30 Dec 2005
By Alaistair Taylor
Keela, 16 months, has helped detectives around the country with high profile cases, including the stabbing of Abigail Witchalls, 26, in
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.”
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."
(*) The journalist who wrote this story is not identified