Apologies for the delay in getting a new post up. I've been busy recently. Work takes up a lot of my time.
I'll discuss my thoughts of a job I did over a year ago now.
I was on lates, which is a 1400-2200 hour shift.
For once, I was off on time. To tell the truth, I left ten minutes early. Who's to know?
It had been a busy few weeks, it may have been the time of year, it may just have been luck. Or the lack of it.
I hadn't eaten whilst at work so I put some left over chicken pie, potatoes and peas in the microwave. Two minutes and thirty seconds later and a splash of brown sauce and all was good.
I hadn't quite finished the plate when the phone rang.
I'm on call. And that's a call out. It has to be.
There's been a murder. Never quite the same as Taggart.
I live close enough to the station to be able to finish my food before I get ready to go again. I got in the office within twenty minutes, it felt like I'd only been here a couple of hours ago.
I had been.
I read the incident on the computer system, it had been running for just short of three hours and was already on page thirty two, most incidents are two pages long, maximum.
The incident normally includes details from the initial caller, descriptions, address, telephone number and what has happened. From there, details of responding officers are attached, decisions that have been made, observations, names of witnesses, suspects and much more will be placed on an incident. It soon adds up.
There was already a Crime Scene Manager (CSM) at the scene. A CSM will always take the lead on a murder. The CSM makes decisions on how to process the scene and the CSI will normally carry out the work. The CSM will work closely with the Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) to progress the investigation.
The CSM had requested a CSI to assist him at the scene. I like the CSM at this job. He's knocking on a bit but a great guy. He's experienced, calm, professional and has the best sense of humour in the office. Except for me.
I called the CSM on the radio, using a point to point (a personal conversation on the radio system), and checked to see if he needed anything in particular from the store room before I headed his way. I grabbed a few bits and pieces and put a flask of coffee together, anticipating a long night.
It didn't take long to get to the location, there was hardly any traffic on the roads. I knew the road where the incident had occurred, though the Police vans and scene tape on approach gave it away.
It was a particularly cold night so I had my force issue woolly hat on, it looks ridiculous, but keeps me warm and Miss CSI says I look cute, besdies which it's not a fashion show, especially at this time of the night.
As I approached the cordon, an Officer hastily jumped out of the passenger side of the van, he was probably sitting in front of the heater, he put his hat on and started to point towards a side road.
I'm not going down there. I'm coming in the cordon. He just doesn't know it yet.
As I got closer, it wasn't my van, it wasn't my uniform, nor was it my radio giving off an incredible amount of light, it was my hat that made him realise who I was. "You must be SOCO, with a stupid hat like that. Your colleague is over there, he has one of those!"
He lifted the tape as I drove under it. The tape is strecthy and usually goes over the top of the van easily. I parked up and the CSM came out to greet me.
He gave me a run down of what happened. "It's not good" He said.
I gathered as much, seeing as someone had been murdered.
I took my hat and jacket off and put on a white suit and footwear protectors. I slipped on two pairs of gloves.
The CSM took me towards the door of the property, the deceased's place of work, and I could smell blood. There was a tent over space in the back of the building, as I entered the tent, there was a lot of blood on the floor. This is probably the most blood I've seen in one area before.
As we entered the door into the property, there was a trail of blood.
This wasn't blood drops, nor was it cast off from a weapon, this was blood transfer. Something, or more likely, someone, wet with blood, has moved across this floor.
The transfer went in the door, down the steps, around the corner and across the floor.
At the end of this trail, I knew there was going to be a person. This trail was the last movements of the man who had been murdered. Dragging himself along the floor trying to get help. Not many people will see this, thankfully.
The floor was covered in footwear impressions trod into blood. It was clear people were here at the time of the incident or after it. I could see at least four different impressions, there would be many more that can't be seen which would be developed later. It's likely that some of the impressions would belong to paramedics and Officers.
None of them will belong to me, I can make that promise.
The male had been attacked whilst at work by strangers, this doesn't happen very often. The offenders are normally known to the victim or there is normally a connection of sorts.
Not here, apparently.
I spent a few minutes just looking, taking it all in. The male way laying on his right side. There was a small pool of blood on the floor beneath him. His mouth was wide open. His left leg was on top of his right leg. His Adidas jacket had six or seven holes in it. These holes were were the knife had ripped it open before it was plunged into his body.
This had been a frenzy. A book shelf lay on the ground ahead of the male, books were strewn all over the floor.
Both the CSM and I had to prepare this male for removal to a mortuary, this almost always means taking clothes and jewellery off. Each piece of clothing has to be packaged seperately, I had to do this. The problem with these clothes were that they were still wet. Normally, clothing goes into brown paper bags, but blood would have soaked straight through. I wrote the exhibit details on the outside of the paper bag and then I placed the wet clothing in an open plastic bag, then placed it inside the paper bag.
I never thought I'd have a job taking other people's clothes off, especially in these sort of circumstances.
Any such clothing removed would need to be dried before being sealed completely, we have cabinets for this back at the station.
As I was doing this, the CSM was videoing the scene and taking photos of other important points.
I put the bags of clothes into the back of my van, it was nice to step outside into the cold air. I remembered I had a flask of coffee and felt fully deserving of a break, as did the CSM. I went back inside with my flask in my hand, the CSM's eyes lit up.
We took ten minutes aside to have a coffee and got back to it.
Before we put the male in a body bag, we had to cover his hands, feet and head. I've discussed this before, but it never stops feeling completely unnatural to put a plastic bag over someone's head, even when they are deceased.
I pulled the black drawstrings on the bags, tightening the seal on each.
Putting the male in a body bag was a two man job. CSM had packed the video camera away and changed gloves. I'm not sure why he changed gloves, he hadn't touched anything except the camera yet.
We had to find a clean space to lay the bag out. We've got new bags. They've got stronger handles. I wonder who makes these items. Bags for heads and bags for bodies. I thought I had a strange job.
There's no graceful way to put someone in a bag. I held him by his arms, CSM held him by the legs. Once inside the first bag, the male goes into a second bag. Inner and outer bags.
As I left people were starting to head to work. The road closure was causing chaos. It didn't bother me, I was driving the opposite way.
This job made the National News. Thankfully, I was tucked up in bed before the TV crews got there.