Wednesday, 8 January 2014
Page Two - Sudden Death (Copcast #117)
Okay, picture the scene, it was New Years Eve and police had received a call to a 'concern for welfare'. A known drug user hadn't been seen by his family for three weeks and despite living in the same town, they had not bothered to call at the address over Christmas. George was asked to check it out accompanied by a 19-year-old probationer with less than five weeks street experience.
Upon arrival they could see that the window to the front of the kitchen was slightly open and walking up to it got a waft of that smell that no one forgets. Not looking good for the missing drug user so far.
They knocked on the door and called out "Anybody in? It's the police". No answer. They could hear the TV, so someone had been or was still in there and they knocked again, louder. "Come on mate, open the door, we just want to check you are ok". They knew by then that he must be dead and probably had been for some time. His body would be behind the front door somewhere and the heating was probably on as it was below freezing outside. Preparing himself for the worst, George then called up the station on his radio "Um, Control, we’re on scene, TV and lights are on, there is a suspicious smell coming from the window, it doesn't look good. I'm going to force entry".
They had to inform the Control Room that they were going to force entry in case the missing drug user was just a really heavy sleeper and having put the door in, causing damage to it in the process, he was then able to sue the police. That probably wasn't going to be a problem here though.
George called up for a 'Rammit' or 'Enforcer' otherwise known as a 'big red key' that needs to be held in two hands.
The probationer, clearly being driven on adrenaline and keen to see her first corpse, pushed the door and it swung open. Not locked, perhaps he should have checked before calling for the big red lump of metal. Hmmm, the smell was particularly potent, a quick search found the missing individual on his back in the bedroom, completely naked. He had been gone a while, it really wasn't very pretty and he was a funny shade of green, the probationer's enthusiasm started to ebb, but she was not perturbed. George told her to look around to see if there was anything suspicious. "What about him" she replied. He told her that the man was dead and he wasn't going anywhere just yet and anyway, the back windows were also open and the rear patio was unlocked. The place was on the top floor of an apartment block with no access to the rear but they called up the inspector anyway, just to cover their … prospects. The guv’nor turned up, walked about with his clipboard and declared that there were no suspicious circumstances. The deceased was insulin dependant and had no food or meds in the apartment, chances are he had a fix and returned to his apartment and then had a 'hypo', putting him in a coma never to wake up.
The ambulance crew turned up and attached sensors to the body to look for signs of life. A ridiculous spectacle, given his condition, but they had to do it 'by the book' too in order to declare death 'properly'. George felt like shouting "He's dead, dead I tell you" but didn't, they all knew the score.
The inspector then told them to check the back of the body 'just in case'. Yeah okay, they now knew he was playing games with them. If they rolled the body over, given his condition some of him was not going to move with the rest of him. There was no sign of blood anywhere, no weapon and no sign of a struggle. If there was anything suspicious about this death, then only the coroner was going to find it. Then the probationer said, in front of the inspector "shall we get on and search him then?" Great, everyone else left, knowing what is coming next. They took a lungful of clean air then helped each other with a quick roll of the late drug user. The probationer started to gag as she took a too-close-a-look at what was left of the corpse's back (she obviously breathed in). The body was placed back on the floor and George exited very quickly so he could start to breath again.
A very good learning point for the probationer, one she will never forget that's for sure! The undertakers eventually arrived wearing full oversuits and carrying a triple body bag. One of them shook the probationer’s hand on the way out, telling her she was very brave and she’d done remarkably well for her first dead body. George has to agree; at only 19 she is made of stern stuff and he suspects she will go on to great things.
All in all a very sad affair, no-one to check on him and left to die alone in squalor around the Christmas period. Makes you pretty thankful for what you've got. George was certainly more thankful when celebrating the New Year later that day.