Friday, 23 September 2016

Crime not watched

Did anyone else watch Crimewatch on Monday night ? I did, and I found myself intrigued by the Legoland story.
 The alleged assaults took place on 11th August - 

Note how neither the media, the Police or Crimewatch, use the word 'alleged', in reference to the incident. The owners of the theme park are, understandably more circumspect. 
 On 15th August an e-fit of the suspect was released and two days later, a 22 year old local man was arrested, bailed, and eventually, released without charge. The e-fit is remarkably clear, the six year old girls must have got a good look at the man to see that he had green eyes and freckles. 
OK, guys and gals, I've been having a good look at the story and the immediate locale of where the incident is alleged to have taken place, and one conclusion I have formed is that, Mother 1's story doesn't make sense. Let me explain 
AS per, the film is all over the place, so it's hard to follow exactly what happened, where, hence a lot of cross-referencing with photos available online. 
Two mothers take their daughters, both aged six for a day out at legoland. Now, legoland is a VERY big place with various attractions etc, at around mid-day, they arrive at the entrance to a free play area called the castaway camp. 
 The mums need refreshment so one goes to buy coffee while the other stands guard over the kids as they run into the play area. 
 You can see that the coffee hut is just yards from the entrance where Mum 1 stands, here's a few different views of the area
Here's Jeremy Vine and the Police officer in the same place, later on in the film

Vine has just remarked on the fact that there is only one way in and one way out of that area and there is a six foot fence surrounding it. 
AS they walk on, it's clear that the fort attraction has two towers at the front and two at the back, linked by a series of walk-ways. 

Mum 1 waves to the kids as they make there way across one of these walk-ways. 

The next picture will give you a better idea of idea of what Mum can see from her position at the entrance.
Here's another view where you can see the rear towers a bit more clearly
Now, focus on the blue edifice above and below
Because this is where the incident is alleged to have taken place - here 
Which is the tower at the back of the fort. Note the entrance/exit
At 4.18 in the film we're shown an image of the alleged perpetrator 
Next we see the two girls exiting the slide adjoining the front tower
Now, here's where things get interesting because it's here we see the suspect entering the back tower before the girls go in. 
Note how close these structures are ?
 Mum is standing guard watching the girls intently while the camera pans to an area at the top of the tower, and the attack is described

Moments later the two children run out of the tower by the same entrance ? The shoulder you can see belongs to Mum 1, so she's very close to where the incident has allegedly taken place.
And this is where the girl tells her mother what has just happened. 
Mums reaction ?
She appears to go into some kind of post traumatic/past life/false memory/flashback mode, instead of taking action there and then. Where was this man ? He couldn't be that far away, this has literally just happened, has he escaped out the back ? There's a fence, there must be lots of people around the back, sides, where the hell is he ? 
Did he walk straight passed them exiting the entrance just yards from them ?

The next part of the film is what disturbs me more than anything, after the rather graphic description of the alleged assaults, that is. Here they are back home, her little girl is playing happily but all the mother can think about is how she might be affected in years to come, will she be able to have relationships, etc etc. Why is this even relevant for the purposes of the appeal ? Because, this is what the show is about, an appeal to the public, to help the Police with their inquiries, to get the message to as many people as possible and get a perpetrator caught as quickly as possible. 
Over the years Crimewatch has been great at this. The standard of reportage was fantastic and professional, little padding was necessary to the portrayals of heinous crimes, some of them cold cases, and resulted in the perpetrator being brought to justice sometimes decades after the crime. 
Now, try and imagine Fiona Bruce using twitter after the program, the way Jeremy Vine did ! Oh my God as we say in the trade 

So, what do you think after viewing the piece ? It's only ten minutes of the hour long program. Here's what I think, mind these are just observations I've formed in the course of my brief research into information available to online. Remember, Crimewatch presented a dramatised version of the incident, the people involved have little control or say in the program making, and the police have to (or should be) circumspect themselves, sometimes. 

1)  The e-fit - Two days after Crimewatch, new information appeared in the Windsor Observer
 Presumably, the e-fit is based on information received as a result of the first appeal, although I don't recall reading anything about the suspect talking to other children etc before seeing the local press article.

The problem I have with the e-fit is that it's too clear. The film may be off in terms of the sequence of events as they happened. Was the suspect actually in the tower when the girls went in, or did he lift them in from outside and follow them in ? Mum 1 (Laura) says she watched them run in there. Here is what she says in the film, I've censored some of the description of the actual attacks

"These were my exact words to Hannah (mum 2), one way in, one way out, that's it. It didn't cross my mind to follow them inside I thought I would have got stuck. You just wouldn't even think there was another adult in there. I watched .. they ran into the furthest tower. I watched them run in there" 

Vine voice-over 
While they were inside that tower the girls were sexually assaulted 

They came running out to me. Abbey said, that man's just hurt my minnie 
I said, OK, what do you mean ?
Yeah he put me on the slide, I didn't want him to, and I told him you're not going to help me go up on the slide.
I asked Abbey and she told me & it's not how you help someone on the slide he cradled her between her legs.
He put you on the slide and them ... ? 
He pulled my trousers down 
and at that point I could have just cried 
An then Abbey then disclosed he had pulled her knickers down too, and had ... 
What Laura does next is strange to say the least. Her mate Hannah is not back with the coffee yet, still, she decides to leave Emily unattended, while she takes her daughter off to get help !
 Vine voice-over
 Laura took Abbey to get help from nearby staff, not realising that Emily had also been assaulted 
Other mother returns with coffee - I said to the kids Where's Laura 
A man's touched Abbey, and I said to Emily did he touch you ? And she said he touched my bottom, but he didn't do that, what he did to Abbey 
Hannah then proceeds to question her daughter as to what he did to her. She doesn't get excited, she doesn't grab Emily's hand to run off to get help or find the others, or even look round to see if the perp is still around. She goes into a long discourse about what he did, did he touch her inside or outside her trousers etc etc.

Am I the only one who finds the testimony of both these women a bit strange ? WHY, did Mum 1 make such a big deal about standing guard at the entrance ? If she was so concerned, why didn't she follow the two girls around that small area ? After all, this was what she was supposed to do as per the parks rules
 To be fair, that's info from the park guide, in the film, all we see is this

 Then there's the stuff about a slide ! Where was this slide, at the back of the fort ? It's not clear from the film, the only slide I see is a few feet away from Mum 1, attached to the front tower ?

I'm gonna leave this for now. I had very nixed feelings about whether I should blog about this story or not. My main issue to begin with, was the presentation of this story on the telly on Monday night. Something just didn't seem right, is all. Please feel free to disagree with me and correct any mistakes I have made, I just want the truth. Really, I just want the Police to investigate such claims in a professional, responsible manner, without the drama. Without idiot TV presenters standing in the rain, under umbrellas, tweeting irresponsibly on social media. 
It's not like it used to be is it ?



  1. What baffles me is that 12 year olds can share that park with children as young as 5. Judging by the e-fit the guy could be an adolescent so he could use the park without anyone suspecting anything..

    1. I guess they're going on the under teenager threshold. He's mainly described as being a 'man' under 5"8. That's a pretty big kid but he's have to be small to get in one of those towers ! Mmmmm

  2. Afterthought - this attraction calls for close supervision. Wee kids are climbing etc, where was mum ? As for the coffee story, I don't buy that either. If mam 2 was so close, why didn't mam 1 run to her ??

    1. That's what I keep wondering as well. When the kid told her about the touching, why didn't she go "Who did it, is he still there, point him out to me" etc. After all, at that moment he could have been assaulting other kids as well!
      And that e-fit is so suspicious! It looks like a mashup of several childrens' TV characters - check out pics of "Mr Tumble", for example.
      I really hope that lad the police questioned doesn't have his identity leaked. If he did assault the girls as described, then, yes, put him on trial. But let's not have a vigilante lynching!

    2. Mrs G, you took the words out of my mouth re the vigilante aspect. I didn't even want to mention it in the blog in case it gave some moron ideas. Full marks to Thames V Police on this one !