Hammer attack detectives '˜breathed investigation' to bring justice for victim

THE detective that led the manhunt for James Hemming has told of the intensive work officers did to catch him.

Saturday, 3rd December 2016, 8:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 4:38 pm
Portsmouth staged a reconstruction in Queen Street and Commercial Road of Hemming's movements

Working from Fratton police station, officers ran a manhunt led by Detective Chief Inspector Liz Williams.

Huge pressure was put on the team as a chief officer group at the force kept an eye on progress, and the community was in shock at the seeming randomness of the assault.

‘I didn’t sleep much through the whole period,’ Det Ch Insp Williams told The News.

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‘You are breathing this every moment you’re awake. And you’re dreaming it when you’re asleep. It’s very, very intense work.’

Staring at computer screens watching 1,000 hours of CCTV footage took its toll.

‘We did further work looking at the clothing, image matching, anything at all that picture could tell us, even body shape,’ the senior investigating officer added.

‘It’s a lot of really hard hours for an investigator. it’s so intense and any detail can matter.

‘I’ve got a far few square-eyed people who spent a long time looking at that.’

And for the team their focus was on finding James Hemming and bringing him to justice.

‘What we were investigating was a very, violent attack on a 17-year-old girl,’ the officer added.

‘You look at what crime happened, you evaluate what evidence they can give but you don’t judge them.’

‘What we do is without fear or favour. There’s nothing other than complete support for that stance from the whole team that was involved in this investigation.’