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Walter Horsford - The St Neots' Poisoner
Stage 4: Conclusions
The Horsford Case: What actually happened?
An animated video based on
, of Walter Horsford has been provided. In the animated video, the evidence presented at the court is that presented to the prosecution by the police and the witnesses testifying are some of those 'bound' (required) by the prosecution to appear in court. The look at the
timeline of events
. You may like to think about the following questions:
Do you think there is more the police officer who attended the scene (PC Purser) could have done?
Are the witnesses those you would expect to testify? (They included: PC Purser himself, the doctor (not shown in the video), the surgeon carrying out the autopsy, a local chemist and the victims daughter.)
What other evidence or witnesses would you expect to see if the case came to court today.
You should now be ready to answer they key question: 'Has catching a murderer got easier?'
You will probably have decided that the answer is yes; it is easier for the modern police to catch a murderer.
But why is this?
Refering back to your earlier work, download the
task summary sheet
and tick the boxes you think are most relevant:
Things a Victorian police officer had to help them solve a murder
Things a modern police officer has to help them solve a murder
from the following options:
Able to bring down a government expert from London to do an autopsy
Using 'walkie talkies' to contact colleagues and the police station
Having specially trained officers to deal with children and families
Taking photographs and video footage from the crime scene
Having forensic scientists easily available to investigate fingerprints, DNA evidence etc
Removing evidence/fingerprinting with special gloves and putting it in sealed bags
No women police officers
Taping what witnesses and suspects say in interviews
Travelling on horseback, bicycles or in carriages drawn by horses or just walking
Having women police officers
Having a pathologist easily available to do an autopsy
Mostly travelling in police cars with direct communication to the police station
Taking written notes from what witnesses and suspects say in interviews
Now review your work and finish the sentences below. You can download these on the
conclusions activity sheet
to help you.
I think catching a murder has got easier because....
I think the most helpful thing to a modern police officer catching a murderer is....
I think the next most important thing is....
I think the third most important thing is....
Even though a policeman may feel they have sufficient evidence to arrest someone for murder, their guilt still has to proved in a court of Law. Some final questions you may like to consider:
If you were a member of the jury at Walter Horsford's trial, would you be confident enough, based on the evidence the police provided, to find him guilty.
Do you think he would have been found guilty on the same evidence if he was tried for murder today?
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