Wolf – 8 – Whodunnit?

How do you go about killing someone?

Well that kinda depends if you want to get caught or not.

Let’s imagine for a moment .. or as long as it takes to read this .. that you wanted to murder your ex wife or former partner.  


We aren’t talking reasons. .. that’s up to you .. let’s talk practicalities. 

Statistically most murders of women are stabbings committed by their partner or former partner in the women’s home or partners home.

So in most cases Miss Scarlet does gets murdered by Mr Green in the Living Room with the dagger.

The implication of these statistics is that regardless if you consciously plan to murder or in a moment of passion react violently and kill your partner then no matter how you try and hide it, Inspector Cluedo will already have a good inkling that it was you and it’s just a matter of collating the evidence.

Do you remember all those old episodes of Colombo, still being broadcast on satellite channels?

Typically some woman is killed, usually in glamorous locations in unglamorous circumstances.

The inspector turns up like a bad smell in his grubby raincoat. He’s the little guy, the underrated underdog that nobody wants hanging around embarrassing them in their perfectly imperfect lifestyles.

He takes one look at the scene, It’s not obvious who killed the poor woman but Colombo knows a liar when he sees one.

What’s different about Colombo from most murder thrillers is that the guilty party is always known to the audience from the start unlike a typical Agatha Christie style whodunnit where the guilty party is only revealed at the end after that missing piece of the jigsaw is found.

Of course the bumbling Miss Marples or sneaky Piorrot knew who the guilty party was from the start but a series of misdirection is used to keep the audience guessing until the last piece is revealed in the drawing room with all the characters waiting on the estate of the deceased to be shared out.

It’s never ordinary people is it?

Ordinary people generally don’t go through all the deception and planning to cover up theirs crimes. The event occurs and even if they try to cover it up they get caught almost immediately.

Like Colombo, the experienced investigating officers already know who guilty party is most likely to be before they turn up at the scene and it’s a matter of collecting and separating the salient facts from the noise.

The partner or former partner is usually top of the list of suspects.  Next in line is love rivals followed by friends and associates with other motives.

Usually it’s obvious, the perpetrators are literally caught red-handed with direct evidence that shows them as the killer.

It used to be finger print or fibre evidence that were mainly used to prove the killer. But that’s changed with modern science and the use of DNA and even the abundance of CCTV, Mobile Phones and browsing history data provided by Internet Service Providers.

Did you know that in most murders involving stabbing, it has been found that the blood of the killer can also be found at the scene?

I don’t mean the first place that the forensics people look which is under the fingernails of the victim as they typically claw at their assailants face in an attempt to defend themselves.

But it’s because the assailant usually cut themselves as they stab their victim with an ordinary knife without a guard to prevent their hand sliding onto the blade.

So as they repeatedly and quickly stab the person forcing the knife into their body their grip slides onto the blade cutting the assailants hand and their blood and DNA evidence is left at the scene.

It used to be presumed that any blood would be the victims but in modern cases all blood is checked as it’s most likely to contain the killers too.

As for CCTV, have a look round, it’s all over the place these days. It’s on the motorways and major road junctions. There are the obvious cameras mounted on gimbles which rotate for viewing the traffic at different angles as it happens.

But there are other cameras with fixed mounts that collect car registration plates as they pass. Have a look next time you’re exiting a motorway the dark blue traffic camera will be recording your presence.

These aren’t just in the motorways but on all major roads ostensibly to provide information on traffic throughput but if that was the case then why collect a record of passing car registrations and not just the volume of traffic?

Then there is the growing number of CCTV cameras located at private homes. If a murder occurs then it’s one of the first things that the local constables will ask for when they do their door to door questioning.

Are you aware of the murder at the end of the road? Did you see anything suspicious on the night of? Do you have cctv? Can we have a copy?

That use of the word “can” is a little  ambiguous. What they really mean is that we require a copy. All available evidence must be obtained, collated and verified as it’s not always obvious at the time but may prove useful later.

Typically in planned murders, the perpetrator will have visited the victims location a number of times planning the event. Even if they don’t use their own car on the night in question or park it streets away and walk, they will have used their own car when undertaking reconnaissance of the scene.

Any local CCTV which proves the perpetrator to be in the vicinity will be useful as they will be pressured to explain their reasons when they have no good reason.

Similarly all mobile phone data in the area will be collected and used to demonstrate that the suspect was in the vicinity at the time.

It’s circumstantial, it doesn’t prove the perpetrator did the crime but unless they can explain their reasons it lowers their credibility and helps to overcome reasonable doubt.

The flip-side of CCTV is of course, the assailants own can provide the damning evidence and hoist them by their own petard.

Take my own recently installed CCTV, It provides visual evidence and a time stamp of who entered my home and when. It even stores the evidence on the cloud, there is no local hard drive that can be deleted to hide any evidence.

So Mr Smith, you say that you haven’t seen the victim in months yet on the night of December 11th she was seen entering your home in a state of ..


So Mr Smith, you say that on the night of December 11th, you spent the full evening at home alone watching tv. Yet we have obtained video evidence that you in fact left your property at 2315pm. Can you explain where you were going thirty minutes before the murder occurred?


In today’s world, your own mobile phone is most likely to be used to provide evidence  of your location at any given time.

Having worked in the Telecoms industry with full access to all data collected, I’m aware how easy it is to determine who was in the vicinity of the crime scene.

There are two means of collecting the location data GSM and GPS.

GPS is the more accurate where your phone uses the global positioning satellites to provide a location.

GSM is less accurate and locations are determined by calculated by triangulating the phones location from the number of locally available mobile cells.

Either way, with modern software tools and access to the history of a locus over time it’s easy for an investigator to determine who was in the location at any time, subtracting those that are normally there to leave only the visitors and the perpetrator.

Best advice, leave your mobile on and at home. Even when you do your reconnaissance.

If you’re interested, have a read at the following case of two women who conspired and acted to murder a love rival Sadie Hartley.

Although the pair were motivated, planned ahead and did what they could to hide their crime,  the police had them as suspects within hours of the crime occurring.

This is actually more of a case study in what not to do.

So how do you go about killing someone and not getting caught?

Simple answer … don’t do it .. most likely you will be caught. 

Because they already know whodunnit. 


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