Killers who cry crocodile tears
Page last updated at 15:46 GMT, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 16:46 UK
By Chris Summers, BBC News
The boss of a limousine firm has been convicted of ordering the murder of his wife, an off-duty special constable. Fadi Nasri, who made a televised appeal for information in the days after she was stabbed, is not the first killer to cry crocodile tears.
One night in December 1996 Lee Harvey was stabbed to death on an isolated road in Alvechurch, Worcestershire.
His fiancee, Tracie Andrews, told police he had been attacked by another motorist after a “road rage” incident.
I held her hand at the press conference when all my family were pointing the finger and at the end of the day she lied
She later appeared at a police press conference looking in a terrible state and begging for help in catching the killer.
The former model claimed a “fat man with staring eyes” had attacked her boyfriend, stabbing him more than 30 times.
But detectives became sceptical of her story and they discovered that the couple had a stormy and often violent relationship.
Andrews, who was 28 at the time, was later charged with murder and at her trial a jury was told she had stabbed him to death after a row.
Last year, Mr Harvey’s mother, Maureen, said she could never forgive Andrews, who is serving a life sentence for the murder.
Mrs Harvey said: “I held her hand at the press conference when all my family were pointing the finger and at the end of the day she lied.”
In January 1997, nine-year-old schoolgirl Zoe Evans went missing from her home in Warminster, Wiltshire.
Her mother, Paula Hamilton, and stepfather Miles Evans appeared at a press conference, begging for her to come home.
Miles Evans appealing for information to find missing Zoe
Unbeknown to Zoe’s mother, the man sitting next to her was actually responsible for killing her daughter.
Zoe’s naked body was later found in a badger sett and Evans was arrested and eventually convicted of her murder.
It transpired that Zoe had been taken her from her bed and sexually assaulted.
A post-mortem examination showed she died from asphyxiation.
Zoe’s mother later said Evans deserved the death penalty for what he had done.
In September 1994, Carol Wardell, the manager of a building society in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, was murdered and around £15,000 stolen from the branch.
Her husband, Gordon, appeared at a press conference and told reporters he had returned home from the pub on a Sunday afternoon to find his wife being held captive by a man who was wearing a clown mask and was armed with a knife.
Gordon Wardell claimed his wife’s killer wore a clown mask
Wardell claimed he had been punched and forced to the ground and fell unconscious after a chloroform-soaked cloth was pressed over his face.
Wardell, his eyes hidden behind dark glasses, told journalists: “A man got hold of my wife and was threatening her with a knife.”
He claimed he had been tied up by the gang who took his wife off to the building society early the following morning.
But within a month police realised his story was a pack of lies and he was arrested.
Sentencing him to life imprisonment, the judge at Oxford Crown Court said Wardell had gone to elaborate lengths, including tying himself up and inflicting injuries, to make it appear as if the couple were the victim of robbers.
In August last year, Wardell, 54, was told he would not be eligible for release for another 18 years.
In May 1991, the boyfriend of Oxford University student Rachel McLean reported her missing and so began a drama more intriguing than any of Inspector Morse’s cases.
John Tanner, 22, who was studying classics at Nottingham University, not only appeared in a press conference appealing for help but also took part in a televised reconstruction.
He claimed Miss McLean had seen him off at Oxford railway station and said a long-haired stranger had offered to give her a lift home.
John Tanner even took part in a reconstruction with a policewoman
Tanner told reporters his girlfriend had been “a lover of life” and even asked people to help “out of sheer consideration for her mother and father and myself”.
But a few days later police discovered Rachel’s remains under the floorboards at her flat in Oxford and Tanner was immediately arrested.
His tall story crumbled around his ears and he was charged with her murder.
At his trial at Birmingham Crown Court, Tanner changed his story and said he snapped and killed her after she admitted she had been unfaithful.
But he was convicted of murder and jailed for life.
On Valentine’s Day in 2005, Joanna Nelson, who worked at a Jobcentre in Hull, vanished.
Paul Dyson soon appeared on television acting the concerned boyfriend.
Humberside Police launched a massive search but Miss Nelson’s body was not found until 24 March, near Malton, North Yorkshire.
You went on TV and displayed breathtaking and nauseating hypocrisy
Judge Tom Cracknell
Under interrogation by detectives Dyson, 31, finally cracked and admitted he was responsible for her death and said he had strangled her after a trivial row about housework.
Sentencing him to life in prison, Judge Tom Cracknell, highlighted his callous appearance on the TV appeal for information in finding Miss Nelson.
The judge told him: “You went on TV and displayed breathtaking and nauseating hypocrisy.”
As he was led away to begin a life sentence Dyson was verbally abused by friends and family of his victim.
The phenomenon is not confined to Britain.
In October 1994, a young mother, Susan Smith, told police in South Carolina she had been carjacked by a man who had driven off with her two young sons still in the vehicle.
Smith appeared on television appealing for the man to return the children.
Susan Smith blamed a black carjacker
But nine days later she confessed to police to having driven the car into a lake, with the boys, three-year-old Michael and Alexander, 14 months, still inside.
It emerged that she had been having an affair with a man and had killed her boys because he had told her he did not want any children.
The case was seen as racially sensitive because Smith had claimed a black man had been responsible.
She was later convicted of murder but a jury spared her the death penalty and she was given a life sentence.