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Teesside students see crime on the Horizon

26 April 2007 @TeessideUni


BBC Two’s Horizon programme is to explore if it's possible to commit the perfect murder. The programme, entitled ‘How to commit the perfect murder’ will be broadcast at 9pm on Tuesday 8 May. And University of Teesside students will be on screen in this exploration, as part of a simulated murder scene. Teesside is the only UK University featured in the production.

Nicola Cook, Horizon's Producer, became interested in the University through Ian Pepper, a Principal Lecturer in Policing at the University. In addition to his lecturing role, Ian is a member of the Crime Writer’s Association.

Ian’s textbook ‘Crime Scene Investigation: Methods and Procedures’ is becoming a key text for students nationally and internationally. Nicola contacted Ian and he described the facilities available at the University connected with Crime Scene Science and Forensic Investigation, particularly the 16-room Crime Scene Laboratory. In the Laboratory, students complete practical exercises in crime scene investigations in mocked-up environments, ranging from a living room to a pub.

The Horizon team filmed in the Laboratory, capturing a simulated murder and recovery of evidence. The following University of Teesside students were filmed:

  • Gregg Owens, Foundation Degree in Performing Arts, playing the ‘murderer’
  • Debra Parker and Andrew Dixon, both on the BSc (Hons) Crime Scene Science degree, involved in simulated evidence recovery
  • Kathryn Dunn, Foundation Degree in Police Studies, who sealed off the Crime Scene Laboratory following the ‘murder’.

Kathryn, 19, from Yarm, pictured, said: “I was approached by my Sergeant Angela Rogers and asked to take part. I was really pleased to be involved; there were only a few problems with some re-takes! My parents Helen and Colin are looking forward to seeing it, they’re really proud.”

Ian Pepper added: “This was a superb opportunity for our students. They’ve seen how Crime Scene Science is portrayed in fictional television productions; this gave them the chance to see how it’s put together factually and the time element, filming all day for a four minute segment.”

The programme will also include a Body Recovery Centre in Hawaii and the expertise of the following:

  • Top pathologist Dr Richard Shepherd who reveals the crucial clues that give away the secrets of a suspicious death.
  • Dr Lee Goff who can work out a time of death from just a few maggots on a corpse.
  • The US army's top forensic anthropologist, Dr Robert Mann, who has worked on some of the world's most notorious criminal cases, including Jeffrey Dahmer.
  • Toxicologist Professor John Henry, one of the doctors who advised on the Alexander Litvinenko case and deduced he was suffering from radiation poisoning.

A lengthier version of the programme will be available on broadband following the broadcast at