Public appeals for help
and crocodile tears.
and crocodile tears.
In every one of these cases the person responsible for the commission of the crime has made a public appeal for help, or for information.
The Crime: In 2008, 9-year-old Shannon Matthews disappeared after a school trip.
The Lies: Karen Matthews reported her daughter Shannon missing to the police, and went on to make a number of emotional public appeals for her daughter’s return, begging for anyone holding Shannon to let her go.
The Truth: Shannon was found alive, hidden in the base of a bed, at a house belonging to Michael Donovan (Karen’s boyfriend’s uncle) – The family were supposedly planning to claim the £50,000 that newspapers had put up as a reward for Shannon’s return.
The Verdict: Michael Donovan was charged with Kidnapping and False imprisonment, while Karen Matthews was charged with Child neglect and Perverting the course of justice. They were both jailed for eight years. Julian Goose QC said Karen Matthews “lied and lied and lied again”. Detective Superintendent Andy Brennan branded Karen Matthews “Pure evil”.
The Crime: In 2006, Nisha Patel-Nasri was stabbed with her own 13-inch kitchen knife, and bled to death outside her home.
The Lies: Her husband, Fadi Nasri, made a televised appeal for information in the days after his wife’s death, crying crocodile tears, and begging anyone with information to contact the Police.
The Truth: Fadi Nasri wanted to claim his wife’s £350,000 life insurance policy, in order to pay off his debts and continue an affair he was having. So, he arranged for his wife to be at home while he was away, and hired a drug dealer to organise the killing.
The Verdict: Fadi Nasri, was eventually arrested, and shortly afterwards found guilty of organising his wife’s murder. He was jailed for life.
The Crime: In 2006, A dog walker found the decomposed remains of Kirsi Gifford-Hull buried in a shallow grave, in woods.
The Lies: Just a few days earlier, her husband Mike Gifford-Hull, had told his children that he’d had a massive argument with his wife and that she had left with her passport and a substantial sum of money. He then contacted Police claiming that his wife had left him – and later made a TV appeal pleading for his wife to get in touch because their children had made a banner for her birthday.
The Truth: Mike Gifford-Hull had strangled his wife during a row over the state of their marriage and his having had sex with prostitutes. He then concealed her body.
The Verdict: Mike Gifford-Hull was found guilty of murder and jailed for 17 years. Superintendent David Kilbride said: “Michael Gifford-Hull told lie after lie to the police, to her family in Finland and their two children. He deliberately and carefully laid a false trail involving the apparent disappearance of clothes, money and her passport.”
The Crime: On Valentine’s Day, in 2005, Joanna Nelson vanished. Police launched a massive search but Miss Nelson’s body was not found until over a month later.
The Lies: Shortly after her disappearance, her boyfriend Paul Dyson, appeared on television acting as if very concerned.
The Truth: Under interrogation by detectives, Dyson eventually cracked and admitted he was responsible for his girlfriend’s death, saying that he had strangled her after a row about housework.
The Verdict: Paul Dyson was sentenced to life in prison, and Judge Tom Cracknell, highlighted his appearance on the TV appeal for information, saying “You went on TV and displayed breathtaking and nauseating hypocrisy.”
The Crime: In 2002, two 10-year old girls, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman disappeared. They were later found dead in a ditch, and their bodies had been burned.
The Lies: Ian Huntley pretended to help search for the girls, and offered words of sympathy one of their fathers. He was also broadcast telling reporters: “While there’s no news, there’s a glimmer of hope. I think that’s all we’re clinging onto. It’s just very upsetting to think I might be the last friendly face that these two girls had to speak to before something happened to them.”
The Truth: Huntley later admitted that the girls had died in his house, but claimed that he had accidentally knocked Holly into the bath while helping her control a nosebleed, and then accidentally suffocated Jessica when she started to scream. The police suspect that Huntley killed the girls in a fit of jealous rage, and suggest there may also have been a sexual motive.
The Verdict: Ian Huntley was found guilty of Murder and sentenced to life imprisonment, but the High Court ruled that this crime was so serious that Huntley must remain in prison until he has served at least 40 years. His girlfriend Maxine Carr, who provided a false alibi, was convicted of perverting the course of justice.
The Crime: Sharon Malone vanished in 1999, and was later found bludgeoned to death in nearby woodland.
The Lies: Her husband, Garry Malone, had participated in a televised police press conference to appeal for her return, pleading “We missed you over Christmas… The boys missed you and asked after Mummy. Please put our minds at rest… Come home”. He later invented a story about his wife having been killed by a gang, because of an unpaid debt.
The Truth: Mr Malone fled, the country confirmed the suspicions of detectives, who had since discovered that his marriage was on the rocks, and Malone facing being financially crippled by a divorce.
The Verdict: Garry Malone was convicted of his wife’s murder, after being extradited from Spain, where he had adopted a new identity. Judge Stephen Kramer sentenced Malone to a minimum of 18 years, and said he was “manipulative, calculating and deceitful”.
The Crime: In 1997, 9-year-old Schoolgirl Zoe Evans went missing from her home. Zoe’s naked body was found six weeks later, in a badger sett.
The Lies: Her Mother, Paula Hamilton, and Stepfather Miles Evans appeared at a press conference, begging for her to come home.
The Truth: It transpired that Zoe had been taken her from her bed and sexually assaulted by her stepfather – A post-mortem examination showed she died from asphyxiation.
The Verdict: Evans was arrested and eventually convicted of Zoe Evans’ murder.
The Crime: In 1996, Lee Harvey was stabbed to death on an isolated road.
The Lies: His fiancée, Tracie Andrews, told police that he had been attacked by a motorist after a “road rage” incident. The former model later appeared at a police press conference looking distraught and begging for help in catching the killer, claiming a “fat man with staring eyes” had attacked her boyfriend, stabbing him more than thirty times.
The Truth: Detectives became sceptical of the story after it emerged that the couple had a stormy and often violent relationship.
The Verdict: Tracie Andrews was charged with murder, and at her trial a jury was told she had stabbed him to death after a row. She was sentenced to life in prison.
The Crime: In 1994, Susan Smith told police in South Carolina, USA that she had been carjacked by a black man who had driven off with her two young sons, Michael and Alexander, still in the vehicle.
The Lies: Smith appeared on television appealing for the man to return the children.
The Truth: Nine days later, Smith confessed to Police that she had driven the car into a lake, with her children still inside. It then emerged that she had been having an affair with a man, and had killed her two boys because he had said that he didn’t want any children.
The Verdict: She was convicted of murder, and given a life sentence.
The Crime: In 1994, Carol Wardell, the Manager of a Building Society was murdered and about £15,000 was stolen from the branch.
The Lies: Her husband, Gordon, appeared at a press conference and told reporters that he had returned home from the pub on Sunday afternoon to discover his wife being held captive by a man who was wearing a clown mask and armed with a knife. Wardell alleged he had been punched, forced to the ground and rendered unconscious after a chloroform-soaked cloth was pressed over his face. He went on to tell journalists: “A man got hold of my wife and was threatening her with a knife.” He further claimed he had been tied up by the gang, who took his wife off to the Building Society, early the following morning.
The Verdict: Within a month police realised his story was a pack of lies and he was arrested.
The Result: Wardell was sentenced to life imprisonment, and the Judge told him that he had gone to elaborate lengths, including tying himself up and inflicting injuries, to make it appear as if the couple were the victim of Robbers.
The Crime: In 1991, the boyfriend of Rachel McLean reported her missing to police.
The Lies: John Tanner not only appeared in a press conference appealing for help but also took part in a televised reconstruction. He claimed Miss McLean had seen him off at the railway station, and said a long-haired stranger had offered to give her a lift home. Tanner told reporters his girlfriend had been “a lover of life” and even asked people to help “out of sheer consideration for her mother and father and myself”.
The Truth: A few days later, police discovered Rachel’s remains under the floorboards of her flat, and Tanner was immediately arrested. His story crumbled, and he was charged with her murder.
The Verdict: At his trial, Tanner changed his story and said that he had ‘snapped’ and killed his girlfriend after she admitted that she had been unfaithful. He was convicted of murder and jailed for life.
Source: A Challenge for Body Language 'Experts': Listed on waybackmachine