Family and friends of Denise Setchley today have fresh hope of finding her killer after police announced a new series of potential leads arising from a list drawn up of people they least suspect.
After weeks of fruitlessly pursuing obvious suspects, Devon and Cornwall Police have made the move to investigate the people who wouldn’t hurt a fly and no-one would ever think could have done it, a category that in hindsight provides perpetrators in over 80% of similar cases.
'One of the first things they teach you at detective training school is that when you’re investigating a serious crime, the culprit is usually the person you least suspect,' explained Detective Inspector Craig King, leader of the hunt to find the killer. 'Unfortunately, everything they teach you afterwards contradicts that first principle, so by the end of the two-week course it’s easy to forget that core truth, but the time has come to apply modern methods to this axiom.’
However the team of officers responsible for creating the database of people they least suspect have come up against an unanticipated brick wall of reason that has kept them behind closed doors for three days now.
On condition of anonymity, one officer spoke out, saying, ‘Our instructions have lead us to a logical antinomy - as soon as we put someone at the top of the list, he becomes a prime suspect and therefore has to be removed from the list of people we least suspect. It’s a self-referential paradox waiting to happen.’
Other frustrated investigators claim that the effort being devoted to the job of recording, then discarding, the names of people they least suspect is diverting valuable resources away from the task of identifying the last place they’d think of looking, the location where it is believed a missing baseball cap thought vital to the case is to be found.
Confronted with these accusations, Detective Inspector King refused to elaborate further on the new strategy, beyond a statement that people should ‘expect the unexpected.’