encounter.

Related Posts
Faraway Places;  It Begins; The Fickle Finger of Fate; Murderer vs Detective

 

Murderer vs Detective

He turned around but the man had gone.  “Why” he asked himself “would he say that and why would he follow me to Cape town?  What did the detective know?””

The driver was impatient wanting to get him to his hotel.  He was in Cape town for only two days after which time he would leave to join the safari.  But his day had been spoilt by the confrontation at the airport.

He arrived at the hotel and once he had checked in, he had his bags taken to his room and then made his way to the bar where he found a comfortable chair in a corner and ordered a large brandy.  Minutes later the waiter returned and without spilling a drop, skilfully put down a drink mat, centred the drink on it and left, only to return almost immediately with a small dish of nuts and a napkin.

The excitement of his trip was now sullied and he felt quite depressed.  What could have made that detective suspicious and was he in Cape town officially or was he just following up on his own?

He had been so very careful.  Looking back to that Sunday afternoon he was sure he had made no mistakes.  He had planned for them to meet those particular friends for a drink after their walk as he knew his wife would leave before him as she was not interested in their chat about trips around the world the other couple had taken.

Earlier in the day, he had stashed a single use raincoat in the cupboard under the stairs so that in the event of blood splatter it wouldn’t be on him  But he had read somewhere that if you stood behind somebody when you slashed their throat the blood splatter would be in front of them.  So the plastic raincoat was just a precaution and he had hung it on the hall stand along with other outdoor coats and hats before the police arrived.

Blood splatter was one of the first things investigators looked at in a bloody murder.  But it was also conceivable that there would be blood on his clothes if he had come in and found his wife’s blood everywhere.

So when the police arrived and took his blood stained clothing for inspection and analysis they found only what was to be expected if he had come home and found her dying.

He wasn’t worried about his fingerprints on the knife as his prints would naturally be on any knife in the block.

The front door being unlocked was accepted as normal as he was coming home after his wife.  The fact that nothing was missing was of concern to the police initially but they apparently came to the conclusion that his arriving home had interrupted the thief who fled through the kitchen door.

After a short time, he had returned to his normal life, doing nothing to attract attention to himself.  So why was the detective convinced that he had killed his wife?

Meantime in another hotel in Cape town, Detective Tom Cranston thought about Eric Duncan and the murder of his wife.  There were so many anomalies – why hadn’t the husband been more upset when he found his wife dying?  He had seemed very controlled for a man in that situation.  He did have blood on his hands and clothes that he said was from holding his wife before he called the police, but is this how the blood had got onto him?  And the knife that was later found in a hedge in the garden next door.  It could very easily have been disposed of before the Police arrived.

He had two days in Cape town has decided to use part of his annual leave to follow Duncan and see if there was anything that would prove he was the murderer.  He didn’t expect to come across anything here, but he would let Duncan see him and so upset him, wondering just how much the detective knew.

Related posts:  Faraway Places;
It Begins
The Fickle Finger of Fate

The Fickle Finger of Fate

On the morning he was due to leave he arose at the usual time.  He ate breakfast, showered and shaved and was ready when the taxi came at noon.

The airport was about an hour away and he had decided to take a taxi rather than use the train (the local station was very close) while being encumbered with luggage.

He was very excited.  At last, the long-awaited trip was beginning.  Arriving at the airport in plenty of time he took a seat in the lounge and opened the new novel he had bought the day before.  He smiled as he considered the book’s title “The Perfect Murder”.  “Well,” he thought.  “I committed the perfect murder.  Obviously, nobody really thinks I was involved or I wouldn’t be on my way to Africa.”

Soon his flight was called and as he entered the plane he saw a familiar face.  He couldn’t put a name to the face but he was sure it was somebody he knew.  Well, he would have time to think about it in the 12 hours’ flight to Cape town.

The steward showed him to his Business Class seat and after taking his jacket and putting his carry-on bag in the overhead locker, he offered a glass of champagne while they waited for the other passengers to board.  He gave no more thought to the man he had seen at the airport and settled down to enjoy the flight.  “This,” he thought “is certainly the way to travel.”  The steward was very attentive and once dinner was over, he made up the lie-flat bed for him.

Having woken and enjoyed a good breakfast he got ready to leave the plane and really start on this adventure.

Waiting in line for immigration he saw the man again.  He was sure that the fellow was looking at him.  Maybe he couldn’t remember where they had met before either and was also trying to place him.  And again, waiting at the carousel for his suitcase he saw the man looking straight at him.

Then after clearing customs, he walked towards the driver displaying his name on a placard and he suddenly remembered where he had seen the man before.  He was one of the first detectives on the scene investigating his wife’s murder.  As he reached his driver, the detective came up close and said “I want you to know that I know you did it and I’ll figure out a way to prove it eventually.  So just keep looking over your shoulder.  I will be right behind you.”

Related posts – Faraway Places.  It Begins

It Begins

He planned his next move in the same meticulous way he had always done.

Several years ago they had taken out insurance naming each other as the beneficiary.  The insurance company had paid his claim after a few months while they waited for the police to declare that he wasn’t a suspect in the murder.  The lump sum they paid was still sitting in his bank account. He thought his decision not to draw on the money to buy a fancy car or another luxury item so as not to draw any attention to himself was the right one.

Apart from the two weeks following his wife’s death, he had taken no time off from the office and so had plenty of holidays owing to him. He decided he would take some time and go on his first trip.  If travel really suited him and he found the faraway places to his liking, he would then resign his job and travel.  He had the insurance money and a fairly large savings account that they had set up for their retirement, so money was not going to be a problem.

Because his wife had had no desire to travel outside the country, he was not an experienced traveller.  So one day on his lunch hour, he visited a travel agent to get some help.  It was decided that a photo safari in Africa would be the way to start his world travels.  Here he would see those large animals that ranged the wide open spaces that he’d always longed to see.  After a few days considering which tour to take he made his choice.

He had played with photography in the past, mostly taking photos of his garden and on the rare occasions, they left home, taking photos of the places they visited.  He was in luck – the local photo club was meeting each week and new members were welcome.  He knew that he could learn much from them in the few weeks before he set off.

But he also knew that the others on the tour would have high-end cameras and so his next move was to a camera shop where he paid (in his mind at least) an inordinate amount for a camera.  He was assured by the helpful assistant that it was “user-friendly” and if he had any problems she “would be very happy to help him.”  This with a somewhat flirtatious smile.

Next stop, new luggage, suitcase and backpack.  Then off to a menswear shop in whose windows he had often peered but into which he had never ventured.  But he left with all the clothes he would need for the safari.

He would need a passport.  This was easily arranged and he paid extra for it to be available urgently and for it to be delivered by courier.

There were no children from the marriage and no close family and so he told his friends and work colleagues that he was going away for a while to be on his own and get over the loss of his wife.  He had an alarm system installed in the house, gave a spare set of keys to his neighbour and eventually, he was ready to set off.

All that remained was the short wait for tickets and vouchers for the tour and for the passport to arrive.

He spent the few days before he left imagining the wild animals he would see, roaming around and living in their own habitat, rather than in a zoo.

To be continued….

Related posts       Faraway Places

Faraway Places

It was 14 months since his wife died. Nobody had been convicted nor had the Police even arrested and charged anyone for the murder.

Initially, of course, he had been considered as the prime suspect.  Close relatives are always checked before anyone else, strangers or friends.  But he had an alibi.  He and his wife had been having a glass of wine with friends that Sunday afternoon.  And as usual, his wife left shortly before him leaving him to finish his wine and conversation with their friends.

The story was that when he got home he found his wife with her neck slashed.  Blood was everywhere but there was no sign of the murder weapon although there was one knife missing from the knife block on the kitchen bench.  The backdoor was unlocked but that was because he was expected home.

There were no clues as to what had happened in the kitchen nor why she had been killed.  Nothing had been taken and the house was in its usual state.

She was a simple person, happy with her lot in life, staying at home looking after the house as any good woman would, at least in her estimation.  Her days were spent in housework, shopping, helping at the library and lunch and coffee with friends in the village.

So with nothing to work on, after a few months the Police moved on to other cases and his life went back almost to normal.

He returned to work as solicitors’ clerk on Monday to Friday; Saturdays were spent in chores around the house and garden and Sundays found him following their practice of a walk followed by a coffee or more often, a glass of wine with friends.  And often on Sunday, he would end up having dinner with one or other of their friends.

So life was almost perfect.  He really didn’t miss his wife and her incessant chatter about friends and family and gossip about the village people.

Now he decided that enough time had passed and so one Sunday, arriving home to an empty house after dinner, he took out his maps and brochures and began to plan his trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Court of Public Opinion

Here in New Zealand we have just lived through the trial of a man accused of murdering his brother-in-law in cold blood.  I imagine that murder is rarely in cold blood; surely somebody had to upset the murderer to such an extent that the kill is made.  Or perhaps not.  I cannot imagine what would ever make me take another person’s life.

However, this trial dragged on in the courtroom, on television and in the print media. It made headlines on a daily basis in all media outlets here.  I didn’t follow it as I choose what I put into my mind.  I didn’t (and still don’t) need to know all the gory details.

Suffice it to say, that apparently the accused was jealous of his brother-in-law with whom he shared management of a family farm, to the extent that he vandalised a house that his BIL had built and apparently wrote offensive words on a building before shooting him to death.  I don’t know the details; as I said I am not that interested.

What does interest me though is that the jury of 11 brought down a verdict of Not Guilty.  This tells me that even though they sat through all the proceedings for all those days, they didn’t think that the prosecution had proved their case beyond reasonable doubt.  Therefore, they had to bring in the Not Guilty verdict.  Here in New Zealand we don’t have a Not Proven verdict as they do in Scotland.  This verdict as explained by our old friend Wikipedia “The result is the modern perception that the “not proven” verdict is an acquittal used when the judge or jury does not have enough evidence to convict but is not sufficiently convinced of the defendant’s innocence to bring in a “not guilty” verdict.”

What bothers me about this is that today’s Dominion Post our local daily had most of its front page devoted to a survey they had mounted using 750 people.  Is this a fair representation of the adult population of New Zealand?  Those surveyed were asked “From what you have seen, heard or feel about the case, do you think it is more likely Ewen Macdonald is guilty or not guilty?” 48 per cent said guilty.  A further 20 per cent said not guilty, 28 per cent said they were unsure, and 4 per cent of people refused to answer.

As the lawyer for MacDonald, the accused, said the jurors had looked at more than 100 hours of evidence before unanimously agreeing he was not guilty

“Not a single person who responded to the survey heard anything close to that. Most people would have heard one hour of the case, so less than 1 per cent of what the jury heard – and what they heard was someone else’s slanted opinion.” he said today.

And may I add that the jurors were not called upon to voice or consider their feelings in the case, as those surveyed were.  Feelings can never be the basis on which a murder accused is tried.

I have no thought on whether or not this man is guilty.   I rejoice in the fact that we have a robust court system here that allows all the evidence to be heard by a jury (usually of 12 but for whatever reason 11 in this case).  The man has been tried and he has been acquitted.  Apparently there are other charges outstanding against him for which he will have to appear  in court.  But he cannot be re-charged with this murder.

So what of the future for this man who has been acquitted of murder in a court of law?  His wife has apparently left him, having sided with the prosecution in the case and wherever he goes in New Zealand he will always be known as the man who “got away with murder” if the results of this survey are anything to go by. Where is the justice in that?

And as I think about my fellow man/woman and how quick he/she is to condemn without knowing all the facts, I worry about the future of our world.

“Justice is justly represented blind because
she sees no difference in the parties concerned.
She has but one scale and weight for
rich and poor, great and small.”
William Penn, 1644 – 1718 English real estate entrepreneur, philosopher, and founder of the Province of Pennsylvania.

End of today’s rant.

Motherlove, Monsters, Mayhem and Maybe Murder

“A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity. It dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.”
— Agatha Christie, DBE, 1890 – 1976), British crime writer of novels, short stories, and plays. 

I discovered Martie Hevia and her blog a couple of weeks and I look forward to reading it each day.  It is a gentle blog filled with fun, memories and of course,  Martie’s voice singing her songs.

A couple of days ago the tone of her blog changed and she wrote about Caylee Marie Anthony, the toddler who disappeared and whose Mother didn’t report her missing for thirty-one days.  What kind of Mother-love is demonstrated here?

The Mother has apparently made all kinds of claims to the Police, all of which appear to be lies and now she is claiming that the child drowned in the grandparents’ swimming pool.

Whether this Mother murdered her child will come out in the days ahead.  But her callousness towards that lovely little girl cannot be ignored.

Maslow's Hierarchy

We know that Mazlow determined that the basic needs of any human being included physiological, safety, belonging and love,  and esteem.  Which of these were given to this little child?  A child needs to be loved and cared for.  To know that she is important to her parents and family, to be warm and safe.  Apparently none of these things applied to this little girl.

We can’t get the live CNN feed here but Martie gives it on her blog.

We know that one is innocent until proven guilty but all the signs are there that this Mother is implicated in some way with her baby’s disappearance and death.

I shall leave it there for the jury to decide after they sit through what will  obviously, be a harrowing experience.

And for Caylee –

Teddy bear

RIP Littlre One