THE intensity of a live murder investigation will be brought to life by a former detective with years of experience on some of the city’s biggest inquiries.

Crime author and former Brighton and Hove police chief Graham Bartlett is hosting the workshop over the course of a weekend later this month.

Those taking part will be guided through the crucial first 48 hours of a live investigation, with gory crime scenes, advice from forensics experts, behaviour experts, and detectives.

It will lead them through to the arrest of a suspect, and the tension of a live interview and finally, a charge.

Mr Bartlett will guide the sessions, and will also have input from crime authors including Peter James, Julia Crouch, Mark Billingham and Elly Griffiths to share some of their writing tips.

It will take place from Friday, July 17 to Sunday July 19 with six sessions over the weekend.

In his own career, he was involved in dozens of murder inquiries as a detective, and was also part of the team that snared Babes in the Wood killer Russell Bishop for abducting a seven-year-old girl from Whitehawk and leaving her for dead at Devil’s Dyke.

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He said one of the toughest inquiries he had to lead was the murder of Billy Carmichael in Brighton in November 2000.

Mr Carmichael, 63, was a gay man and was subjected to a severe beating at his flat, but clues at the crime scene were scarce.

Mr Bartlett said there was not much trust in the police at the time from the LGBT community and admitted there had been some “insensitive” policing in the years before the murder.

“People were reluctant to talk to us, they didn’t trust us,” he said. “Equally, we had no idea who had killed him. He had no notable visitors or friends, and in the early 2000s CCTV was rudimentary.

“We had to win the trust of the LGBT community and street community and eventually two names came up.

“It was a really vicious murder, and he suffered horrendous injuries. There was a risk that if we didn’t find those who did it, they would disappear off the face of the earth, or, go on to commit similar offences.

“At times we felt like we were clutching at straws, and the pressure was on.”

Both Richard Price and Richard Sumner were found guilty of murder and were jailed for life in 2002.

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To Mr Bartlett, it showed how crucial getting off to a good start in a murder trial could be, and now he wants to pass on that knowledge to crime authors and on screen writers.

He said: “There used to be what was called the golden hour, it is a bit longer than that, but if the investigation doesn’t hit the ground running within the first few hours, certainly within 48 hours, then catching a killer becomes dramatically harder.

“You have to pull out all the stops, get forensics in by scouring the area to get anything that may not be available later because it degrades, identify witnesses who may not hang around.

“If you miss that boat, you miss it forever.”

Mr Bartlett has become used to giving talks and lectures across the country at crime writing events such as the Harrogate Crime Festival.

But now the workshops he is offering give the chance for authors and screen writers to get the best tips to create authentic work.

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“This fits in with the new normal, they can join in from their own home, rather than having to pack a suitcase and travel to another part of the country,” he said.

It starts with the first call into the police, and arriving at the scene of a murder, where those taking part are guided into creating a central character.

Mr Bartlett said: “They will start developing that character, looking at some of the investigation techniques, how they deal with witnesses, engineer press appeals and all those things. It will all come together over the weekend.

“Interviews especially can be very dramatic, with tension between the lead officer and the killer. Murder interviews can take several days, so I try to tell writers not to use cheap dramatics such as banging tables and having shouting police officers playing the good cop, bad cop routine.

“They are instead slowly piling on the pressure with intelligent and clever questioning while feeding evidence that boxes the killer into a corner.”

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