Stuart Hazell The Algebra of Justice


The series of murders

The series of murders in the south east of England during 2000-2002 had five victims, namely Sarah Payne, Milly Dowler, Danielle Jones, and the Soham two, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. Since the incarceration of Ian Huntley this series has stopped. The bodies were found as follows:

Sarah Payne - dumped out in the open, naked, with the intention that discovery would be fairly quick. Partly covered by leaves and earth.

Milly Dowler - body dumped in a remote woodland, naked, found by an elderly couple searching for mushrooms six months later.

Danielle Jones - body never found.

Jessica and Holly - (official discovery) - found dumped out in the open, naked, with the intention of a quick discovery, but with fire and water used to degrade any forensic evidence, which created the prosecution case against Ian Huntley; or: -

Jessica and Holly - (alternative discovery) - buried in woodland outside Newmarket, clothed or unclothed, and found two weeks after their disappearance by a jogger who had heard screams in the area on the night of the disappearance. Since there were two bodies, the killer is not likely to have taken the trouble to remove or take the clothes.

Taken as a series, the pattern of body disposal indicates that the killer would tend to bury or hide his victims in a natural environment, but in the case of Sarrah Payne it was left out in the open to ensure discovery (because of the Cheshire sighting), and in the case of Jessica and Holly, they were left out in the open for the same reason, to mislead detection. The skeletal remains of Milly Dowler were hidden in remote woodland on Yateley Heath, Hampshire, near to the Blackbushe car auction, so that the killer would have needed to know this area, and an interesting thing is that if the killer was common to the series, there might be a link-up between this car auction and the range of vehicles in the series, for different cars were used in each case, viz:

Sarah Payne - a white van.

Milly Dowler - not known. (The police were interested in CCTV footage of a red N-registered Daewoo Nexia, but this is not likely to be relevant as a resident of the area owned a car of exactly this description.)

Danielle Jones - dark blue transit van. The victim was seen talking to a man nearby this van at the time that she disappeared, and a girl of her description was seen two hours later in the passenger seat of the van.

Jessica and Holly - a dark green or metallic green car.

Also the description of the driver in the dark blue van with Danielle Jones (white male, 30s, strongly built, short neat hair) appears to correspond with the e-fit picture and description of the man at the Cheshire sighting in the Sarah Payne case, with the exception of hair colour (dark in the Danielle case) and van colour (dark blue).

The man in the Cheshire sighting was described as white, about 30, 6ft tall, solidly built and clean shaven, with "crinkly, blond" hair and a strong jaw and wide nose. He was wearing a dark grey bomber jacket, washed-out black jeans and a plum shirt. (Blonde hair, white van.)

Sarah Payne in Cheshire

Sarah Payne was abducted near her home town of Littlehampton near the Sussex coast, in the holiday season. The abduction occurred at 8.00 in the evening of July 1st, 2000, while she was playing with her two brothers. The brothers saw a white van driving off with a fierce screech of its tyres, and the driver smiled and waved at them. At 5.00 the next morning a woman believed she saw Sarah at a service station at Knutsford on the M6 just south of Manchester in Cheshire. She met the girl in the lavatories. The woman reported that the girl was frightened and upset and that she gave her name as Sarah. The girl was wearing a blue dress as was Sarah Payne the night before. She was the same age as Sarah Payne and she resembled her, but the witness couldn't identify her with certainty from a photograph. The police said that the man she was with was understood to be driving a white van.

The Cheshire sighting received high-pressure saturation coverage in the press and media, and given all the matching factors involved, it would be extremely unlikely that this was a coincidence. The factors include that the girl was about eight years of age, that the incident occurred at five in the morning, that it was a Sunday morning, that the girl was frightened and upset, that she was wearing a blue dress, that she gave the name of Sarah, and if she had volunteered her name to this witness without being asked, then she was likely to be in the custody of a stranger, and, assuming that the identification of a white van came from this sighting and from this witness, the white van.

Given all these factors, and since no one came forward to clear the matter up if it had been someone else, then this sighting makes it highly likely that Sarah Payne was in Cheshire after she was abducted. One wouldn't be able to ignore this sighting without proof that it was a coincidence. This incident would have to be included in the inquest and at the trial of Roy Whiting.

Some five hours before the abduction of Sarah Payne, another eight-year-old girl was chased by a man in Littlehampton, but she escaped on her bicycle. This incident also would have to be included in the inquest and trial.

Sarah Payne's body was discovered by a farm labourer nearly three weeks later, just twelve miles from where she was abducted. The body was dumped out in the open just ten yards from the A29 and near a little-used public footpath. It was meant to be found, but the killer also appears to have intended that the wind and rain should be given time to clear away any forensic evidence. The body was decomposed. If the killer took the trouble to drive the distance of 200 miles between the Knutsford area and the Sussex coast to dispose of the body, it must have been to draw public attention away from the Cheshire area because he lived by there.

As soon as the police discovered the body of Sarah Payne, they looked for a white van in the immediate locality, and they found Roy Whiting's. And Roy Whiting had an appropriate history for suspicion.

The evidence against Roy Whiting

The evidence at the trial of Roy Whiting consisted of an impressionable eyewitness and an odd-looking pattern of fibres. The eyewitness was the oldest brother of Sarah Payne, who had seen a white van with a scruffy looking driver with yellow teeth drive by when his sister disappeared. However the witness had failed to pick Roy Whiting out at a routine identity parade shortly after the disappearance, when Whiting was being checked by the police because of a prior conviction. This was only a day or so later.

The forensic evidence produced by the prosecution consisted of fibres from Whiting's van which were allegedly found on the only item of clothing recovered from Sarah Payne, a shoe, and which had been exposed to the elements; and one blonde hair, allegedly found on a red sweatshirt inside Whiting's van. This hair was no less than nine inches long, The jury was required to believe that this hair had survived both of his arrests, and several months before he was charged, or else that it was "found" within a month of the abduction but that Whiting wasn't charged until December, or six months later.

There is a mathematical pattern inherent in this evidence, which is that in the "single" item of clothing recovered of the victim there were "several" fibres from Whiting's van, while in the van itself, where "several" sources of evidence would be expected, only one "single" item of evidence was found, this being the strand of hair, while other fibres from Whiting's van were found in her hair. This "single/several" pattern of fibres constitutes the connection of Roy Whiting to the murder, along with the hair.

This pattern is obscured by additional fibres of a common source allegedly being found on both the remains and the shoe of Sarah Payne and inside Whiting's van. Another potential pattern is in the absence of any forensic evidence or fibres inside Whiting's flat, so that the forensic evidence corresponds with (or copies) the previous incident for which he had been convicted, and which was the reason for the routine arrest.

Aside from this forensic evidence, the only evidence connecting Roy Whiting to the subject of the trial is an eyewitness who failed to pick him out at an identity parade soon after the abduction, and a negative search of Whiting's flat by the police.

The same applies with Roy Whiting's van, because this was searched earlier in the year without any unusual hairs being found to charge him by, and the single hair presented at the trial would need to have been there for months.

Given his insistence on his innocence at his trial, and given the high media attention after the abduction of Sarah Payne and his prior conviction, why would he keep the clothes that he is supposed to have abducted her in for the police to find, and apparently unwashed as well? This is not consistent with his defence, for he pleaded Not Guilty despite this forensic evidence, and in his two prior convictions he pleaded Guilty.

Roy Whiting was arrested twice after the abduction of Sarah Payne, the first arrest being a routine check because he had a white van and because he had been put on the sex offender's register after being convicted for the abduction and sexual assault of an eight-year-old girl in 1995. A psychiatrist who had examined him did not think he was a paedophile though, and Whiting claimed that he had just "snapped". He had owned up to this.

His second arrest occurred after the search of his flat and van, and a month after the abduction, when the police still had no evidence. Whiting was staying at his father's house while his flat was being searched by forensic scientists, but a few days after this second arrest, he moved out after a mob of vigilantes, no doubt angered by his two arrests, smashed the windows with bricks, and both father and son moved out for their own safety. Angered by this, Whiting took to the roads in a stolen car and was pursued by the police until he crashed into a parked vehicle. This produced his third arrest and he was remanded in custody until September and was later jailed for the car theft and for dangerous driving. Once again he did not deny responsibility.

Whiting was charged with the abduction and murder of Sarah Payne while he was in jail for the car theft, in February 2001, over seven months after her disappearance, and the forensic case against him was amassed while he was in jail. Although Whiting's history shows that he accepts responsibility for offences when caught, in the case of the murder of Sarah Payne, he pleaded Not Guilty against a perfect stitch-up in forensic evidence, and his angry reaction against the vigilante attack on his father's home reflects an affront rather than an awareness of guilt.

Taken in conjunction with the events of this series of murders, surely this forensic evidence looks suspicious. The eyewitness was not able to identify him a day or two after seeing the abduction, and the case against Whiting was being made when the series had only just begun to reveal itself as such.

Upon Whiting's conviction, the judge ruled that his van would be destroyed. Yet this van was the only source of evidence against Roy Whiting or of the investigation. The police justification for this was that it brought bad memories, but bad memories of what? A successful investigation? Or the right to an appeal?

Taking these abductions as a series, the facts suggest that, in response to Whiting's reaction to the vigilante attack against his father's house, the police reacted with a vigilante prosecution against him for the abduction and murder of Sarah Payne, so that this would be another case where the police have allowed the public to detect their cases for them. And they too would have snapped, under pressure from the media.

Since the function of the police is to prevent crime, and if our justice system and police exposure to media pressure is hampering expert detection, then they might well need to use other measures to do this.

Text messages from Danielle Jones

The conviction of Danielle Jones's uncle Stuart Campbell for her murder was secured with evidence that included neither a body, nor a murder weapon, nor a murder scene, and with an assumption of murder that is based on a disappearance that is part of a series of similar murders. His pleas of innocence throughout have been repeatedly ignored.

During their investigation, the police questioned Campbell for sixty hours - the full legal allowance - twice, and two months apart. The first occasion was just five days after the disappearance, and the second arrest occurred two months later in August 2001, just when his bail was running out. The police charged him with murder at the very point when otherwise they must let him go. Throughout this period Campbell pleaded his innocence.

At each arrest the police announced to the press that they had received "significant" information in the case, which was followed by a worthless search of marshland in the neighbourhood in the first case, and a worthless search of Stuart Campbell's building site in the second. The second arrest occurred after two consecutive days of witnesses coming forward to claim that they had seen a blue van and a white man in his thirties connected with the disappearance, and just a day after the police had begun their search of his building site. Their behaviour shows that they did not get their alleged breakthroughs from their interrogation of Campbell or from any useful source, and that they charged him with murder simply because they were running out of time with him and wished to close the case.

Like Ian Huntley, Stuart Campbell was prosecuted for murder because he was the last person known to have had any contact with the missing girl, and, like Roy Whiting, he was charged because he had a van that resembled in colour a van that was seen by eyewitnesses at the time of her disappearance.

The evidence that the prosecution used against him consisted of two text messages that he had received from Danielle's mobile phone at around the time of her disappearance. The prosecution was based on the presumption that Danielle did not send these texts and that therefore the recipient had, and that he had access to her mobile phone at the time of her disappearance. These messages were transmitted on the day of her disappearance (18th June 2001) and the day after (19th June 2001). The first message ran:


The second, sent the day after her disappearance, ran:


The first of these is written in stress and worry, the source of which is evident in the message, and the second is written flowingly and happily, the source of which is in the message. There is nothing in the wording or mood to suggest that anyone but Danielle herself wrote them. As far as this goes the texts look authentic.

In the first message there are two instances of three consecutive letters dropping out of the message. These occur in the letters "THE" in "AT THE MOMENT", and "ERY" in "EVERYONE". There is another instance of a drop-out in the case of a "TO". These drop-outs may be due to a technical fault in her mobile phone, or perhaps to her stress, which would confirm the authenticity of the message. The other drop-outs confirm that the missing "THE" was due to this technical fault. The second message has no such errors.

The prosecution case was that Danielle would not have written "AT MOMENT" without the "THE", and that she tended to write this phrase as "at the mo" instead. However, if she had dropped the "the" in her message, she would have needed to write the word "moment" in full in order to recover the sense in her communication. The prosecution also claimed that when she texted friends she spelt "What" as "WAT" instead of as "WOT". There is no evidence in these texts that Danielle's uncle had written them himself, but the prosecution argued that it was not likely that an abductor would bother to do it himself.

The prosecution case against her uncle was that because of these drop-outs, someone other than Danielle had written these messages, that this person must have been Campbell himself, and that he had done it to deflect suspicion from himself over the abduction. However this is not consistent with subsequent events, because these messages provided the prosecution with the only evidence that it had to connect him with the abduction. It is understood by the media that Campbell was charged on the strength of this evidence, but the pattern of events leading to the charge suggests otherwise.

The prosecution claimed that Danielle tended to text her friends with lower-case letters, but her phone defaulted on capital letters and these were used for these messages.

The case against Stuart Campbell looks like a case of convenience all the way through, while commonsense is left with the mystery of what had happened to Danielle while these texts were being sent. His conviction raises another mystery, which is why Stuart Campbell should have used these texts to connect himself to the abduction and then presented the evidence to everyone while pleading Not Guilty.

For the Ian Huntley case click here.

For The Algebra of Justice click here