In order to solve an atrocity such as the murder of Catherine Downs, one must incorporate all aspects of the scientific method of deductive reasoning. Although seemingly unfathomable to most people, stepping inside the killerï¿½s mind/killersï¿½ minds is the only to make sense of this situation. This paper offers an analysis of the intelligence and evidence presented to formulate a hypothesis for this crime.
Beginning with ï¿½Stage One: Inquiryï¿½, I first analyzed all people associated to this murder, from beginning to end. Alice Banks, a friend of the victim, was the first person to the police. It was established that Edward Free, the victimï¿½s nephew, had arrived at her flat on the Sunday prior to the murder and was expected to stay with her for a few weeks. The victimï¿½s husband, George Downs, had departed for Hungary on a business trip the Wednesday before the murder. A caretaker provided a ladder for the first police officer to gain access to Catherineï¿½s flat.
With regard to any witness interviews, Alice Banks claimed that she had been trying to Catherine since the previous Monday. Neighbors had been interviewed and confirmed hearing screams and shouting from the premises on Wednesday evening. However, there were no other witness statements presented.
The amount of physical evidence left at the crime scene was overwhelming. The abrasiveness seems to almost invite a conviction. In a direct dismissal of any respect, the murderer(s) not only leave the victimï¿½s body directly on the floor, but also left all murder weapons associated with Catherineï¿½s death.
There is a wealth of blood left behind, which one could only assume came directly from the victimï¿½s body. The blood can actually be used as a trace for the murderer(s) actions over the next day or so, adding an eerie level of sanity and calmness to the killer(s). Unfortunately, this trail of blood also served to confuse me as to the method of this murder. Blood was found in a multitude of locations including: the ground floor (rear) door, the front door handle and letter box, the bedroom light switch, inside and outside of Catherineï¿½s purse, on lipstick in the dresser, on the kitchen and bathroom sink faucets, on a glass and liquor bottle, as well as on all doors and cabinets in the flat. Of course, there is the plethora of blood splattered throughout the lounge area where the victimï¿½s body was found.
Overall, the flat remains in an orderly appearance. The weapons such as china statuettes, bronze figures, and a glass ashtray all remain in the lounge as well. There is some mail on the floor near the letter box and a set of keys curiously lying just inside the door as well.
Continuing on to the ï¿½Stage Two: Analysisï¿½, I began to formulate a method for all of this madness. With the information given, it is my contention that the victim was murdered by her nephew in coercion with her husband. My supporting rationale is as follows.
Catherineï¿½s husband, George Downs, left for a business trip on the Wednesday prior to the murder. Only four days later her nephew, Edward Free, arrives to stay with her. Monday is the last day that an informant sees the victim alive, and it is believed that the murder took place on Wednesday evening when neighbors heard shouting coming from the flat. This would leave Edward four days to become acquainted with the surrounding area and the flat itself. By Edward staying there for three nights, he could have already acquired a sense of Catherineï¿½s schedule and habits and familiarized himself with the contents of the home and possible weapons to use.
I truly believe that the vulgarity of this murder could only indicate that this was a personal situation, and not a random stranger. I believe that the trail of blood indicates that the murderer was looking for something specific after the murder took place. The fact that there was blood on some of Catherineï¿½s lipstick, yet they were still left perfectly in place in her dresser drawer certainly indicates that the murderer knew exactly where to go to search for something. The same for Catherineï¿½s purse, which had bloodstains inside and outside of it. Both items were in the bedroom, yet there was no other blood scattered about the room, and the rest of its contents seem relatively untouched.
It is for this reason that I also believe that George Downs is affiliated in this crime. He conveniently left the flat four days prior to Edwardï¿½s arrival so there was nobody else in the flat. He would have the most familiarity with the premises aside of Catherine and would know exactly where everything was.
The way in which Catherine was murdered also implicates a severe personal statement. She died from multiple head wounds, indicating a relentless desire to not only kill, but to torture. The knife left sticking out of her back clearly suggests a metaphorical connotation. It was determined that these stab wounds were made after she was dead, implying that she may have been a back stabber (possibly cheating on George Downs).
Based on the clothing she was discovered in, it would also indicate that the murderer was someone she was familiar with ï¿½ such as her nephew Edward. If it had been a stranger at the door, she would not have been in her ï¿½knickersï¿½. There must have been a familiarity and comfort level of the murderer, which Edward would have had. After the murder took place, it would have to be someone comfortable enough to actually return to the flat. Edward would have been the perfect person because it would not have been out of the ordinary for someone to see him, yet he is not as memorable as if a neighbor had seen George Downs. A witness would probably remember seeing George ten times more than noticing Edward. Yet, Edward had the keys and access to the flat. The keys thrown next to the door indicate his departure from the flat. It is highly unlikely that those keys came from the other side of the door and fit underneath.
Although insufficient knowledge of any missing items causes confusion as to motive, there is hardly a doubt that this was a crime filled with passion and rage. This was a methodical, pre-meditated plan between a cheating womanï¿½s husband and her nephew - perhaps for money, or perhaps for the honor of his uncle.
The behavior displayed after the murder also causes some confusion, but we also do not know exactly how much was done to cover up the crime. It seems at first glance that the murderer was not only careless, but so confident that he left everything in plain sight. However, then you notice that the towels in the bathroom were placed in the washing machine, indicating some desire to cover up the crime. The paradox is that the same blood that he tried to wash away is tainted all over the flat, almost indicating an acknowledgment of fault and a questionable guilty conscience.
I suspect that if Edward were to be arrested and searched, they would find correspondence from Catherine concerning her affair. They would also find proof of correspondence between George Downs and Edward during the time prior to the murder with specific instructions. Although the murder weapons and body were both left at the crime scene, there are certainly pieces of his clothing to be found containing Catherineï¿½s blood.
My hypothesis would place George Downs returning from Hungary in a fabricated state of shock toward the crime. Further investigation should reveal that this is an acting performance of a scorned husband out for revenge!