Forensic psychology
Forensic psychology

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Forensic psychology

2.3 DS Sund takes witness statements

Figure 10

The timeline for DS Lara Sund’s investigation is exactly the same as that for DI Bullet’s. At 16:48 she arrives at the crime scene to obtain an initial statement from the two eyewitnesses.

Next, you will hear an audio recording of the initial statements taken by DS Sund. 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 2.3 DS Sund: initial statements

Allow about 30 minutes

DS Sund also 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 paramount.

However, she is also aware that great care must be taken when questioning witnesses and that they should not be allowed any opportunity to hear what each other remembered about the crime.

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

Lila

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DS SUND
Right, I understand that the two of you witnessed an incident. Look it's very important that you don't talk to one another about what happened, so I'll be interviewing you later at the police station, but for now I want to ask each of you separately for an initial statement and Lila, I realise this must have been very stressful for you and I don't want to cause you any more anxiety, but I need to get this initial statement so that we can begin our investigation, so please just take your time and in your own words can you describe to me what you saw.
LILA
Can I just start by saying that I remember the number plate of the car. It was NG58 VXW, I made a real effort to remember it, I had a very good view of it and I've got a great memory so I'm pretty sure that's correct.
I remember hearing shouting and seeing 3 men with guns attacking a security van, there was a scuffle between one of the men and one of the guards. That man didn't have a mask, but the others did. All of them had dark jackets and camouflage trousers.
One of them ran over to us and fired his gun, before that though the unmasked robber force one of the guards to the ground, he had a case, you know attached to his wrist by a chain, and the guy started cutting through it to take the case. I guess it was carrying money.
DS SUND
Hang on, was that when the car came?
LILA
It all seemed to happen at once, you know two of them were stealing the case the third was grabbing and shouting at Liz and a car came speeding towards us, or was the car already there? No, no the car pulled up because I remember seeing the number plate and knowing I had to try and remember it.
Then the driver jumped out, he wasn't wearing a mask, he was shouting at the others. I think he was shouting that they should grab Liz, was that when the other man ran to her? anyway after the man had grabbed Liz they all ran back to the car and drove off. The number plate was definitely NG58 VXW.
DS SUND
And you said there was an unmasked robber, can you give me a description?
LILA
Well male obviously, he was the one fighting with the guard, he may have be wearing a hat to start with, you know like a riot hat with a big plastic screen almost like a crash helmet, yeah I think he was, but then it got knocked off when he was struggling with the guard.
He looked young to me, you know probably early 20s, say 22. He had thick curly hair that went down to his shoulders, and he wasn't white. Asian, possibly Spanish or Italian? No I think he was Asian, no definitely Indian looking, he was probably 5 foot 3, definitely wasn't fat, but I think he was stocky.
DS SUND
Can you show me how tall he was compared to the van, if you point to where you think his head came to?
LILA
About here, yeah I think that's right. Well actually I suppose now that I can see that I'm having to reach up quite a bit, he must of been quite a bit taller than me, what's that about 6 inches above my head? Yeah that seems right, well let's say it was more like 5 foot 9 then.
DS SUND
Okay thanks, so, right you also said the driver of the car did not have a mask, can you give me a description of him?
LILA
I think he was quite tall, he was definitely white and older than the other guy, say early 30s perhaps. He had a camouflage outfit on, I remember that because I remember thinking he looked like a soldier, you know not just his clothes, but he had short hair and a tough looking face and he was also quite muscly, maybe as tall as 6 foot 4. Yeah I know what your gonna ask me now, so ok, so he stood next to the car and I would say it came up to just beneath his shoulder, and actually looking at this car which is very similar that would mean his head would be here, and that's again about 6 inches taller than me. So he was probably 5 foot 9, weird - I would definitely have 2 said he was taller.
DS SUND
And what about the other people, the ones wearing masks, can you describe anything about them?
LILA
I can't say much about them, but I would say they were all dressed very similarly to the unmasked robber, you know dark jackets and army trousers and, they were probably average height. Certainly not too different to the unmasked one and they were both quite stocky.
DS SUND
You remembered the number plate of the car, can you tell me anything else about it?
LILA
Like a description? It was definitely silver, I can't say what make it was, but it, you know looked quite big, new and expensive. It definitely had four doors because I saw them all opened at once, oh and it had you know one of those red brake lights in the rear window because, you know that's right. It reversed towards me and I could see the brake lights and the rear number plate and the backs of the doors when they opened. It reversed towards me just as the man grabbed Liz. I was thinking maybe it had to have been there all along but, you know now I remember the brake light, I remember it reversing towards us as they grabbed Liz.
DS SUND
Thank you Lila that's been really helpful, right I'm going to give this information to my colleague so we can start looking for the car and the people involved in the incident and I will speak to you again at the station, in the mean time please remember not to discuss the event with the other witnesses.
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Seth

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DS SUND
Seth, I realise that this must have been very stressful for you and I don't want to cause you anymore anxiety, but I need to get this initial statement so we can begin our investigation. Please do take your time and in your own words describe to me what you saw.
SETH
I really was terrified. I mean, it's not every day someone threatens you with a shotgun and kidnaps your friend! I really don't know what I can remember, it is all a bit of a blur. I don't know why the guy grabbed Liz. He was shouting at her to stop. Was it to stop using her phone? I think maybe he grabbed her because she was calling the police with her phone. He was firing his gun in the air and pointing it at Liz and at us. I was petrified, I just couldn't move. He dragged her back to the car, and the others jumped in and drove away, with Liz. There was a fight with the guard, the man who grabbed Liz had attacked the guard I think. That's what Liz would have been phoning about. They all ran, there were four of them, to the van. No, there were three. Three ran to the van and the fourth was the driver. He was the one who must have grabbed Liz... no, that can't be right can it? I don't know! Three of them ran to the van and started fighting with the guards. One of the guard's helmets was knocked off I think. One had a tool, like big pliers and he was cutting a case from one of the guards. It must have been chained to him. They both ran to the car, and the third ran over to Liz, grabbed her.
DS SUND
You mentioned a car, can you describe it and say when you first saw it?
SETH
There was definitely a car. One of those large executive types. Silver and very flash looking, but in an understated way. An Audi I think. A large silver Audi. An A6 maybe? When did I first see it... was it there when we walked into the street? Could have been already there. I distinctly remember the sound of tyres screeching though, but that would have been when it drove away. I don't know. I remember the tyres screeching and I remember the doors opening and the driver getting out. So, it must have driven into the street right at the start. That makes sense. It drove round the corner, and everyone leaped out.
DS SUND
Could you describe any of the people involved in the incident?
SETH
I remember the one who came to grab Liz, who was probably the driver. He was walking right towards me, and Liz was only a few feet away. There was something odd about his eyes and I don't really remember his face. Sunglasses? I think he was wearing sunglasses. Really dark sunglasses... with a silver frame. Maybe a cap too? That would explain why his face was so hard to see, because it was obscured by sunglasses and a cap.
DS SUND
What about any of the other people involved?
SETH
The ones fighting with the security guards, two had masks. The one that didn't had dark hair and darkish skin. Possibly early to mid 30s. He could have been Caucasian, but I think he might have had a Middle Eastern appearance, possibly Mediterranean, but more likely from the Middle East. Average height, average build, though on the slim side I would say. Two had masks. All were wearing hoodies, but with the hoods down. Dark trousers. The two with masks were also average... well, actually one of them did look a little odd. Possibly a little rounder than the others there, I might almost say feminine if they weren't carrying a shotgun and robbing a security van! But both were average looking and dressed like the others. Not sure I can really add anything to that.
DS SUND
Many thanks Seth, that's been very helpful. I'm going to give this information to my colleagues so we can start looking for the car and the people involved in the incident. I'll speak to you again at the station, and please remember not to discuss the event with the other witnesses.
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The initial statements from Lila and Seth once again 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 11
FPSY_1

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