Published On: Wed, Nov 27th, 2019

The Midsomer Murder solved? Part One: an abundance of DNA, after all

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The reader might be very surprised to learn that the Surrey and Sussex police force has “solved” the Midsomer Murder mystery – otherwise known as the so-called Valerie Graves case. The nickname, the reader should understand, is from a TV show of the same name that was once filmed in Bosham (the scene of the crime), and appears to have been deployed in corporate-media to appeal to the capability in millions of recipients of TV programming (the clue is in the name) to confuse fiction with fact and thus engender belief that anything so extraordinary as homicide could happen in a sleepy Sussex village.

But, the gun is being jumped somewhat considerably. While doubt will be cast, over the course of a number of articles, on all the fundamental information by which the appearance of a murder and a consequent police investigation has been constructed, this matter of the possibility of the Midsomer Murder being a staged crisis event, to trigger required behaviour in a population local to it, is not within the scope of this piece. Instead, in this outing we will look at how the narrative of the Graves murder case continues to be just as flawed, in terms of its believability, as it has always been – and since FBEL originally covered the case in 2015 in two articles, The great Bosham DNA harvest sees freedom get murdered too (here), and, Dear Detective Superintendent Nick May (here). The reader is advised to read these articles for background before proceeding further on this page – and is also asked to note that all links to evidence quoted in this series from corporate-media will be collected together in the final article.

The glaring problem with the police investigation in the case of the Graves murder was that, despite what any detective superintendent might have claimed, there was no linkage between the murder and what had been produced as a murder weapon. Yes, a partial DNA sample had been found on a discarded hammer, but to know that it was this hammer that was also the murder weapon investigators would have had to i) match it to the injury meted out to Graves, or ii) find DNA at the crime scene to match that which was reputedly on the hammer. According to the information in the public domain, police could not do either of these things.

Now, there also was a problem with the DNA in that – at least according to police – it was too partial to match against the national database. However, police also claimed that this partial DNA sample could be used to eliminate people from enquiries who lived in the environs of the murder. This was a puzzle to understand, because the DNA on the hammer appeared to be too partial to even be that useful – naturally, a sceptic could quite easily suspect that police were being incomplete themselves: in terms of the truth. And the purpose of it would be to create circumstances whereby it would become necessary to perform a mass screening of thousands of people in an area immediately west of Chichester, which is what happened.

As it turns out, partial DNA samples can be compared with records on the national database, although the technology is proving to be unreliable, to say the least – please see the case of David Butler, who was misidentified in a murder investigation of 2005. The point is this: if there is any truth in the story produced by police so that we are required to understand that a certain partial DNA sample wasn’t even good enough to compare with records in a database, the question arises as to how it could possibly have been useful in an exercise to rule out suspects by comparisons made with newly acquired DNA records.

The problem was recognised at the time of the Bosham DNA-harvest, as the DNA screening operation was called here at FBEL. Indeed, the author decided that if police really did have a DNA sample by which they could ascertain meaningful comparisons, then it was one that they had obtained by means other than examination of the so-called murder weapon. And yet, there was only information about one single DNA sample: the one scraped off the hammer.

While the difficulties for the narrative were already enough to be entirely suspicious of police activity, there was yet more. The supposed murder weapon was declared as such a very long time before police announced they had discovered DNA on it. For nigh on ten months, in fact, this particular hammer was the murder weapon with no information available by which a doubting member of the public could be persuaded to believe it was. It would appear that for a long time the only way that the hammer could have been identified as a murder weapon was through Graves’ injuries, and how these wounds could betray the use of the implement upon her – and yet, as far as the author is aware, during the police investigation, no data had ever been made available to confirm that the attribution of murder weapon to the hammer could be made in that particular way. Perhaps more importantly, during the investigation, there was never any mention of any DNA belonging to Graves having have been found on the hammer, so no connection had been established by that manner either.

Be that as it may, with the conviction of a suspect in November 2019, came new information from proceedings in court that suggests that, i) police had been in possession of the aforementioned and sufficiently incriminating evidence all along, only they chose not to release it, or, ii) evidence entirely necessary to bring together loose ends of the case is now being claimed to exist when in fact it does not. The author plumps for the second option, given that it would be per the methodology that is a defining feature of State-perpetrated psychological operations – not to mention that the sudden springing into being of evidence in an attempt to make a case watertight is too good to be true on a very intuitive level.

Ironically, however, the new information does not actually deal with the plausibility problems of the Valerie Graves murder narrative, because it introduces fresh inconsistency and undermining. Long time event sceptics will know full well that another defining feature of a staged crisis event is a persistent inability to square the narrative circle, and this is how things are in the Valerie Graves case.

The first piece of data we will look at is this: according to corporate-media reportage, it came out in the court proceedings that Graves had suffered head injuries that were “similar to those seen in a high speed head-on car crash”. Given the circumstances in which this information was produced (i.e. one in which no proof was required, as shall be seen in a future article), one is tempted to declare that this was a dramatic outburst purely for the sake of convicting the suspect in the court of public opinion: the old trick of impugning guilt by emphasis on the savagery of the crime. As far as its use for piecing together facts of a case, it might actually be counterproductive, and should not impress people who are looking to understand reality, because this description of head injuries begs an audience to understand that the small impact surfaces of a claw hammer can create a condition in a human being that resembles one that came about as a result of a catastrophic road collision. Naturally, people who can think, when presented with such information, might ask if investigators hadn’t misidentified the means by which Graves had been wounded.

To compound the puzzle, the people managing the Graves murder narrative revealed that she had been killed without any resistance on her part; in one instance, this is reported in corporate-media in the following way:

There were no signs of a struggle but a post-mortem examination found she had severe head injuries after being hit with a claw hammer, probably around midnight.

In another example, the local newspaper reports a police spokesman telling the court that

After hearing that the owners had gone away and believing the house to be empty… [the suspect] got in through an unlocked rear door to the bedroom where Valerie was sleeping.

It is believed Valerie woke up and… [the suspect] panicked and repeatedly struck her with the hammer several times causing severe head and facial injuries. He then made off and as he cycled away, he threw the hammer away in Hoe Lane.

(The suspect’s name has been omitted at this point for the same reason – which will hopefully become clear as we progress – that links to supporting text will only be supplied at the end of this series of articles). Now, as the reader will discover all in good time, that the hammer is the property of the suspect is a central plank of his conviction for the crime, and so while the reader, when reading the extract immediately above, might be struck the most by the oddity of a man carrying a hammer to and from a murder on a bike, the focus here is the definite impression that, to put it bluntly, Graves did not know what hit her. First of all, if this was so, we would perhaps want to question the implication from narrative-managers that the attack was of a particularly brutal nature, and we might see that this so-called fact appears to be contradicted. In fact, this doubt forms a kernel around which other related issues are compounded so that the fundamental means, motive and opportunity basis of the suspect’s guilt is rendered completely vulnerable to challenge.

For instance, if the suspect had come to the property with the intention of robbing it – which has now been established as supposed fact – why did he not steal anything, especially after going to all the trouble of killing Graves? The answer, purportedly, is that he panicked after finding Graves in the premises when he had believed it to have been empty. It is this panic that caused him to attack Graves, and then it was this act that caused him to abandon his previous plan of burglary. However, damaging this theory in a substantial manner is this: if the suspect thought the property to be empty, why did he not abandon his plan on the very first opportunity that presented itself; i.e. upon discovering that the property could be entered without having to break in? In other words, an unlocked door would indicate that the property was not uninhabited, so why would the suspect proceed in the face of an unanticipated and presumably undesired state of affairs. After which, why would the suspect have been surprised into panic by finding Graves in the house? Another question would be why didn’t the suspect flee from the property as soon as he was able, and so why did he not just deal one blow to incapacitate Graves, instead of reducing her to appearing as if she had been in a car crash? Of course, at this point we return again to core problem: why would Graves have been thoroughly beaten to death by someone who wasn’t primarily interested in killing her, and who had come to the property not wanting to encounter inhabitants, and especially when Graves had put up zero resistance?

So much for a clear picture of why Graves was killed; additionally, there should be doubt that police have material evidence that can even place the suspect at the property at the time of the killing – even though it was revealed during court proceedings that additional samples of DNA, that apparently remained unannounced through the many years the Valerie Graves murder case had stayed unsolved, had been known of all along to investigators:

Philip Bennetts QC, prosecuting, said… [the suspect’s] DNA was found on the discarded claw hammer found 500 yards† from the murder scene.

DNA was also found on the handle of the bedroom door where Ms Graves was killed, and crucially, on her hands.

Hopefully, the reader can see that this revelation about more DNA, if it conveys information that is true, is directed at addressing the flaws explained at the top of this article. The hammer as a murder weapon would now be a piece of evidence verging on proof beyond reasonable doubt, because if it was strange to Graves’ household (which police say it was – and this aspect is crucial), but yet had her DNA on it, it must have been introduced into Graves’ environment in a way that had collected her DNA-identification. As such, it having been the tool by which Graves had been murdered would become a most likely scenario.

Moreover, the apparent fact of the suspect’s DNA found in other places other than on the hammer addresses doubts about any DNA sample in the police’s possession being useful in a programme to contrast it with material submitted in the so-called process of elimination. Additionally, the DNA trace on the handle on the door of Graves’ bedroom indicates that the suspect had been at the property, thus making it more likely that the trace found on Graves’ hands had been contracted in contact that had taken place at the crime scene, and during the murder, rather than anywhere else (in an interaction that hadn’t killed her). Again, it cannot be understated how very cleanly this new abundance of DNA shores up, not only the narrative regarding a murder in Bosham in 2013, but also the subsequent activity of police.

However, good reason to suspect this surprisingly-produced new data should occur with some alacrity to anyone who is reasonably familiar with the case. The reason why the suspect’s DNA on the hammer was so poor was because the implement in question had been languishing in flood water, and had been submerged until police found it – about two days after the crime. As far as the author knows, at no point during the investigation did police claim that Graves’ DNA was present on the hammer, so with the new data, we are not only being asked to believe that such evidence could suddenly exist, but also that it could not perish in a case of particularly destructive exposure to the elements.

Secondly, if we are supposed to presume that Graves had the suspect’s DNA on her hands because of a struggle, this would contradict other evidence also produced at the court proceedings – as examined above. We should note that it also came out in court proceedings that the suspect supposedly, in a “professional” capacity, previously attended the house in which Graves was staying, although when exactly this visit took place appears to be unexplained by corporate-media coverage. The suspect is claimed – and bear in mind that this is cited in local corporate-media as being direct from a police source – to have “previously accompanied a friend to the house where Valerie was later murdered to do some work there.” Of course, this means that any DNA belonging to the suspect found at the property could be historic. As such, the evidence system described above, which involves supposing that DNA on Graves’ hands would be related to the act that killed her, would be critically weakened. And what we would be interested in finding out is if the suspect had ever attended the property at the same time as Graves was staying at it (she was a holiday season guest, and didn’t usually live at the property), and if there was any way that Graves, always described in corporate-media as being a “free spirit”, could have collected the suspect’s DNA upon her person during the course of this work.

The reader is probably wondering, given the obvious scope to do it, why a good lawyer didn’t get the suspected killer of Valerie Graves off the charge of murder – but this is an issue for the article(s) to follow. Needless to say, we will see, with reference being made here to the court proceedings that produced a conviction, and the manner in which the suspect came to “justice”, all the indicators of a psychological operation at the stage where a patsy is being dealt with by the legal system. Of course, we will not be forgetting to look at the resolution of the Graves case in the context of the consensual DNA database that police created in the name of investigation: we will see that the mass screening operation was indeed, as FBEL predicted, entirely redundant for the supposed purpose, and that evidently, from what has emerged at court and if it is true, police failed to perform elementary detection that could have lead directly to their suspect. But then, as the author and reader both know, the Graves murder investigation was a decoy for other police activity that wouldn’t have otherwise been tolerated – as such, police wouldn’t have been interested in behaving in a way so as to negate a pretext for the collection of DNA. Which brings us to this: we will be wondering, given all the evidence, to what extent the Valerie Graves murder was a hoax: for, as a maxim coined at FBEL goes, that crisis which is to be exploited would never occur if it was left to its own devices.

 

† Please note that the distance between the crime scene and the location of the discovery of the hammer has somehow shrunk, it originally having been 800 yards. Here is an alteration in fact which looks to reaffirm perception about the relation between crime and murder weapon, and so appears to be about conviction by public opinion. Ultimately one must ask, if the authorities can be free and easy about fundamental facts such as where the hammer was found, can one even be sure that it is true when police claim to have discovered a murder weapon?

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