In the first episode, the detectives begin rape and murder investigations.
Detective Sergeant Sheralyn Melton is tasked with tracking down a suspect who allegedly committed a rape after meeting a woman on a dating website.
Meanwhile, Detective Superintendent Andrew Murphy and senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Dean Holden are hunting a killer who stabbed a Polish man to death in Blackpool before going on the run.
Det Sgt Melton starts her investigation in Burnley by visiting the home of the victim to gather evidence. She says she met the suspect on the dating website plentyoffish.com, and the two met at her address. DS Melton says: “The victim has been telling him no but he’s continued to forcibly rape the victim, despite her pleading for him to stop and crying. She’s managed to get out of the bedroom and go downstairs.”
Despite her pleas, the perpetrator continued with the rape, she says. “She’s obviously frightened but she’s managed to get him to leave the address, to which he has done, and basically made some comments to her, ‘Same time next week,’ and slammed the door.”
The fact the suspect is still on the loose means he could return and strike again. In interview, the victim says: “It makes you panic especially when you’ve got a child here with you and you’re on your own. And you feel vulnerable obviously anyway after what’s just happened. You don’t feel strong anymore, you don’t feel like you can protect your child any more.”
An online trail left behind – through the dating website and their conversation via WhatsApp - means DS Melton and her team start a search for 26-year-old Scott Lazenby, who is not at home in Salford or in Padiham, near Burnley, where they have a lead that he is playing football. He finally returns the detective’s call, telling her that he’s meeting with his parents in Stoke. DS Melton says: “I think he is panicking a little a bit. He doesn’t know why the police need to speak to him. He’s told me he’s not available tonight because he has had a drink and he is in Stoke.”
Lazenby arrives at the police station with his solicitor, and after initial shock at being arrested, denies the crime. In interview, he says: “She says stop, so I stop. We stop, we talk, at this point she was quite upset. I’m saying, ‘Just calm down, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be so forceful in that sense and give me a cuddle. I’m sorry.’”
A police officer searching the suspect’s car has found a receipt that casts doubt on Lazenby’s accounts of his movements the night before coming in to the station. Despite evidence that he is lying about his relationship status as well, the officers don’t have enough evidence to charge him with rape until new evidence emerges from colleagues. DS Melton says: “This person has committed an almost identical offence. His MO (modus operandi) is exactly the same. He’s met online, he’s gone round to a female’s house, both females in this instance have children. These two women don’t know each other so what are the chances in a five day period two women who don’t know each other being exploited in their own home?”
In Blackpool, a Polish man called Marcin Pawlow has died after collapsing in the street near the town centre, after suffering multiple stab wounds. He had been at a flat shortly beforehand, so detectives begin by questioning witnesses who were there. DCI Dean Holden says one issue is that they are all Polish men who speak little English, and they were all drinking on the night. But they do discover there was a dispute over drugs prior to Marcin being stabbed. DS Holden says: “As a result of entering the initial individuals that were arrested we now think that Marcin, our victim, left the flat as a result of a dispute over the quality of amphetamine. And this dispute was amongst a number of individuals within this flat but primarily involved a male who we believe is called ‘Robeck’.”
Without any clues to the main suspect’s identity from the witnesses, detectives look for CCTV evidence. But with only a grainy image of the suspect’s legs to go on, Det Supt Andrew Murphy goes to the crime scene to get a better understanding of how Marcin died. He says: “Marcin and his mate have been thrown out of this house or asked to leave. They walk out and Marcin, we believe, has gone back and squirted a fire extinguisher in the face of one of the occupants. And then there has been a bit of a fight on the stairs. Marcin has gone down the stairs, probably fallen on to the floor we think. And then at that point we think that ‘Robeck’ has gone up to him and stabbed him. And caused the multiple stab wounds two of which have killed him.”
Officers find a knife in the flat and remove it for forensic examination, while detectives piece together the identity of the man described to them as ‘Robeck’ and ‘Sebastian’ and get a first picture of him after discovering he uses a local gym. DCI Holden says: “We’ve made enquiries at that gym and we’ve recovered a membership card. So we’re quite satisfied now that the individual called ‘Robeck’ has been going by the name of Wojeick Sobisz.”
They arrest a man who they believe took the suspect to the airport. But in interview, he tells them another story. He says: “He asked me to do him a favour and take him to the airport. He received a text message to say his plane had already gone. He gives me a postcode and said can I get him to this place. It was just like a street with shops and we stopped. I don’t know where the name of the place was but that’s the last time I saw him.”
The team tracks calls on Sobisz’s girlfriend’s phone and put together a list of addresses they need to check in Leicestershire. When they raid one house, they get a key breakthrough - a woman tells them she knows the man they’re talking about as Daniel. The suspect has been using a variety of aliases but Interpol finally confirm his true identity – Daniel Sobisz – and he is well known to them. DCI Holden says: “Six convictions of theft using violence or weapons which is obviously what we call robbery. The reason why he is on record in Poland is because he has committed previous offences over there. I believe some violent offences.”
A total of 15 undercover officers are assigned to various addresses in the county to try to close the net on their suspect, finally tracking him down at a property in Leicester. A witness makes a statement saying Sobisz visited his home and talked to him in the hours after the stabbing, which helps detectives get a decision from the Crown Prosecution Service to charge him with murder. Detective Constable Tony Melia says:“He says that he sits next to him and he says I have killed a man, or I think I’ve killed a man. He’ll say that when he arrived he’s had blood staining on his clothing and he also says that during the conversation he said that he, ‘F***ed him up with a knife’. And he says the knife went in like butter.”
Daniel Sobisz admitted the manslaughter of Marcin Pawlow and was given a 13-year prison sentence. Det Supt Andrew Murphy says: “We’re absolutely overjoyed to have located this individual. The real value when I think we sit back as police officers and think, 'Okay why do we feel good about this?' It’s because we feel that we have delivered something to the victim to ensure that he actually receives some justice.”
After a four-day trial the jury found Scott Lazenby guilty of sexual assault and rape. He was jailed for seven years and is prohibited from using dating websites for 13 years. His victim says: “As soon as she said to me he has been found guilty I just, I could breathe. I just felt like I could breathe and I just felt so relieved that it was done, it was all over.”
Written by TonyMayhew on Apr 3, 2017