The Cleaning Evidence

One of the main planks of the prosecution case against Scott Watson was the evidence of the scrupulous and selective cleaning of his boat. It seems that this was first deduced by detective sergeant Landreth who was in charge of the seizure and search of the 'Blade' from the 12th of January 1998. Mr. Landreth did a thorough job of searching the boat and made out a job sheet listing all that he found and I will quote from his entry for the 13th of January 1998 between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m.

It became extremely obvious during the course of this fingerprint examination that every hard surface inside the boat had been completely wiped down.

Two questions arise from this statement.

  1. Why was this not obvious to the fingerprint expert who conducted the examination? He stated in court that the number of fingerprints found were neither more nor less than he would expect to find in a similar area of a house (the kitchen or bathroom). He also stated that the signs of cleaning (wipe marks highlighted by the fingerprint powder) covered only 30 to 50% of the areas.
  2. The second Question is, Just what is Mr. Landreths mindset? His job, one would think would be to impartially seek evidence of a crime, not to deduce that a crime has been committed because there is no evidence to be had.

A meteorologist was called to testify (by the defense) to compare the actual weather conditions pertaining in early December 1997 with the conditions and comments recorded in Blade's log. He stated that Scott would be a very unlucky man to be caught out in those conditions and that the log was an accurate record of the weather that was encountered, Strong gale and high seas.

There was also further evidence (defense) of a major clean up after this storm. A neighbour who saw carpet pieces drying out during December 1997 and a dry cleaner who was brought bedding to clean at about the same time. A yacht designer (also defense) stated that cleaning of a boat after being out in far less rigorous conditions would be a normal practice and that he would throw out a tape that had been wet rather than put it in his stereo. Detective Landreth contrasted this cleaning with the fact that there were dirty dishes in the sink, although he, in two months, did not check to see if there was any water in the tanks. (They were empty).

All in all, the mindset of the police is amply demonstrated by the conclusions drawn by Landreth on the 13th of February. I quote:

"At the time of completing this job sheet we are still awaiting final results from the ESR in regard to many of the samples taken from Blade, however items of particular note in regard to my examination of the vessel are:






These conclusions made by a police officer lead one to think that:

  1. That this officer did not have any insight into the type of people he was investigating. (cruising yachtsmen).
  2. That rather than looking for evidence, he was actively looking for evidence against Scott Watson.
  3. That he is clairvoyant.

At this stage of the investigation Witnesses were identifying an unshaven and long haired mystery man. Witnesses were identifying a forty-foot ketch. The hair had not even been found, let alone tested at this stage. Secret witnesses had not been contracted. It is also worth noting that no other boats were searched or seized in this fashion. These conclusions were all that existed on the 13th of February to cause the police to abandon all other lines of inquiry in this case and concentrate on Scott Watson.

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DNA Evidence

Secret Witnesses