After reading the 'Jizz Inspectors' by Sue Carney - http://www.lilaclounge.me/, it reminded me of a scene that I had attended. I haven't yet blogged about rape or sexual offences.
It's difficult to say how common this type of offence is. I work for a large force, and like other crimes, we see a larger number of rapes than a smaller force would.
I was on call on this particular day and had got home at about 2330 hours. I often work over on a late shift. There's no one to hand work to if you haven't had time to finish it.
I hadn't eaten properly during my shift, unless you count the two Fox's Custard Creams that is.
My better half had made dinner earlier in the evening and had set some aside for me. I flicked the switch on the kettle, and put my bowl of food in the microwave.
I made tea.
I sat down and put the television on. I find it difficult to go home and go straight to bed, I need time to switch off and shut down.
After a few episodes of QI on Dave, I went to bed at about 0145 and went straight to sleep.
I was dreaming about the Royal Wedding when I was rudely awoken by my iPhone vibrating and ringing, getting louder and louder.
I'd imagine that only a second had passed, but in this time I thought it was my alarm clock, and it was time to get up. Then I thought I was in the house I use to live in. Then I thought, don't ask why, that I was in fact ringing someone myself.
"Hello" I said in a panicked voice.
"CSI Guy it's CSI Supervisor, you ok?"
"I'm sweaty" I said. I'm sweaty!? What on earth possessed me to say that? This was a supervisor I hadn't even met! She didn't really know me.
"Too much information" She said with a giggle.
"Um, yea, uh, sorry, what can I do for you?"
She then went on to explain the details of the call out, the DS who wanted a phonecall from me when I got in, and the log number and address of the job. The supervisor will often ask if I have a pen, I always say yes and pretend to write things down, reading out loud what I am meant to be writing down.
"Seevvveen, Plannnt Streeeeet"
The thing is, the job will be a piece of cake to find on the system when I get to the nick, so writing this down now is pointless. I always read the log to ensure nothing has been missed, the information often goes through three or more people before I get the phone call. It does no harm in spending ten minutes when I get in to double check everything.
I hung the phone up and walked back towards the bedroom, where my uniform was.
I looked at the clock. It was only 0226, I'd been in bed for no more than 41 minutes. It had felt like I had slept for hours. I mean, in my dream, I had been to Westminster and back!
I had a quick shower and got changed. I was in the office within twenty five minutes.
The scene was inside. It's unusual to get a call out to an indoor scene. If it's indoors, it can usually be preserved until 0700 when the other CSIs come on duty. This avoids unnecessary overtime.
For one reason or another, it was decided that I was needed at the scene sooner rather than later.
A rape was reported to have taken place at an address on the other side of the City. There was a bobby on scene guard at the front of the property.
There is always an urge to get scenes processed as soon as possible, not as quickly as possible. The problem with rushing in and scooping everything up is that it can can mean that if something comes to light later on, it may be too late to change the way the scene is processed.
Some scenes can often be processed the same way, burglaries for example. I go in, have a short talk with the victim and crack on. Fingerprint everything the offender has/may have touched, take items for chemical treatment and look for other forensic opportunities.
With a rape, the full circumstances need to be obtained before I go and start the scene. This if for many reasons, reasons that probably don't need explaining here.
I had a full brief on the circumstances from the DS.
I checked that I had a condom module kit or two in the van- I did. I grabbed a few other bits that may come in useful.
The condom module kit comes sealed. There's a sterile plastic tub and lid. When the lid clicks down, it can't be removed without breaking the seal. There's a blue clip to put on the open end of the condom and a tamper evident bag to put everything in for transport.
The clip is like the sort of thing you clamp around your bag of peas for the freezer, only smaller. It keeps fluid on the inside, inside; and the fluid on the outside, outside.
I drove to the scene, past a football ground. The area around the football ground is eerie. I don't like it. The plus side is, there's a CCTV camera on each street corner. I don't like football.
I got to the scene within about fifty minutes of the call. The bobby had been there for about two hours at this point. He knew very little. About the scene that is. I'm sure he knew lots about other things.
I opened the front door and walked in, it stank. I couldn't put my finger on the smell, I don't think I wanted to.
I walked into each room, one at a time, making notes.
The kitchen, or the room that was meant to be the kitchen, was full of rubbish. I get grief when I leave a plate next to sink overnight- "It washes easier if you do it straight away..." She moans.
This place was something else. The only way this place would be clean is if a team of five gutted it out and started again.
It turns out the property was residence for a lone male. The property however was meant to be empty. I think there was some discrepancy over ownership. That was what we were being told anyway.
The downstairs living room had a single bed in one corner. There was a small coffee table next to the bed with various pieces of debris on it. There were magazines everywhere, old magazines. I saw something dated 1996.
I went through the upstairs rooms. They were full of boxes and inside the boxes were possessions. They look like possessions of an elderly person. I thought that maybe the old occupant of the property had passed or moved away. Irrelevant anyway, the offender wasn't elderly.
The bathroom was at the front of the house. It was dark, the light didn't work. The light tends to blow in the bathroom more than anywhere else in a house. I have no idea why. I know that's where I'd want a light. I used my crime lite to look around. The bright white light caught something in the bowl, it was a mix of faeces and paper. I held my breath.
The offender wasn't in custody. I had to gather evidence to be used when he was arrested. This was his residence, if you could call it that, I had to collect the evidence before he returned. The officer was there to make sure I was safe and to arrest the offender should he return. Someone's got my back.
Once I made my notes, I went back to the van. It was nice to walk into the cold night air. I had a slight sweat on. I think it's because my body knew I was meant to be in bed.
I took the gloves I had on, off. I was about to touch my camera, I didn't want anything from the house on my camera. I put two new pairs on. This meant that if I touched something dirty, I could take that glove off and still have gloves on. It makes my hands wrinkly though.
I went back into the house and took photos of each room. I take the photos so that anyone viewing the album feels like they are 'walking' through the scene. If I photograph something of interest, I will take a general shot to show it's location in the scene and then a slightly closer shot and then a close up shot using my macro lens. My macro lens shows an immense level of detail. I can take a photo so close, that the item will fill the frame.
Once I had finished the photographs I went outside. The officer was just as bored as when I had arrived. Up to this point, I had probably been there for at least an hour already. The officer had a small supply of bottled water, it was a welcome gift. I took a few minutes outside having a drink of water and talking about allsorts.
I thought to myself, "I hope he doesn't ask me about football" I haven't got a fricking clue.
We finished our chit chat and I got ready to collect evidence. I put a white suite on at this stage. This was for two reasons. The first, the property was a hole. I wanted to go home without any of the house left on my clothes. Secondly, I was going to be looking for used condoms now. I don't fancy spermatozoa on my work boots.
I had a mask on at this point as I would be close to evidence that could contain DNA. I don't want the FSS to identify me as the offender. That'd be a career buster.
The single mattress had no bed sheets on it. It had a variety of stains all over it. There's two ways of recovering these stains. I could cut the top of the mattress off and bag it up, or I could just take the whole thing. We have bags for mattresses.
I turned it over, initially to search underneath. When I looked at the underside, there was a large stain. It was a body fluid but not the obvious one. This stain gave cause for concern, this meant the mattress had to be seized, in it's entirety.
I can't get a mattress into a bag alone. I went and spoke to the bobby and helped him into a scene suit. It took us a few minutes but we managed it, though it was a bit like an episode of The Chuckle Brothers.
We struggled down the hallway and outside to the van. It was the early hours of the morning but I could still see people watching us. There was one female across the street in a first floor window. There was a net curtain, that she thought kept her from view. I could see her, watching. I wonder what she thought was in this large bag.
The Officer kept his suit on after that and stood at the door. Maybe he thought I may need his help again, maybe he liked the suit?
I searched the upstairs rooms and recovered a couple of items of clothing. These items could belong the victim. They were in my photos, to show the location.
I didn't find anything in the kitchen, amongst the piles of rubbish. I find searching rubbish both interesting and disgusting at the same time, you can tell a lot about someone by looking at their rubbish.
This guy loved chicken, KFC in particular.
Chicken bones, mayonnaise, sweetcorn, tissues, boxes, receipts, crisp packets, tea bags and a sock, a sock? There's always rubbish that you can't figure out what exactly it is.
I got to the hallway and the understairs cupboard. There were two black bin liners of rubbish, I opened the first and started to sort through it. Luckily, there was an unused bucket next to them. I put the things I wasn't interested in into this.
I wonder when the bins were last collected? Are the bin men on strike? Is this guy on strike? There was weeks worth of rubbish here.
I'd gotton used to the smell by now, this wasn't an issue. There was the odd fly that wanted to know what was in the bag too. Probably hungry, there was plenty for him to eat. I worked my way through the rubbish, I thought it was going to be a wasted task. It wasn't.
I quickly found a torn condom wrapper, things are looking good. There's got to be a condom in here somewhere, right?
Halfway down, on the side of a KFC Pepsi Max cup was a used condom. I removed a pair of gloves and took a close up photo of the condom's location.
I fastened the blue clip over the end of the condom and placed it delicately into the container. I clicked the lid down and put it into the tamper evident bag and then sealed it.
Now, I didn't know which rubbish bag was the most recent. Just because I had found a condom and wrapper, I still had to look through the rest. I worked my way through both bags. This took some time, but in total I found four condom wrappers and five condoms.
The incident I was investigating was one act of sexual intercourse. Where were these other condoms from? A girlfriend? One night stands? Other victims?
I found the last wrapper in the beans tub, inside a KFC box, inside a carrier bag.
No stone unturned.
I gathered all of the evidence together and loaded the van. I carefully took my suit off, ensuring that the outside of the suit didn't touch me, or my clothes. I put that into a brown bag I had made for rubbish and then took my gloves off, turning them inside out as I did. Gloves are always last off.
I did one last sweep of the place to ensure I had everything that belonged to me and headed off.
It only took my a short while to get everything written up and a report filed. The condoms went in the freezer.
I headed home just as the first early crew were coming in the door. Time for bed and probably Westminster again.