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The case study – drug production and analysis

The case study - drug production and analysis
The search for Mr Dougan continued to be part of the investigation. DI Morrison was concerned that he’d been given a false address, and began to question why he had been in the area at that time. Constables McBride and Bell, the first responding officers, had not noted the registration of Mr. Dougan’s car, but remembered the make and colour of it. Local police were asked to record any observations of matching vehicles in the area. McBride and Bell, somewhat embarrassed at having failed to note the car registration, were especially keen to assist in the search.
At 12:30 PM on the 8th of August, they found the car parked by a cottage near Ballyconachy Wood, just off the B837, north west of Drymen. They noted the registration and reported the finding. Because the fingerprint database match was with an unknown finger mark in a drugs case, DI Morrison called a case conference with the officer involved in that case. Intelligence suggested the cottage as the scene of a drugs lab and/or premises used by a dealer. The cottage was placed under surveillance, a search warrant was obtained, and a team consisting of drug squad investigators and two specialist drugs chemists assembled.
A new crime scene manager was designated for this scene to ensure that both scenes– Ross Priory and the cottage– were treated independently.
When the team raided the cottage, there were two men inside– Mr. Dougan and a John Branks, recognised by the senior drug squad detective as a well-known drug dealer. The cottage contained several items of chemical apparatus and various containers of chemicals. The drug chemists recognised the equipment and chemicals as ones used in the synthesis of MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy. The equipment was in operation, and they safely turned everything off and arranged to return the following day to remove the apparatus and chemicals to the forensic science laboratory for examination. Equipment for making tablets from the MDMA and excipients, and a batch of manufactured tablets, were also found and seized.
Fingerprints were taken from Mr. Dougan, and he was later confirmed to be the source of the marks at the drug scene in the database, and of the three recovered marks on the Wards’ car. A further database search found a match between his fingerprints and prints from a Nigel Lloyd. Lloyd was suspected of involvement in a gangland murder, but there had been insufficient evidence to proceed with the case. Investigations revealed that both names were false. His real name was Bill Thompson. He had a Ph.D. in chemistry and had worked for several years in the pharmaceutical industry until deciding that making illicit drugs was much more profitable than making medicines.
The drug squad officers were delighted with the outcome, albeit somewhat surprised, as they had never encountered an ecstasy laboratory before, but it left DI Morrison with unanswered questions. What had really taken place at the shooting scene? Had Mr. Ward killed his wife and then shot himself in the arm to make it look like a robbery? If not, who had killed her? Were they still looking for a dangerous criminal? Was the presence of Thompson– Dougan– at the scene coincidental? Why had someone killed Mrs. Ward? Who had a motive, and what was it? The senior investigating officer convened a case conference with everyone involved to discuss these questions.
As a result of the discussions, the second crime scene team returned to the cottage and conducted a detailed search for any evidence that could indicate an association between Ward and Thompson. And the detectives obtained a search warrant to go through the Wards’ home and financial records.
By now, the case was attracting considerable media attention, and DI Morrison received a call from a Ms. Debbie Anderson, asking for an appointment to see him. She reported that she was a work colleague of Mr. Ward, and they had been having an affair. Mr. Ward had told her that he had asked his wife for a divorce, but she had refused. She was now concerned that he may have killed her. As a result of this, the SIO invited Mr. Ward to attend for a formal interview. Ward agreed, and in the course of the interview, the detective asked him about the relationship with Ms. Anderson.
He agreed that he had been having an affair with her, but that he had decided to end it, and that was the reason for the special lunch at Ross Priory. When asked to reconsider his version of events at the shooting, he stuck to his story about the gunman sitting on the sill and pulling Mrs. Ward towards him to rob her, then shoot her in the head and him in the arm when she resisted.

Now let’s go back to the ‘Murder by the Loch’.

The fingerprint recovered from the car where the victim was shot provided a link to a drugs case. This meant that a second crime scene investigation was instigated linked to a cottage near the scene of the murder. The cottage revealed equipment which was likely to have been used in the production of illicit drugs and revealed a separate crime other than the initial murder.

The two crime scene teams now had to work in parallel so that both scenes were managed appropriately but that common information could be pooled.

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Introduction to Forensic Science

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