Worcester Murder Investigation Team Wins National Award
Released in conjunction with the Investigator magazine & SYTECH
From left to right: DI Neil Austin, DC Shelly Orr, DS Kate Stevens, sponsor Edgar Blazier – SYTECH, DCI Paul Williamson, DC Julie Slater and head judge Alan Webster.A team of detectives from West Mercia Police that spent nearly two years working on a murder and manslaughter investigation in Worcester were recognised for their work at an awards ceremony in Birmingham last week.
In the early hours of 14 December 2011 Andrew Heath was killed in an arson attack on his home in Warndon and West Mercia Police launched a murder investigation that went on to face many challenges.
Ten months later, on 4 October 2012, Daniel Martin was charged with his murder and on 23 May 2013, Martin finally pleaded guilty to manslaughter at Birmingham Crown Court.
He was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Friday 8 November 2013. Several other people, Martin’s family members and associates, were also found guilty of perverting the course of justice.
The investigation team were among officers of all ranks nominated for the Investigator magazine’s inaugural Excellence in Investigation Awards.
The awards are to recognise those investigating some of the most horrific and challenging crimes and they were acknowledged for going beyond the call of the duty.
At a ceremony in Birmingham on Wednesday (29 January), the West Mercia Police team won the award in the Outstanding Leadership in an Investigation category.
They were cited for dealing with a complex and protracted investigation that attracted considerable public, political and media interest and concern.
The Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Superintendent Paul Williamson, said: “It was humbling to be nominated for, let alone win, the Investigator award and to receive recognition from fellow detectives.
“It was a difficult case to solve, but we managed it because of the dedication, perseverance and leadership of all our key team members, as well as the dozens of others from the force who contributed towards a successful outcome.”
As well as Det Supt Williamson, the team consisted of his deputy, Detective Inspector Neil Austin, Detective Sergeant Kate Stevens, Detective Constable Shelley Orr, DS Richard Bentley, DS Mark Morton and family liaison officers DS Alan Crossley and DC Julie Slater.
Carol Jenkins, the editor of The Investigator magazine paid tribute to the winners. “All of our winners demonstrated true determination, dedication and doggedness in going beyond the call of duty to help solve these crimes and provide justice for victims and witnesses. They are all very worthy winners and I’d like to congratulate them all,” said Carol.
About the Investigator awards
Launched last year, the Awards included four categories: best cold case, outstanding leadership in an investigation, innovation in forensics and best major crime.
A panel led by Alan Webster the former head of Investigative training at West Midlands Police sifted through hundreds of entries to choose the winners. The winners attended the Lord Knight Suite in Tally Ho, West Midlands Police, on Wednesday to be presented with their framed certificates.
The day was sponsored by SYTECH – Digital Forensic Experts.
The full list of winners were:
Best cold case (two winners)
Cambridgeshire Constabulary Major Crime Unit, investigation into the murder of Sally McGrath;
Wiltshire Police serious sexual assault by Keith Henderson;
Outstanding leadership (two winners)
West Mercia Police, Operation Helm – the manslaughter of Andrew Heath;
West Midlands Police Operation Grey – covert drugs inquiry;
Innovation in Forensics (two winners)
Greater Manchester Police, Operations Soverville and Mirato, Dale Cregan murders;
Metropolitan Police, Firearms Trace Evidence Recovery Unit;
Best Major Crime (three winners)
Cambridgeshire Constabulary Major Crime Unit, Operation Quantify – the murder of Vitalija Baliutavicience;
Northamptonshire Police CID and Special Branch, Operation Octavia – investigation into Craig Walton terrorism case;
East Midlands Special Operations Unit Operation Morgan – Derby house fire.
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