In a small children’s play area, in the early hours of the morning, Michelle Samaraweera was raped and murdered by a man police believe she had never met before. The man followed her as she walked home, attempted to befriend her and then attacked.And here's where, if life was like a TV drama, a small, unorthodox group of dedicated misfits would band together and utilise all the high-tech wizardry at their fingertips to hunt down the offender and save the day.
It was Walthamstow, in May 2009, but the incident was not an isolated one.
The man has raped three other women and sexually assaulted at least five more – all within a six month period and all within the same square-mile of East London.
But life's not like that:
But, despite having the attacker’s DNA and a picture of him, Scotland Yard detectives have so far been unable to catch him. His DNA is not on the database and eight men arrested have subsequently been ruled out of the investigation.You can almost feel the bafflement, can't you? How can technology fail us?
Today detectives will step up their investigation when they post leaflets showing CCTV footage of the man to 60,500 homes in the Waltham Forest borough of London. Officers hope it will provide a breakthrough in the hitherto fruitless manhunt.An old-fashioned mailshot. It's come to such a Sixties-style method..?
Detective Chief Inspector Stewart Hill, from the Metropolitan Police’s homicide team admits it is worrying that the man is still at large and concedes it is possible he has fled the country.The modern police officer seems a little....lost....when all the gadgets and technological advances are no use...
“These types of case are exceptionally rare and obviously it greatly concerns us that we have not caught this man yet,” he said. “Usually when we have got DNA and CCTV it doesn’t then take us very long to catch the perpetrator. But in this case it hasn’t happened yet.
“We are probably looking at someone who has moved into the area shortly before he began his attacks and has now possibly left. If that is the case it means that the footprint he has left is not as deep as we would like.”
Police have worked on the theory that the man has carefully selected vulnerable victims who are unlikely or unable to report their experiences to police. One of his victims has learning difficulties, while another was a sex worker. Others have been drug users. But, conversely, one of the woman assaulted was a doctor.Well, of course he has!
He's a predator, and predators typically pick off easy prey; the sick, the lame, the young, the old. In short, those who won't be missed by the herd.
Not that DCI Hill wants to admit to that, oh dear me, no:
DCI Hill said: “Many of them are vulnerable people, but I think it is more the case that they have been in vulnerable positions, namely that many of them have been out alone in the early hours of the morning.”So, who is this man of mystery? Why is he free to come and go as he pleases, and prey on the forgotten of society?
The man, who is described as Asian in appearance…Fu Manchu?
Oh, right. I'm forgetting. 'Asian' means only one thing these days....