A pioneering ITV documentary has filmed detectives in a crucial ‘Golden Hour’ after a woman was murdered, as they realise her mobile is with her killer.
The new crime show An Hour To Catch A Killer, which will hit screens across Britain next week, takes viewers behind-the-scenes of Northumbria Police’s investigation of Alice Ruggles’ murder.
Miss Ruggles, 24, was found with her throat slit ‘from ear to ear’ in the shower at her home on October 12 last year – five days after she last begged police for help.
For the first time on TV, the homicide team officers wore HD body cameras to film every moment of the crucial first hour.
The new crime show An Hour To Catch A Killer, which will hit screens across Britain next week, takes viewers behind-the-scenes of Northumbria Police’s investigation of Alice Ruggles’ murder
For the first time on TV, the homicide team officers wore HD body cameras to film every moment of the crucial first hour
Miss Ruggles had contacted police twice in the weeks before her death, the court heard
A clip revealed today shows the moment detectives analyse data from a number of mobile phone masts as soldier Trimaan Dhillon drove towards his barracks in Edinburgh.
They show the victim’s phone was in his car at the time she was lying in a pool of blood after being discovered by her flatmate.
One officer says: ‘The killer blow is the phone, which should be sitting back in Gateshead. That phone is his lie.’
Det Chief Insp Lisa Theaker said: ‘Getting evidence in the golden hour is vital. It’s fresh, it’s not contaminated and it might not be there very long.
‘The priority for me is securing evidence as quickly as possible.
‘Where’s my offender? That’s a real priority for me because there’ll be a wealth of forensic evidence on them. Let’s find who the killer is.’
Alice Ruggles, 24, was killed despite reporting her stalker to the police
A clip shows the moment detectives analyse data from a number of mobile phone masts as soldier Trimaan Dhillon drove towards his barracks in Edinburgh
Dhillon was ordered to serve a minimum of 22 years in jail after a Newcastle Crown Court jury found him guilty in under three hours.
Miss Ruggles, who attended £11,600-a-year Leicester High School for Girls where her mother is head of maths, first contacted the soldier online in October 2015.
They met in person in January last year, but the ‘intense’ relationship turned sour when he became manipulative and controlling.
Trimaan ‘Harry’ Dhillon was jailed for life for the brutal murder of his ex-girlfriend Alice Ruggles after a campaign of harassment
Miss Ruggles broke up with Dhillon in the summer after she caught him cheating with a woman he met on the Tinder dating app.
But he was ‘unable to take no for an answer’ and began stalking her. He told her he would kill himself, threatened to publish intimate photos online, and hacked into her Facebook account.
A fortnight before the murder, Dhillon travelled 120 miles from his barracks in Scotland to his ex-girlfriend’s flat in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, to leave chocolates and flowers on the windowsill.
The visit was accompanied by a deranged voicemail, in which he repeatedly told her he did not want to kill her.
Miss Ruggles contacted the police and Dhillon was given a formal harassment warning – but a few days later he sent her a parcel of photos and a pleading letter. She spoke to officers again on October 7, but no action was taken.
On the afternoon of October 12, Dhillon again drove the 120 miles from Glencorse Barracks, near Edinburgh, to his ex-girlfriend’s flat.
CCTV footage from the day showed Miss Ruggles smiling as she left work as an office co-ordinator at Sky in Newcastle.
Police at the scene where Dhillon attacked and killed hi ex-girlfriend last year
Final hours: Alice Ruggles and a colleague leave work at the Sky Office in Newcastle
The soldier broke in through the back window, grabbed a six-inch kitchen knife and, having wrestled Miss Ruggles into the shower room, slashed her neck at least six times. At 6ft 1in and 12-and-a-half stone, the 2 Scots signaller – who went by the name Harry – was nearly a foot taller and three stone heavier than his victim.
He fled and Miss Ruggles’ body was found minutes later by Miss McGill, who made a desperate 999 call. She could be heard shouting: ‘Alice! Alice! Alice! Oh my God, she’s dead, she’s dead.’
She told the operator: ‘I’ve just come back and she’s covered in blood. She’s covered in blood in the bathroom. I cannot look … please help. I’m so scared.’
The ITV show’s host Sir Trevor McDonald said: ‘An Hour To Catch A Killer will reveal the expertise of Northumbria Police’s homicide team through unprecedented access to every layer of the investigation.
‘The use of body-worn cameras will provide an incredibly intimate insight into the crucial Golden Hour of a murder inquiry as we follow the team’s race against the clock to catch the killer.’
COUNTDOWN TO HORROR
OCTOBER 11, 2015: Alice Ruggles first talks to Lance Corporal Trimaan Dhillon on social media while he is serving in Afghanistan.
JANUARY 2016: The couple meet for the first time and embark on a relationship.
AUGUST: Miss Ruggles ends the relationship after she learns Dhillion is cheating.
SEPTEMBER: Dhillon starts his campaign of harassment, hacking her social media and sending threats.
SEPTEMBER 30: Dhillon visits Miss Ruggles at home when she is alone, tapping on her window and leaving chocolates and flowers. He leaves a voicemail saying he does not want to kill her.
OCTOBER 1: Miss Ruggles contacts police for the first time, and the following day makes a statement. Dhillon gets a formal warning.
OCTOBER 3: Dhillon posts a parcel to her, containing a letter and photographs.
OCTOBER 7: Miss Ruggles receives the parcel and contacts police. She cannot speak to the same officer, who is on leave, and is asked if she wants Dhillon arrested. She declines, not wanting to ruin his career, and later says she felt ‘palmed off’.
OCTOBER 10: Dhillon drives to Miss Ruggles’ flat to scope it out and takes two photographs of her bathroom.
OCTOBER 12: The soldier drives to her flat again. He waits for her to come home from work, before launching his attack between 6 and 6.30pm. Her body is found at 6.34pm and he is later arrested at his barracks.
An Hour to Catch A Killer with Trevor McDonald is on ITV at 9pm on Thursday October 12.