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Forensic psychology
Forensic psychology

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3.2 Profiles of the witnesses

This image shows photographs of the two witnesses: Seth and Lila
Figure 8

The investigation focuses on two witnesses.


Lila is a 54-year-old woman who is 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighs just under 8 stone. She is a very confident person, who describes her memory as being very good. She happily admits that her memory for trivia is not great, but is proud of her ability to recall past events and details about her friends and family.


Seth is a 35-year-old man who is 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs about 12 stone. He views himself as unconfident and is not comfortable being put on the spot. He doesn’t think of himself as having a particularly good memory, and therefore tends to bow to others when it comes to recalling past events.

When listening to the two officers question Lila and Seth, remember that the two investigations are not connected. You can think of the investigations as happening in parallel worlds, allowing you to see how the witnesses respond to different investigative policing styles, without their responses to one affecting their responses to the other.

Like the two officers, Lila and Seth are fictional. However, the responses that they give as part of the investigation are based on those that were given by actual witnesses to the staged crime. The interviews conducted by the Greater Manchester Police were recorded, and analysed to reveal the types of responses and errors typically made by witnesses. These responses and errors were then incorporated into reworded extracts that were used to form the accounts that are given here by Lila and Seth. This was done to ensure that the accounts were as authentic as possible.

Next week, you will get the chance to hear and evaluate the initial statements that our two detectives, DI Jake Bullet and DS Lara Sund, managed to obtain from the two witnesses at the crime scene. For the remainder of this week, you will look at the psychology involved in deciding whether to intervene in a crime.