Former CSI event at Formby Hall asks can you get away with murder?
2 months ago
It’s the question Diane Ivory is asked time and time again – can you get away with murder?
But the former fingerprint expert and crime scene investigator who’s on her way to Merseyside later this month is in no doubt, the answer is no.
“Thanks to the advances in technology and various scientific developments, it’s very difficult,” she says.
“You might get away with it for a while – but you won’t get away with it long term.”
Diane, 59, spent 30 years with Scotland Yard and Suffolk Constabulary helping to solve hundreds of crimes, and adds:
“A French criminologist called Edmund Locard came up with the principle that every contact leaves a trace, and I absolutely believe it.
“When I started in the job forensics and DNA examination were not what they are now, they have come on incredibly – and who know what other advances will be made in the future? – and made a massive difference.
“Back when I began you’d need a considerable amount of DNA to get a useful ID, now the tiniest bit of sweat or blood, or skin cell, can get you a profile.”
Diane left the force in 2016 and set up Forensic Minds, a corporate, education and social events company offering immersive activities and events across the UK, using her years and wealth of experience.
They include a fingerprint masterclass in which people can learn how fingerprints are lifted from a crime scene and used, before having a go themselves, and There’s Been A Murder, where Diane teaches people techniques used by real life CSIs before asking them to investigate a ‘crime scene’.
At the event at Formby Hall on January 27, she is hosting ‘How to Get Away with Murder’. The evening starts with an introduction into murder, forensics and modern science technologies followed by a three-course dinner and more information on what the police use to investigate murders.
After dinner, it’s time to plan the perfect murder. Although Diane is keen to stress:
“When I first came up with How to Get Away with Murder, it did sound weird, but I would like to emphasise that I am not teaching people how to get away with murder or plan the perfect murder. I spent 30 years making sure people didn’t and couldn’t.
“And, in fact, people always come up with a plan and then I point out all the flaws and tell them why it wouldn’t work. No-one has even been able to come up one that I haven’t been able to pull apart but, as there is always a winner, it’s the team most likely to succeed or who comes with the least ridiculous notion.
“But they will learn about forensics, and it’s a fun event. When I did the job for real people always said how fascinating it sounded.
“And people are always interested in murder mysteries, games like Cluedo, so this is a twist on that; and people love it because I don’t just talk the talk, I have actually walked the walk.
“When I retired from the police I realised there had to be something else I could do and, because I loved what I did, I came up with this. And it’s nice to have something that’s along the same lines without the sadness.
“As a scenes of crime examiner, I only ever saw people in distress, they’d been burgled, robbed, or worse, and that’s not nice. It was never a happy time.
“This is a fun way of talking to people about something they are interested in.”
Diane has been involved in many high-profile cases but decided never to reveal which:
“I don’t want to be seen to be showboating on someone’s distress. I am mindful that families of people who have been murdered are still around and it would be in really bad taste to say ‘look what I did’.”
Although she will admit that she has been amazed at the foolishness of some criminals, who have done things like left lipmarks behind when they’ve peered through people’s windows!
She adds: “There are some stupid people around, but it’s usually that criminals accidentally leave evidence behind, a bank card drops out of their pocket or something like that. I had one group, they were hilarious – they got business cards printed up with the name of their gang and all their initials in the corner.
“It said ‘Please tell 999.’ They were that cock-sure of themselves.”
Diane says she’s not sure why people are so fascinated by crime and detection although the amount of dramas and real life crime documentaries speak volumes.
She watches all the documentaries so she knows what people are talking about when they ask her about them.
Diane doesn’t watch the dramas – ‘other than Happy Valley that was excellent’ – because, she says: “They often get it wrong and that frustrates me.”