Forensic psychology
Forensic psychology

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Forensic psychology

2.2 DI Bullet takes witness statements

Figure 5

In the next activity you will listen to an audio recording of the initial statement taken by DI Bullet. As you listen to it, make a note of any evidence about the crime that you think might be useful in solving it. Remember, try to evaluate what you hear in terms of what you have learned about eyewitness memory.

Activity 2.1 DI Bullet: initial statements

Allow about 30 minutes

DI Bullet knows that time is of the essence, particularly in a case that involves kidnapping, and that getting information out to all the officers in the area is of paramount importance. To save time, he therefore decides to talk to the two witnesses together.

Listen to the audio recording as many times as you like and note down the evidence you think is revealed.

Download this audio clip.
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Transcript

BULLET
OK, now, I understand the two of you witnessed an armed robbery and a kidnap. We need to catch the guys that did this fast and the only clues that we have to go on are what you can tell me. I'll talk to you later at the police station and we can take full statements, but for now I just want you to focus on the key details of what happened and particularly what the robbers looked like.
Now, I understand the suspects drove up and jumped out of a car, now, could either of you describe it?
LILA
Yes, it was a large silver car and the number plate was NG58 VXW. I knew it was going to be very important to remember the number plate and I've got a really good memory. I don't know much about cars and it was at least a hundred feet away, so I can't tell you the make, just the number plate. But it was silver and it looked very new and expensive. It had a red light in the back window and four doors. I know it had four doors because I remember them all being open at once. That must've been when the men jumped out and opened the ones in the front as well as the two back doors. I had a good view of the car; I kept staring at it as the robbery went on for a bit, easily 10 minutes, so I had a lot of time to study the plate.
SETH
I don't remember the car pulling up, just that the robbers were suddenly there, jumping out of the car I suppose. I remember the tires screeching though, so I guess the car must've pulled up fast. I was pretty shook up, so didn't think to look at the number plate, but yeah, large silver car sounds right. Tires must've screeched as they drove around the corner. Then they all jumped out and started waving guns about, it was terrifying. I don't have a good memory of the details, but yeah, they must've all jumped out of a large silver car and if I had to guess I would say it was an Audi, but I'm not really sure.
BULLET
Great, thank you. Lila you're a real star for remembering that number plate. So, let's take it from when they all jump out of the car, what happened then.
LILA
There were 3 of them, 4 including the driver. The three jumped out and ran over to the security van and grabbed hold of two of the security guards. They all had guns and they forced the guards to the ground. Two of them were wearing balaclava masks so I couldn't see their faces. The third, who had a fight with one of the guards and hit him had a hood, I think, but it wasn't up so I could see his face. He had very curly, shoulder-length black hair, was about 5 foot 3 and had quite dark skin. I would say he's in his early 20's, say... 22? and maybe he was Spanish or Italian? Or probably Asian. Yeah I would say he was probably Indian. They didn't say anything so I didn't hear an accent and the other two kept their masks on, so I don't know what they looked like. But all three seemed pretty similar, you know, quite stocky? Not fat necessarily, but stocky, like they'd all worked out a lot, like they were bouncers maybe. They all had on dark jackets that had hoods and all of them were wearing army trousers, you know? Like, they have camouflage on them? Two of them, they aimed their guns at security guards whilst the third grabbed a case. The case was on a chain, so he had to break the chain with some sort of tool.
BULLET
So you got a good look at the unmasked one that was fighting with the guard. Would you be able to identify him if you saw him again?
LILA
Yes. I got a good look at him and I would definitely be able to recognise him again.
BULLET
Seth. Talk me through what happened.
SETH
OK, they all jumped out the car, firing shots into the air. Two ran to the van and made the guards get out. I don't really remember much, but I think Lila's right, the one who didn't have a mask was being really aggressive and fighting with one of the guards. He was about... 20? That's the Asian one isn't it? About 20 and... 5 foot 3 or 4?
BULLET
Is there any more that you can tell me about these three - were they wearing camouflage, dark jackets?
SETH
I think that's right, yeah, camouflage. A bit like soldiers, only they had jackets on. They were all muscly. Really stocky, like they reminded me of bouncers or something. The Indian guy started fighting with one guard, and he hit him in the head I think? He fought the guard to the ground and he stole the case that was chained to his wrist. The others had masks so I didn't really see them. Oh, and now I think about it, there was something a bit odd about one of them. I remember thinking that one of them was different, almost... almost childlike maybe? Or a like a woman maybe? But you know, I didn't really get a good look at them so it's probably nothing. They didn't really come over to us and I didn't want them to. All of them were similar - dark jackets, camouflage trousers... I'm sorry, I'm not sure I can say any more than that.
BULLET
Well that's great guys, you're doing really well. We've got the number plate and a good description. Now, let's deal with the kidnap.
SETH
That was the worst bit. I was hoping they were just gonna ignore us, but then the driver got out the car and he just started running towards us. He had a gun, like, a shotgun, and he was firing it in the air and shouting. I was really scared. He was a tall white guy, hard looking, short hair. He just ran towards us and grabbed Liz. She was just standing there with us but he grabbed her and he dragged her screaming back to the car and... well, then they were gone, with Liz.
LILA
Was it the driver? I mean, someone definitely grabbed Liz... no you're right, it must've been the driver, as the other three were fighting with the security guards. The driver was firing his shotgun in the air and shouting at Liz. He was white, and older than the others, probably... 30? and a lot stockier, you know, but also a lot taller. I mean well over 6 foot, probably... 6 foot 3 or 4? He was a really tall guy, he towered right over Liz, but really well built, too. He was dressed like a soldier, camouflage all over and no mask. He had very short hair.
BULLET
How short? You mean like a soldier would have, a crew cut?
LILA
Yeah, like a soldier, like a soldier's crew cut, and he also had a soldier's face, if you know what I mean, you know, like he was a very hard man used to giving orders. He dragged Liz back to the car, bundled her in and then drove off, really fast.
BULLET
So you both got a good look at the driver who kidnapped Liz as he was very close to you. Would you be able to identify him if you saw him again?
LILA
He was very close to us, so yes, I would definitely be able to identify him.
SETH
I'm not sure. Now that I think about it, there was something odd about his face. Was he wearing sunglasses? That seems really odd but I think he was. They had really dark lenses and silver frames. I just don't remember his face. Maybe he had like a cap on and sunglasses so he was hard to see. I remember the shotgun, which he kept firing, but I'm sorry, I'm really just not sure what he looked like.
BULLET
Right, I think we've got plenty to be going on with, let me just go over my notes with you. Lila, you said a large silver Audi, new and expensive looking, screeched around the corner, and and the number plate was definitely November-Golf-5-8, Victor-X-ray-Whiskey.
LILA
Yes, the number plate was definitely NG58 VXW.
BULLET
Good. After that, four guys jump out, all wearing army fatigues and dark jackets and they start firing guns into the air. Three of them run over to the security fan, and the driver ran towards you, threatening you with a shotgun, grabs Liz, drags her back to the car. The other three fight with the guards, use a tool to cut the chain attaching the case to one of the guards and then steal it. Is that pretty much it?
SETH
That sounds right to me.
BULLET
Now for the descriptions. The driver is a Caucasian male, in his 30's, 6 foot 3 or 4, dressed like a soldier and with dark hair in a crew cut. The guy who steals the case is an Asian male, in his 20's, 5 foot 3, stocky with long, dark, curly hair. All are armed with shotguns.
LILA
Yes, yep, you've got it all.
SETH
Yeah... I mean, I think that's right... it was just really scary to go through, but that summary makes sense, so... that's how it must've happened.
BULLET
So, some very useful details there. Lila was a perfect witness - not too scared, remembered loads of details, really managed to keep her head and come through for us. Not so sure about Seth, he was obviously terrified. I don't trust his memory about the car being an Audi, but as Lila remembered the number plate I don't need to. She also gave us a good description of the suspects - 4 men, 2 with masks - the unmasked guy's Asian, probably of Indian ancestry, in his early 20s, has long, thick curly dark hair. He's 5 foot 3, very stocky. The driver was Caucasian, early 30s, 6 foot 4 and well-built. He had a crew cut and wore army fatigues. I think Lila is likely to be very reliable. I think all that business from Seth about sunglasses and not being able to see the driver's face is just because he was so scared. He probably didn't get a good look at the guy and that's why he can't remember his face.
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The initial statements from Lila and Seth revealed a wealth of information about the events of the crime and also about the perpetrators. How did you get on noting down potential evidence?

Figure 6
FPSY_1

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