Last night's viewing - Killers Behind Bars: the Untold Story, Channel 5: Jimmy and the Giant Supermarket Channel 4

 

Here's an odd way of presenting your academic credentials: "As a criminologist, I was at the heart of the media circus and called on for expert analysis by a major news channel."

The speaker was David Wilson, professor of criminology at Birmingham City University and the clowns had come to town for the coverage of the Ipswich murders of 2006. "Media circus" would usually imply a distaste for the crudities of popular coverage of such a distressing event. But it seems that Professor Wilson must have enjoyed the smell of sawdust because here is in Killers Behind Bars: the Untold Story to go over the details all over again. His purpose, bluntly put, is to add to Steve Wright's macabre score, by identifying earlier murders that he might also have committed.

To that end, Professor Wilson revisits the scene of the crime, interviewing policemen, relatives of the victims and fellow experts to build up a picture of the perpetrator's modus operandi. And, to put it mildly, his director doesn't exactly strain to keep things clinical. Glenn Wilson, a psychologist, was interviewed about Wright's preference for strangulation in a disused factory, the setting given an extra gothic topspin with shock-edits and sudden close-ups of unsettling graffiti and wire nooses. Is this criminology or titillation? And couldn't you have matched Professor Wilson's expert analysis of the killer simply by watching enough Hollywood thrillers? "This is somebody who has power," he concluded after reviewing the ways in which the bodies had been dumped, "This is somebody who is playing games with the police."

It didn't seem entirely implausible that Wright might have killed earlier, and Wilson focused on one potential victim in Michelle Bettles, who was found dead in 2002. Wright was living in Norwich at the time and Bettles had told her parents about getting into a car with a cross-dressing man (Wright was also known to cross-dress). You might still want to proceed with caution though. As Wilson himself had reminded us, sex workers are "incredibly vulnerable to attack" and if you've killed someone in a provincial city it's not terribly unlikely that they will end up left in secluded woodland. Wilson, though, doesn't seem to have much time for reasonable doubt: "This is screaming out connection, connection, connection," he said excitedly. "One of the things I teach my students is that there's no such thing as coincidence when you're dealing with a serial killer." No such thing as coincidence? Do they have some kind of force-field that alters the universe around them?

 

Wilson eventually decided the matter by putting his findings in front of a jury of his own students. And before you object, he'd thought of that. "People might get the impression that somehow if you're presenting to your students they're simply going to agree with the professor. That's not the case at all". So that's alright then. Unsurprisingly, Wilson got a unanimous show of hands in favour of his "hunch" and finished with a plea to the police to look again at this case. He didn't mention that the police have already looked again at this case and presumably concluded that most of the evidence is circumstantial and wouldn't stand much of a chance in court.

Tesco's sales dipped in the first quarter, which may please those with a beef against the power of the big retailers. But even they might want to do their bit to improve sales of two new Tesco product lines, the free-range sausages and chicken kievs that Jimmy Doherty has persuaded them to put on the shelves. Jimmy and the Giant Supermarket has been following the process and it has been very interesting, an admirable primer in product development and the economics of mass-market food. Tesco would have been idiots to delist either item before this three-part advert aired. Now it's down to us.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific