HOW LONG CAN YOU LEAVE IT TO CALL 999 BEFORE RAISING SUSPICION?
Hello Crime & Thriller people. This is my first foray into crime (I've been working in the wholly different world of rom-com up til now) so there is LOTS i don't know! But one key question i need an answer to, for a book I'm working on, is:
How long can someone leave it before calling 999 without raising suspicion? ie is there a period (over 5 minutes, for example) after which any detective subsequently looking into a murder case would perhaps start suspecting the person who made the call (because they didn't raise the alarm quickly enough)?
It probably depends on the situation. When my father died (of old age, not a murder) my mother was sitting with him and had no idea he was dead. I came over about two hours later. I could see he was not sleeping but dead so I called the doctor, and only because the surgery was closed did I call 999. So it was probably three or so hours after he died, but no one thought it at all suspicious.
It all comes down to providing a reasonable explanation. A delay caused by shock or distress, for example, is reasonable. (Collapsing sobbing, etc). Or attempts to revive the victim. Seeing a bleeding victim on the ground and doing nothing isn't. A good comparison is the current issue over sexual assaults/rapes and the MeToo movement. In my 30+ years as a police officer, we were always alert to the fact that the best proof a victim has is early complaint. Leaving any report or complaint for weeks, months, or in some recent cases, decades. dilutes credibility with the suspicion of other motives, such a revenge, extortion, etc. i'm not saying these claims are false, just that other possibilities enter the equation.
Thanks so much Eric. So it seems there is not a 'golden hour' beyond which suspicions are raised? My character wants to kill someone (by pushing them down the stairs, hard) and 'leave it' a little while before raising the alarm, to 'maximise' the chance of death or at least serious injury/blood loss.
Thank you all so much! So it seems there is not a 'golden hour' beyond which suspicions are raised? My character wants to kill someone (by pushing them down the stairs, hard) and 'leave it' a little while before raising the alarm.