Colchester: Judge’s Commendations
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Two detectives and a criminal intelligence analyst have been commended for their work to identify and resolve issues involving witness intimidation during an attempted murder trial.
With the recent easing of Coronavirus regulations, our Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington has been able to recommence his recognition of our officers and staff for exceptional service.
And he has presented Colchester detectives Detective Sergeant Paul Olney and Detective Constable Mike Heslegrave, together with criminal intelligence analyst Gill Handley, with Judge’s Commendations on behalf of trial Judge Martyn Levett.
The commendation particularly noted their vital work over a weekend in the middle of the seven-week trial of two men and a teenager for attempting to murder a man in Marks Tey in October 2018. This saw Paul, Mike and Gill successfully identify and resolve issues involving the intimidation of a key witness.
Their work ensured the trial could continue. All three defendants were convicted in October 2019 at Ipswich Crown Court of attempted murder and later sentenced to a total of 71 years in jail.
The victim, a man in his 40s, sustained life-changing injuries after he was lured to an area of Marks Tey and stabbed several times.
Part of Judge Levett’s commendation referred to the work Paul, Mike and Gill carried out to identify issues with the intimidation of a trial witness.
“[Their work] demonstrates to me that these cases can’t be presented by the prosecution or, indeed, the defence on either side unless the advocates have worked hard in trying to pull everything together. But, of course, they’ve got nothing to pull together unless the material’s there in the first place and, again, it seems something I should acknowledge.”
Judge Martyn Levett
“In the middle of the trial, the witness’s evidence turned round completely but we spent a weekend identifying what had happened and how.
“The investigation was very intensive so to be recognised by the judge makes me feel very proud.”
Detective Constable Mike Heslegrave
“It was our biggest investigation in Colchester CID. The trial was initially set for two weeks but it lasted for seven. Gill’s work was crucial to it continuing. We were able to arrest a suspect quickly and ensure the witness was safeguarded.
“To receive a Judge’s Commendation as an investigator shows just how much work goes into preparing the case and what the judge thought of that. It’s fantastic to have a judge say ‘you’ve done really well’. The victim and his family were also very appreciative.”
Detective Sergeant Paul Olney
“It was a team effort. We all wanted to achieve the right outcome and I felt very privileged to be able to help with that. I was delighted to be recognised. I sit behind a computer and to receive praise from my peers, the Chief Constable and a judge is very nice.”
Criminal intelligence analyst Gill Handley
“It’s really good to be able to commend the team’s brilliant work on this case which demonstrates the quality of our detectives and our analysts. It also shows that, even after gathering the evidence and conducting a thorough investigation, you can’t assume a trial will go to plan. You have to look after the case throughout, to ensure justice for the victims and their families.
“As the police, we are here to help people, keep them safe and catch criminals. Paul, Mike and Gill did all of this by helping to ensure that three very dangerous people have been taken off our streets and locked up for a very long time. The world is a better place for it.
“The commendation also reflects the hard work and determination which went into the investigation of a very nasty attack. I am proud their efforts have been recognised by the trial judge.”
Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington
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