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This is a hypothetical exploration into the possibility or impossibility of getting away with murder, which over four episodes covers motivation, methods, surveillance, research, eacape and clear-up, as well as the legal ramifications of planning a murder of a victim called Bob... who is fictional.
HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER - PART TWO: UNEDITED TRANSCRIPT
Let’s pretend that I’m going to commit a pre-meditated murder, the target is my good friend Bob. But fear not, as the murder is hypothetical, the victim is fictional and none of this will ever exist.
Am I prepared to kill him? Physically? Yes. Psychologically? Probably not. But that aside, I could easily end Bob’s life in a jiffy by sprinkling his chips with cyanide, gluing his head to a steamroller and stuffing an insane quantity of illegal fireworks up his brown mouse-house and lighting the fuse. Good times.
But the hard part isn’t the murder, the real challenge is to get away with it. So, across this four-part series I shall be planning and executing the hypothetical murder of a fictional character called Bob; soon he will be dead, I will be free, and no-one (except you good listeners) will be none the wiser.
My name is Michael, I am a murderer, and this is How To Get Away With Murder.
Part Two: Target & Surveillance.
Last week, we established that should Bob ‘accidentally’ stop living owing to his home having one-too-many cakey portraits of lovely Eva munching on a Mr Kipling (grr, I want it so bad), given the long and provable decline in our friendship, I would be the Police’s number one suspect. So, I need to plan such a perfect murder that the Police won’t even begin searching for a suspect, as they will assume that his death was either natural or an accident, but not foul-play.
Most pre-meditated killers are tripped up by either by ego, arrogance, greed, or a basic mistake having failed to research their methods and their victims beforehand. For example;
Research is vital, but before I choose a weapon, a method or a location, I need to understand the one variable which makes every plan unpredictable – my target, Bob – I may think I know him, but I don’t.
Everybody has secrets, both big and small, and it’s only when a loved one dies and we’re forced to sift through their personal belongings that we learn those little details about them that we never knew.
It could be something small like a habit, a hobby, a hygiene issue, an illness, a trinket or a porn stash; maybe items they once bought, gifts they were once given or things they promised they had binned; perhaps letters from lost loves, photos of missed friends and diaries full of their deepest secrets and regrets whether an affair, a trauma, a criminal past, or a love child no-one knew existed, until now.
It would be impossible to plan Bob’s murder – to find the perfect time, place and space to erase him from the face of the Earth – unless I knew the minutia of his life, and that will take surveillance.
Here’s a few tips on how I shouldn’t research Bob. For example;
All of these techniques come with the risk of being spotted, and once I’ve been spotted, the research is as good as useless because – becoming unnerved and cautious by my presence - Bob may begin to adapt his regular timings and movements, and it’s during his usual routine that his guard is down.
Sadly, at the expense of my surveillance, Bob & I don’t live, work or (owing to a little Eva-based issue) we don’t hang-out together, so my research would need to be more subtle than simply spying on him through eyeholes I’ve cut into a newspaper. So, here’s how I could discretely research my target.
Without thinking, the average person uploads every single detail about their boring little life as if they are the most fascinating person in history, when they’re not. Admittedly, being full of narcissists, eight-out-of-every-ten updates features yet another photo of their bloody face, but it also contains details about their friends, family, life, work, habits, hobbies, pubs, clubs and timings, as well as a guided tour of their home, live updates from their holiday – which burglars love as that’s like daubing “I’m away for two weeks, don’t steal too much” across the front of your house - and even the most cautious of people who brag “I never share any personal data online” can’t help but upload a photo themselves with their favourite pet, football strip, a bust of their hero and whilst holding their ‘happy 40th birthday’ cake, so their date of birth and other so-called ‘personal details’ aren’t exactly hard to work out. Oh, and private accounts? Ha! That’s about as inaccessible as opening a tin of beans with a can-opener.
So, understanding the target. What will I learn by spying on Bob? I’ll learn things I already knew, I’ll learn a lot of irrelevant bumph, but I’ll also learn two vital details; his weaknesses and when he’s alone.
Weaknesses. We all have weakness, it’s not a failing, it’s what makes us all so different and human. Some people can run fast, others do a weird waddle. Some are mentally sharp, others forget their own phone number. Some are brave, others think that plummeting from the sky with a bit of fabric to stop your body smacking into the earth so fast your grieving relatives have to scoop you up with a trowel is a stupid idea, and some of ‘the best people in the world’ have only two weaknesses – Eva and Cake – simply lace an Eva-shaped Battenberg with arsenic and I’m as-good-as-dead, but I’ll die a happy man.
The only way I can get away with Bob’s murder is by knowing his weakness, this will allow me to lure him somewhere isolated, lull him into a false sense of security and ensure that I have the advantage.
For example; you wouldn’t poison a loaf if the target had a wheat allergy (unless you planned to make them fart to death), you wouldn’t drown an underwater diver, force-feed the world hot-dog scoffing champion, push a wheelchair bound agoraphobic off the top of Mount Everest, or shoot a lead bullet at a man with a steel plate in his head… although, using a big magnet would be cruel but very amusing.
The little details I can glean from Bob’s life tells me a lot about his weaknesses:
I could kill Bob in a multitude of ways which would appear entirely natural given my knowledge of his life, his health and his habits, but he may also have a few phobias I never knew about which could trip me up. Here’s just a few strange phobias which could limit any chosen method of murder:Bathmophobia - a fear of stairs, Belonephobia - a fear of needles, Utophobia - a fear of being alone, Ecophobia, a fear of the home, Koinoniphobia - a fear of rooms, Megalophobia - a fear of large things, Microphobia - small things, Noctiphobia - the night, Scoptophobia - being stared at, Trypophobia - holes, Venustraphobia – a fear of beautiful women (such as Eva) and – two phobias which could scupper my plans - Peladophobia, a fear of bald men and Thanatophobia, a fear of death. Gulp!
These will be a nightmare to discover, but thankfully, the most useful details I need to prep’ for Bob’s impending demise are much easier to research, as – like almost all of us – Bob is a creature of habit.
We all have routines, whether big or small, and regardless of who we are or what we do, our lives are unremittingly humdrum and predictable at various points of the day or night, which rarely change, and are set in place as part of our job, lifestyle, social circle, family life, medical needs, or by habit. For many of us, buying milk not from our local shop but from a different store one-street over is a big deal, but all of our lives are controlled by an innate structure which gives us a sense of stability. Such as:
No-one is truly unpredictable, our lives are flecked with patterns, habits and routines; from the friends we see, the places we go, the times we leave, the hobbies we enjoy, the food we eat, the clothes we wear and even down to speed we reply to some texts but not others, everything we do is predictable.
Admittedly, the bulk of our day is spent queueing, complaining, doodling and bunking-off, with added tea-breaks, bouts of bitching and waffling on about the things we plan to do but never do. Sadly, for me, Bob does nothing, goes nowhere and talks to no-one, which limits my options on how to make his death look natural, as if he’s gorged on a fifty-foot fajita while changing the channel from the Dog Poop Investigators to Celebrity Chef Kung-Fu Karaoke on Ice… but everyone has their weaknesses.
That said, given that in England and Wales there are 7700 deaths a week, only 14 of which are murders, it would look less suspicious if Bob died doing what he loved best or simply slipped away? So, if he dies “naturally”, I could just steal this portrait of the Hollywood Goddess with the Battenberg Fingers?
Life is dangerous and the chance of surviving it is pretty slim. Every year, across the world; 17.7 million people die by heart disease, 9.5 by cancer, 1.24 by car-crash, 295000 by drowning, 270000 by hunger, 193000 giving birth, 120000 by fire, 26000 by terrorism and 9600 by natural disaster. Statistically, we all have a 1 in 180000 chance of being killed by lightning, 1 in 118000 will be mauled by a dog, 1 in 53000 will die by bee-sting, 1 in 7700 by sunstroke and 1 in 2600 will die chocking on their food. And even more bizarrely, 1 in every 15000 people die every year doing exercise, every year 3 million people die owing to obesity, 640 people die each year falling out of bed, 240 people are killed by falling icicles and one person dies every year bouncing on a trampoline. Ironically, with only 26 deaths over the last decade, it’s safer to go skydiving than it is to walk the street, to eat your dinner or to fall asleep.
So, does Bob have role which makes him more likely to “accidentally” expire than most people during his every day duties? Here’s a few possible high-risk occupations which could quicken his demise: a painter as lead-based paints are deadly if consumed using a very large spoon… which he has done before when his fridge was empty, a carpenter but only if he mistakes a plank of wood for his head… which is possible, a chef because of knives and hot things… but that’s unlikely as it involves actually shifting his arse and Bob’s so lazy that a depressed sloth wearing a t-shirt which read ‘bollocks to life’ actually tutted at him for his laziness, so there are loads of high risk occupations – racing driver, scuba diver, arsenic deliver boy, tornado chaser, chainsaw juggler, cliff-based car brakes tester, a freelance trainee bomb disposal technician and food tester for a despotic war-lord – but as Bob does nothing but eat, sleep and watch telly, everything which involves him burning a single calorie is unlikely.
And yet, Bob’s natural lethargy does open a window of deadly opportunities. I’m thinking…
Now I could consider allergies, as a fatal attack of anaphylaxis can be triggered by just the briefest hint of peanuts and sesame seeds, but as Bob has no allergies - except work, energy and effort - thankfully there are some everyday foods which are toxic and deadly to everyone. Such as:
Sadly, Bob has never seen a vegetable… ever, he’s so food-illiterate, he believes that when beef bleeds it bleeds gravy, that meatballs come from male cows and that all chickens are born McNugget-shaped. Admittedly, a single salad leaf could be toxic to his system, but there’s no way he would swallow that.
Which brings us onto the next step, where to kill Bob? I mean, this is entirely pointless, as although statistically most people die at home and the majority die in their own beds, Bob is so lazy that he spends all day on the sofa, and when it comes to beddy-byes, he stays on the sofa as he’s too bone idle to pull-out the bed from under the sofa and fall onto that… as it means getting back up again.
But anyway, if Bob wasn’t the human equivalent of a pot of blancmange, knowing that the best place to murder him is where he was isolated but felt safest, this is where I would choose and avoid:
I would also avoid any sewage plants, abattoirs, changing rooms, nudie booths, maternity wards and sperms banks, just because it will look really odd and will have people asking “why there? Weirdo!”
In short, Bob will die at home, on his sofa, where he feels safe, warm and is usually fast-asleep with a trickle of syrupy dribble down his chin and a circle of cast-off Doritos on his chest, which suits me fine. He’ll be home, happy and unaware that he’s going to heaven… which he’ll hate as that means moving.
So, before I go, there’s two steps I need to do to ensure that no-one suspects me. Firstly, I know Bob’s routine – eat, sleep, shit, repeat – his weaknesses and the best place to kill him, but there’s one other person I need to research too – myself. I can’t provide the perfect alibi for myself, unless I know where our lives cross and how I can discretely distance myself from Bob in the days prior to his sad and tragic demise. Boo-hoo-hoo. Luckily, I’m not the pizza delivery guy, who is the only people Bob grunts with.
And secondly, no matter what, I must never photograph, film, internet search or write down anything about Bob’s death, and I must never EVER turn it into a blog or podcast. Oh, bollocks I’ve done it again. What an idiot! Find out how and if I can pull of the perfect murder in part three next week.
OUTRO: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for listening to Part Two of How To get Away With Murder. This continues for the next two weeks, when your regular Murder Mile episodes will return.
A big thank you to my new Patreon Supporters who are Michael Potter, Marg Tomnay, Cynthia Dahle, Glenda McCarthy and Gavin Cooke, I hope you’re enjoying the secret videos I’m posting this week whilst regular Murder Mile is off-air. And thank you to Kara Langford for your very kind donations via the Murder Mile website. Thank you everyone. Up next is Extra Mile.
Murder Mile was researched, written & performed by myself, with the main musical themes written and performed by Erik Stein & Jon Boux of Cult With No Name.
Thank you for listening and sleep well.
*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER
The Murder Mile UK True Crime Podcast has been researched using the original declassified police investigation files, court records, press reports and as many authentic sources as possible, which are freely available in the public domain, including eye-witness testimony, confessions, autopsy reports, first-hand accounts and independent investigation, where possible. But these documents are only as accurate as those recounting them and recording them, and are always incomplete or full of opinion rather than fact, therefore mistakes and misrepresentations can be made. As stated at the beginning of each episode (and as is clear by the way it is presented) Murder Mile UK True Crime Podcast is a 'dramatisation' of the events and not a documentary, therefore a certain amount of dramatic licence, selective characterisation and story-telling (within logical reason and based on extensive research) has been taken to create a fuller picture. It is not a full and complete representation of the case, the people or the investigation, and therefore should not be taken as such. It is also often (for the sake of clarity, speed and the drama) presented from a single person's perspective, usually (but not exclusively) the victim's, and therefore it will contain a certain level of bias and opinion to get across this single perspective, which may not be the overall opinion of those involved or associated. Murder Mile is just one possible retelling of each case. Murder Mile does not set out to cause any harm or distress to those involved, and those who listen to the podcast or read the transcripts provided should be aware that by accessing anything created by Murder Mile (or any source related to any each) that they may discover some details about a person, an incident or the police investigation itself, that they were unaware of.
*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a writer, crime historian, podcaster and tour-guide who runs Murder Mile Walks, a guided tour of Soho’s most notorious murder cases, hailed as “one of the top ten curious, quirky, unusual and different things to do in London”, nominated "one of the best true-crime podcasts at the British Podcast Awards", one of The Telegraph's top five true-crime podcasts and featuring 12 murderers, including 3 serial killers, across 15 locations, totaling 50 deaths, over just a one mile walk.
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a crime writer, podcaster & tour guide of Murder Mile Walks, hailed as one of the best "quirky curious & unusual things to do in London".
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