Feed Item
Added a post  to  , Crime, Mystery & Thriller Authors

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)?

Hope that makes sense!

All help most gratefully received!

Comments
  • 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.

    0 0 0 0 0 0
    • Thank you Georgina. I'm so sorry to have made you revisit that. How awful. Useful information though, so thanks again.

      0 0 0 0 0 0
    • Right in one. What possible reason could there be for not calling 999 asap?

      The emergency number is to get immediate help in relation to what has occurred, or about to occur.

      Of ourse you could build that.into your narrative, increase the tension, put the protagonist undermore pressure.


      One to have fun with.



      0 0 0 0 0 0
      • I suppose I'll find out!  In book two my detectives interview a suspect who delayed quite a while.  (Here is a very condensed excerpt of that scene)

        D. How soon after you found her bleeding did you call for help?

        S. I donno, not too long maybe twenty-five minutes.  Forty at the most.

        D. You just watched her bleed-out for forty minutes?

        S. Well it’s not like I watched her!  I did stuff and came back to check on her occasionally.

        D. What sort of ‘stuff’?

        S. I donno.  I know I made a sandwich I'm usually pretty hungry after work.  And I might have started a load of laundry, I know I drank a beer and watched a little TV.

        d. Well Matt, you’re going to jail for murder after the fact.

        S. No way!  I called a lawyer and she said because we lived out so far from town help couldn’t have reached us in time to save her so I’m in the clear.

        0 0 0 0 0 0
        • 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. 

          0 0 0 0 0 0
          • 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.

            Charming I know!

            0 0 0 0 0 0
          • 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.

            0 0 0 0 0 0
            Not logged in users can't 'Comments Post'.
            Info