First Person Interview – Simon Chawner

Recent years have seen the increase of suicides in the UK, with over 5000 cases in 2007 alone, it makes you wonder who is picking up the pieces, Simon Chawner, a Police Officer in the Criminal investigations Department of the North Staffordshire Police, talks about the first time he was faced with a dead body

As far as I was aware, this particular incident was not going to be any different than the other 100 missing person calls we usually get within a day, it’s usually the case that an over excited neighbour reports a person missing, when in fact they have just gone on their jollies.

It was a chilly, but sunny mid autumn day when I arrived on scene, the first thing I noticed was how pleasant the surroundings were; this wasn’t the kind of place you would imagine coming across a dead body. On closer inspection, there were a number of things that began to raise alarm bells. Uncut grass; post sticking out of the letterbox and closed curtains, even though it was midday on a sunny autumn day.

I remember the change in atmosphere as the front door was broken and we crossed the threshold. The smell was overwhelming, the difference between the clean autumn air and the thick stench was remarkable. I turned to go back outside and remember the brightness from outside stinging my eyes.

As we went from the hallway to the rear of the house searching for the body, the smell subsided a little and brightness crept in through the open blinds in the kitchen. I felt relieved to have a break, but also realised that this meant we weren’t getting any closer to finding the body. I took three deep breaths of clean air before retracing my steps to the hallway. Having not been fruitful in our searches downstairs, we decided to search the upstairs of the house. I hadn’t been this scared to go upstairs since being sent to bed without dinner as a child. Each step seemed to creak, each sound more eerie and frightening than the last.

After searching all but one rooms in the house, I began to hope that there wasn’t a dead body in here, that the usual inhabitants of this house had actually gone on holiday, and the smell was a burst drain pipe.

As the door to the final room was opened, I remember being knocked back once again by an overwhelming smell. I sprinted to the toilet and threw up uncontrollably. I remember drawing breath through my nose afterwards and still being able to smell it, almost taste it. I regained my composure, and approached the room with what I later began referring to as a swinger in. A “swinger” is what we call hanging victims, I think people use humour as a means of blocking the image from their mind. As I approached the door, my legs began to tremble and felt like they were going to collapse. The body looked surprisingly clean, the only injuries were to the neck where the rope had chafed. As my colleagues investigated the scene, gathering information, I stood alone, unable to think of anything other than what a waste of life this was.

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Profile – Martin Scorsese


45 years in the business and still going strong, Martin Scorsese has been leading the way in the art of filmmaking for almost half a century and there are no signs of him letting up any time soon. 

Born on 17th November 1942 in New York City Martin Scorsese is regarded as the greatest American filmmaker of his generation. The reasons for this are abundant. As you look at his repertoire of outstanding films including Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976) and Raging Bull (1980), all voted into the 360 greatest movies of all time by Sight and Sound magazine and the British Film Institute.

Scorsese’s illustrious career began at New York University, he received his M.A in film in 1966. His first outing as a director was in 1969, a feature called, Who’s That Knocking at My Door, while it only got a limited release, it did generate good critique. In the coming years, he took a back seat as an editor on numerous films, until taking up the reins on a production called Boxcar Bertha in 1972. This film received little acclaim and was lacking in almost all of the aspects of a Scorsese picture that we would later take for granted.

1973 marks a momentous year for both Scorsese and American film history. The release of Mean Streets, featuring Robert De Niro and Harvery Keitel, is considered an inspiration for many of the most respected directors today, Quentin Tarantino often cites it as one of his biggest inspirations. Mean Streets was the first pairing of Scorsese and Robert De Niro, an actor that would appear in many of his upcoming films.

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Sean Dodson – Journalism Course Leader

“Grant is a supremely energetic, imaginative and reliable candidate. He has
consistently shown that he is capable of working across a range of
multimedia platforms on a range of diverse subjects. He is, moreover, a talented writer, with a keen mind and an admirable curiosity.

He is tenacious, resourceful and hardworking. To add to that, I would also commend Grant as a team player who has often helped his fellow students and has always been present when extra-curricular duties are called for.

Grant can take direction with a professional attitude, but also work unsupervised. Therefore, I have no hesitation is recommending him to you, Grant would be an asset to your team. Please feel free to contact me if you need anything further.”

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Jennifer Kean – Journalism Tutor

“Grant has been a delight to teach; he has an outgoing personality and has the ability to mix well with both his peers and his tutors. He is open and curious – an essential trait for any journalist. And he’s worked really hard to produce some very good pieces of journalism, including an investigative article.”


Charlotte Hemingway – Colleague

“Grant is always a pleasure to work with, he is enthusiastic and creative. He works well with others and always does his best to support his team members, he would be a valuable asset to your organisation.”

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About Me

I am a third year journalism undergraduate studying at Leeds Metropolitan University.

My passion lies with creative and feature writing. I have a colourful writing style well suited to writing magazine features and reviews.

I possess a deep knowledge of the film industry and as such would like to pursue a career in writing for a film publication. I particularly enjoy writing film and event reviews.

As well as online experience, I can both write for and design print articles. I am well versed in Adobe Indesign and am able to design magazine articles from scratch. As part of my third year studies, I created a mens health and fitness magazine called 21st Century Man.

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