Monday, January 31, 2011


A transcript of a message left on the mobile phone of Bob Crow reveals for the first time that the Union leader has been hacked... by the News of the World.

Forwarded to us by the Metropolitan Police, it reads:

CROW: "Nobby here. Leave a message." [Beep.]

THE BIG RETORT: "Hello, Mr Crow. Is it true that you are England's number one striker?"

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Christopher Jefferies? Vincent Tabak? YES, IT COULD BE YOU!

Will there, one wonders, be any quarry stone left unturned with the public‘s right to know - in a dwindling band of countries abbreviated to the first letter - the surname of a person suspected of a crime?

‘Landlord, Dutchman, presumed innocent - until such time as a jury has fully deliberated - we hereby sentence you…err, with just one sentence.’

If there were ever any ethical rules in journalism then the Joanna Yeates murder suspects’ show trial suggests they may need a little spit and polish.

The recent grotesque phenomenon of national newspapers falling over themselves to name names does not have its beginnings in the McCarthy era, no sir. It is a new brand of ‘netfluenced’ journalism, the kind where the guilt or innocence of a suspect - or even the near bystander for that matter - are now so often deliberated on internet crime forums that democracies the world over no longer have control over what was once fondly termed a fair trial by peers. And national newspapers are tripping over dead bodies to beat them too, M‘lud!

In many of these armchair crime sites (where one’s peers’ sit in judgement of the privacy and rights of the citizen reduced to suspect) ‘presumed‘ innocent in the eyes of the law is one legal sentence that caves under the weight of a very common gossip.

Now, in the 21st Century, it is ‘online‘ inside unseen walls that the rights of the individual are hung, drawn and quartered in the stocks of cyberspace for all just men (and women) to mock, and they do so salaciously and with impunity.

One of the more bookish of such sites is Here, internet detectives - some may call them ghouls - ponder over the likely guilt of an array of citizenry; whose only crime - in many instances it must be said - is to be unfortunate enough to be in close proximity to an equally unfortunate cadaver. Dirty fingernails? Blue rinse? Sinister smile? Yer guilty! Guilty! Guilty!

In fact these web-based anonymous finger pointers, whose postings are usually over the verge of libellous, indicate a need for a new breed of lawyer, one employed solely to defend the accused who stands in a cyber courtroom of innuendo: Rumpole of the old global computing network be upstanding in court!

In fact, if this does not happen soon the job will be left to web-based sleuths whose ‘brief’ seems to be to argue, not the beyond a shadow of a doubt guilt, but the hunch. And so anyone found guilty may be executed. But only in cyberspace, Your Honour!

We have all entered a digital age when a suspect will forever be held in penury in the gossipy walls of prison internet. We must all beware. We may all be upstanding in court.

Friday, January 28, 2011


When TheBigRetort conducted an investigation into the increased use of statins in its office diet, it came up with a forgetful medical profession, and one possibly - how shall we put this? - in denial.

Having heard that the use of statins may bring possible side effects in some users we asked a number of doctors if the drug was all it was cracked out to be.  Here, for the first time, is our explosive retort. And it is not for the faint hearted.

Me: Doctor, I keep forgetting things. I wonder... could it have anything to do with... these statins you've had me on?

Doctor: (smirking): I've never heard that before. What utter nonsense!

Me: Really?

Doctor: (laughing) Complete!

Me: (Pause) How about these bloody aches and pains I've been getting!!

Doctor: No need to be so aggresive.

Me: Sorry, it's the Statins.

Doctor: (smirking): Never heard such a silly suggestion since I started medicine last week. Statins making you aggressive - won't wash with the judge.

Me: I am a bit depressed of late too. I wonder, could it be...?

Doctor: Surely you're not blaming the Statins for your glass being half full, man! (Rolling about laughing.) I've never heard such rubbish! Stop being miserable, pull yourself together, and keep taking the stats! You'll live forever. Methuselah took 'em!

Me: What's the use of living forever if you don't remember who you are?

Doctor:  Surely you're not blaming the Statins for your memory loss too! Next you'll be telling me that the Statin advice leaflet actually says that between 1 in 10 and 1 in 100 patients  may get the following possible side effects: headache, stomach pain, constipation, feeling sick, muscle pain,  feeling weak, and or dizziness?

Me: Err... it does.

Doctor: Rubbish! Neither is there an additional 'rare' side effect that may affect between 1 in 1000 and 1 in 10,0000 patients!  Muscle damage! Severe allergic reaction! Inflamed Pancreas! Increase in liver enzymes in the blood! All tosh!. Next you'll be claiming that Statins also have very rare - possible - side effects in one in 10,000 patients.

(There's a thought... He has ten thousand patients which is probably why I have to book an appointment three years in advance.)

Me: But it says so in the, err, leaflet?

Doctor: What leaflet?

Me: The leaflet you have to read before taking the drug...?

Doctor: I haven't read the leaflet. Too busy. But others come here complaining of jaundice, hepatitis, numbness - tosh I say to that! I've no time for reading leaflets. I'm too busy being invited to seminars, in hot countries, with lovely sandy beaches, and five star hotels, drinks on tap, all paid for by the Statin manufacturers.

Me: Err, doctor..?

Doctor: Yes?

Me: Why am I here?

Thursday, January 20, 2011



The new suspect arrested following the murder of Joanna Yeates wrote of starting a new life in England.

Thirty-two year-old Vincent Tabak was born to the son of Gerald and Sonja Tabak in 1978 in Veghel in the neighborhood of Eindhoven.

In 1996 he studied at the faculty of Architecture, Building, and Planning at the Eindhoven University of Technology.

He graduated in 2003 from the group Design Systems obtaining the degree of Master of Science.

He worked as a people flow analyst for Buro Happold, a multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy in Bath.

The five-year thesis he completed in 2008 was dedicated to his friends, his extended family (via his sisters), girlfriend, and his father who died following an 'ongoing struggle with illness'. His son wrote in acknowledgement of his passing: ‘I miss you and regret that you are not able to see the end result of my PhD.’

After completing his PhD, in 2008, Vincent started what he termed his 'new life in England'.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

JO YEATES; About time?

Carrying on from my last posting into the abduction and murder of Joanna Yeates, isn't it about time? TheBigRetort...

The murder of Joanna Yeates in what was the spring of her life is we are told quite complex. Due to this complexity, and the mysteries growing out of it, time as dragged on and still no one person (or persons) has (or have?) been brought to book.

Only one person has been arrested, vilified by press and public alike, and subsequently not yet moved on towards a charge of any offence, and still police have yet to come up with, well... not a truncheon.

But, drawing back on the crimes 'complexity', what is one single fact in this whole sorry, awful, and desperate matter?

"Jo" is alleged to have sent a text message to a friend she hardly met at 8.20pm on that fateful 17th December. A night she did not want to spend alone.

The recipient claims that he did not receive it until 9.20pm of that date, at which point he responded that he was 'busy'. An open and shut case for an alibi then.

Well, not quite...

Not to wish to place an obstacle in the path of justice, but the belief that text messages -and even phone calls - should act as some form of alibi is shaky. Innocence is far from easy to establish based on text 'evidence' alone.

What do I mean? (And I did toss and turn thinking this one around as there is a veritable array of suspects.)

I sent my wife a text yesterday asking if she had received it. 'Yes,' came her response.

The time was on the 18th January. Nothing unusual there then.

She was naturally puzzled about this too - and other texts that I sent during the experiment - but was accustomed to my forensic probing on several past crimes; one of which I had actually correctly identified the killer. (Police eventually told me that they were just about to nick him... on my third call?)

Joanna's murder, perhaps motivated by the Christmas Day discovery of her body, was another probe into the mind of a killer, and the suspects that flanked the deceased.

And there were many.

When my wife got home I asked to see her mobile...

"See," I said.

She looked puzzled...

But the text I had sent - on that same day - was recorded on my mobile as having been sent at 18.02 - the day before.

Only it wasn't... I simply changed the time on my own mobile phone before I sent the text. And it fooled her. (Which is was it was designed to do.)

In a later experiment, I sent a further text showing 8.20pm and dated 17th December 2010 - the night Jo disappeared.

This 'false' time-date that I supposedly sent the text was also recorded on my mobile phone too. (Naturally my wife's phone still recorded the correct time and date... but there was too a way around that particular obstacle.)

This experiment can be easily reproduced especially when one has control over both phones.

Indeed, due to this it is entirely feasible that Jo my not have been the author of the text. The timing on Joanna's 8.20pm, and the friend's 9.20pm, suggested a synchronicity too coincidental to ignore to me.

Two phones? Two timings? Two dates? All of which can be manipulated - after events that have already taken place -and by one crafty author. (Two authors, if we have a killer intelligent enough to be wary of police triangulation methods and so calling on an assistant.)

In one instance, actually working back in time, I was able to repopulate a text message that appeared chronologically in my records before the text messages I later sent. In other words... I had fooled the phone's memory and dropped my alibis back in time.

This text-in-time experiment was merely to seek reassurance that the A&S Police Service has seized all phone evidence, and compared the data on them to the actual itemised bills. Indeed I would ask, if not why not?

However, I feel certain that the police, hugely skilled in such matters, would have considered such nefarious behaviour and conducted all the necessary tests to eliminate one or more of the suspects. Because a missing sock and pizza and DNA and triangulation cannot halt a ticking clock.

But then neither can killers... can they?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Eerily, at the Tesco checkout Jo is illuminated in the screen of a man who is also shopping nearby.

A reflection of guilt?

Was the man in the woolly hat next to Jo ever traced and eliminated from the investigation? He brushes past Jo, after previously taking a glance in her direction. If he has been traced and eliminated then these are the questions that I would have asked:

Isn't it likely that the person who killed Jo was

i. known to her.
ii. liked cider.
iii. liked vegetarian pizza
iv. was meeting her nearby, after pre-arrangement.
v. had a flat or vehicle in the vicinity (in which she was killed).
vi. was acquainted with the quarry.
vii. staged her abduction, after the murder, and 'dressed' her flat after dumping her body.
viii. lived in an area where a phone signal could not be obtained, or was distorted.
ix. was an old (secret) flame. Or....
x. secretely desired her over time at a 'close' distance .