I'd been out in the van no longer than twenty minutes, I was on my way to deliver an urgent statement to CID for a court case this week.
My radio went, I almost missed it as I was singing along to 'Millennium' by Robbie Williams.
It was a really sunny and warm day and I was happy.
"CSI Guy, go ahead, over"
"CSI Guy, we've got an unexplained death for you, if you'd be so kind"
I took the address down. I could get the rest when I arrive at the scene. Officers are still there, waiting for me to arrive.
Whilst I drive towards the scene, I'm going through my plan of action in my head. I don't know a lot about the scene yet but I do know what is required of me at these type of scenes. There's some things that I will always have to do.
I don't need to check the kit in the back of my van, it's always topped up if I'm using it. I'll need stepping plates, scene suits, two body bags and my camera as a bare minimum.
I arrive at the scene and I'm met by a familiar face. The PC who responded to the job was the same Officer I met at a suicide last week.
"Hello CSI Guy" She said. "It's a shame that death brings us together!"
It's true. I've only seen this Officer twice, ever, and in fact I've not seen her since. We cover such a vast area, on shifts, that I could go months without matching up to the same response team again.
We stood at the back of my van, at the end of the driveway to the house where the scene was. The sun was beating down on us. It was really warm. I wasn't looking forward to putting a scene suit and mask on.
She gave me the run down of what had occurred. She was holding a tissue in her right hand. Turns out they were on their way back from KFC with hot food when they were asked to attend. She wanted to eat, but before she could get a chance to ask if anyone else could attend, her colleague accepted the job. She rolled her eyes when she told me this. Her KFC was sat on the dashboard of their response car. At least it'll stay warm, I thought.
I could smell 'that' smell from the front garden. Her colleague told me that I'd need to spray something in my mask, as the smell was unbearable. "I'm used to it" I told him.
Truth is, you do get used to the smell. It's instantly recognisable. There's nothing quite like it. People relate certain smells to memories, and the smell of death always reminds me of pickled onion Monster Munch.
This is what I know before going in: The sole occupant of the address is a middle aged white male. He's an alcoholic. He has a dog. He doesn't have any family nearby. His friends visit from time to time, but only when he's been paid his benefits and he has alcohol in. What are friends for if they can't share your alcohol?
The Officers have entered, realised he's deceased, rescued his dog and left. The male was last seen around a week ago when he was walking his dog by an elderly neighbour, Doreen. "He always asks if there's anything I need from the Co-op, he's ever so polite" she says.
Those with less, tend to give more.
He had a Doctor's appointment four days ago, but he never arrived. Not something that would set alarm bells ringing though.
I suited up, put my camera strap over my neck and started to take photos of the lead up to the house.
The front door has ben obliterated by an Officer who's just passed his method of entry course. He did do the fabulous task of noting what position the locks were in and noted that the keys were in the back of the door before he commenced. Job well done.
When I got to the front door, I put my mask on, partly due to the smell, but mainly to avoid me contaminating the scene with my DNA should this be a suspicious death. The quicker my nose gets use to that smell, the better it'll be.
I'll only really notice it if I leave the scene and come back in.
The property was a two bedroom, ground floor maisonette. The door was wooden framed with two fixed pane fire glass windows, one in the upper and one in the lower section. The wood was painted blue, but I could see flakes of red paint underneath. It was painted poorly.
I took photos of everything I saw, most things will be covered by at least two photos. I make sure I record everything, as it's not uncommon for something that first appears irrelevant and meaningless to become the most important thing someone wants to know six months later.
I get the not so gentle aroma of death, mixed with a hint of stale beer, dog faeces and the smell of an unclean home.
The first bedroom had a badly stained mattress on the floor, no bedding except one yellow tinged pillow. There were some empty supermarket home brand lager cans on the floor. The spare bedroom you think? No, this is the master bedroom. There's a bottle of urine in the corner, so I guess it's en-suite.
I pass the bathroom, it's got the obligatory unflushed toilet with something growing out of it.
Three, two, one, I hold my breath, go in, photograph the bathroom from two angles and depart, closing my eyes as I take a 'fresh' intake of air.
I push the door open to the kitchen and it's as expected, a mess.
There's dishes piled high. Some have rotten food on, some have been used as ash trays. I can see a collection of what appear to be toe nails in a small drinking glass. There's a black bin liner on the worktop by the window, I think the sink is underneath that.
There's a Co-op bag on top of a pile of old leaflets on the table. Inside is a four pack of Fosters lager, with one missing, the plastic ring is stretched as if one has been removed. There are two tins of Pedigree jelly dog food and a receipt for all of said items. It's dated a week ago, just after Doreen last saw him.
The living room is where I'll get the money shot.
The male is laying on his back. He's got a brown leather jacket on, open at the front, a polo shirt with a hooped pattern underneath. He's wearing black blue denim jeans with no buttons on the front, an ill-fitting belt is holding the jeans up. He's wearing black shoes.
He's decomposed quite badly. His skin has turned a really dark colour, somewhere between purple and black. His stomach is distended, it looks ready to burst. I lifted his polo shirt up slightly, I can see the skin is starting to slip off. I need to be really careful when I try to move him that I don't pull the skin off.
Something's not right here. The male's left hand is open and by his side. There's a can of Fosters lager open and on the floor less than a foot from his hand.
But where is his right hand? I can see that it's not tucked underneath him nor is it in his pocket.
It's not there. His hand is not there. He has no hand.
I lift up his right arm by lifting the jacket sleeve, all I can see is his forearm with a small section of his Ulnar or Radius protruding.
The section that is protruding is clean. No gunk, no skin, no fat, no blood stains, nothing. Just clean bone.
Well, this is new.
As I look around, I realise that there are small pieces of bones on the sofa, the window ledge and by the back patio door.
They look like pieces of the hand and fingers. All completely clean.
I know that the only forced entry is by Police Officers. This property is secured from the inside.
There's only two suspects for this. The first one is laying on the floor in front of me. He hasn't put his finger bones all over the room.
The other suspect has gone, he's been allowed to leave the scene by Officers. In fact, Officer's arranged for transport for him.
It looks like the dog got so hungry, and couldn't find anything else to eat, that he's decide to eat part of his best friend.
Apparently, a dog will start to lick exposed flesh in an attempt to rouse it's owner. If the owner is dead, that's clearly not going to happen. The smell and lack of reaction tells the dog that you're dead. The next level from licking is biting and it goes from there.
I've read about a case where a dog has decapitated it's owner. the face and head is a favourite, apparently. It's animal instinct.
I picked up all of the pieces of bones I could find and with the absence of any other physical injuries, this was a natural death with an unfortunate subsequent event.
It's likely that the dog will probably pass the bones I'm missing. Someone's going to have to arrange to collect those.
I put the male into a body bag and zip him up, with the assistance of the undertaker.
When I get outside, I'm dripping with sweat. It's still really hot. I take my kit off, leaving my gloves until last and I put it all inside a large plastic bag for the biohazard bin back at the nick.
I sign out of the scene log with the Officers and I can't help but smirk to myself when I see the motto on the side of the KFC box on the Police car dashboard.