1,143 unsolved murders in the UK excepting Northern Ireland (and Gwent)

A little lost amongst the election campaign, the BBC discovered in early May via the Freedom of Information Act that there are 1,143 unsolved murders in the United Kingdom. We are told that the police never give up on finding the culprit though clearly the murderer of David Ombler is most unlikely ever to be caught seeing as he was murdered in 1914. The BBC tells us that the policy is to look at a case every two years to see if anything more can be done in the effort to bring the murderer to justice.
Of course Freedom of Information requests require the public body in question to comply and all but two of the UK’s police forces did indeed comply. One which did not was Gwent (and London’s only went back as far as 1996). One other force which did not supply any information was the PSNI: apparently they did not see fit to reply which is interesting since they have 3,269 unsolved murders including 211 of their own officers. Not only that but just before the other forces released their figures as they are required to do, Matt Baggot, the Chief Constable of the PSNI, announced that the Historical Enquiries Team would have only another three years to investigate the murders of the Troubles and had this to say:

“My personal view is I want to set a three-year timescale within which we will have resolved as far as we can the outstanding investigations.
We will have dealt with and helped victims to move on and we will absolutely then be in a position to stop looking back and start looking forward.
Three years for me is an appropriate timescale. My ambition will be in the future when it comes to my turn to hand over to a new chief constable I will give them the opportunity to only look forward and not look back all the time.”

Interestingly Baggot was previously chief constable of Leicestershire Constabulary which was willing to produce its figures and has 13 unsolved murders. It is unclear whether Mr. Baggot feels that the unsolved murders in Leicestershire are only worth another three years investigation. However, as I have said previously many seem to place a lower value on human life here in Northern Ireland: a certain prelate rated it at only £12,000, so one can hardly be surprised if the religious Mr. Baggot feels a life here is only worth three years.

  • Cynic

    Of course the Chief Constable is accountable to the Policing Board so if they want to query this they can. But a h8uge proportion of resource are being eaten up in historical enquiries and reviews with little real change of success. Baggot and the Policing Board both know this. And if anyone is caught as a result and put before the courts and convicted then they immediately get out again under GFA. That’s what we all voted for.

    So what’s the point in all this? Closure? Really?

    The results are so few and the costs so high that the only thing this really does is allow scab picking by those political interests who can only see the past and have no plan for the future. They love to wave shrouds, especially in the run up to elections and whether they were wound around our glorious Fenian dead or terrorist victims.

    I feel deeply sorry for the victims and their families. This wont be a popular view with them but its time to let go. I am sorry for their loss but it is in the past. Its over 15 years since the GFA and the past is just that.

    Our new Secretary of State has promised no more enquiries. The Chief Constable and justice Minister should do the same.

  • Cynic

    By the way Turgon, nice to see you back. Deflated after your party was electorally annihilated?

  • Cynic,
    I am afraid that your views are not likely to be popular with victims or many other people and for good reason. In all other parts of the UK it seems the police are willing to keep looking at murders practically indefinitely and seem keen to use new techniques to catch the criminals.

    Although much of it is hearsay it seems that there is evidence in quite a number of cases which could be brought before a court and possibly result in conviction: yet nothing is done and Baggot now proposes forgetting about the whole thing.

    I do not think it fair to call trying to catch murderers “scab picking.” What is your view of the ongoing prosecution of a man over Jennifer Cardy’s murder: was that “scab picking?”

    As to my views on the TUV’s problems. I am saddened but it has not changed my views about the future and the fact that we need a much better form of government than we have. Actually I was most distressed by Rodney Connor’s defeat.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    I know this is off topic but in relation to your remark “Actually I was most distressed by Rodney Connor’s defeat”

    How do you explain why so many Unionists simply didnt bother to vote?

    Incidentally do you know if anybody has estimated the turnout of each of the 2 communities in FST or elsewhere or overall?

  • Cynic

    The victims have many different interests and see the best outcome in many different ways. I know that it will not be popular with many of them but that doesn’t mean it isn’t the right thing to do. Millions are being spent on this for little effect except vote mining and political posturing. Would that as much were spent on developing a shared identity and shared future.

  • TheHorse

    I suppose further investigations into most of those unsolved murders could bring up, possibly uncomfortable evidence for the British government and the Unionist establishment – Well there’s not much more dirt you can throw at Sinn Fein is there. Why else would certain inquests still not been resolved after decades and the same chief constable Matt Bagotts refusal to comply with court orders to supply certain evidence to those inquests.