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Crimes take time to solve in Cornwall

Our correspondent writes ...

On Sunday, 14th April 1844, Charlotte Dymond, a pretty 18-year-old servant girl from the village of Penhale on the edge of Bodmin Moor failed to return from a walk on the moor. Her boyfriend, Matthew Weeks, a servant at the same farm, who had set out with Charlotte at four o'clock in the afternoon, did return to milk the cows but claimed he had only accompanied Miss Dymond to the edge of the moor. They had apparently had a tiff and Charlotte had said she no longer wanted anything more to do with him.

The following Sunday, 21st April, she was still missing and Matthew Weeks had also disappeared. On Tuesday 23rd April a search party found Charlotte's body beside the River Alan near Roughtor Ford. Her throat had been cut from ear to ear.

An inquest jury decided Matthew Weeks should face a charge of murder and a warrant was issued for his arrest. The local constable knew that Matthew's sister lived in Plymouth and it was there that he was arrested.

gravestoneCharlotte's body was laid to rest in Tremail on 25th April and Matthew Weeks' trial commenced at Bodmin Assize Court on August 2nd 1844.

Amazingly, the trial continues to the current day. In fact it is held six times a day (on the hour staring at 11:00am - Monday to Saturday inclusive) at the Shire Hall, Bodmin. Visitors to the 'courtroom experience' can actually become jurors themselves and reach their own verdict after hearing the evidence. It won't make too much difference to the original verdict as Matthew Weeks was hanged on 12th August 1844 and was buried in the coal yard adjoining the gaol.

In less than six months from the date of Charlotte's murder, her killer was apprehended, tried, sentenced to death and despatched to meet his maker. But times have obviously changed in the intervening 65 years. With all the modern technological advances in crime detection - CCTV, DNA, motorised patrol cars, armoured uniforms, taser guns, etc. - criminals now take much longer to apprehend, if at all, as the following series of emails demonstrates.

An angry Bodmin resident who was completely brassed off by the activities of local yobs wrote this genuine complaint to Devon and Cornwall Constabulary.

Dear Sir/Madam/Automated telephone answering service,

Having spent the past twenty minutes waiting for someone at Bodmin police station to pick up a telephone I have decided to abandon the idea and try e-mailing you instead. Perhaps you would be so kind as to pass this message on to your colleagues in Bodmin by means of smoke signal, carrier pigeon or Ouija board.

As I am writing this e-mail there are eleven failed medical experiments (I think you call them youths) in St Mary's Crescent, which is just off St Mary's Road in Bodmin.

Six of them seem happy enough to play a game which involves kicking a football against an iron gate with the force of a meteorite. This causes an earth shattering CLANG! which rings throughout the entire building. This game is now in its third week and as I am unsure how the scoring system works, I have no idea if it will end any time soon.

The remaining five failed-abortions are happily rummaging through several bags of rubbish and items of furniture that someone has so thoughtfully dumped beside the wheelie bins. One of them has found a saw and is setting about a discarded chair like a beaver on ecstasy pills.

I fear that it's only a matter of time before they turn their limited attention to the caravan gas bottle that is lying on its side between the two bins. If they could be relied on to only blow their own arms and legs off then I would happily leave them to it. I would even go so far as to lend them the matches. Unfortunately they are far more likely to blow up half the street with them and I've just finished decorating the kitchen.

What I suggest is this: after replying to this e-mail with worthless assurances that the matter is being looked into and will be dealt with, why not leave it until the one night of the year (probably bath night) when there are no mutants around then drive up the street in a Panda car before doing a three point turn and disappearing again. This will of course serve no other purpose than to remind us what policemen actually look like.

I trust that when I take a claw hammer to the skull of one of these throwbacks you'll do me the same courtesy of giving me a four month head start before coming to arrest me.

I remain your obedient servant


He received this reply:

Mr ??????,

I have read your e-mail and understand your frustration at the problems caused by youths playing in the area and the problems you have encountered in trying to contact the police.

As the Community Beat Officer for your street I would like to extend an offer of discussing the matter fully with you.

Should you wish to discuss the matter, please provide contact details (address / telephone number) and when may be suitable.


PC ???????
Community Beat Officer

Mr Angry immediately fired back this email:

Dear PC ???????

First of all I would like to thank you for the speedy response to my original e-mail. 16 hours and 38 minutes must be a personal record for Bodmin Police Station. Please rest assured that I will forward these details to Norris McWhirter for inclusion in his next Guinness book.

Secondly I was delighted to hear that our street has its own Community Beat Officer. May I be the first to congratulate you on your covert skills? In the five or so years I have lived in St Mary's Crescent , I have never seen you. Do you hide up a tree or have you gone deep undercover and infiltrated the gang itself? Are you the one with the acne and the moustache on his forehead or the one with a chin like a wash hand basin? It's surely only a matter of time before you are head-hunted by MI5 to look for Osama.

Whilst I realise that there may be far more serious crimes taking place in Bodmin, such as smoking in a public place or being Christian without due care and attention, is it too much to ask for a policeman to explain (using words of no more than two syllables at a time) to these twats that they might want to play their strange football game elsewhere.

The pitch on Fairpark Road, or the one at Priory Park, are both within spitting distance ... as is the bottom of the Par Dock, the latter being the preferred option especially if the tide is in.

Should you wish to discuss these matters further you should feel free to contact me on <???????>. If after 25 minutes I have still failed to answer, I'll buy you a large one in the Cat and Fiddle Pub.

Regards ?????????

P.S. If you think this is sarcasm, think yourself lucky that you don't work for the sewerage department with whom I am also in contact !!!

Editorial Comment:

And the police wonder why they are losing the public's respect?

We acquired this information via a round robin email but we do believe it is genuine. Only the names and telephone numbers have been substituted to protect the innocent and, in the case of the constabulary, the guilty.

Even if it doesn't bear some similarities with your own local police force, at least have a laugh at this brilliant exchange of communications.

(PS: If you want to know more about the original 19th century case Google "Charlotte Dymond")

Shirker of Bugle, near Bodmin writes:

This is all too similar to my own experience of Bodmin's police. When I gave them information on heroin dealers grooming underage girls for addiction and sex they helpfully gave my name and address to the scum that they happened to have arrested already for dealing every drug under the sun and fencing stolen goods.

The police didn't charge the criminals with offences connected to my info, but still provided them with the address of my elderly disabled parents at our remote farm, in writing. The resulting, all too obvious, death threats were reported to the police "hotline" and received similar responses to the one above.

A prompt arrest, however, WAS promised .... that of myself, on my own property, when the visiting PC had me bang to rights, guilty of "rolling my eyes in a mocking manner". So never underestimate the dedication of Bodmin's finest to stamp out ironic facial gestures, wherever and whenever they find them. So long as it's on the GPS ... or they won't find it!

Editorial Comment:

Good God! I roll my eyes every time I read reports about these clowns who are supposed to chase real criminals. But that doesn't appear to be a priority. Instead they seem more and more intent on persecuting anybody who intimates, even by using body language, that some members of our constabulary are often little more than uniformed twats granted more power than their brain cells (both of them) are capable of handling!

Kevin Burrows of Falmouth writes (on 22nd April 2012):

A little while ago I had cause to phone the police on 999 after we had a visit from someone known to the police. He has drug and mental health problems and is known by the police to be violent.

We were advised by a Falmouth Officer to dial 999 and pretend we were not home if he should turn up. He did ... at 11:30 on a Friday night. I dialled 999. First I was asked if I could open the curtains to confirm who he was and when I explained why I could not they said they would send someone ASAP.

A hour later they phoned to asked if he was still outside, was it still an emergency and if he knew we were home! I explained that if he didn't know, he certainly would now I have answered the phone. Duh.

The police never arrived and never contacted us about it again. But I don't suppose these responses get logged anywhere. It might make them look bad!

Editorial Comment:

It used to be that a fairly high percentage of thickos with muscles joined the police because they were not clever enough to geet better jobs. But for some it proved to be the right job and late developers often worked up through the ranks and made good officers.

Unfortunately, promotion is now almost automatic and, for ranking officers, the main qualification seems to be an ability to tick boxes. Consequently, there is a distinct lack of management ability so reported problems are often swept under the carpet and no action is taken by the police.  A sad decline!!

Sean Ridgewell of Bugle, Near Bodmin writes (on 27 Feb 2012):

Since I last posted the same criminal family have been caught with quantities of heroin over half a kilo on THREE occasions that I know of. I only know this as a young disillusioned PC keeps me informed. The worst of this family has been arrested with HUGE amounts of drugs whilst on licence from jail , suspended sentence and probation , all running concurrently. No one can explain to me how this could be possible . I went out on a limb and made personal complaints and lo and behold - I became the target of a series of criminal attacks and police harassment leading to a strange conviction for a parking/driving offence that took place at a time when I could not have been at the site but was witnessed by 5 people. With a clean criminal and driving record I came away with 8 points and over 750 in fines. I am disabled , retired and live on benefits.

I have since followed the level of punishment meted out for driving offences in Bodmin Magi(C)strates Court and see that if one is under 30 years of age one can expect less than half my punishment for crashing a car at speed into other people causing injury whilst driving disqualified on drugs with no insurance. I was convicted of driving into a parked vehicle in a car park and leaving the scene.

I will never again contact the police for help or indeed attempt to help them in any way. They have lost all the respect they may have clung to in our community and exist to make money for the state and coddle vicious parasites who prey on us.

"Many men stumble across the truth ... but most manage to pick themselves up and continue as if nothing had happened."

Winston S Churchill

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