Wednesday, 18 November 2009
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
The Guardian, Shannon Kyle, Friday 13 November
Monday, 9 November 2009
UK's No1 Sherlock Bones
By ALASTAIR TAYLOR
Published: 30 Dec 2005
BRITAIN’S most amazing police dog can earn more than her chief constable. Springer spaniel Keela is so smart she is hired by other forces for £530 a day plus expenses. That is a rate of £200,000 a year, compared to the £129,963 paid to South Yorkshire’s top cop Med Hughes. Keela, 16 months, has helped detectives around the country with high profile cases, including the stabbing of Abigail Witchalls, 26, in Surrey.
Now she is going to the United States to show off her skills to the FBI. Her sense of smell is so keen she can sniff out blood on clothes after they have been washed repeatedly in biological powder. She can pick out microscopic amounts of blood even on weapons that have been scrubbed clean. And she is able to lead detectives to minuscule pieces of other evidence. Handlers PC Martin Grimes and PC John Ellis devised a special training regime to focus Keela’s remarkable sense of smell.
John said: “Criminals will attempt to clean up a crime scene and that is when Keela comes into her own. “We’ve had Keela since she was a pup. She was the perfect dog and she has done amazingly well. “Obviously, when she’s called in by other forces they are charged a fee. “It’s funny to think that she can earn more than the chief constable. “The FBI are interested in how we work because they are looking at setting up their own unit.” Mr Hughes said: “We know other forces, here and abroad, are interested and we must see what opportunities we can develop.”
'It's crazy to rely on animals'
Published: 05 Sep 2008
EXPERTS say sniffer dogs can play a vital role in fighting crime - but warn it is "madness" to rely on their findings. The animals are used to lead police to evidence, but do not provide evidence themselves. One expert told The Sun: "The dogs can identify traces of blood, but it's crazy to draw major conclusions just from what they find. "Any evidence they find should be used as a starting point. It's madness just to rely on the findings of the sniffer dogs."
Handler Martin Grimes, who worked with his dogs on the Maddie case, admitted the animals offered no more than "a guide". He said: "They can identify traces of blood and detect the smell of a decomposing body, but that is as far as they go."Martin said his dogs Keela and Eddie would only give him an indication when they find what they are trained to detect. He said: "Blood could be invisible to the naked eye, but Keela will detect it. It doesn't matter if it's hundreds of years old. "Eddie smells for the scent of a decomposing human body. He can detect any part of a human body that is decomposing - hair, bones, flesh, anything. "
The smell of a decomposing body is very difficult to get rid of. It can easily be transferred to clothing and on to a person." A spokesman for the McCanns said: "Dog alerts can be unreliable. The handler himself makes it clear in the police report that such alerts are meaningless without corroborative evidence. There was no such evidence. "Gerry and Kate are not interested in dwelling on mistakes that were made. They and their investigation team wish to focus entirely on finding Maddie."
Long ago, I mentioned a story, published in the South Yorkshire Police site, about Eddie and Keela, the two “incredibly unreliable” sniffer dogs that were so praised by British media, before they found something that was not exactly good for Gerry and Kate Mccann.
But it seems South Yorkshire Police agrees with Gerry Mccann, as the above mentioned page vanished. Just in case, I kept a copy.
Keela could be described as ‘top dog’ in her field of expertise. The trained Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) dog has skills like no other and it has left forces worldwide hankering after an insight into her special training.
At the tender age of 16 months, the spaniel has already travelled to
Keela’s trusty handler Martin Grime is responsible for all training that she has received, together with the National Search Adviser, Mark Harrison.
At present the Force has two victim recovery dogs, Frankie and Eddie. Martin also handles Eddie and has been working with him since he joined up around four years ago.
Keela is trained to locate minute samples of blood and can assist not only in murder investigation but also with scenes of crime teams to identify and recover evidence more efficiently.
Martin explained the reasons for training a CSI dog: “Although South Yorkshire Police have two victim recovery dogs that can detect blood and human remains we felt the need to separate the two
search areas. We wanted to create a more specific working dog that could accurately detect very small samples of human blood.
“We had to change the way the dog is trained to alert its handler about a ‘find’. Normal recovery dogs will bark to signal this. In this case it is not appropriate, as the dog would be trained to sniff out blood that is often too small for the human eye to see. Instead, the dog will locate the contaminated area by pointing its nose at the spot where the blood is situated. This is much more accurate.”
This idea has been put forward to senior crime managers and forensic scientists and the response has been very enthusiastic.
In June 2004 Keela was assigned to Martin. The eight-week-old puppy, bred by West Midlands Police, then became the centre of an experiment evaluated by Mark to see whether a dog could be trained to work as part of the team.
Unlike other dogs in the department Keela never participated in the usual six-week course. Martin trained her bit by bit everyday.
Keela followed a programme training her to ignore decomposing body materials other than human blood. She is also trained to have a ‘passive’ alert- where she freezes with her nose as near to the subject matter as possible without touching, to enable scientists to recover the sample quickly and efficiently.
The springer spaniel has now been fully trained and licensed. She works nationally and is deployed by the National Crime and Operations Faculty (NCOF) to high profile murders, missing persons and abductions. She is deployed within
endent Kevin Morton to murders and serious assaults etc.
Keela can search any area including houses, cars, boats, both indoors and outdoors. On duty she will lead Martin to spots of blood so small that humans can’t see them.
She screens textiles and can pick out clothing with blood on even after it has been washed many times in biological washing powder. Offenders can’t even trick her by trying to clean their weapons, as Keela would still smell blood after attempts have been made to wash away the evidence.
Meredydd Hughes, Chief Constable said: ” Keela’s training gives the force an edge when it comes to forensic investigation, which we should recognise and use more often. Martin has developed this capability through innovation and experience, and we are now considering how best to develop the training further. We know other forces are interested, both here and abroad, and we must see what opportunities we can develop. We know we have an operationally excellent dog section, and our specialist dogs are being developed in a unique way.”
Even in the early stages of her career Keela has been more successful than her trainers hoped. She has had a number of operational finds recovering murder weapons, identifying the blood of a victim in a suspect’s car and screening numerous amounts of clothing belonging to suspects.
Keela has made huge efficiency savings for the force in just eight months of work. Nationally since 1 April 2005 she has made savings of approximately £200,000.
A particular example where Keela has proven her efficiency was during a job in Wiltshire. Martin explained: “As a result of this incident 350 items of clothing had been recovered which all needed testing for evidence. To have the items examined at the forensic lab would have cost £200 for each item.
Keela managed to help in just one day which resulted in eight pieces of clothing being detected with blood stains on them.”
The future definitely looks bright for the fun-loving dog wanted to work with the FBI in
McCanns urged use of police sniffer dogs
Couple became suspects because of the forensic tests they had requested
Mark Townsend and Ned Temko
The Observer, Sunday 23 September 2007
Kate and Gerry McCann requested the re-examination of evidence that led directly to the Portuguese police naming the couple as official suspects in the death of their daughter because they were so concerned about the chaotic nature of the police investigation. The couple, worried that inquiries by the Policia Judiciaria were losing momentum, asked detectives last month to re-examine the apartment where their daughter went missing and also for the use of sniffer dogs to seek fresh clues.
- A Study Of The Use Of Cadaver Dogs For Blood Scent Detection In Criminal Investigations
Newbery Simon and Dr J.P. Cassella
Department of Forensic Science, Faculty of Science, Staffordshire University
- Cadaver Dogs as a Forensic Tool: An Analysis of Prior Studies
Kate: Sandra, maybe you should ask the judiciary because they have examined all evidence. I mean we are also Madeleine's mum and dad and we are desperate for people to help us find Madeleine which is why we are here today. The majority of people are inherently good and I believe the majority of people in Portugal are inherently good people and I am asking them if they will help us spread this message to that person or people...
Sandra: So you don't have an explanation for that?
Gerry: Ask the dogs (smirk) Sandra.
Sandra: Ask the dogs? No Gerry. Now I feel free to ask you, don't you feel free to answer me?
Gerry: I can tell you that we have also looked at evidence about (haha) cadaver dogs and they are incredibly unreliable.
Gerry: Cadaver dogs, yes. That's what the evidence shows, if they are tested scientifically."
(Read the full transcript in Joana Morais site)
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
"Gamble was reluctant to offer his own theory of what happened in Praia da Luz saying it 'didn't matter' if Madeleine was taken for trafficking, or sexual exploitation or by some 'deluded soul' who wanted to raise their own child. Two words which did not pass his lips at any point, however, were 'kidnap' and 'abduct'. Instead the case was strictly referred to as a 'disappearance".
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Ulster detective leading the hunt on why he thinks she’s being held captive just like Jaycee Dugard
By Aaron Tinney
Sunday, 13 September 2009
When we visited Dave Edgar’s headquarters, US kidnap victim Jaycee Lee Dugard had still not been rescued and the world had long forgotten her name.
And despite fresh leads taking his probe to Australia and Barcelona, the east Belfast man insists the golden-haired youngster is being held just 10 miles from where she was snatched in Praia da Luz two years ago.
“Maddie is most likely being held captive, possibly in an underground cellar, just like Natascha or Elisabeth, and could emerge at any time,” he told us.'
Cops’ pics of how Maddie might look abroad
By ANTONELLA LAZZERI and MIKE SULLIVAN
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
"THESE startling new images show how missing Madeleine McCann's appearance could have dramatically changed if kidnappers are holding her in North Africa, as detectives believe. Cops say Maddie's captors may have dyed her hair dark brown to make her look like other kids in Morocco or Tunisia.
Spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "Kate feels North Africa is very important in the search. "That is based on her research - North Africa is one of the top areas for organized child trafficking - on top of a mother's gut feeling.
Two reported sightings of Maddie in Morocco in the days after she vanished in May 2007 were never ruled out, Mr Mitchell added."