Police major crime unit jails criminals for thousands of years

Detective Supt Paul Fullwood
Detective Supt Paul Fullwood

Some of the most serious criminals in the county have been imprisoned for more than 2,000 years thanks to changes in police structure nearly four years ago.

Investigations by officers and staff from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit (BCH MCU) – which became tri-force in April 2012 – have put murderers, rapists and kidnappers behind bars.

Two of these high-profile cases happened in Dacorum, with the first being the murder of 63-year-old grandfather Thomas Baird in March 2013.

James Carbott, 31, beat up and stabbed his ex-girlfriend’s father with a Stanley knife at his bungalow in Highfield, Hemel Hempstead before setting his body and home alight.

Carbott was sentenced to life imprisonment, to serve a minimum of 27 years before being able to apply for parole.

The second case was that of Paul Drinkwater, who was jailed for historic sex offences in Berkhamsted during the 1980s.

Drinkwater, who wore a balaclava while he carried out the attacks, raped and stole from a 15-year-old girl on November 25, 1984.

Three weeks later he attacked two 18-year-old girls, threatening them and brandishing a knife.

He raped and punched one of the victims and indecently assaulted the other, before again stealing property from them.

In March this year, the 53-year-old was handed two 14-year sentences and one 12-month sentence after he was found guilty of two counts of rape, two counts of robbery and an indecent assault.

Detective Superintendent Paul Fullwood, Head of the BCH MCU, said: “This is a major milestone for the unit and reflects the hard work and dedication of not only the detectives and staff who work for me, but all the other teams who assist us and play a vital role in our investigations.

“Most importantly of course we are delivering justice for the victims and families of these truly horrendous crimes whilst making our counties even safer places to live.”

The tri-force unit is made up of over 100 detectives and 70 staff who investigate all major crimes across the three counties.

Offences they deal with include murder, manslaughter, stranger rape, kidnap and extortion as well as historic cold cases.

The teams can be investigating up to 50 cases across the three forces at any one time.

D.Supt Fullwood added: “When crimes of this nature do occur they send shockwaves through our communities and I hope people living in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire feel reassured our dedicated, specialist teams are on hand 24/7 to ensure we respond effectively and successfully investigate to bring suspects before the courts.

“We are continually looking at ways to improve our response and deliver further savings whilst securing significant prison terms.

“We are using cutting edge forensics and technology and I am extremely proud of the results we are achieving.

“Thanks of course must also go to the members of the public who support our investigations giving statements and evidence. Your contributions are vital.”