Why do people kill?
Homicide can be categorised into many different crime types – domestic violence, terrorism, organised crime killings, child death, assisted suicide, corporate manslaughter, assault driven by intoxication…. to name but a few.
It’s an unpleasant list, each with their own motivating factors, and somewhat perversely each carrying different levels of abhorrence.
For murder detectives, our motivation in each case is the same.
To lose a loved one through a crime is without doubt dreadful beyond words, what we try and deliver is the very best service and investigation we can at this time of tremendous loss.
It is arrogant to think we can somehow make things better, but a professional investigation can at least somehow assist a grieving process few of us can imagine, and one that all of us hope we never have to experience.
Knife crime incidents, and specifically violent attacks involving young people, are particularly painful and distressing to manage.
Events that occur within a few moments have a lasting effect on both victim and suspect.
Decisions made in the blink of an eye will stay with a family and a community for eternity.
The murder of Isaac Stone took place at 6pm on Saturday 25 January 2014.
The investigation itself was fairly routine. Critical evidence was gathered at an early stage through CCTV and witness accounts that led to the identification of suspects. A short manhunt resulted in the arrest and charge of the four offenders by mid-February.
The case was further built though significant forensic results and communications data. With the assistance of a tracking device in the vehicle hired and used by the four offenders during the day of the offence, it was possible to build a very clear picture of the movements of the day.
However it is not the investigation or even the trial that will live in my memory.
I remember the first time I met Isaac’s mother and his family.
I recall the grief and the complete sense of helplessness, as well as the dignity, resolve and determination.
Determination that his death would not be a catalyst for more pain – but a catalyst for peace.
Along with the family liaison officer, Julia, I was invited to Isaac’s funeral. Somehow this always feels like an intrusion, and I am always unsure as to whether to take up such invitations.
After much discussion Julia and I decided that it was the right decision to go.
The attendance was quite extraordinary, I have no idea of numbers, but the family say 800 people attended and I would not be surprised if it was more.
Isaac’s friends and family spoke fondly of him, but of most impact was the call for peace, and the feeling of peace.
The trial took place during the summer and lasted for seven weeks.
Again it was not the verdict or the sentence that I remember the most vividly.
It was a quiet moment that I am not even sure Isaac’s mother was aware I witnessed.
There was a moment she met the mother of one of the offenders, and in that moment she found the strength to share an embrace and offer words of condolence to her.
What I will always remember about this case is Yvette’s strength and compassion.
There are no winners when it comes to knife crime.
Four young men aged in their early 20s will not be eligible for release from prison until their late 40s.
Whether you are attacked or whether you are the attacker – you lose.
Take a knife to the street and inevitably you lose.
In the tragic case of the murder of Isaac Stone he lost his life.
What would I say to other young people? Obviously I would say don’t carry a knife – learn from what happened to Isaac and what happened to those that attacked him.
But I know you might not want to take advice from a police officer, so rather than asking me, ask your mother, ask those that love you.
They’re the ones who will have to live without you when you’re gone.
Detective Inspector Adam Gallop is part of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit and was the senior investigation officer for the murder of Isaac Stone. He has written this blog post as part of the Bedfordshire Police campaign against serious youth violence and knife crime.
Yvette Lendore, the mother of Isaac Stone, has also shared her experiences. Read her series of blog posts here.