I’ve always been a bit of an insomniac and when I can’t sleep I try to plot the perfect murder instead of counting sheep (I never quite understood how that was supposed to work – have you ever tried to count sheep, it is incredibly difficult, they keep moving about) I watch quite a lot of late night television – no rubbish of course but educational programmes such as Killer Couples or the ever reliable Wives with Knives – which as the title would suggest has a somewhat samey quality! However Wives with AK47s doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.
I’ve always been interested in crime – my first ambition was to be a detective. This never happened because I don’t think I would have handled the discipline very well and my only qualification would have been that I’m incredibly nosy. As a child I spent a lot of time writing stories about this plucky little orphan (me) who had amazing adventures. I had to be an orphan because I suspected that my parents would never have allowed me to rush into a burning building or plunge into a river to rescue an animal in danger, let alone have my own stable – at least not at the age of eight. As for solving a murder – they would definitely have kept me away from anything like that. The problem was that my parents got divorced when I was young and I remember that one of my main concerns was how they could die simultaneously after that. I finally worked out that if they were both rushing to my bedside after I had been wounded while climbing down a cliff to save an injured puppy, they could die in a head on collision. I was fond of my parents but I was prepared to suffer for my art. I don’t think I had given a thought as to how I was going to live on a day to day basis when not out solving murders.
Today the murder is a fantasy (at the moment – just don’t piss me off), and I lie in bed working out the plot of a (yet to be written) novel. I don’t normally have anyone in mind to kill, although occasionally when a fellow motorist has tried to cut me up or I’ve had a particularly annoying ‘phone call I do have a target. Obviously killing stranger has advantages because there is no motive but on the other hand only a psychopath would do that and I can’t really get into the head of a psychopath. Murders are usually committed by the victims nearest and not so dearest. The trouble is that it gets more and more difficult to commit the perfect murder. DNA and CCTV have really ruined it for the potential (and real) murderer.
DNA has made things much more difficult – as I understand it you can be caught out by a strand of hair, a fleck of dandruff, the smallest spot of saliva on a cup or glass. Obviously if the victim is known to you, it is not unlikely that your DNA would be in their house, but I can imagine that if you chose to drown somebody in the bath and they found your DNA on the taps you might become suspect number one.
And having a strong alibi is difficult with so many CCTV cameras everywhere and mobile ‘phones tracking your every move. It would be no good my saying that I was at the cinema in one town at the time the murder was committed in another even if I produced a ticket stub that I had got from a friend the police would be bound to be able to prove that I had never left the area..
So one would definitely need a friend or close relation to assist. Someone who could drive to me, taking my mobile ‘phone with them and having a dummy in the front seat of his or her car. I’m sure I could get the alibi to work, always provided I could trust the friend. But first find the friend – you would always worry that they might have one drink too many and tell someone else. Even If they were teetotal they might still feel the urge to confide in someone and if you were worrying about that you might as well kill them too! On reflection it would probably be better to do it alone.
Creeping out under cover of darkness leaving the mobile at home – that does of course mean making sure that you lived or were staying near to the victim. Then the problem of how to actually commit the murder comes up. I could creep along to the victim’s house at dead of night. I would definitely need to have a practice run at it to check out any street lights or security lights. I have noticed an annoying habit of late whereby people have security lights outside their houses so that if you walk your dog late at night lights pop on all over the place. Then the breaking into the house – it would be vital to know where there was a spare key that plenty of people knew about. The simplest method seems to be faking a suicide. I could take a shotgun, but although not difficult to fire directly at someone, quite hard to make it look like suicide. You would have to get the angle exactly right. I believe that it is very hard to shoot oneself with a shotgun – I suppose I could saw off the barrels to make it easier, but that would create problems in itself. Someone might hear me doing this or find the bits of barrel after they had been disposed of. Also I would have to get hold of a gun – a piece of cake in America where you can buy one on line or in any local store. Not so easy over here – there are family shotguns but if I used one of those I think someone might start to suspect me. Drowning is quite appealing as it doesn’t leave any blood, but how to get someone into the bath if they don’t want to do it? If I knocked them out the police would be sure to find signs of their old favourite ‘blunt force trauma’.
Poisoning is appealing but would require a certain amount of research – if only they were fatally allergic to peanuts one might slip traces of them into a tasty dip. Ideally it would be a poison that was easily obtainable, left no trace and that worked fairly quickly, although leaving enough time for me to get away. I shall start to investigate lethal substances. Better not look on the internet as I believe you can never delete your browsing history. No good going to the library and taking out a book on lethal poisons – that could be traced only too easily. Possibly the best thing to do would be to don a disguise and go to a town somewhere in the north of England where I have no connections and then investigate the subject in a local bookshop. I don’t know whether Waterstones has a large section of poisons, but I seem to remember that hemlock is pretty lethal. Next find your hemlock, which I am pretty sure grows in this country – this would obviously be much easier than purchasing some obscure South American drug from Amazon (possibly both the river and the internet market place). Whoops – I nearly made a very amateur mistake and googled hemlock just now – that would definitely be a silly thing to do.
Finally I need to destroy this document – I have seen enough true crime programmes to know that murderers, who on the whole are not intellectual giants, tend to write ‘how to’ notes to themselves. Although having said that they are not intellectual giants I realise this may be a fallacious statement as the best ones are presumably the ones who never get caught.