Major Crime Unit sees 35 complex cases cracked in 2014


Bringing a dangerous rapist to justice 30 years after his ‘horrifying’ attacks in Berkhamsted is one of the major successes by a new police major crime unit this year.

This is only the second full year that the tri-force Major Crime Unit which spreads across Herts, Beds and Cambs has been in operation, after being set up in April 2012.

Alongside the conviction of Berkhamsted knifepoint rapist Paul Drinkwater, 52, who was found guilty on December 19 of a string of sickening attacks on teenage girls in 1984 – the police initiative has also facilitated nationwide hunts for killers and worked with authorities overseas to tackle tens of serious and complex crimes. In total, the unit’s work in 2014 has seen 35 offenders sentenced to a total of 635 years in prison.

Det Supt Paul Fullwood, in charge of the collaborative unit, said: “At the heart of what we do are the victims and their families and knowing that we have achieved these significant prison terms makes our job even more worthwhile.

“The cases we deal with can be horrific, complex and challenging but the hard work, passion and determination of my staff to catch some of the most serious and dangerous offenders in our society means our streets are even safer.”

The project comprises 106 detectives and 76 staff who investigate all major crimes across the three counties. The offences include ‘cold case’ or historic offences such as Drinkwater’s, as well as more recent crimes.

In March of this year, the unit also helped to bring about the life sentence with a minimum 27 years imprisonment for 31-year-old James Carbott of Epping Green, Hemel Hempstead, for the murder of Thomas Baird in the town’s Wensleydale in March 2013.

Det Supt Fullwood added: “The successes we have delivered this year are a true reflection of team working. It is important to thank members of the public too. Your information can bring significant breakthroughs for us and it is vital we work together.

“I am particularly grateful to those people who assist us in the court process by giving statements and evidence, sometimes in difficult circumstances. Your bravery and support is commended, thank you.”