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Des: Police reveal what David Tennant show got right and wrong about investigation

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des police reveal what david tennant show got right and wrong about investigation

Police officers involved in the Dennis Nilsen murder investigation have weighed in on the accuracy of ITV’s Des, which dramatises the case.

DC Brian Lodge, DI Steve McCusker and DS Chris Healey were all part of the team, led by DCI Peter Jay, that was charged with identifying the victims murdered by serial killer Nilsen at two London properties. 

All four men are portrayed in the three-part series, which stars David Tennant as civil servant and former police officer Nilsen in a performance that has been hailed ‘BAFTA-worthy’ by critics and viewers alike. 

The programme has been praised for its depiction of the 1983 investigation but Lodge, McCusker and Healey said in an interview with the Mirror that there are elements of the show that aren’t entirely accurate.  

TRUE: Officers took a ‘softly softly’ approach with Nilsen 

TRUE: According to DS Chris Healey, who is played by Jay Simpson, officers did take a 'softly, softly' approach when initially questioning Nilsen. Pictured, David Tennant as Nilsen with his solicitor in his first police interview with DCI Peter Jay (Daniel Mays) after his arrest

TRUE: According to DS Chris Healey, who is played by Jay Simpson, officers did take a ‘softly, softly’ approach when initially questioning Nilsen. Pictured, David Tennant as Nilsen with his solicitor in his first police interview with DCI Peter Jay (Daniel Mays) after his arrest

After arresting Nilsen at his home, DCI Jay (Daniel Mays) is seen taking a convivial approach to his initial interview. The interview takes place in his corner office and sees the men chatting informally while Nilsen smokes Jay’s cigarettes.

This friendly tact is maintained until after Nilsen has led officers to the patch of garden at his former flat in Cricklewood, north London, where he burned the remains of some of the 12 victims killed at the property. 

Police then switch to a more hard-line approach and Nilsen quickly shuts down, refusing to answer Jay or help his inquiries.  

According to DS Chris Healey, who is played by Jay Simpson, this is exactly how officers treated Nilsen. ‘There was a saying, you’ve got to kill him with kindness. It would have been, “Do you want another packet of cigarettes?” The more you could get out of him the better, obviously.’

Despite the success, the method did not sit well with all members of the team who thought Nilsen was being treated too kindly.  

TRUE: Police officers did find boiled heads in the kitchen 

TRUE: During the first full search of Cranley Gardens, Muswell Hill, where Nilsen killed three of his victims, DCI Jay (Mays) is seen coming across a large pot on the stove, which contained a boiled head. DC Lodge, played by Ben Bailey Smith, said boiled heads were found in the search

TRUE: During the first full search of Cranley Gardens, Muswell Hill, where Nilsen killed three of his victims, DCI Jay (Mays) is seen coming across a large pot on the stove, which contained a boiled head. DC Lodge, played by Ben Bailey Smith, said boiled heads were found in the search

During the first full search of Cranley Gardens, Muswell Hill, where Nilsen killed three of his victims, DCI Jay (Mays) is seen coming across a large pot on the stove, which contained a boiled head.  

DC Lodge, played by Ben Bailey Smith, is seen standing nearby and advises Jay not to open the lid to see the human remains. 

DC Lodge explained the team did find boiled heads and a pair of legs in the bathroom. But he noted the officers did not receive any support or counselling like they would today if they were faced with the same gruesome crime scene. 

FALSE: DCI Peter Jay did not shout at the team 

FALSE: One explosive moment in episode one shows DCI Jay (Mays) shouting at the team after information about Nilsen's police past appeared in newspapers. However DI McCusker, played by Barry Ward, said DCI Jay was more mild-mannered and didn't lose his cool in the same way

FALSE: One explosive moment in episode one shows DCI Jay (Mays) shouting at the team after information about Nilsen’s police past appeared in newspapers. However DI McCusker, played by Barry Ward, said DCI Jay was more mild-mannered and didn’t lose his cool in the same way

One explosive moment in episode one shows DCI Jay (Mays) shouting at the team after information about Nilsen’s police past appeared in newspapers.

He threatens to discipline the member of staff responsible for the leak before throwing the newspaper in the bin. 

However DI McCusker, played by Barry Ward, said DCI Jay was more mild-mannered and didn’t lose his cool in the same way. 

‘Peter was quiet and thoughtful, ex-Fraud Squad,’ he explained, adding the team wasn’t as frustrated as depicted in the show and instead focused on the success they had identifying victims. 

TRUE: Old-fashioned police work led to ‘John the Guardsman’ 

TRUE: Last night's episode showed Healey (Simpson) on a phone call to receive blood test results matching a man named John to remains found at Nilsen's house. The real DS McCusker said finding the victim's identity was down to good old-fashioned police work, as seen on Des

TRUE: Last night’s episode showed Healey (Simpson) on a phone call to receive blood test results matching a man named John to remains found at Nilsen’s house. The real DS McCusker said finding the victim’s identity was down to good old-fashioned police work, as seen on Des

After experiencing setbacks in identifying Nilsen’s victims, the team found success in identifying a man known as ‘John the Guardsman’. 

Nilsen had shared the nickname with police, leading officers to think he had some link with the armed forces. 

However they later discovered it was just a nickname given to John after speaking to another police branch and asking for the identities of any Johns well known in the Soho area. 

Last night’s episode showed Healey (Simpson) on a phone call to receive blood test results matching a man named John to remains found at Nilsen’s house. 

The real DS McCusker said finding the victim’s identity was down to good old-fashioned police work, just as the episode shows. 

‘One of the names given by Nilsen was John the Guardsman,’ he recalled. ‘That’s all he remembered him as. We were checking Army records but this guy had nothing to do with the Army. It was a nickname. Our guys went down to pubs Nilsen frequented and found out who he was.’

TRUE: Victim’s prints were found on London A-Z

TRUE: Victim Kenneth Ockenden, 23, a missing Canadian student, was identified after officers were able to match his fingerprints to those found on the pages of a London A-Z guide found in Nilsen's flat. DS McCusker said this is how Ockenden was discovered to be another victim

TRUE: Victim Kenneth Ockenden, 23, a missing Canadian student, was identified after officers were able to match his fingerprints to those found on the pages of a London A-Z guide found in Nilsen’s flat. DS McCusker said this is how Ockenden was discovered to be another victim

Victim Kenneth Ockenden, 23, a missing Canadian student, was identified after officers were able to match his fingerprints to those found on the pages of a London A-Z guide found in Nilsen’s flat. 

The moment proved a crucial breakthrough for the team who were able to resolve the missing persons case and charge Nilsen with the murder of another named victim.

Again, DS McCusker said this is how Ockenden was discovered to be one of Nilsen’s victims.  

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Bon voyage? Migrants set sail from Dunkirk at dawn to make perilous crossing to UK

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bon voyage migrants set sail from dunkirk at dawn to make perilous crossing to uk

Migrants escorted by unscrupulous people traffickers today set sail from Dunkirk at dawn – with an estimated 400 landing in England. 

Photos showed dozens of migrants embarking from Gravelines beach in the twilight and their smugglers scurrying back up the dunes after seeing them off. 

Others showed French police officers patrolling the sands near Dunkirk, apparently unable to stop the droves from making the perilous crossing. 

At least 27 boats were brought into the marina in Dover later on Tuesday after a few days of relative quiet due to high seas in the world’s busiest shipping lane. 

It comes amid fears that record numbers of migrants are making the 20 mile dash across the waves before the winter brings rougher seas. 

A group of migrants embark from Gravelines beach close to Dunkirk on Tuesday morning as a colossal Danish ferry makes its way through the Channel

A group of migrants embark from Gravelines beach close to Dunkirk on Tuesday morning as a colossal Danish ferry makes its way through the Channel 

Smugglers walk back after embarking migrants on boat on the beach of Gravelines, near Dunkirk, on Tuesday morning

Smugglers walk back after embarking migrants on boat on the beach of Gravelines, near Dunkirk, on Tuesday morning

French police officers patrol early morning the beach of Gravelines, near Dunkirk, apparently unable to stop the droves from crossing to England

French police officers patrol early morning the beach of Gravelines, near Dunkirk, apparently unable to stop the droves from crossing to England

French Police officers patrol early morning the beach of Gravelines as migrants embarked from beaches near Dunkirk

French Police officers patrol early morning the beach of Gravelines as migrants embarked from beaches near Dunkirk

Small children (pictured today) were among hundreds of migrants rescued by packed Border Force vessels today as they attempted to cross the Channel to the UK

Small children (pictured today) were among hundreds of migrants rescued by packed Border Force vessels today as they attempted to cross the Channel to the UK

At least 27 boats were brought into the marina in Dover, Kent after migrants attempted the treacherous crossing following days of high winds in the Channel. Pictured: Arrivals today

At least 27 boats were brought into the marina in Dover, Kent after migrants attempted the treacherous crossing following days of high winds in the Channel. Pictured: Arrivals today

More than 6,500 migrants have successfully landed so far this year, with September already the busiest month so far, despite there being eight more days to go.   

The current single-day record for migrant crossings is 416, set on September 2. 

Border Force deployed extra resources as crossings resumed in earnest on Tuesday, with boats containing as many as 30 people spotted in the busy shipping route.     

Authorities were forced to make use of lifeboats at 8am to collect those making the illegal crossing as Border Force vessels were already full to capacity.

Photographs from Dover captured dozens of people thought to be migrants wrapped in blankets and wearing life jackets as they arrived on British shores. 

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Young children were among those rescued by authorities on what an insider described as a ‘very, very busy morning’ for Border Force. 

Migrants are thought to have taken advantage of favourable conditions in the Channel, with wind speeds as low as 6mph early this morning. 

Today has been described as ‘the last day of opportunity’ before the weather turns on Wednesday, making conditions too difficult to attempt crossings.

There were no crossings over the weekend or on Monday as French authorities warned of strong northerly winds and strong currents. 

Border Force deployed extra resources as crossings resumed in earnest today, with boats containing as many as 30 people spotted in the busy shipping route

Border Force deployed extra resources as crossings resumed in earnest today, with boats containing as many as 30 people spotted in the busy shipping route

One of a group of people, thought to be migrants, makes a victory gesture on the deck of HMC Seeker, at Dover marina in Kent today

One of a group of people, thought to be migrants, makes a victory gesture on the deck of HMC Seeker, at Dover marina in Kent today

Photographs from Dover captured dozens of people thought to be migrants wrapped in blankets and wearing lifejackets as they arrived on British shores

Photographs from Dover captured dozens of people thought to be migrants wrapped in blankets and wearing lifejackets as they arrived on British shores

But dozens of people were today spotted having to queue up and wait to be allowed ashore due to the volume of new arrivals.

Arrivals wearing face masks were also seen lining up along the side of Border Force cutter Seeker.

Seeker, which made a rare visit to the inner harbour to drop off the migrants, is part of a scaled-up contingent of Border Force vessels that have been busy in the Channel today.

In total, the agency has had at least five boats in operation: cutters Seeker and Searcher and patrol boats Hunter, Speedwell and Eagle.

A police boat has also been operating in the Channel along with the coastguard helicopter and the RNLI.

Arrivals wearing face masks were seen lining up along the side of Border Force cutter Seeker

Arrivals wearing face masks were seen lining up along the side of Border Force cutter Seeker

Seeker, which made a rare visit to the inner harbour to drop off the migrants, is part of a scaled-up contingent of Border Force vessels that have been busy in the Channel today

Seeker, which made a rare visit to the inner harbour to drop off the migrants, is part of a scaled-up contingent of Border Force vessels that have been busy in the Channel today

In total, the agency has had at least five boats in operation: cutters Seeker and Searcher and patrol boats Hunter, Speedwell and Eagle

In total, the agency has had at least five boats in operation: cutters Seeker and Searcher and patrol boats Hunter, Speedwell and Eagle

On Monday evening the first of up to 400 people were seen arriving at a military barracks that is being used to house Channel migrants.

Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent, has been selected by the Home Office to house migrants while their asylum claims are processed.

More than 6,500 migrants have successfully travelled to the UK aboard small boats in 2020, analysis shows. Pictured: Arrivals today

More than 6,500 migrants have successfully travelled to the UK aboard small boats in 2020, analysis shows. Pictured: Arrivals today

September is the busiest month on record, despite there being over a week to go. Pictured: Migrants on a Border Force rib at Dover marina in Kent today

September is the busiest month on record, despite there being over a week to go. Pictured: Migrants on a Border Force rib at Dover marina in Kent today

Today has been described as 'the last day of opportunity' before the weather turns on Wednesday, making conditions too difficult to attempt crossings

Today has been described as ‘the last day of opportunity’ before the weather turns on Wednesday, making conditions too difficult to attempt crossings

Staff in Folkestone were seen yesterday walking around the disused military base surveying the large open facility and its multiple accommodation buildings.

A member of staff wearing a Hi Vis jacket was seen pointing out where a shower block is going to be installed in the outside space between the housing blocks.

In the evening, around 30 people were rushed inside after arriving at the barracks in two black Mercedes and one grey Volkswagen.

People thought to be migrants arrive at Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent, where migrants who have crossed the Channel in small boats are being housed in the military barracks

People thought to be migrants arrive at Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent, where migrants who have crossed the Channel in small boats are being housed in the military barracks

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Popular deputy head teacher is trampled to death by cows while out walking 

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popular deputy head teacher is trampled to death by cows while out walking
David Clark, who taught at Richmond School in North Yorkshire for 23 years, was trampled to death by a herd of cows yesterday

David Clark, who taught at Richmond School in North Yorkshire for 23 years, was trampled to death by a herd of cows yesterday

A popular deputy head teacher has been trampled to death by a herd of cows while walking his dog.

David Clark, who taught at Richmond School in North Yorkshire for 23 years, died yesterday afternoon in a field on the outskirts of the town.

Emergency services including the police and Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) were called to the scene. 

It is believed the married father had been walking his dogs at around 6.30pm when he was charged by a herd of cattle that trampled him to death.

Pupils at the school, which has just returned after the coronavirus lockdown and the summer break, were upset when his death was announced in a message to parents this morning.

Tributes to ‘good guy’ Mr Clark were led by headteacher Jenna Potter, who said in a statement today: ‘Dave Clark was the ‘heart and soul’ of Richmond School. 

‘He was an enormous character, a brilliant school leader and simply a lovely man who enriched the life of everyone he came into contact with, just by being himself and doing what he did every day.

‘Dave was always the person we looked to to deal with difficult issues and he was a master at that. He never let students get away with being anything other than their very best, never giving up on them, even when at times it felt as though they wanted to give up on themselves. 

‘All of this, Dave did with a smile and a level of kindness and care that is seldom seen.

‘Outside school, Dave was a keen sportsman. He had grown to love the Dales and would often be seen cycling, walking and spending time on the moor during the beating season.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Mr Clark was educated at Jordanhill College in Glasgow and was a keen cyclist, swimmer and rugby coach

According to his LinkedIn profile, Mr Clark was educated at Jordanhill College in Glasgow and was a keen cyclist, swimmer and rugby coach 

‘Our students and their parents have been lucky to have known and been helped by him. We have been privileged as a staff to have worked with him and will continue working in the same way in his memory.

‘Above all, Dave was a family man. Our thoughts are with Dave’s wife, his children and wider family at this difficult time.’ 

‘Dave was killed as a result of an accident as he walked his dogs in the countryside.

‘Dave worked at Richmond School for 23 years and was the heart and soul of the school, taking such pride in his very important work.

‘Dave was not only an admired colleague, he was also a much loved friend and member of the local community and I know that many of you, as parents, will have very fond memories of being taught by him.’ 

One parent said that all four of his children had known Mr Clark over the years and spoke very highly of him.

Another said: ‘He was really popular, one of the good guys. It’s just incredibly sad. He’d been there forever – even when pupils had left he remembered their names and would ask how they were doing.’

His local cycling club paid tribute to him on Facebook, saying: ‘It is with immense sadness that we learned today that one of the club’s most respected and long standing members, David Clark passed away due to a tragic accident. 

‘David was walking with his dogs on the outskirts of the town, off the town’s Hurgill Road, on Monday evening when the incident happened. 

‘Our thoughts are with David’s family and friends who must be devastated and within the club there is deep sadness and shock.’

Tributes to 'good guy' Mr Clark were led by headteacher Jenna Potter, who said: 'Dave Clark was the 'heart and soul' of Richmond School. He was an enormous character, a brilliant school leader and simply a lovely man who enriched the life of everyone he came into contact with, just by being himself and doing what he did every day'

Tributes to ‘good guy’ Mr Clark were led by headteacher Jenna Potter, who said: ‘Dave Clark was the ‘heart and soul’ of Richmond School. He was an enormous character, a brilliant school leader and simply a lovely man who enriched the life of everyone he came into contact with, just by being himself and doing what he did every day’

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: ‘Police were called to a report that a man in his 50s had been injured by cows in a field north of Richmond, at 7.30pm on Monday September 21, 2020.

‘He was treated by paramedics, but sadly he was pronounced dead at the scene.

‘Officers from the local Neighbourhood Policing Team will be working to support those affected by his death.

‘The Health and Safety Executive has been informed, and enquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances.’

A GNAAS spokesman said: ‘We arrived on the scene at 6.55pm yesterday evening, having flown from Teesside Airport with a doctor and paramedic onboard. We didn’t airlift anyone out of the scene.’

According to his LinkedIn profile, Mr Clark was educated at Jordanhill College in Glasgow and was a keen cyclist, swimmer and rugby coach.  

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German prosecutors take up rape allegation against Maddie suspect

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Investigators believe Christian Brueckner, 43, (pictured) may have attacked Hazel Behan in her Algarve apartment in 2004

Investigators believe Christian Brueckner, 43, (pictured) may have attacked Hazel Behan in her Algarve apartment in 2004

The prime suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is now facing another investigation over the alleged rape of an Irish holiday rep in Portugal 16 years ago.

Investigators believe Christian Brueckner, 43, who is already in prison in Germany on a rape charge, may have attacked Hazel Behan in her Algarve apartment in 2004, when she was aged 20.

Three months ago, Mrs Behan demanded police reopen her case after discovering it had striking similarities with the rape of an American woman for which Brueckner was convicted last year. 

German authorities have now agreed to open an investigation, prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters confirmed on Tuesday.  

Ms Behan, who waived her right to anonymity last month, was working as a holiday rep in Praia da Rocha on the Algarve coast in April 2004.

She recently revealed details of the attack which saw a masked man climb over the balcony to her apartment in the early hours of the morning. 

He is said to have held a knife to her throat, tied and gagged her before raping her repeatedly.

The assailant then threatened to kill her before fleeing over the balcony and leaving her bleeding. 

Irish woman Hazel Behan, 37, (pictured), waived her right to anonymity last month to share details of the attack which saw a masked man climb over the balcony to her apartment in the early hours of the morning

Irish woman Hazel Behan, 37, (pictured), waived her right to anonymity last month to share details of the attack which saw a masked man climb over the balcony to her apartment in the early hours of the morning

In June, Brueckner was identified the German man as a suspect in the case of Madeleine McCann (pictured), who disappeared from an apartment in 2007 while her family was on holiday in the resort of Praia da Luz, Portugal

In June, Brueckner was identified the German man as a suspect in the case of Madeleine McCann (pictured), who disappeared from an apartment in 2007 while her family was on holiday in the resort of Praia da Luz, Portugal 

Ms Behan contacted Scotland Yard after Brueckner was named as the main suspect in the Madeleine case with details emerging about his conviction for raping an American woman in similar circumstances.   

In June, Brueckner was identified the German man as a suspect in the case of Madeleine, who disappeared from an apartment in 2007 while her family was on holiday in the resort of Praia da Luz, Portugal.     

He has two previous convictions for ‘sexual contact with girls’, authorities say, but they do not have enough evidence to hold him in prison on the strength of the McCann case alone.

Mr Wolters said there is ‘no new situation’ regarding the evidence on the McCann case and would not give further details or elaborate on the nature of the evidence.

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