Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Emergency Call: Murder of Sharon Birchwood

Analyst Chris Woodruff (UK) sent the following emergency call regarding a man discovering his wife was dead.  

Even in this less than 60 second call, Statement Analysis already knows something about the case.  The time savings and focus on such a case are invaluable to busy and often overworked professionals who live to obtain justice. 

I. The Emergency Call 

Police Emergency

Police:  What is your emergency?

Subject:  Ah, yeah, I have a dead body here, Harriots Lane in Ashtead please.

Police: What's happened Sir?

Subject: I don't know but it looks very nasty. Sh, she's been strangled I think.

Police: Do you live at this address? Or are you visiting this address?

Subject: Ah, Ah, I, err, it's my ex wife. She's got this cord around her neck.

Police:  Ok, alright, we're gonna get police on their way and obviously we'll get an ambulance as well just to check. Umm

Subject: She's cold... She's dead.

Police: What's her name?

Subject: Sharon.

Police: And her surname?

Subject:  Birchwood.

Let's look at a brief analysis and Chris' context of the case. 

II.  The Analysis:

Police Emergency

Police:  What is your emergency?

Subject:  Ah, yeah, I have a dead body here, Harriots Lane in Ashtead please.

The Greater Context: An adult male has found his wife, murdered. We now hold to the expectation that he will report his wife murdered. 

The first thing we note is that his call begins with a pause. This shows a need to stop and consider what to say during a "high hormonal" moment. 

It is unexpected. 

Next, within this pause, what is the first word his brain has informed his mouth to use?


This informal term of "yes" is to agree, in the affirmative.  It is to "agree" with the recipient (police). 

Yet, there is nothing to agree upon.  

Ingratiation Factor

This is a simple point of Statement Analysis. The caller is "agreeing" to:
a. something not stated
b. police

This one simple word should be noted as a possibility that the caller  has a psychological need to be "on the side of the good guys", which indicates to the contrary. 

An easy sample of this is the guilty knowledge a parent of a "missing" child shows when he praises search and rescue for:

not finding his child.  (DeOrr analysis) 

With one word, we now now consider that the need to ingratiate suggests guilt or guilty knowledge of what he is about to say. 

In analysis, every word, and sometimes even, every letter matters. 

We've only cover his pause and the word "yeah" and already know there is "sensitivity" in the statement. 

Sensitivity Indicator Number One:  Pause
Sensitivity Indicator Number Two:  Ingratiation Factor 

Let's get to the first sentence to continue:

Ah, yeah, I have a dead body here, Harriots Lane in Ashtead please.

Next, note that his wife is not dead, but he, the caller (subject) has an issue. 

He has a dead body there. 

This is to measure the context with impact...

upon himself. 

He is inconvenienced for having to deal with a dead body "here" (location)? 

This is viewed as narcissistic. Was his wife an "inconvenience" which has been, historically, used to end lives via murder?

Social Introductions

Social Introductions tell us about the subject's perception of the relationship.  

Question: Who is dead?

Answer:   No one.

The victim is not his wife. 

The victim is not even a person. 

The dead body is "here" (location) and the caller wants it dealt with.  

We now know, as the sensitivity indicators pile up:

The caller has dehumanized the victim. 

This is a form of rationalizing, which leads to justifying. Murderers never really murder, in the language. This is why analysts look for victim blaming; justifying removal of the inconvenience. 

Is he going to say, "You must find my wife's killer!" in any form?

Objection: he is in shock.  He is disassociating from the reality. 

Answer: "Dead body" indicates processing. Disassociation is a result of denial, not processing. 

That she is without name (non person) and a "body", indicates the caller has long accepted her death. 

The investigator analyst should now consider premeditated murder by the subject. 

Ah, yeahI have a dead body here, Harriots Lane in Ashtead please.

The dead body is "here" with specific detail. 

We now know: the location is not only the element of the sentence, but a priority for him.  

Come, remove it. 

"please" is only given after the location. 

He "agrees" with police ("the good guys") before anything is decided, and he devotes his words to location. 

Police: What's happened Sir?

The best question and the most natural.  
Subject: I don't know but it looks very nasty. Sh, she's been strangled I think.

He denies knowledge only to rebut/compare/minimize with the word "but."

Note what follows the word "but" as always important.

Does his wife look like she suffered?



She is "it"


"it looks nasty" as if he is calling a cleaning service for his location. 

Sh, she's been strangled I think.

Regarding the cause of death, "it" has now become "she."

The depersonalization of the victim is to indicate the most severely negative relationship; often found in domestic homicide or acute abuse. 

Question: What comes first, his speculation or her cause of death?
Answer: The cause of death. 

"I think" is secondary, which is added after the conclusion of the matter. 

He is showing us:  I know how she died, oops, I better qualify that with "think" as an after thought. 

Police: Do you live at this address? Or are you visiting this address?

This is an unusual question. This is not a question I would have thought to ask but is likely intuitively posed due to the bizarre nature of his dehumanizing language of the victim. 
Subject: Ah, Ah, I, err, it's my ex wife. She's got this cord around her neck.

Who is "it"?  

Remember,  this is to process her death and processing overcomes natural denial and shock and takes place in time. 

It is interesting that the either/or question is not answered by him. This is an indicator of script. 

Script means he has rehearsed what was to be said, and it was interrupted by an unusual question.

Script indicates the need to withhold information. He blurted out what he needed to say, even at the expense of the question. 

What did he reveal?

He revealed an "upgrade" in their relationship. 

Ah, Ah, I, err, it's my ex wife. She's got this cord around her neck.

He how shows a technical upgrade of the relationship. 

Lesser Context

The lesser context is founds in the sentence itself. 

The Greater Context is a husband calling police to report finding his wife dead (or ex). 

The Lesser Context has upgraded the victim from "it" to "my ex wife" which we now ask,

"What caused the relationship to improve in the subject's verbalized perception of reality?"

We look to answer our question by his language. This is what it means to let the subject guide you.  He has the information; not us. This is why we interview using few words and do the listening. 

What caused the relationship to improve?

She was a "dead body" and now she is his ex wife and she is now "she" in the context of having a "cord around her neck."

Psycho-linguistic Profiling:

He likes her with a cord around her neck. 

This is literal. 

Linguistic Disposition

When analysts are trained and become efficient at identifying linguistic disposition, they solve cases. They do deep analysis. 

His linguistic disposition towards the victim is duly noted as such:

It sounds crass or like dark humor, but it is not. We must not project our emotions but listen and submit to the statement. 

In the caller's verbalized perception of reality, he needs a mess to be cleaned up, but has a positive linguistic disposition towards his ex wife while she has a cord around her neck. 

The LD towards her as a dead body is Negative.  ("it" is "nasty") 

The LD towards her, as his ex wife with a cord around her neck is Positive. 

With "nasty" we may wonder (though influenced by the outcome) of the possibility of the subject either having help killing her, or having someone kill her.  

Police:  Ok, alright, we're gonna get police on their way and obviously we'll get an ambulance as well just to check. Umm

Subject: She's cold... She's dead.

Psycho-linguistic Profile:

It is likely that one of his complaints about his victim in the marriage was about sex.  

She was "cold."

This is unnecessary information. He already reported a dead body. Heat dissipation is rapid. 

Time has elapsed. 
Police: What's her name?

Unnecessary to ask, but necessary for the "Incomplete Social Introduction" which has already indicted him in the murder. 
Subject: Sharon.

Police: And her surname?

Subject:  Birchwood.

Analysis Conclusion:  Deception Indicated 

The caller has guilty knowledge of his wife's murder. 

Analyst should not conclude "he did it" but remain disciplined to that which we know. That he killed her is speculation. "Guilty knowledge" is the appropriate conclusion. Police would now take this call's analysis and focus everything upon the caller. He is the key to solving the case. 

Guilty Knowledge means if he did not kill her, he knows who did and he is "pleased" at the results.

The Profile of the caller, even from less than 1 minute of information is of extreme animosity towards his wife and an acutely narcissistic disposition. He is inconvenienced at the "nasty" intrusion at his location while depersonalizing his victim. 

Chris added that he watched a documentary about the case: 

 "Who killed Sharon Birchwood" Her ex husband, Graham Birchwood hired an ex Business Associate and Hit man to kill her. She was strangled to death. The hit man, 63 year old Paul Cryne flew from Thailand to Britain to carry out the murder for £30,000 on December 4th 2007. 

Cryne was jailed for a minimum of 28 years and 6 months in 2010. Graham Birchwood was jailed in 2009. He had debts of £150,000.

Statement Analysis Training is available to learn Deception Detection, with a 100% accuracy expectation, in both seminar and at home content. 

The "Complete Statement Analysis Course" is done at your home, at your pace and comes with 12 months of e support: personal attention to your progress. 

Sign up through Hyatt Analysis Services

Those of second language: the course is in English and being bilingual is of great advantage to your work. 

Deception Detection seminars for law enforcement, with Advanced Seminars jointly with Det. (ret) Steve Johnson, both a certified Statement Analyst and a Handwriting Analysis Expert.

Advanced Training for Sex Crimes Units trained in deception detection as well as for Psychologists, therapists, counselors, social workers, Child Protective Caseworkers and Investigators. 

Discernment for Journalists, bloggers, Human Resource professionals and professions where communication and lie detection is needed. 


John Mc Gowan said...

OT Update:

Witnesses begin giving evidence in Borce Ristevski committal hearing
BORCE Ristevski allegedly murdered his wife and dumped her body, then went out Uber driving before having dinner at his parents, a court heard.


Mr Ristevski appeared before the court with his hair cropped and beard trimmed, entering the dock wearing a charcoal suit over a white shirt, without a tie.

“As far as today goes, it is proposed to call four witnesses,” Mr Fisher told the court.

Those witnesses include an insect specialist, Parks Victoria ranger and a customer from the fashion boutique that Ms Ristevski owned.

Ms Ristevski, 47 went missing from the pair’s $1.1 million Avondale Heights mansion, in Melbourne’s northwest, in June 2016.

Mr Fisher told the court Mr Ristevski told two different stories to police in the days after she went missing.

In one story, Mr Ristevski told police that on the morning his wife disappeared, they had fought about their finances in an upstairs room before she walked out of the house.

In another story, police claim he told them they fought downstairs and she left by a different door.

He mentions in one of his earlier statements that she went upstairs and then came down but failed to mention why.

Police have never released the cause of Ms Ristevski’s death.

It will be interesting to see if she had head injuries as he said she went to clear her head.



Anonymous said...

He also calls it "this" cord. Not "that" cord. He is close to it.

He twice tells the dispatcher she is "dead." You taught us that is not the natural response. The caller should always have hope that the person is not dead. This caller does not mention how he knows she is dead, or removing "this" rope, or checking pulse. There is no fear that she may be dead, or an ambulance is needed, or she may need assistance.

I don't like how when asked what happened he first says "I don't know" but then immediately jumps to her being strangled. There is no room for "I don't know" in that statement.


Anonymous said...

The words "very nasty" appearing where they do so close to the beginning of the phone call, and before he's given non-emotional details (my ex-wife, this cord around her neck, she's cold, she's dead) to me indicates the death represented a level of violence he hadn't anticipated or wasn't expecting. To say that it's 'nasty' qualifies it in comparison to something that's 'not nasty'; likewise to further modify it with the adjective "very" also means he's got a concept of 'nasty' and this situation excels into 'very nasty'. The condition of the body and the violence inflicted on it wouldn't be described in comparative language unless he had an expectation of what he'd see (or experience in the moment) that was then exceeded. This leads me to believe he inflicted this assault on his ex-wife and caused her death. Strangulation is intimate and requires a continued close presence with the victim, and neither does it happen quickly. It is a 'very nasty' thing to do and leaves 'very nasty' results. On a deeper level, along the lines of his ex-wife potentially being 'cold' sexually, this may have been the suspect's opportunity to have the 'nasty' sexual encounter he's wanted but she's refused to provide. She'd probably denied his sexual overtures or desires because they were things she considered nasty or dirty. I wouldn't be surprised if the ex-wife herself routinely accused the suspect of being nasty when he'd seek these sexual encounters she didn't want.

Tania Cadogan said...

off topic.
The audio is fascinating as he admits to killing his wife.

This is the chilling moment a former Ukip councillor reveals he killed his wife in a 999 call to police.

Stephen Searle told the call handler 'I've..er..just killed my wife' and that he 'had been a naughty boy' after choking her to death last December.

Anne Searle, 62, was found strangled to death at their £400,000 home in Stowmarket, Suffolk on December 30.

When police eventually arrived, Searle greeted them by saying 'Ah, hello buddies' before telling them he had acted in self-defence because she had 'attacked him with a knife' in a row over his affair with their son Gary's partner.

Prosecutor Andrew Jackson said Searle had probably placed his wife in a choke hold that he had knowledge of from his military training.

Searle showed no reaction as the verdict was read out on Tuesday following a six-day trial.

Mr Jackson told the trial that the Searles' marriage had been under strain since Mrs Searle discovered her husband's affair with their son Gary's partner Anastasia Pomiateeva, who was mother to at least one of their grandchildren.

This was discovered around June 2017, he said.

In a 999 call made on December 30 last year and played to jurors, Searle told police: 'I've just killed my wife,' and 'I've been a very naughty boy'.

Officers attended their home in Stowmarket, Suffolk within minutes of the call made at 10.19pm, and found Mrs Searle dead.

'The prosecution case is that on that Saturday night there had probably been yet another row between the two of them and in anger the defendant strangled his wife to death,' Mr Jackson said.

A post-mortem examination recorded that Mrs Searle died of compression of the neck.

Forensic pathologist Dr Benjamin Swift said Mrs Searle would have lost consciousness after about eight to 15 seconds of pressure being applied to her neck, and death required further sustained pressure for a period of minutes.

Searle had been married to his wife for 45 years and they had three sons together.

Mr Jackson said that at Christmas last year Mrs Searle wrote on Facebook: 'Happy Christmas to you all. Hope you are doing well. Have a good day. I hope I will still be here in 2018. We will see.'

Searle is to be sentenced by the Honourable Mr Justice Green.

In the 999 call played to the court Searle told police: 'I've just killed my wife.'

Asked how he killed her, he said: 'Suffocation really. Bit of a bizarre situation, but never mind.'

The call handler then asked: 'Are there just the two of you in the house?'

'Well, just the one of us now,' he replied.

In the call made at 10.19pm, Searle said it happened 'about an hour ago' and added he had considered going to sleep and calling police in the morning

Searle was elected a UKIP councillor for Suffolk County Council in 2013 but later lost his seat.

He worked at a bowling alley alongside one of his sons, Gary.

Gary Searle was in a relationship with a woman who worked there, Anastasia Pomiateeva, and they 'had children but never married', Prosecutor Andrew Jackson said.

Mr Jackson told the court that Searle began to pursue his son's partner Ms Pomiateeva and, while he was serving as a Ukip councillor for Suffolk County Council, he invited her to the council building.

Mr Jackson said Searle began a sexual relationship with Ms Pomiateeva in April 2017, and this was kept hidden from the rest of the family.

He gave her the nickname SBG, Steve's Beautiful Girl, and called his wife a 'piece of s***', Ms Pomiateeva said.

Tania Cadogan said...


The affair ended last August after Mrs Searle found intimate text massages that her husband and his lover had sent each other, after guessing his PIN number on his phone which was 4545 as he had served in 45 Commando.

Searle claimed that he had to stand between his wife and lover after Mrs Pomiateeva turned up on his doorstep and the pair hurled abuse at each other.

Mrs Searle later told work colleagues at a sushi manufacturing company that she did not want to end her 45 year marriage because she was 'too old to start again'.

But prosecutor Andrew Jackson said that the affair had put 'a considerable strain' on their marriage.

The couple's other daughter-in-law Victoria Searle, who is married to their son Stephen, said her mother-in-law was 'feeling down and unhappy' and told her that she had been 'arguing every night' with her husband.

She said Mrs Searle had confided in her that her husband who lost his UKIP seat on Suffolk County Council in May last year, had threatened her, saying: 'I will kill you, I will'.

Stephen Searle, 64, was found guilty on Tuesday of murdering his wife, Anne, in Stowmarket on December 30 last year.

Here is a transcript of the 999 call which took place between the former Ukip councillor and a Suffolk Police call handler at 10.20 that night

Tania Cadogan said...


Call handler: 'Hello, can you hear me?

Searle: 'Yeah, I can hear you, can you hear me?'

CH: 'Yep.'

S: 'I've er... just killed my wife'

CH: 'You've just killed your wife.'

S: 'Yeah.'

CH: 'Okay.'

S: 'Bit different for you tonight I expect...Happy New Year.'

CH: '...and how have you killed her?'

S: 'Erm... suffocation really, I guess. Bit of a bizarre situation but you know... nevermind.

CH: 'Okay, is it just the two of you in the house?'

S: 'Er... well just the one of us now.'

CH: 'Right, okay.'

S: 'Well two... if you like.'

CH: 'Okay, is there any other sort of issues that the officers need to be aware of when they come into the house? Is there anything dangerous?'

S: 'Erm, not really. I'm not violent, I'm not nothing.'

CH: 'Stephen, can I just get you to go and answer the door? I believe we should have some officers there. Are you able to just go and speak to them?'

S: 'Okay, they're here now, are they?'

CH: 'They should be there.'

S: 'Alright, I'm on me way.'

CH: 'Okay.'

S: 'I'm on me way as we speak...ah, hello buddies! How are you, alright?'

Tania Cadogan said...


Mrs Searle had told her she had replied: 'You wouldn't do that. You are a weak man. You would not be able to do that.'

Colleagues of Mrs Searle said she had told them that Searle had grabbed her arms, causing bruising during a fight, and had threatened to throw her down the stairs in another bust-up.

One work colleague claimed that Mrs Searle had also told her that her husband had thrown their Christmas Day dinner of roast chicken and all the trimmings in the bin before she could cook it.

She was also upset that he had only bought her a £14 knitted hat and scarf from Asda for Christmas while she had bought him an expensive present.

When police arrived at his house, Searle told officers: 'Sorry, I have been a very naughty boy.'

He later added: 'She cut me with a knife. She tried to get me in the stomach first, but I only have a couple of nicks.'

As he was being taken away in a police van, a camera recorded him as saying: 'Everyone has their breaking point.'

Searle told the court that he and his wife had 'gone back to normal' after he promised to end the affair.

He said they had been fine together over Christmas last year, even though he had little contact with his son Gary. He claimed that he ha donly thrown away the chicken giblets rather than the whole meal

Searle said had gone to fetch another beer on the night of December 30 after they had both been drinking heavily when she suddenly stabbed the arm of a sofa in a rage.

Tania Cadogan said...


He claimed that she swore at him when he asked what she was doing.

Searle said he was later leaving the toilet when she confronted him with a serrated steak knife and tried to stab him in the stomach

He told the jury he was left with minor prick injuries to his stomach after the knife penetrated through three layers of clothing and a cut to his hand from where he tried to grab the blade.

Searle claimed they both fell over and he landed on top of his wife as she 'struggled frantically'.

He described how he gripped her right arm with his left hand and then put his right hand around her neck in 'a pinning movement'.

Searle said he was concentrating on trying to disarm his wife while he held her in the grip for possibly 20 to 25 seconds.

He said: 'Eventually she stopped struggling and I said thank 'f' for that. I said I am going to have a fag and got up to go into the conservatory. She didn't reply.'

Searle said he then bandaged his hand after realising there was 'quite a lot of blood' and smoked two cigarettes

He said: 'I was expecting her to kick off again. When she didn't, I thought she had gone to bed, and that it would be fine in the morning.'

Searle choked back tears in the witness box as he described leaving the conservatory to see his wife on the floor in the position he had left her.

Taking the stand during the trial, he said he 'never meant to hurt her' and added: 'I looked down and saw a blade going backwards and forwards. I just grabbed it.

'It was a spur-of-the-moment decision. I thought I've got to stop this.'

The court heard the pair got into a struggle in which Searle claimed he was trying to grab the knife, leaving him with stab wounds to his right hand.

He told the jury: 'It was just a blur. Eventally she stopped struggling and I went, 'Thank 'f***' for that'.'

Under cross examination, he said he had not called for help immediately as he had been in shock.

Searle was also asked why he had not attempted first aid. He replied: 'When I looked at my wife, I didn't think I could get her back.. I knew I could not.'

The prosecutor said: 'You were trying to give yourself more time to concoct a story?' He replied: 'No, sir.'

His youngest son Stephen, 29, said in a victim impact statement that his mother's murder had caused him 'absolute misery'.

He said he had turned to alcohol since her death and had been left depressed and suicidal.

The statement added: 'I feel emotionally drained most days. It has taken its toll on my, my family and friends.

'I have turned to alcohol as a released which has affected my relationship with my wife and family, physically and emotionally.

'The relationship between me and my brothers has been torn apart. It has left a huge void in my heart which is something I will never get over.

'Losing my mum has destroyed me. It has left me completely broken.

Tania Cadogan said...


'I will never be able to hug my Mum or hear her sweet Scottish voice ever again.

'If my dad had just admitted what he had done and been honest, it would not have had to go to court.'

Stephen Jr added in a statement outside court: 'As you are all well aware, today there has been justice for my mum, Anne Searle. The thing is, this year not only have I lost my mum but my dad as well.

'So now all I want to focus on is my family and friends who can help me through this year and more to come.

'The part that hurts me the most is I lost my mum but the person who took my mum away was also my best friend, who was my dad.

'So now it's time to focus on my own family and kids and do the best I can for them.'

The senior investigating officer Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger of Suffolk Police said: 'Anne Searle's death was a tragic crime and our sympathies remain with her family and friends.

'Whilst crimes of this severity remain a rare occurrence in Suffolk the community can take reassurance that the man responsible has been brought to justice for his actions.

'The investigation has been professionally handled by the Constabulary staff involved, leading to the right outcome at trial.

'This started from the initial call handling, continued during the diligent investigation and we have worked hard to support the family through the challenging time that followed Anne's murder.

'Domestic abuse continues to take place behind closed doors. Suffolk Constabulary will take positive action against the perpetrators where we have the opportunity.

'When victims of abuse come to us we will work with them to address their needs and make them and their families safe. Our focus is firmly on the needs of victims and we will continue to work closely with our partners in tackling this type of crime.

'We have a dedicated team of domestic abuse specialists who ensure the correct response is provided to victims. They work closely with the Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs), Victim Support and other local and national organisations in order to get the right advice and support for victims and help them break free from abuse.'

Searle will be sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court tomorrow.

Speaking after the guilty verdict, senior investigating officer Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger of Suffolk Police, said: 'Anne Searle's death was a tragic crime and our sympathies remain with her family and friends.

'Whilst crimes of this severity remain a rare occurrence in Suffolk the community can take reassurance that the man responsible has been brought to justice for his actions.

'The investigation has been professionally handled by the Constabulary staff involved, leading to the right outcome at trial.

'This started from the initial call handling, continued during the diligent investigation and we have worked hard to support the family through the challenging time that followed Anne's murder.


Nic said...

...I have a dead body here, Harriots Lane in Ashtead please.Police: What's happened Sir? Subject: I don't know but it looks very nasty.

"a" and "it"
Peter said: "The caller has dehumanized the victim."
I agree. He sounds like he's calling for waste disposal pick-up outside of the schedule.

"very nasty" - makes me wonder how he spoke to her when she was alive and they were together.

CQuinn said...

Same as anonymous above, I picked up on "this" cord versus "a" cord. She's got "this cord" around her neck. I wondered if he was perhaps still holding the cord. The closeness of "this" versus "a" could be proximity, as anonymous pointed out. Could also be that he supplied the cord.

Mike Dammann said...

"Those of second language: the course is in English and being bilingual is of great advantage to your work."
In terms of which language being the other one?

Anonymous said...

I wonder how long she's been his EX-wife. If a long time, that could explain some of his word choices.

Katprint said...

One of the things that jumped out as being unexpected was him arguing with the dispatcher about sending an ambulance and giving them the additional [important] information about her being "cold" and "dead" -- dead for the second time -- to persuade them *not* to send an ambulance. He did not want an ambulance to be sent because he wanted her to stay dead and did not want her to possibly be revived by the paramedics.

General P. Malaise said...
This comment has been removed by the author.