Scottish Daily Mail

A jailed killer, a hunt for justice and telly’s most arresting show


Back in the golden age of crime fiction, the detective’s job was to assemble all the suspects in a room and, on the last page, name the murderer.

That’s not how it works these days. TV series and internet podcasts that pick through the details of police investigat­ions, such as U.S. journalist Sarah koenig’s brilliant online audio show Serial, about the killing of a Baltimore schoolgirl, are open-ended: in that case, a man is in prison, but is he the victim of a miscarriag­e of justice? a retrial has now been ordered.

Radio 4’s series Who killed Elsie Frost? was unfinished for a different reason: no one has ever been convicted of this 1965 killing of the 14-year-old girl in Wakefield, Yorkshire. But earlier this week, following public clamour for the case to be reopened, police revealed they have arrested a man in his 70s.

These ongoing stories make us feel almost as though we are part of the jury weighing the case. So the inconclusi­ve climax to Conviction: Murder At The Station (BBc2) was oddly satisfying.

We left Louise Shorter’s team at the Inside Justice charity poring over the clues, trying to find the scrap of DNa evidence that might prove postman Roger kearney didn’t stab his lover Paula Poolton to death and dump her body in a car boot in 2008.

kearney was tried and sentenced to life imprisonme­nt, despite the fact there were no bloodstain­s, no fingerprin­ts and no fibres to link him to the crime. It seems surprising the court found him guilty beyond reasonable doubt. But the more Shorter, a former BBc producer, probed the case, the more inclined I was to believe kearney did it.

There’s the ccTV footage of what appears to be his car, leaving his house nearly an hour earlier than he had claimed during questionin­g. There’s the strange way that he stopped calling and texting Paula after she went missing, as though he knew throughout the 11 days before her body was discovered that she was already dead.

Most damning, though, were his weirdly worded denials, captured on camera during his phonecalls to Shorter from prison. ‘If it was to come out that I killed Paula,’ he said carefully, ‘I don’t think the police are going to find any evidence.’

The Inside Justice team was crammed with forensics experts, but no psychologi­sts. I’d love to hear kearney’s responses fed through a lie detector because, every time he opened his mouth, lights would flash and alarm bells ring.

My suspicions hardly count as evidence, though. Let’s hope Shorter turns up something more concrete so that we can revisit the story soon.

Private detectives ought to investigat­e the mysterious case of the marquee ovens because, for the second week running, a malfunctio­ning cooker caused near-catastroph­e in The Great British Bake Off (BBc1). after andrew’s oven failed to switch on last week, Jane’s overheated on showstoppe­r day.

She was forced to start again after throwing away her cake and washing it down the sink. Why she did that, rather than dumping it in the bin, wasn’t explained — perhaps she was afraid it would set the tent on fire.

Bosses at channel 4 must be sobbing over their shortbread. Now Mary Berry has announced she’s staying with the Beeb, it appears c4 has paid £25 million for Paul Hollywood and some broken kitchen appliances. You’d need a heart of rock cake not to laugh.

While they’re at it, the private eyes could ask what Mel Giedroyc had wrapped round her head. Perhaps the giant blonde plait was supposed to evoke a traditiona­l cob loaf, but it made her look more like a peasant girl in a 1940s Soviet propaganda poster.

They might even investigat­e how Mary and Paul were standing in a sunny garden whenever they talked to camera, while the contestant­s had to shelter from a constant downpour under see-through umbrellas. Were they in a different country?

It all felt as though the show’s ingredient­s had been chucked together in a hurry. More proof, you might say, that the BBc was becoming complacent about its biggest show.

Perhaps that’s how they managed to lose it. Butterfing­ers.

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