This incident came about amongst three or four other murders and attempted murders. The office was full of people, well as full as it can be, with exhibits coming and going.
Detectives and Detective Sergeants were a common sight in the office, coming by for copies of photographs or to collect exhibits to take to the Forensic Science Service (FSS).
It was a particularly busy day, I was the only CSI on for our area covering volume crime scenes. I had completed my seventh burglary scene when the Crime Scene Manager called me over the radio.
Th Crime Scene Manager (CSM) is a CSI who usually has completed a number of years experience. To become a CSM, the CSI has to attend a specific course with the National Policing Improvement Agency. The course is a two week residential course at Harperley Hall and covers many aspects of Crime Scene Management. The course includes coordinating resources at a scene, devising and continually reviewing a plan of action for evidence recovery, liaison with specialist personnel and other persons involved in the investigation. The NPIA's website has more information for those who are interested....and to keep the NPIA happy :-)
I came on duty at 0700 and the CSM had come on duty after me as she had been at the scene the night before until late. She explained that she had returned to the scene and was there with a blood spatter analyst from the FSS. There had been a stabbing where the deceased had been stabbed a number of times and died as a result of the injuries sustained.
The police search team were deployed to do a fingertip search of the route the offender was believed to have taken when he left the scene and had discovered a knife in a nearby garden.
The CSM couldn't recover the weapon as there would be contamination issues. If the CSM were to attend both scenes then she could inadvertently transfer evidence from the initial scene to the second scene and this could give misleading information. The two scenes wouldn't even be attended by the same police officers for the same reason.
The CSM requested that I attend the scene and photograph and recover the knife.
I programmed the address into my sat nav and headed off.
As I pulled into the street I could see the large Mercedes Police Van at the other end of the street, it saved me looking for house numbers. I bumped my van up onto the pavement near two CID officers. I informed the control room I was at the scene and got out of the van.
I introduced myself to DC Detective, and his reply was "It's DS Detective" DS meaning he's a Detective Sergeant and not a Constable. Way to go. I'm making friends already.
I asked a few questions about the knife, and ascertained it was bloodstained and bent. Luckily it was still slim enough to fit into a knife tube. I grabbed my kit bag from the van and my camera case and approached the address.
As I walked through the door I could smell food. The family hasn't long sat down for lunch and then found the police all over their house and garden! Luckily when the knife was found, the officers were smart enough to realise that this was now a scene. One officer remained in the garden to protect the knife and the others left sharpish.
I put on my white suit, mask, gloves and overshoes. This way I knew that no matter what, I wasn't going to risk destroying any evidence. The knife had been outside overnight, however, it hadn't rained which was good.
I began to take photographs. I took one of the front of the property so anyone viewing the photographs would know the address. I then took photographs from each corner of the garden. This way there was a complete view of the whole garden from each angle.
The knife was in the last corner, so I took a long shot, middle shot and then changed lenses to use a macro for close up shots. The first few were as the knife was found, with some weeds and undergrowth in the way. Once I was happy I had a few photos of the knife exactly as it was found, I removed the weeds and undergrowth for a clearer shot of the knife.
Although there was a net curtain along the patio doors, I could feel six pairs of eyes all on me. After all, I was in this family's garden, with a white suit and mask on. It was probably the most excitement they had for a long time!
The knife was small, probably only four or five inches in blade length, it was a solid metal and silver grey. Although nothing special, it looked like a part of a set. It had blood along it's entirety. There were fingerprints in blood on the blade. This is great evidence and I've been lucky enough to recover it.
I took a series of photographs of the knife with a scale beside it. I turned the knife a few times to ensure each side was photographed. I then secured it into the knife tube I brought with me.
The knife tube is a plastic tube that splits into two. One part fits into the other and screws shut. Each end is reinforced with a metal cap. This tube allows the safe recovery and transport of bladed articles. I then put the tube into a tamper evident plastic bag that I had labelled with the exhibit number, time, location and description as well as some other identification specific information.
I cleared up everything I had taken to the address with me and once the knife was safely packaged I took my suit and other PPE off.
I returned to the station and completed the necessary paperwork and booked the knife into the secure property store.
I got home a few hours late but it was all worth the time.