Murder squad detective in charge of investigating crime in Doncaster: police column

I was due to start a new job in Doncaster on Monday, January 21, as the new Detective Chief Inspector in the district’s Criminal Investigation Department.

Monday, 11th February 2019, 9:13 am
Updated Monday, 11th February 2019, 9:17 am
Det Ch Insp Steve Handley

I was due to start a new job in Doncaster on Monday, January 21, as the new Detective Chief Inspector in the district’s Criminal Investigation Department, writes Det Chief Insp Steve Handley

But when a man tragically died in the Maple Tree pub in Woodfield Way, Balby, plans had to be changed as a murder investigation was opened.

Det Ch Insp Steve Handley

On the day of the incident, I was still one of South Yorkshire Police’s Senior Investigating Officers, and it was my job to open the investigation as quickly as possible, so that is what I did.

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The investigation was handed over to another officer later in the week once the suspects had been charged with murder, when it was a suitable time to do so. And so, on January 25, I moved to my new post here in Doncaster.

I had been a Senior Investigating Officer with the force’s major incident team since becoming a Detective Chief Inspector in 2015, before taking charge of Doncaster CID last month, and during that time, I have led 13 murder investigations across South Yorkshire.

Two of those were here in Doncaster.

They included the murder of Michael Eaton, at Low Road, Balby, on Christmas Day 2017.

He was found in his own home, stabbed over 100 times, with bleach poured all over him. We recovered his clothes from the River Don using an underwater search team. He had gone to a local shop on Christmas Day and bought a scratchcard. It turned out to be a winning scratchcard, and his killer later cashed it.

She denied the murder, but we built up evidence, and she admitted killing him. She was eventually sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum sentence of 13 years.The judge commended the quality of the investigation.

The other case was the killing of Lewis Siddall, a  24 year old teacher from Skellow, who was found dead in his bed after he was assaulted at the VDKA bar on Silver Street in Doncaster town centre

It was a unique case because it involved a depressed fracture of the skull, which was unusual in that it was caused by a punch. Many people have died of that type of injury, but it usually involves a weapon. We were confident there was no weapon.

At the end of the trial, a man was convicted of manslaughter.

My new role here in Doncaster is the second time I have been based here. After being promoted to Detective Inspector in in 2008, I spent three years here, in crime management, with the burglary investigation team, and then in intelligence looking at organised crime, before I left to join the major incident team at the end of 2010.

My new role will be management of crime that happens in Doncaster.

It is the crime that people see, like burglaries, robberies, and violent crime. We want to reduce crime, reduce the number of victims, and increase the confidence our communities have in the police, and reduce their fear that they may become a victim.

We know for crimes like these there is a big effect on the victim moving forward, and they can feel like a victim for months or years. It is about feeling safe in your community, and we will be prepared to shift resources to deal with any crime that has a disproportionate effect on a community.

We will also work with the prisons to investigate criminality in the jails, and the crime outside prison that prison inmates may be involved in.

If someone is arrested and put in prison it does not automatically stop their criminal enterprises, inside and outside the prison. We are developing closer relationships with the prison authorities to disrupt criminality both in and out of prison.

Things like acquisitive crime, burglaries and robberies happen, and it is about understanding where its happening, why its happening, and what is the market for the stolen items.

For instance, we have seen a number of two in one burglaries recently, where thieves break into a house, and take the keys to the car, and steal the vehicle.

This has an organised element. It is not just about the burglaries. It is also about the industry around that and what happens to the stolen cars.

A lot of crime is interrelated, and if you arrest someone who is involved in drugs, they may also be involved in other elements of crime.

We will do what we can to reduce the number of victims of crime.

I am still accredited as a senior investigations officer, and will be mentoring some of the up and coming senior investigating officers  in the force.