Nicola Wall, welcome to the party!

On 5 Dec 2014 it emerged that DCI Andy Redwood would be replaced by DCI Nicola Wall on 22nd December, when Redwood is to retire.

DCI Nicola Wall appears to have served 26.5 years of the 30 years a police officer needs to serve before being able to take retirement on full pension, so she’ll need to get cracking on Madeleine very quickly indeed. It is also reported that she will be on Mondays trip to Portugal as part of the handover process.

Vogue, 4th Apr 2013 did an article on females in high positions in Scotland Yard. Read it at http://www.vogue.co.uk/news/2013/04/04/may-2013-vogue-true-crime

Here’s the section on DCI Nicola Wall.

Another grey day, this time in central London, and the aftershocks of the Met’s corruption scandals and Operations Weeting and Elveden are still rippling the walls of the meeting room at Scotland Yard, where I find DCI Nicola Wall. Wall has served 25 years at the Met, eight as a DCI, and heads up the Murder Investigation Team in west London. She’s also a trained hostage and crisis negotiator. Married two years ago, her husband does contract work in the Middle East and she sees him sporadically. “We don’t have children,” she says briskly. “I’ve got the greatest respect for women who balance both – because that’s fantastic – but I don’t have to. And I’ve got a house in Putney, and I have a really nice life.”

For Wall, there is no typical murder. No two jobs are the same. “We could end up with the Tia Sharp jobs of this world,” she says of the 12-year-old whose body was discovered at her grandmother’s house last August. “And then there are jobs that are equally as difficult as those, but that just somehow don’t get that media spark.” She usually has about six or seven live cases at any one time, and prides herself on her investigative speed; she is only partially joking when she attributes her low media profile to the fact “we solve cases so quickly nobody gets involved…”

A diminutive peroxide blonde, with fine cheekbones and a faint Derbyshire accent, she cuts an unusual figure. “I’m a bit different,” she admits. “The jury nearly fell over last time I was in the box!” She’s glad that the current crop of TV detectives are not “as mumsy” as their forebears and has a small fondness for Saga Noren “because she’s quite feminine, very glamorous, very pretty and very capable, too.”

As plainclothes officers, the detectives are united in their determination to look good. Wall especially enjoys playing with her femininity, if only to shake up the stuffier factions of the Met that still exist. “I usually wear a heel, and I always paint my nails,” she says with a toss of her well-groomed head. “They usually brighten a day.”

Ms Wall, welcome to the world of Madeleine McCann where “low media profile” and “investigative speed” are figments of the imagination.

Enjoy your Christmas, Nicola, because life has just got a lot tougher.

Nicola Wall Earls-Court-murder

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9 thoughts on “Nicola Wall, welcome to the party!

  1. Obvious point about this: do you think Redwood would decide to retire now, after some much effort and resources spent on the highest-profile case of his career, if they were within an ass’s roar of solving the mystery?

    • *so much.

      Hand all the plaudits to this lady? Emm… That’d be magnanimous. I can’t believe that with all the professional investigators working on this around the clock for all this time they’re still in and around ‘we think this may have been a burglary gone wrong’. That was a non-starter.

      So I’m retracting my initial positivity I expressed when it was understood RM and SM were to be interviewed, as I had thought they’d want to have something concrete on those two to avoid possible legal pay-outs. Now, as you say, it’s clear they’re also interviewing… well everyone else too.

      This is set to run, and as of right now, it seems unlikely they will solve the case.

      • I think SY is being methodical. If you read the article in the Nicola Wall post, SY works completely differently to portrayals in crime programs and the media.

        The DCI in charge is more like a co-ordinator/prioritiser for a bunch of officers with allocated topics of interest. Methodical plodding.

        Nicola won’t “Sherlock Holmes” anything.

        The question is whether she keeps up the SY juggernaut approach and continues to flatten Luz, getting nowhere in the process. Or whether she decides to engage, in which case she just might make progress.

        The people of Luz are not hostile to Madeleine. They are fed up with the McCann PR bulldozer, the SY bulldozer, the media bulldozer and a few others, where any tosh can be hurled at Luz.

    • I would have thought not.

      One would assume, if he was close to a solution, that he would prefer to see the outcome himself.

      However, there is a difficulty.

      Finding out what happened to Madeleine isn’t the final resolution. Assuming a crime occurred, by the hands of whosoever, then another tranche of years will go by before the perpetrator faces justice.

      It may be that Andy’s bosses foresaw that and insisted he goes now with Nicola well-placed to see any prosecution through.

      Personally, I don’t think SY has much of a clue as to what really happened, or little more than “she might be buried in a very overlooked mound near the centre of Luz.”

      Have you seen today’s reports yet? One makes SY flying into Lisbon. Another has them in Faro. A third has them yet to arrive. One has trotted out a photo from a previous jaunt to Portugal by SY. Yet another says Robert Murat is an IT consultant, presumably mixing him up with Sergey Malinka. It’s not only SY that are getting the basics wrong.

      None of them answers the obvious teaser, as to why SY is starting today, rather than yesterday as was widely predicted. The answer is simple. It was a bank holiday here yesterday and a lot of people would have wanted to spend some time with family and kids.

  2. May I ask you an off-topic question?

    The reports from are T7 of meeting Murat on the night are very specific, sometimes involving actual conversations with the man.

    They leave no room for ambiguity. Either they are lying or he is. Thoughts?

    • The reports from the T3 (those of the T7 who report Murat being there) are subject to the way human memory works.

      Until Robert Murat became an arguido, no-one mentioned he was there on the night. That makes sense. Why point out a person who was not significant on the night, until and unless the media made him significant? This is a good fit with the way human memory works, so far.

      Silvia Batista thinks he might have been there. But she is not sure. She defers to June and Paul Wright (still in Luz) who knew Robert Murat.

      They are clear. They helped in the search. Robert Murat was not there, according to June and Paul.

      No one else puts Robert Murat around 5A that night.

      If you hooked up the T3 to a lie-detector test, would they pass it? My bet is yes. The way human memory works, I reckon they genuinely believe they saw Murat there that night, therefore they would pass.

      This would not make it true, but just that they would pass the lie-detector, something quite different.

      They saw Robert Murat as he worked as a translator, in and around 5A, in early May 2007. Then the explosion was that Murat became an arguido. After that 3 of the T9 remembered him that night. But 6 of the T9 did not. Nor Paul and June Wright, who knew him.

      • (argh, my phone just adds random words to posts on here now… must get round to binning it and getting another)

        Right, I see what you’re saying, but have you read what these people actually say? It’s not a case of ‘erm, tut, I think I saw him there… erm cough he was erm standing back erm keeping to himself, but erm, it was dark erm but it was erm him tut cough facial tick’.

        They actually have conversations with the man- and ones in which they discuss details relevant and specific to him.

        Now, while I see what you’re saying, that’s far too precise for it to have been introduced as a false memory. It can’t be- not for the T3 and others (have to look back to our last count… still have to track down the two lassies who bump that number up).

        But focus on the T3 a moment. These aren’t impressions or introduced memories… at least, I don’t think it possible they are for the above reason.

        If I’m right about that, you’re left with two options: either (a) the T3 are lying or (b) Murat is lying.

        Could it be (a)? As I said, I think it’s possible they’ve been deceptive over the checking frequency. I’m not certain of that, but it’s certainly possible. Otherwise, though, they seem to have been entirely honest. There is only one reason I can see for them to have lied, and that would mean they’d have to have been lying about everything else- you take the biggest, maddest conspiracy theory and run with it. Their only motive to lie can be attempting to stitch RM up for a crime the T9 committed.

        Could it be (b)? Well, Murat lied about damn near everything in his interview. So he’s got previous. Why would he do that, though?… from his 3 alibis to his movements around the event. If he then lied about this too, what could his motive be? Maybe he was spooked, as an innocent, and thought he was going to get stitched up so he tried to distance himself? Not sure- that seems a stupid move, and he doesn’t seem dim. Maybe he’s mad? But he seems more an oddball than a raving lunatic. Really you’re left with him being involved in the crime, heading back to the scene to observe and play weird power games for a thrill, then realising he should have been alibied to the hilt that night, so he’d made a glaring mistake. Perhaps he didn’t think any link would be established. Heat comes on, and he comes up with 17 lies about his movements and a fall-back alibi with the scones and jam in mumsy’s parlour.

        Now, I find this quite interesting, because, unless there is a flaw in my logic, one of either (a) or (b) must be true. So you either have the T9 being guilty, or RM and associates. That’s an amazingly rare piece of clarity in such a confusing case.

        What do you think?

      • At first I was dubious, but now I think you might want to dig a bit deeper.

        Robert Murat was made arguido on 14 May 2007.

        I re-checked the relevant statements i.e. those made shortly after this, when the PJ was trying to work out Murat’s involvement.

        To my surprise, of the T9, only the T3 were formally interviewed shortly after that date (15th May I think). Whether that was because the others said they don’t remember or not would be pure conjecture on my part, so I won’t go there.

        The T3 sight him there at 23:30 on 3 May 2007 (2 people) and 01:00 on 4 May 07 (1 person who was not around 5A to see him earlier.)

        Two say they talked to him, and can remember the topics, albeit those topics would have been blared out on Sky News/BBC as the story developed. The third does not actually say she talked to him.

        Of the 3, one can give a sketchy description of what Murat was wearing that night. The other two can’t. All 3 can remember he wore glasses, which of course would have been evident from the news reports.

        All 3 said, in their first statement, they saw no strange activity or events related to the incident. Two of the T3 now change their testimony to Murat was acting very strangely indeed.

        External corroboration, e.g. from the GNR officers he was supposed to be interacting with, is non-existent.

        I have not gone to the trouble of re-checking all of the 1st statements to see who interpreted. However, Murat definitely sat in on Dianne Webster’s 1st interview, so no doubt when the arguido news broke, she would have been one source feeding the T9.

        Without a fairly detailed breakdown of what was being reported in the media in the period leading up to 14 May, I would find it difficult to come to a definitive conclusion.

        Murat being around 5A on 3rd/4th would not have been a crime. Murat lying about it and his mother proving a false alibi would have.

      • *disclaimer… all the above/below is, of course, purely speculation of the logical hypotheses of this case. I can’t afford to get sued like a red-top. It is just that, though.

        One thing you can say is, when examining a case such as this, if you have good reason to believe someone might have been lying, it is important to ascertain a motive for deception. Take the T9- their motive for lying about the time-line would be clear and manifold, as previously discussed, and likely largely benevolent. We can’t be sure that’s the case, but we can suspect it.

        If you move on to RM, we actually know he lied. He has admitted as much to police. 17 untruths in the statement he made regarding his movements in and around 3/5. Too many alibis for them all to be true. He lied about being with his girlfriend. She apparently lied about being with her sect. He lied about his relationship with SM, as did SM, and both denied contact in meetings and specifically the phone-call circa 2340. That’s a given. Doesn’t even need a disclaimer- that’s on the record.

        Then you have a list of people placing him at G5A after the event on 3/5. Each should be examined carefully, as the others are independent witnesses. But take the T3, then. They are incredibly clear.

        But one thing I noticed reading Russell O’Brien’s relevant statements is that he reluctantly postulates briefly that perhaps his meeting and conversations with RM actually happened on the morning of 4/5 instead. You can tell it’s not what he actually thinks, because subsequently he reaffirms it must have been the previous night over and over with details of his observances of him early at the scene and topic of chat, convincing himself again as he goes. You can see his thought process, and it’s similar to what you must do to seek the truth of the matter.

        He’s trying to work out why on earth someone would stroll around a scene talking to everyone, introducing himself and giving out odd details, and then attempt to deny he’d been there at all. Talking about his own daughter, and his police work, for goodness’s sake. It’s bizarre. You would question yourself if you’d seen that with your own two eyes. But he is certain by the end. And, he’s the one who is later who is certain enough to point the finger over the interview table at RM and declare him a liar.

        RM threatened to sue the T3 and the journo who started raising her suspicions about him. Think he dropped that, though.

        So, hypothetically, if he had been lying, you’ve got to ask why. What would he have been trying to hide?

        Must note, one top-brass English detective (forget which at present) was asked what he thought about RM, local man set to become no.1 suspect, apparently strolling up and simply volunteering his services and being granted access to countless crucial witness interviews and the freedom to rifle through all the confidential documents he might fancy. The English detective ‘oh, I really don’t think that can be true. It can’t have happened like that. I would be very surprised if that were true’. And it was. Yet more embarrassment for the Portuguese police, once that came out. Absolutely ludicrous.

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