I’ve driven round that corner countless times before and since and I am still surprised there aren’t more accidents there. A simple two lane left hander before a roundabout with a concrete wall on the outside edge that ‘encourages’ the drivers on that side to cut the corner, forcing drivers on the inside to brake sharply. The council helpfully placed a lamp post as far out on the pavement as possible to light the corner a few years before. The problem though, is being right on the apex, should you try and mount the soft edged kerb to escape the car cutting into your lane as you both go round the corner, you’re buggered and have no where to go.
The driver of the estate car is standing next to our car having unfortunately found himself planted well and truly into the lamp post, the driver of the car responsible has obliviously carried on, having made no attempt to stop and see if he is ok. Apart from being understandably pissed off when we first turn up, he has chilled out now and is going through the motions of the traffic report with me. Keeping a half ear on the radio as always, I hear the call go out “a unit to attend please, winter estate, ambulance on way to report of a male stabbed, requesting Police support, male at location previously violent to officers and paramedics”
I bet you guys get quite a few calls like that, he says, that place is a shit hole. I agree that it isn’t the nicest place in the world to live but say that we don’t get too many people getting stabbed there, usually just drunk and throwing fridges off the balconies when we turn up to their normally pathetic domestics about who runs the TV remote. I carry on for the next few minutes topping and tailing the bits I need to fill the report and as I am taking some photos of the car position I hear the familiar voice of my tutor on the radio “control, we’ve got one detained for attempted murder, the paramedics are working on one guy now but it’s not looking good, can you jack up CID and get the skipper here ASAP please”
As I finish off with the RTA my driver says “The skippers just phoned me, I’ll have to drop you off at the nick to finish that off, and then blat him round to the address” I jump in and we make our way back to the station. We’d gone straight out to the call after parade so knowing it was going to be yet another busy night I manage to get some food down my neck before I sit down to fill out the traffic form. I grab myself a coffee and sit down in the unusually deserted writing room; everyone available has gone to help out. I’m filling the various stats questions and drawing the scene plan out and I listen to the updates on my radio. I’m gutted I’m not there to see what’s going on but I can get a good idea of what it’s like from the radio traffic.
The victim has all but died at the scene, the paramedics took him straight to A&E but he was pronounced dead on arrival the second he got through the door. Over the next half an hour or so the duty SOCO (scenes of crime officer) has attended along with CID and started their preliminary processing of the scene. They decide that due to the time of day (about 10pm now) it would be better to secure the scene and let the day turn come in with a full team to start the investigation proper in the morning. The suspect was taken straight to A&E as well to be treated for slash marks and was being guarded by two of the guys from my team. I call up the driver I’m posted with and inform him that I’ve finished the traffic report and am ready to be picked up and he tells me to hang around and get some food. I’ll need it along with a book apparently.
As the duty team probie I’ve done scene guard and constant watch god knows how many times and although inevitable and necessary, it doesn’t make it any less mind numbingly tedious. I grab my ‘shafted’ bag out of my locker which contains a book, a scarf, a couple of bottles of water, some boiled sweets and various nibblies, I then go on the hunt for some reasonably new magazines. As I walk into custody I see the custody Sgt and ask her if she knows anything about the murder job. In her broad Geordie accent she says “Yeah, W just phoned me to give me the heads up for when his bod comes in, stabbed at least 8-9 times in the neck, chest and face, apparently over some fuck ugly fat bird. I hear you’re going to be sitting up there all night, you’d best have these, pet” she then hands me a couple of unread newspapers and a mag that is on the desk, she then gives me the rest of her Cadbury’s chocolate éclairs, which is nice.
I go out into the back yard to wait for my lift up to the address and he pulls in a minute or so later. I chuck my bag on the back seat and as I go to get in my driver says “go and grab a fleece and your big coat, you’re going to be sitting outside and it’s freezing up there, they’ve turned all the electricity in the flat off” Oh great, I hear myself say out loud. Seconds later and I’m back in the car on my way out and the driver fills me in with the info. Apparently two mates were getting extremely drunk when one accused the other of fancying his wife, the argument got extremely heated as the wife started to wind her husband up, it came to blows and then the husband grabbed a knife from the kitchen.
The victim apparently chased his mate round the house slashing at his arms and back until the suspect grabbed hold of the knife and stabbed him repeatedly in the upper body and head. The 12 inch serrated kitchen knife did an incredible amount of damage and the paramedics only took him to hospital because they couldn’t ‘call him’ (pronounce death) at the scene. As the wife was on the phone the suspect had apparently disposed of the knife before anyone turned up, it is still outstanding.
As we drive into the main entrance to the winter estate it reminds me, as it does every time, of some of the army estates I used to live on, huge high rise buildings, a token park in the middle and only one main road in. At least we didn’t get people dumping stolen cars and setting them alight every weekend. As I look up to the main building opposite the entrance I see the guys standing outside the address on the 4th floor balcony, the hi vis strips on their jackets reflecting our headlights. I grab my bag and start making my way up to the flat, the stairwell is in desperate need of a clean and a coat of paint and the stench of urine hits me in the back of the throat.
I get to the flat and meet the two officers at the door. A photographer is inside taking preliminary shots so the SOCO team can be properly briefed in the morning. I look into the hallway and see the carnage inside; there are splats of blood on the carpet and up the walls. The lights are off but I can see blood trailing into both of the rooms in front of me. One of the guys sees the look on my face and says “that’s nothing mate, you wait to you get inside” As the photographer comes out he briefs me.
There is a plastic chair in the hall that one of the neighbours lent us, there are SOCO blocks on the floor (raised blocks on legs to make a path without disturbing the evidence) leading into each room, and the power is off so we have to use torches as he shows me in. We go into the hall and round to the kitchen to the right and I see the black pool on the floor where the victim laid and the bloodstained boot prints of the officers and the paramedics who attended. There are empty saline bags and bandage wrappings on the floor. As we go further into the house the metallic smell of blood and death reminds me of an abattoir we visited at school once.
I’m told that I can only go as far in as the hall, ideally I need to stay on the chair to make sure no one comes in. The photographer and the two other officers cheerily wave good bye as they leave to get a lift back to the nick. I sit down on the chair and then look up. The blood is all over the ceiling. I knew that arterial spray was strong, but this house looks like someone chucked a grenade in a vat of blood. There are spray lines, pools and bloodied handprints all over the walls, I look on the floor and I see drag marks and more handprints. What the hell happened here? The smell is making me sick and I try not to look at the walls. It is almost as if someone has used the house to film a scene for a comedy horror flick there is that much blood, but this isn’t funny.
I get my book out of my bag and try to ignore the world of sheer death that I am sitting in the middle of. I can’t get the image of the kitchen out of my mind and I keep re reading the same page. A car then turns onto the estate; the headlights shine right through the door and illuminate the flat. As the car moves the shadows on the walls change as they sweep across the glistening blood still drying slowly in the freezing cold. The temperature has dropped even more and it starts to rain outside.
I look at my watch, it’s just gone eleven and I am going to be on scene until the day turn relieves me just after seven. I can’t read because I'm listening to my radio and every time I lift my eyes from the page I see blood. I keep turning round to look at the kitchen and imagine the awful fight and the terrible injuries that were inflicted on both men, with the woman screaming in the background.
I don’t want to be here.