Sunday 20 August 2017

Chilling true crime documentary charts murder probe minute-by-minute from frantic 999 call to arrest

Catching a Killer: The Search for Natalie Hemming on Channel 4

Paul in custody being questioned
Paul in custody being questioned
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

A new true crime series kicks off on Channel 4 tonight with a chilling documentary charting every moment of a murder probe from the first frantic 999 call to the eventual arrest of the suspect.

Catching a Killer: The Search for Natalie Hemming follows her story after the 31-year-old mother of three went missing on the afternoon of Sunday 1 May 2016, seemingly without a trace.

Natalie
Natalie
Paul and Natalie

Two days later her mother Margaret Hammond (73) made a frantic 999 call.  The operator asks, "What's the specific concern that's caused you to call the police?" and she replies, "Him".

Natalie's mum was referring to her daughter's ex-partner Paul Hemming and her call launched one of the biggest missing person searches ever seen at Thames Valley Police.

L-R Kerry, mother Margaret and Jo.
L-R Kerry, mother Margaret and Jo.

Catching a Killer charts the case minute-by-minute from that initial call as police investigate her disappearance and her friends and family struggle to come to terms with the horrifying situation as it unfolds.

The documentary has access to the police team's investigative and forensic work and charts the movements of the key players via phone, CCTV and video evidence.

L-R: Det Supt Simon Steel, DC Nikki Smith, DI Stuart Blaik, DC Natalie Golding.
L-R: Det Supt Simon Steel, DC Nikki Smith, DI Stuart Blaik, DC Natalie Golding.
Briefing room with DI Stuart Blaik
Det Supt Simon Steel
Police search.
Police search.
DI Stuart Blaik (left) looking at map.

Natalie had recently split with Paul after a ten year relationship and had started seeing her colleague, Simon Dennis.

They can be spotted together on CCTV cameras on the morning of Sunday May 1 saying goodbye to each other after a romantic night together in a hotel.

Briefing room with DI Stuart Blaik
Briefing room with DI Stuart Blaik

At around 2pm she sends him a text message saying, "Thank you so much baby. That was the most amazing night I’ve ever had. You were gentle, kind and caring and that meant the world to me."

She follows up with, "I fell in love with you even more last night."

Paul and Natalie
Paul and Natalie
Paul and Natalie

Later that night Simon responds but he doesn't get a reply to his message.  He follows up with another early Monday morning asking if she's alright, but still doesn't get a response.

Natalie is, by that point, already dead and her body lies naked in woodland.

Her mother tells police "it's just not like her" that Natalie is missing and her partner says she does not know where she is.

As the investigation continues Natalie's body is found and Paul Hemming is arrested and disturbing details of their relationship emerge.

Catching a Killer also reveals the heartbreaking impact the murder has had on the children, particularly their six year old son who gives a harrowing account of the night his mother went missing.

He talks about hearing noise "like glass smashing" and speaks about seeing his mum "laying down" and adding, "We took the red rug to Daddy's work so it can have a wash".

Catching a Killer airs on Channel 4 tonight, Thursday, at 9pm.

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